hotsparkmama

Advocare Health & Wellness Nutritional Support

Back ache? You STILL need exercise!

Having lived with back pain for years I know that it can be tough to get in much needed exercise BUT if you don’t DO something you’ll never strengthen your back enough to get passed it. I actually took a class last week on “exercising for injuries” and then I came across this “5 move low impact” article. Instead of me trying to explain how to do these exercises in a way that you can understand enough to do them I’ll attach the article link itself! ;)
https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/low-impact-high-intensity-interval-cardio-workout/

We cannot continue to find excuses for NOT getting exercise…it’s a part of our getting healthy journey. Once you get “moving” you’ll find that you do in fact FEEL better and from there you’ll find motivation to make better choices..and then the HAPPY (not viscous) cycle begins :) Example from my own recent experience—yesterday I had this sudden “let down” (I can only imagine it stemmed from a build of stress and then my son left for his dads), I didn’t exercise, I went home, sat in a comfy chair w/ my laptop and from there I could FEEL the “depression” set in. Satan found an open door through my lack of will-power to push through (my walks are amazing! I spend that 1-2 mile talking to my Lord, praising him for who he is, thanking him for all he does, praying for blessings on those who need them, asking for guidance to go through my day…missing my physical walk w/ him is the same as skipping that daily “bread” that is his word). I made the wrong food choices which only added to it (overloaded on “healthy” breakfast cookies)! This morning I didn’t walk but I did follow a DVD and I find that it motivates me in so many ways—physically, mentally, emotionally and nutritionally!

Exercise makes you FEEL better, look better, gives you more energy (oxy moron—just like I keep telling ya’ll ya gotta eat to lose weight) and can prolong your life and as an added bonus will keep you looking younger and huh hemmm cause you to feel more…uh…dare i say—sexual <3 When I decided that I would try to be all smart and scientific and tell you EXACTLY what exercising does for your body I found the Mayo Clinic had put out a list of 7 benefits to exercising that sounds like I actually wrote it HaHaHa Tell me what you think ;)

“No. 1: Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.
No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
No. 3: Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
No. 4: Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to fall asleep? Or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.
No. 6: Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
No. 7: Exercise can be fun
Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.”

Now, those of you who know me—does that NOT sound like I wrote it?!  I mean com’mon Mayo should be paying me to do their articles LOL  I mean, I expected all this mumbo jumbo verbage that nobody would understand but dag’nab it they put it in real layman terms with that one :)

If you’re struggling with back issues like I used to remember that ANY movement is better than none and GET STARTED! Something as simple as standing up from that seated position and reaching for the ceiling then slightly reach back will do wonders for your low back (do this for just a couple seconds,10 times).  I ain’t gonna lie, this is a slow way to start but what’s that saying “slow and steady wins the race”?  You’ll be racing in no time~

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There’s news—it’s times for a cleanse

NEWS FLASH:

AdvoCare came out with an UNFLAVORED Herbal Cleanse :)

The 10 day herbal cleanse is recommended every 90 days!!!
*Supports improved digestion and thorough internal cleansing
*Helps prepare the body for optimal nutrient absorption
*Supports healthy weight management in conjunction with a healthy diet

The AdvoCare Herbal Cleanse system can help rid your body of built up toxins and prepare the body for optimal nutrient absorption with its unique blend of herbal ingredients.* Using a systematic approach, this 10-day system guides you through the daily steps for thorough internal cleansing and improved digestion.* The cleanse is “gentle and uneventful” :) (I promise you will NOT have to take time off work to participate)

Each Herbal Cleanse box includes these two key products: ProBiotic Restore™ capsules and Herbal Cleanse tablets. For the complete system, combine use of these two products with AdvoCare® Fiber (also sold separately) for the duration of the 10 days.

Although not specifically designed for weight management, some people who use Herbal Cleanse for the first time may experience a reduction in pounds and/or inches when they pair the system with a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise.* I lost 4 lbs and 7 INCHES during my initial cleanse. It IS a great way to help jump start your new healthy lifestyle.

Which leads me to say I will be starting a cleanse on May 11th (that’s the day after Mother’s Day) and will be taking Advo orders (for any/all products) between now and May 1st ;) Starting May 11th I will post daily step by step instructions on properly using the 10 day cleanse for optimal results as well as a suggested meal plan (what I’ll be having) <3 If you're not already a part of my group then be sure to visit http://www.chellespark.com and order yours today (flavors are citrus (which I use), peaches and cream and now the new unflavored). This cleanse will work best in conjunction with the OmegaPlex (fish oils), I know a lot of people tell me but I already take a prescription fish oil and that's fine (but I've always read that most fish oils are actually more toxic than they are good so know the source of where yours are coming from). Don't forget to pick up your spark while you're there ;) (I ain't gonna lie, mixing your fiber pack w/ Mandarin Orange Spark makes the going down process a whole lot easier)

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How do you sleep?

Are you getting enough shut-eye? I mean REALLY, at night time, not just when you get still in your most comfy chair! Most adults NEED a good eight hours of sleep a night. I am so busy with every day life and quite frankly when something has to give, it typically winds up being SLEEP (I used to say, “I can sleep when I’m dead!” These days I sometimes feel dead walking around like a zombie getting up at 4:30am to extend my day). Don’t we all give up on sleep rather than something else like say weekend play or fun evenings with our fams?!  I mean, I don’t know about you but the ONLY day that I can “sleep in” is Saturday—and by sleep in I mean pass 6am.  But it is inevitable that every Saturday my husband’s body says “hello handsome” around 5 (insert big dear in the headlight eyes!), he does NOT normally get up before 6 (and most times later than that) ANY OTHER DAY :/

I used to go to be completely exhausted!!!  Worse yet, I woke up still feeling tired and going through the day was almost torturous without a nap!  It was as if when I laid down at night, no matter how tired I was, my mind would just spin with thoughts of did I do that, how can I finish this, what must I do tomorrow.. So if you feel wide awake when your head hits the pillow at night know that you ain’t the only one!! Approximately 60 million Americans report having experienced insomnia at some point in their lives. Even worse, 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders.  Come to find out mine was not necessarily a long term disorder as much as it was unhealthy diet/lifestyle.

If you don’t suffer from insomnia (consider yourself lucky), odds are at some point in your life you’ve had times of restlessness, experienced tossing and turning or the mind chatter effect where you’re brain just will not SHUT-UP!  Do you lay there wondering, “What in the world? Why can’t I sleep?”  I can say from expereince I know that’s the worst thing to do! Laying there with your mind wandering will only cause further frustration and anxiety….this will only make it harder to drift off, causing further exhaustion the next day.  Whew, what a viscous cycle…I’m getting tired just thinking about it LOL~

Once I changed my diet and started exercising regularly (welllll haha) I started sleeping better.  I think most nights I was asleep BEFORE my head hit the pillow but then there were still nights that I would wake up at odd hours and couldn’t go back to sleep.  This is around the time I discovered essential oils.  Let me just tell you right now that I sleep like I have never slept before!

Missing ANY of those much needed Zzzzs is nothing to yawn about.  The health risks associated with a lack of sleep can include poor cognitive function, problems with attention and concentration (duh), dementia and an increased risk of heart disease.

There are so many essential oil remedies to help with sleep issues!  Only problem is how do you know which one to choose?  Well everyone’s body chemistry is different and what works for me may not work for you but you’ll never know until you try.  When I started using oils for more “chronic” issues there were so many recipes for every issue I researched that it was a lil’ overwhelming so I went to the book.  The Modern Essentials (oil bible) book is an amazing tool to have on hand when you start your own journey to good health with the help of oils.  This book lists all the oils and what they’re used for as well as a plethora of “issues” listing which oils to use and how to use them.  It will even give you several options (because let’s face it, WHO has each and every oil on hand?), so if you don’t have the #1 choice, chances are you’ll have the #2 or maybe #3 ;)

Here’s just a few options of ways to help you get a better night sleep….

Take a warm bath with a few drops of Lavender or Roman Chamomile. Your body temperature drops rapidly once you exit the shower or bath. Research shows that this decrease in temperature can trigger a sleepy feeling because your heart rate, digestion and other metabolic processes slow down. This can make it easier for your brain and body to power down, too.

Lavender rubbed on the bottom of your feet and Cedarwood on your big toe before you put socks on. Optimize your temperature for sleep, the ideal balance is a cooler core and warmer extremities. I know I for one can NOT sleep when my feet are cold BUT I DO like it cooler in the room at night to help me sleep better.  One study revealed that wearing socks dilates your blood vessels and can help blood flow, leading to a more optimal temperature for snoozing. (Cedarwood is known to calm the mind chatter and the big toe is the reflex point for the brain)

Don’t try to go to bed early unless you actually feel SLEEPY! Once your eyelids are telling you it’s time apply a mixed sleep blend containing Balance (grounding) and Serenity (calming) over the heart, wrists and/or back of neck. I use this sleep blend over my heart/chest with Cedarwood on my toe and sleep great every night. Most nights I don’t even wake up to pee :)

If continuous thoughts and ideas keep you up, consider jotting down what’s on your mind. Processing your feelings (good and bad!) can help you relax into a sleepier state of mind. When you’re thinking through that stuff and you’re lying down, it can become circular (this is what I call mind chatter when you feel your mind just keeps spinning). By writing things down or making a list of to-dos, you’ll calm those thoughts bouncing around. Instead of endlessly worrying about the next day’s agenda, you’ll have already planned it out how you’ll get everything completed before you hit the hay. There have been times I actually did not even turn the light on to see that I was writing legible, as long as I “got it out” I was able to relax and stop thinking about it :)

Lying in bed and worrying about your inability to fall asleep will hinder your ability to fall asleep! The second you start feeling tense instead of letting that grow into an all night battle, get up and go into another room until you start feeling sleepy (NO, this is not permission for consuming a midnight snack—avoid the kitchen/eating). You want to condition your brain to associate the bed with sleeping. Feeling frustrated creates a stress response where the body creates adrenaline. To combat this harmful feedback loop, divert your attention by reading, having a cup of chamomile tea or doing anything relaxing, even if that for you is folding laundry haha until you start to feel drowsy, but NO electronics (that means DO NOT turn on the TV to check for a movie OR turning to social media for entertainment).

Make a sleepy time sheet spray out of Lavender and Vetiver, together these two create a blend that aids in an all night sleep. Every night my lil’ one goes to bed peacefully with this sprayed over her pillow (and even her lil’ stuffed bunny).  I ain’t gonna lie there are still times of distress or upset over daily trials or family loss but chances are there’s an oil for that :)

If you’re having sleep troubles please don’t hesitate to contact me regarding questions and/or solutions on how to help you get some much needed Zzzzzzzzzz

If you’re ready to start your own oils journey and looking for a supportive team to join then head over to http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark and click “join” and be sure to choose “Wellness Advocate” for the deepest discounts.  Your enrollment fee is waived/included when you choose to start with an enrollment kit.  And as usual I’m here to help <3

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Do you know what’s out there?

Okay…just breathe…DEEP IN – EXHALE!
There’s an epidemic running rampant and I want you to be prepared!

BATHING SUITS are popping up everywhere :D

Does this scare you? Are you comfortable with your body image? Do you wish you actually looked like a swimsuit model? Yea, that was a dumb question because I’m sure we all dreamed at some point in our lives of having that “perfect” body. But what’s “perfect” may depend on what era you were born in or what kind of background you were raised with.

Our biggest concerns with bathing suits should be finding one that fits AND is comfortable! Finding one that doesn’t ride up the cheeks when you walk, sag in the butt when you’re wet and keeps all your “stuff” in place lol  That’s a legitimate concern! NOT whether or nor our bodies will be acceptable to others! NOT whether or not you resemble the model in the picture (just think PHOTOSHOP—girlfriend she ain’t real). NOT whether or not you are swimsuit “worthy”. I know, easier said than done, I’m guilty too (not just with bathing suits).

YES, pleasssse eat nourishing, nutrient dense foods that will give your body the energy it needs to do the awesome things you’re meant to do! Eating RIGHT lowers your risk of a plethora of autoimmune diseases, it fuels workouts (that you should be doing), builds strong bones, etc, etc… YES, pleasssse exercise your body! It strengthens muscles, bones, again lowers risks of disease, provides stress relieve, helps you sleep better and I’m hear to tell ya increases your sex drive (that in itself should be enough for some people) :)

DO these things because it’s the best thing for you! Get in the habit of eating clean every day of your life and some type of exercise at least 3-4 days a week.  Start with tiny lil’ baby steps of things you can handle even if it’s so tiny you think, “It’s not worth it”…every step you make will be a step in the right direction! You’re going to fall sometimes but stop whining, get up, start again AND adopt a long term goal—a lifetime of good health! Start today! By the time summer actually rolls around you will be happy with your healthier “better today than yesterday” body…in a swimsuit that feels good!

BTW…do you realize how much “the perfect body” has changed over the years?
Remember back in western days when the shapely women could only get “one kind” of job, the “homely” unmarried were teachers and the modest and pretty women were wives and mothers. Jump into the 1920’s with flappers and how “boyish” and “unshapely” they were with their long torso, flat-chests and no hips. That was the “in” back then, everybody wanted to be that way. The 1930’s and Greta Garbo brought back the “womanly figure” and that became the look every woman desired. In the 1940’s Joan Crawford brought “wide shoulders” (via shoulder pads) into popularity, the strong type where women wanted to appear slightly “masculine”. In the 50’s Marilyn Monroe was considered voluptuous! Women hated her for the curvy look and men wanted to be with her. In the 60’s thin was in…and I mean THIN! In the 70’s if you didn’t look like a Charlie’s Angel then you didn’t fit in and the 80’s became more about the hair than the body. The world seems to choose “the look” that everybody goes for. Let’s step out of “the world” and step into OUR COMFORT ZONE! Let’s be comfortable with who God made US but let’s not use “God made me this way” as an excuse to NOT TRY to be our best!

I ain’t gonna lie, I’d like the “perfect” figure but for me my figure IS perfect—as long as I’m feeding my family healthy and doing what’s best for us :)

I know I probably should stop adding graphics that aren’t “homemade” but I’m praying The Lord will keep the “evils that be” from coming after me with copyright troubles lol~  I found this graphic so very interesting that I’m hoping the originator will see it as a complement that I’m sharing it with you <3
body image 100 yrs Of course it’s probably so tiny you can’t even see it :/

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I’m not “A Blogger” but….

I’m a Christian!  I’m a wife!  I’m a mom!  For the most part that’s it….
BaHaHaHa (insert evil laugh) I’m a short-order cut, a gourmet chef, a full-time driver, ball girl (basketball and baseball), a part-time teacher (not really, but I do TRY), certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Nutritional Advisor for AdvoCare, Wellness Advocate for doTERRA, Health Coach, and eternal student :)

Yeah, I love my life, all of it!  The constant hustle and bustle of games, the hours I spend studying, all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking, grinding, soaking, blending, mixing, baking, the laundry—uh, maybe not so much the laundry :/ the organizing (that’s been put on the back shelf lately), the encouragement I get from helping others, the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing what’s right for my family, the joy I feel when lil’ arms wrap around my waist, the tears I shed when I see my son becoming a young man despite his challenges, blah blah blah (I just realized I could go on and on and on and I believe that’s truly called happiness) OH BUT WAIT there is one thing I DON’T like about my life…I DON’T GET PAID!

I’m not a blogger! I used to love to write stories but my grammar is so bad and that tends to come across on paper HaHa (I have a friend from IN that I always used to pick on because she wrote just like she talked…”I gotta warsh my hair! Did he axe you the question?” I think she dun rubbed off on me teehee). But I’ve got so many friends that constantly say, “You should write a book! You should start a blog! You should have a TV show!” LOL~  Do they realize what kinda time goes into keeping up with a blog and/or a Facebook group/s?!  I spend the majority of my time during the day JUST trying to help everybody else and STUDY! I’m an avid learner—I <3 it, I can’t get enough! Whether it’s about nutrition in general, foods to fit our restrictions, meal plans, God’s word or essential oils I’m always involved in some kind of class, webinar or training.  Yet there’s still the everyday regular stuff to keep up with….ok, see I tend to get off track SQUIRREL —> :D  I attended a “bloggers” webinar the other day and learned about affiliate programs so I’m trying my hand at that by looking for those and signing up.  I did sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program which means when I suggest an item that I’m already using and you decide to purchase said item through the provided link then Amazon will pay me a small commission :) Do you foresee the problem I’m about to have? I uh, well, I’m computer illiterate!  I have NO IDEA how to add those links lol~  But you know me, I’ll eventually figure it out ;)

I ain’t gonna lie, I do make a lil’ money :)
As an AdvoCare Advisor I receive a 40% discount on the products I purchase/use and I make a 20% commission on everything that my Distributor’s purchase. I never got into using AdvoCare supplements to make money, I never tried to push it as a business, I just answered questions when people asked and several of them started using the products themselves and it only made sense for them to enroll and receive a discount on their products (none of my distributor’s have ever utilized the business side either)  If you would like to know about how to receive a discount of your own feel free to contact me with any questions but if you know AdvoCare is a plan that works for you then go join at http://www.chellespark.com ;)

As a doTERRA Wellness Advocate I receive a 25% discount on the products I purchase/use and there are several different ways to earn commission. Again, I started using essential oils because I could see how OTC meds affected my son’s Tourette’s and I couldn’t stand the thought of giving him allergy medications that caused his tics to worsen! I did not enroll w/ doTERRA to make money however when those around me were sick all the time and we hadn’t been to the doctor’s office in a year (after spending time there approximately every 6 weeks in prior years) they started asking me what in the world was going on :)  It only makes sense once you make the decision to take a more natural path such as with essential oils to enroll and get the discount!  I mean why would anyone ever pay retail?!  I can say that I don’t make a lot of money but I basically get my oils for FREE!  If essential oils is something you have interest in be sure to like my FB group and come join the team there and at my new and improved, amazingly awesome, beautiful, crisp website :) http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark

LOL~ I tried to attach my first link for Amazon but I have no idea HOW!! :) :) :)
By clicking the below link I will be given credit in the form of being accepted into the Amazon Affiliate Program (it’s kind of like a trial period to see if I have enough traffic to be accepted)
This link offers you an Audible Free Trial [Digital Membership] I decided this would be beneficial for those days when I need to listen while I’m up and moving about!

<a target=”_blank”href=”http://www.amazon.com/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00NB86OYE/?ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1422899139880&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=hotsparkmama-20&linkId=SRDENVWMZHTWCRSG”>Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks</a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=hotsparkmama-20&l=pf4&o=1&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=””

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Let’s talk more about breakfast~ Oh, and uh, a leaky gut

I promise you, I did not fall off the edge of the earth lol~  I’ve been attending a Diabetes Summit that’s taking up a lot of my time, then there’s the usual housekeeping, practice and ball games, making all of our “stuff”, preparing meals (for whoever is at home and on-the-go) and trying to STUDY!  Ya know life can really take a hold of ya sometimes but HEY, it’s better than the alternative right?!  NO, I do not personally have diabetes but I have a special relative that does and boy does she struggle with it on a daily basis.  She has a myriad of symptoms which seem to be turning into much larger issues (started w/ gestational diabetes, wound up having half her thyroid removed, overweight, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, chronic fatigue…i mean really the list continues to grow) and I desperately want to help her!  Having ONE autoimmune disease leaves the door open to having more autoimmune diseases and though I can’t personally prove it I think it’s all coming from what we eat!

Though the summit is geared towards the topic of Diabetes I’ve had these “AH-HA” moments regarding my son and all his issues.  No, I do not think he has Tourette’s because of diabetes hahahaha but I DO believe there’s a HUGE gut – brain connection and that his food allergies definitely affect the quantity and severity of his tics (**side bar—funny story, my lil’ princess prays for her brother every day in school and the first time she said, “Pray for my brother’s tics” of course all the lil’ kids said “Ewwwww” thinking he had lil’ bugs stuck all over him). One of the sessions was talking a lot about leaky gut.  I’m sure we’ve all heard that term by now and have an idea of what it is but Tom O’Bryan explained it in a way that caused me to shout–out loud, while alone, in an empty house–THAT’S IT! HE HAS A LEAKY GUT!  I ain’t gonna lie, it was like this huge light bulb started flashing in my head getting brighter and brighter until I just about went blind with tears because it makes sooo much sense as to WHY he has all these food allergies!  (The hard part to swallow is how to get him to understand the severity of it in a way that causes him to STOP consuming these foods!) He explained it this way (maybe not verbatim but in a nut shell), “Look at your intestines as this 25′ tube lined with shag carpet.  That shag carpet is covered in cheesecloth.  As food goes down into the tube it is being broken down by digestive enzymes into these tiny molecules that are able to pass through the cheesecloth into the carpet where it’s still getting smaller and then into the blood stream. EVERY time you eat gluten (using this example b/c of so many having gluten sensitivity) that cheesecloth tears, then it’ll repair itself, next time you eat gluten that cheesecloth tears again, then it’ll repair itself, etc. etc. repeat, etc. Eventually it will stop repairing because there’s too much damage. So the next time you eat gluten those broken down pieces aren’t getting small enough before they’re getting through the torn cheesecloth, these large molecules are being dispersed into the blood stream too early causing your body to make antibodies to gluten (or chicken, or dairy or whatever). Next you wind up with “molecular mimicry” (when your thyroid or pancreas or whatever it is that looks like those gluten molecules) and those antibodies start to attack.  They think they’re attacking the gluten molecules! Because your pancreas, thyroid or other tissue looks like the gluten molecules it’s being attacked and therefore becomes damaged. Now your tissue or organs are getting damaged and you’re getting elevated antibodies wreaking havoc and making more antibodies that are trying to rid the damaged cells but what it’s actually ridding is your once healthy organs.”  Like I said, he probably didn’t word it exactly that way but you get the jist of it ;) To make a long ah-ha moment a lil’ shorter…I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my son has LEAKY GUT!

Let me just wrap this leaky gut discussion up by stating that it is a huge reason for why people have so many food allergies!

NOWWWW….we can talk about my favorite subject :) FOOD!!! In particular BREAKFAST (aka the most important meal of the day).  You should never ever, ever never, wait did I say never because I meant EVER skip breakfast! Consuming a healthy breakfast within one hour of waking is ideal in achieving a healthy metabolism (that can be boosted by as much as 30% for the day), balanced weight, capability to focus and making better food choices for the rest of the day. You cannot establish all that by eating cereal, 2 slices of toast and a glass of apple juice! SUGAR – SUGAR – SUGAR that’s what I’m seeing :/ You’ll find that within 1-2 hours that you’re craving SUGAR (and quite possibly a massive headache) so what will you do next?  Most likely you’ll be searching for carbs…and that’s where your mindset will stay the rest of the day because lord knows you will not have any clue what’s being said on that conference call (yes, I can speak from experience lol).

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Literally!! Stay away from the boxed stuff…cereals, packaged oatmeal, nutra-grain bars! It’s even OK to consider having last night leftovers. Who doesn’t love a good steak and eggs breakfast to start the day? Make sure you include real food, good fats, vegetables and protein. Cook with coconut and olive oil. Include veggies like tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus and avocado. Include healthy proteins like turkey sausage, smoked salmon and eggs (good any time of day unless you have a diversion to them).

Leave out the JUICE! Fruit juice is just straight up sugar. We grew up on OJ or grape juice for breakfast but have you looked at the labels on the store bought brands?? Did you know that fruit juice can contain more sugar than a can of Coke — up to 12 teaspoons per glass. You’d be much better off eating an orange or bowl of grapes, that way you’re at least consuming the fiber along with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  IF you want juice—MAKE YOUR OWN! 80% vegetables and 20% fruit. Spinach is a perfect veggie to add because it has lil’ taste when mixed with fruit (kale is much stronger).  Or better yet opt for a green smoothie instead. I love smoothies you can include the fiber (skin or pith) with nothing wasted. I always include protein (protein powder, cottage cheese or greek yogurt), vegetables, chia, and fruits like berries…and when I remember I add Tbsp of coconut oil for a good fat!

Stay away from the breads!! 2 slices of whole wheat or whole grain toast will raise blood sugar levels the same as a snickers bar.  Don’t even have gluten-free toast and think you are doing yourself a favor. Most contain sugar, thickeners, stabilizers and emulsifiers to give them the same texture as the gluten based breads. Also many gluten-free products are made from corn, potato, tapioca and maize starch, starches will send your blood sugar levels UP. You’ll quickly learn that those gluten free alternatives are FULL of SUGAR!!!  IF you must have bread (because let’s face it we all JUST WANT IT sometimes) try your hand at homemade spelt or a paleo bread (made from pumpkin), it’s gluten free, high in protein and nutrient dense. Sourdough is made with a fermented dough that makes the bread easier to digest and doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in blood sugar levels (Gwens Nest has a good recipe for sourdough). The gluten in sourdough is less likely to cause food intolerance. Spelt, though still a “wheat”, is an ancient grain which has lower levels of gluten that people find easier to digest.

I for one am honestly guilty of offering my children a fruit salad with breakfast (notice I said WITH and not in place of). I know that fruits are a natural sugar BUT still sugar! Even too much of a good thing can be bad! Massive amounts of fruit still contain sugar therefore you will have spikes in your blood sugar levels and the viscous cycle of wanting more sugar will kick into high gear. When considering fruit for breakfast ALWAYS ADD A PROTEIN and no I’m not referring to that left-over steak at this point HaHa…consider making a coconut milk pudding (Grassfed Girl has delish recipe) or if you have no diversion to dairy go with a greek yogurt (less sugars than others AND has awesome protein) and add chia seeds to either of those. I always go with berries for my fruit/flavor!

Avoid EVERYTHING fried in vegetable oil! Vegetable oils are rancid oils and they turn your insides rancid as well! I make a hashbrown waffle sometimes (with peppers/onions, s/p) in coconut oil :p

There ARE healthier options for pancakes, I’ve given those to you in the past but would be happy to refresh your memory if need be :) Do not ever revert to the boxed versions…hungry jack was good, quick and easy when all I had to do was add water but it was not worth knowing the damage I was doing to my family’s health :/

This life of good health is a journey, not a destination, we’re still learning as we go here :)  I hope you feel free to chime in at any time and let us all know what you’re doing to start your health journey <3

And now for a brief commercial— Check out my NEW Essential Oils Website for amazing health tips, DIY ideas and snack recipes all containing the power of these God given 100% pure plant extracts! http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark

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Please no more negativity! Disclaimer~

Why you gotta be so rude?
Don’t you know I’m human too?
Why you gotta be so rude?

I do not listen to country music as a norm but sometimes when out and about there’s no way around hearing the music that blares over the speakers (which btw seems to have gotten much louder over the years).  Maybe that’s not even a country song haha IDK but those three lines play through my head often.

There has been a lot of negative comments on this lil’ blog lately and I wanted to let you know that even though I’ve always tried to respond kindly and Christ like to each and every one…THIS IS MY BLOG! I don’t have to :D  If you don’t like what I have to say then honey you ain’t gotta read it (y) easy as that! If you don’t like AdvoCare, don’t use it but don’t feel the need to share your Negative Ned and Nelly opinions about it on a post where I mention I love it.  If you think essential oils are a scam then by all means continue to use your synthetic medications with multiple side effects. If you use a brand other than doTERRA then that’s your prerogative I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise.  I have an online eBay store and I have never not once left negative feedback not because people haven’t deserved it, but because maybe that person was just having a bad week, maybe they honestly forgot about the item or maybe they really are trying to pull one over on me…but if they have an otherwise good score I tend to just “let it go”.  Even though there are extremely rude people out there who blame you for things completely out of your control and can ruin your 100% feedback score with one negative comment, I go with the philosophy of treating others as I would have them to treat me, not as they do :)

I’m not a confrontational person, I hate feeling on the defensive end of a conversation and I try to love everybody—but quite frankly life is too short to feel I’m spending it defending my beliefs over this and that.

I started this blog for some out of town friends that were not on Facebook at the time that I started AdvoCare (2 1/2 yrs ago). They wanted to know all about what I was using to lose weight and how I was working to get healthy. They wanted to see what I was eating and how I looked from beginning to end.  I never in a hundred years thought I would have two or two hundred hits a day.  It turned into a way for me to not just share my evolving through nutrition but a way for me to sometimes vent or talk about my new love of Zumba, exciting discovery of different foods or my thoughts on essential oils.  I talk about my family, our struggles and our belief in Christ.  I never asked anyone to read it as gospel.  A lot of it is based on my opinions and experiences. Again, if that bores you or annoys you then nobody is forcing you to read it!  I try to encourage, uplift, laugh and educate on what lil’ I know.

I have gone through and removed all negative rants and will no longer “approve” anything and everything to be left “as is” when someone feels the need to run me over…

I trust in The Lord! Jesus Christ is my Saviour! I believe in the trinity!
I still use several AdvoCare products and support it with passion but I do not consider it to be an all-natural product.  I LOVE Spark but I take issue with the sweetener of choice being Sucralose as this is an artificial sweetener (which is why I stopped allowing my children to drink it) but when you come from drinking 6 diet cokes a day to just 1/2-1 scoop of Spark it’s the “what’s worser of two evils” situation.  I believe AdvoCare is a phenominal stepping stone for an unhealthy and/or over-weight individual that’s looking for a great plan to help them jump-start.
I support a clean diet as the best way to get all the nutrition you need however with all the GMO products and out-of-season fruits and vegetables that’s not always easy and this is why we supplement ;)
I believe that essential oils were a tool given to us by God almighty dating all the way back to the Garden of Eden (he put Adam and Eve there to be self-sustaining on all the plants, trees and animals for whatever their needs).  There are over 1000 direct and indirect references to these oils in the Bible. I chose them as the most natural way to treat my family’s every day issues and have had great success with supporting chronic issues.

*Good nutrition is a process!  If you have spent the last 40 years eating processed, sugary foods and drinking sodas there’s NO WAY you can just change everything over night. This family has transitioned a LOT over the last 2 years (especially the last 10-12 months dealing w/ known food allergies) and we will continue to do so from here on out I’m sure. Always learning!

You have to pick and choose your own battles and do what’s best for your family.  I’m not telling you what to do! I’m telling you what we do <3

**DISCLAIMER – The products and statements made about specific products on hotsparkmama have not been evaluated by the US FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.  All information provided here unto is for informational purposes only based on known and/or personal experiences. It is not intended to substitute for advice from your healthcare provider.

The information and research stated here has been of my own accord through countless hours spent in training, nutritional classes, biblical health coaching and information gleaned from various books and other sources.  All research and information was gathered independently of Charity Baptist Church, AdvoCare and doTERRA International and is for informational purposes only.  I am NOT a Nutritionist, Dietitian or bible scholar, I am simply a MOM trying to teach my children to serve a mighty sovereign God, take care of their bodies NOW so they won’t have to worry later and that there are alternative options in doing so.  I am a certified FNS (Fitness Nutrition Specialist) using essential oils while studying to become a Biblical Health Coach.

I ain’t gonna lie–love me or hate it, it’s your choice, I am not going to lose sleep because you choose the latter~

On THAT note….if you have interest in AdvoCare visit http://www.chellespark.com and if you’re curious about essential oils visit http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark and as always I’m happy to help with any questions you might have <3

meandhoney

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Do you eat breakfast? YOU SHOULD!

What are your thoughts on breakfast? You do know it’s the most important meal of the day right? It’s the meal that can make or break you! It will set the tone for your day. Eating protein within an hour of waking will boost your metabolism by 30% for the day!

I’ve heard all the excuses…I don’t like to eat early (so have a shake), I’m never hungry before noon (so you like being at an unhealthy weight) and here’s the biggest…I don’t have time :/  I’m the busiest “unemployed” person I know and I eat every 3 hours. It’s just takes a lil’ planning (there’s that word again haha)

Plan ahead—plan your breakfast the night before, pick out the dish, set out the ingredients (or put together in the fridge) OR even put the dish together. You can actually COOK it tonight and warm it in the morning :)
Better yet, throw everything in a crock pot and eat it fresh and hot WooHoo~

Slow Cooker Bacon, Egg & Hashbrown Casserole
20 ounce bag frozen, shredded hash browns (I shred my own)
8 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (optional but Mmmm good)
6 green onions, sliced thin
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cooking oil (to lightly coat slow cooker)

Directions
Lightly grease your slow cooker with cooking oil. Layer half of the hash browns into the bottom and top with half the bacon, half the cheese, and one-third of the green onions. Set aside some bacon and green onion for garnish and then repeat with a second layer of hash brown, bacon, cheese and onion.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper and slowly pour over top. Cook until eggs are set, approximately 2-3 hours on high, or 4-5 hours on low. Sprinkle remaining bacon and onions on top and serve immediately

Nutrition Information
Serves: 8 | Serving Size: approx. 6 ounces (approx. 1 cup)
Per serving: Carbohydrate: 14g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 2g; Protein 21g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 472mg; Iron: 12%; Vitamin A: 21%; Vitamin C: 14%; Calcium: 27%

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal
1 cup Steel-Cut Oats (I’ve used regular oats but they get smooshy)
4 cups unsweetened Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
2 medium Apples, chopped
1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 tablespoon Maple Syrup
Splash of Lemon Juice

Optional Toppings
Peanut Butter
Freshly chopped apples

Directions
Add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Stir. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Give it a good stir. Top with your favorite toppings. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 1 week. To reheat add a splash of milk and heat up in microwave.

Nutrition Information
Serves: 5 | Serving Size: 1 cup
Per serving: Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 11g; Protein 5g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 109mg; Iron: 8%; Vitamin A: 9%; Vitamin C: 6%; Calcium: 40%

PS: YES, these are AdvoCare friendly (depending on what stage you’re in…remember NO DAIRY for the cleanse so omit cheeses)

SO…NO MORE EXCUSES <3
EAT and BE HEALTHY!

I ain’t gonna lie, these breakfast ideas are not my creation! LOL I guess the nutrition info was a dead give-away on that one ;) Find these and more at myfitnesspal.com or visit my best friend Pinterest for plethora of ideas!!

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My journey into essential oils

My journey into essential oils started January, 2014. I was tired of my lil’ princess being sick (what seemed) ALL THE TIME…I mean, literally we were in the doctor’s office every 4-6 weeks; not to mention she’d been to the pediatric department emergency room FOUR times! BUT, that’s not even HOW I came across the oils. My son has Tourette’s and after learning about nutrition and how to help him through removing foods he’s allergic to and implementing a cleaner diet (as well as supplements) I knew there was more to it. I always knew it but studying about his condition, I realized it could be so much worse than it is. The answer to Tourette’s is typically anti-psychotic medications. THIS was not an option for us! I refused to have my son’s brain altered through drugs that were going to cause him troubles with sleep and basically alter his personality. Due to his “focus” problems in school his dad has been pushing ADHD medication for years (and may I interject he has NEVER been diagnosed w/ this co-morbid), this medication would not only cause a plethora of issues I will not begin to address at this point but they would cause his tics to worsen! I discovered through research that the OTC pain and allergy medications were making them worse so I was not about to introduce Ritalin or Haldol to his system. “Essential oils” kept coming across my screen…but what are these essential oils? Where do they come from? What are they? What do they do?

Now, let me back up a bit to share…I had heard of “essential oils” though I was unsure of what they were. I didn’t know a soul familiar with them, I had nobody “pushing’ or “helping” me to make the decision to go with this company or that brand. I did my own research on my own time without any guidance. I chose to go w/ doTERRA because I feel them to have the purest quality, I appreciate the integrity of the founders’ values, I like that they harvest these oils from their indigenous areas and I love, love the education they offer. doTERRA is latin for “gift of the earth” and they “give back”! doTERRA doesn’t just “pay” their farmers, it’s not always monetarily, they HELP these farmers. Just recently a group of doTERRA “tourists” went to Jamaica to plant GINGER! How many of you have ever thought of going to a “foreign land” to HELP OUT…like a mission trip?

Essential Oils are pure plant botanicals extracted from every useful part of a plant, tree or flower (bark, seeds, rinds, leaves and roots). They are volatile aromatic compounds, tiny organic molecules w/ protective, reproductive and regenerative purposes to help heal infection. They are highly concentrated, approximately 50-70% more potent than the plant/herb. But I call them nature’s first medicine. I’m not going to give you a bible lesson but when asked what’s so special about essential oils I have to start w/ the fact that God intended plants to become our medicine when we need healing. They are God breathed therefore contain power from his actual words—created w/ his voice! Essential oils are divinely ordained as medicine for God’s children and are meant to be used w/ his guidance accompanied w/ prayer :)

Obviously there are drugs that can and do save lives and I am grateful we have them available. But I felt like I was becoming too reliant on them. I don’t know about you, but I hated that feeling of being stuck and having no choice but to drag my kids to the doctor for every little sniffle because I couldn’t help them at home. In recent years we have learned that pharmaceuticals are not necessarily the best first line of defense for a healthy lifestyle. There is still a place for medications but if I have a choice between a natural or a synthetic, I’d rather stick with the natural line of defense. Furthermore, chemicals are pervasive in our current modern way of life and this has negative consequences on the lives of our children. We are now seeing that in order to lead a healthy life we need to reduce the chemical footprint on our families. This is why essential oils have resurfaced and are becoming a key addition to a healthy lifestyle…they are a step back to a natural way of life and reducing some of the chemicals we are bombarded with each and every day.

WAIT…I have a huge announcement to make…I AM NOT A DOCTOR! I have NO medical education. Everything I know, I learned on my own studies, or having my own experiences. I’ve taken some nutrition classes, every essential oils class available and have a library of books at my disposal but I am first of all just a mom trying keep my family in good health as naturally as possible. YES, I’m of the understanding that you can find information to support everything you believe in….and I believe in doTERRA’s essential oils! I spent numerous hours researching every aspect of essential oils before taking the plunge into purchasing a “kit”. I looked at the background of the “big” names, taking time to read up on the founders of those companies and learned where and how the oils were sourced!

When doTERRA’s seven founders started up the company they each put up their own properties/assets up as collateral and they agreed they wouldn’t receive an income until the company was self-sufficient (they went 13 months w/ no income, to me that’s integrity!). They opted to NOT allow outside investors which would compromise the product because investors would be more concerned about the almighty dollar than about the quality of the product. Rather than owning all the farms growing these plants doTERRA “helps” already established farmers growing them in their indigenous countries also making them more beneficial than say Lavender grown in NC. And they are harvested at the optimal time of year. (Frankincense/Oman, Lemongrass/India, Ginger/Jamaica, Hawaiin Sandalwood/Hawaii, Vetiver/Haiti, etc..) This is called co-impact sourcing… Growers in foreign lands are often unorganized with limited access to information and layers of “middle men”, limited resources and capacity, harvesting immature plants out of season with little incentive to produce higher quality but then doTERRA sees the potential of these lands! “They” step in with teaching, training, capacity building and coordinated services helping them become organized in cooperatives. It helps improve growing and harvesting practices to achieve optimal oil yield and ensure sustainability. doTERRA has a “Healing Hands” foundation which funds projects to benefit grower communities for improved overall livelihoods. THIS was the company I wanted to be a part of!

I will say, I believe that a nutrient dense diet is THE BEST thing for my family’s overall health (and yours too). As for the effectiveness of the oils, I personally don’t think essential oils should ever take the place of a good diet, but I think well-made oils from a reputable source can help aid the body in recovery and promote better health. I’ve learned ways they can be used in combination with the right diet to help treat acute conditions like headache, rash, respiratory issues, a virus, or a bacterial infection and I’ve also seen in certain cases, how they can benefit people with more chronic conditions like autoimmune diseases, diabetes or cancer.

As far as other oil companies go…I ain’t gonna lie, my mama always told me if ya can’t say somethin’ nice then don’t say nut’n at all~ Do the research! Make your own decisions! But if you’re ready to join my doTERRA team go to http://www.mydoterra.com/chellespark and sign up as a Wellness Advocate to receive the deepest discounts (25% off retail). Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have before getting started ;)

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Just another snow day

Being prepared for snow is one thing but not even knowing that the snow is coming can find one in a tough situation! One good thing about the fact that we MAKE everything there’s no worry when we wake to ½” of snow, still heavily falling on top of what we already had leftover from last week…if we run out of milk, bread or deodorant we just make more :)

I’m an early riser! I love getting up before the neighborhood dogs decide to roll over. It affords me some much needed alone time to spend w/ the Lord and to ponder what changes to make in my daily schedule (not necessarily the greatest of plan haha too much thinking time can overload my day). I get breakfast cooked and on the table (complete w/ supplements) and lunches packed before waking the children. Typically we know when there’s the slightest hint of snow in the area…with empty bread shelves and scarce milk supply but not this time! No hint! I knew it would be cold (low 18) but never heard a word of ANY precipitation! Therefore the thought of looking out the window when it started getting light out never occurred to me this morning…UNTIL I had to wake the children and my son finally came out of his room (fully dressed) saying, “The radio said schools are closed and delayed.” to which I responded “I don’t know why they would be”…THEN I looked out to see that EVERYTHING was completely covered in a blanket of snow. Now it’s gorgeous don’t get me wrong…especially when the big flakes fall and flurry all around but I was ill-prepared for a “snow-day” (aka NO SCHOOL). I had a funeral to attend, a lunch meeting and my regular week Costco shopping with the possibility of a date night w/ my honey tonight. The idea of missing out on some alone time w/ my honey was rather disheartening but having the kids at home with snow meant TOGETHERNESS even though they’d want to be outside (my son even OFFERED to shovel the driveway before 800am) and I don’t fret about missing out on grocery shopping…there’s NOTHING we absolutely have to have!

I was able to catch up on replenishing necessities such as…. homemade sugar-free syrup, homemade gluten-free/sugar-free vanilla, deodorant, hand sanitizer, son made his (peppermint) body wash, lil princess made her (lemon) foaming hand soap, and I even tried something new “Fridge Refreshers”.

Do you remember growing up and always having a box of baking soda in the fridge? I always wondered what that was about…ya didn’t use it for anything, ya just kept it tucked away in the back. When I got married and had a home of my own at 19, I too had an opened box of baking soda in the back—even though I had no idea why lol~ Well, now I know it was to soak up any funky smells that we are all bound to wind up w/ at some time whether it’s from an opened to-go box with leftovers, rotten broccoli or spoiled milk. Finding a slightly “off” odor this morning seemed like a good time to try it out because I no longer like having that orange box in my fridge ;)

All of the above took less than an hour out of my morning and will last me a good month, then we all sat—together—watching a movie (Soul Surfer which happens to be lil’ bits favorite, she says “because it’s a Christian movie and they talk about my Jesus”) <3

What do you do when YOU run out of “staples” on a snow-day? Do you wrap up and venture out to Walmart with all the crazies (that cringe at just the sight of flakes) and take a chance on slipping into a ditch with your babies in tow…OR do you make what you need and just “go w/ the flow”? I have learned to love making everything from scratch at home, I find such accomplishment in naturally taking care of my family and dare I say pride in knowing I’m doing them good removing chemicals and toxins from our home that are found in everyday products. I ain’t gonna lie, I especially LOVE when my children come to me and say, “Mom, I need ‘this’, can I help you make it?”

For ideas on making your own products with essential oils visit

Want to know where to purchase your own essential oils?

Do you realize how easy it is to make your own dairy-free milk? There are several options but if you’re new to making everything the easiest (cheat) way to make almond milk is take 3-4 Tbsp of almond butter, add it to 4 cups distilled water and blend in good (high-powered preferably) mixer. I use this for cooking! If you want to drink it, add vanilla and/or 1-2 dates to sweeten :P
And cashew milk being the newest version of DF on the market? Yep, that’s easy too! Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in water for FOUR hours. Drain and rinse. Add 4 cups distilled water with your soaked cashews and blend to creamy perfection (no straining needed..thank you to Sherry @ thishouseofjoy.com for teaching me that one). I’ve discovered cashews are wonderful for making dairy free “sour cream” and “heavy cream”…who knew?

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