Support for health & wellness

Vios ~ Plant Based Nutrition Review

There’s a new kid in town….
Vios Nutrition! Vios is Greek for LIFE ❤

I’m always looking to better my health and the health of my family so when I hear “Plant-based nutrition” (though we do eat meat) it always peeks my interest.  And then I hear the word “convenience”…well heck yeah, count me in (y)

THEN the real kicker—- “All Víos products contain quality certified organic ingredients, are gluten-free, non GMO and 100% vegan. There are no preservatives, nothing artificial, no fillers and no sugar added. Pure quality ingredients… the way nature intended.” so y’all know I was gonna check that out!

Vios Nutrition is a new, LOCAL (to me, NC) company and if I recall correctly they were just established in April, 2016 and reached $1 million in sales within their first year!!  WOW!

Víos currently only offers 2 products, PHYTE and Matrix.  With all the key words I look for in nutrition products I ordered “samples” of these products and anxiously awaited their arrival.

PHYTE is a phytonutrition greens supplement that contains a powerful proprietary blend of cereal grasses, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa leaves, and other greens. This unique combination of greens provides essential vitamins, minerals and proteins, and promotes overall good health. PHYTE is rich in chlorophyll, which is vital for the synthesis and function of healthy oxygen-rich blood, boosting stamina and endurance. PHYTE also contains essential enzymes and fiber that aid in digestion and help maintain healthy pH balance.

It’s a concentrated super, whole food, grown without pesticides and harvested at the plants’ peak nutritional level.  There’s no added yeast, sugar, salt, egg, fats, flavors, gluten, dairy or preservatives making it a perfect fit for my family’s dietary needs (no beef, corn, dairy, eggs, gluten, sugar, wheat or yeast).

MATRIX is a complete, plant-based meal replacement shake with a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, natural vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, branched chain amino acids pre and probiotics, and high quality fiber. Matrix is whey-free, with no added sugar, salt, synthetic vitamins or minerals, fillers or preservatives. It is also dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and is USDA Certified Organic.

Matrix’s protein blend promotes muscle strengthening and conditioning; its fiber and carb blend helps boost stamina, energy and endurance; pre- and probiotics promote digestive health and support the body’s immune system; and its revolutionary adaptogen mix helps the body’s resistance to stress, anxiety and fatigue. Matrix is only 140 calories and contains 21 grams of protein.

Ingredients list is long but ALL REAL INGREDIENTS!! The protein comes from a blend of pea powder, millet powder, quinoa powder and pumpkin seed powder.  The adaptogen (herbs) blend consists of ashwagandha root, maca root and schizandra berry (uh yea, I had to look that one up too, it’s a real thing) powders.  Fiber in the mix is from golden flax seed, apple pectin, psyllium and aloe vera herb powders.  Then there’s a list of pre & probiotics as well as enzymes but those are some words that you won’t understand unless you already know what they are so I’m not gonna go into listing them 😉  Matrix also offers extracts of  vanilla, luo han guo, licorice and stevia.  Again, this product contains NO added yeast, sugars, salt, egg, dairy, synthetic vitamins or minerals, fillers or preservatives.

In the days leading up to arrival, I took a look at the owners and staff, and the business opportunity in the form of investment options.  Just think, what if YOU had gotten in on the bottom level of Facebook or Whole Foods, where would you be today?  I don’t have a plethora of cash laying around and there are lots of opportunity to spend what little there is on much needed repairs to our house but I started thinking…. “I’ve tried a lot of “vegan” proteins that leave a LOT to be desired, IF the Matrix was something I and my children could drink and would actually enjoy then there’s other people who are going to get excited about this product.  I mean look at our booming health food industry and the circle of “alternative options” is getting bigger, people are becoming more interested in “organic” products and wanting a “better way”…what if this is it?  What if I could take this high risk opportunity in a new company and it got BIG? What if my minimal investment actually paid off?”  I’ve never considered myself a dreamer and I’ve never (EVA) been a risk taker but my mind has been spinning with excitement, anticipation and what if’s!

THEN IT CAME!! My products arrived and I joyfully….sat them aside!  What was I waiting for?  I’d done all the research, I knew the products were good for me, all the anxious, giddy, excitement I had waiting (& studying) for them to get here and then I was afraid lol (yep that’s me, crazy like a fox).  BUT TODAY I BIT THE BULLET, I DID IT!

The PHYTE is your typical “greens” type powder, a dark, rich green that smells like…well, honestly, smells like grass haha (what else would you expect).  It contains barley grass, wheat grass, alphalfa leaf, sprouted barley, spirulina, chlorella, spinach leaf, nettle leaf and dandelion leaf with apple pectin, brown rice bran, beet juice powder and licorice root.  I have NEVER had a greens powder that I could drink in plain water so I did NOT attempt to do so this time either (though I may try it again just to see).  I added 1 c coconut water, 1 organic apple and juice of a 1/4 lemon with the greens pack and got it down with no problem!  Now, I ain’t gonna lie, I wasn’t as excited at the idea of trying the Phyte as I was the Matrix….I mean greens is greens am I right?  It looked rather disgusting but truly it didn’t taste bad at all.  I noticed almost immediately that I “felt” good, I felt healthy, I felt like I had gotten adequate “green” into my dietary which offered me a boost of “energy”.  I noticed I was being silly with my little, not my usual sarcasm but unbeknownst to me silly on her 9yo level haha.  Only downfall was that just including 2g protein I was still hungry.

Approximately 30-45 minutes later upon opening the Matrix I thought if it tastes half as good as it smells we have definitely picked a winner here.  Other vegan proteins I’ve had no matter what I added I couldn’t make it taste good enough to finish (bleeeeck) but I actually tasted this one just mixed with plain, unsweetened almond milk and it was “ok”, I mean I could’ve gotten it down and probably even finished it but wouldn’t have “enjoyed it”.  Like I said, OK, it had some what of a “dirt” taste BUTTTT once I added 6 cubes of ice and JUST a tsp of natural peanut butter….OHHH MYYY WORD!  I loved it!  Literally, it smelled like birthday cake (now my Dr. Axe whey protein smells like birthday cake and I love the taste but my son can’t have it because of the dairy), it didn’t have the “vanilla” taste I expected and there was no nasty aftertaste.  As a matter of fact the aftertaste was somewhat of a “sweetness” in my mouth 😀  Not only was it satisfying to my tastebuds but it was also pleasingly satiety (I never can use that word right)satisfying.  Didn’t make me feel FULL but satisfied…like I could’ve added another ounce or two with a tad more peanut butter and woulda been too much but just several more swigs woulda been good.

And added bonus which some will consider a TMI (but if you’ve stuck w/ me for long you know I’m all about sharing too much information haha) but within 30 mins (heck maybe less, because if was BEFORE this paragraph) I had my second BM today 🙂  (If y’all know my story, I used to go WEEKS and not have one but once I started watching what I ate and supplemented correctly I’m regular…but not regular like a “healthy body” should be.  Every time you eat, you should poop!  I’m typically 1-2x/day but it’s just now noon time and I’ve been 2x so whoop whoop)

I could’ve added the PHYTE and the MATRIX together rather than having two separate drinks but I wanted to be sure I tasted them individually

Bottom line, I will order MORE!
Not sure yet about the investment but it’s now something I’ve become MORE interested in since trying the products.  Just have to figure that out pretty quickly as that option is only available 6 more days (yikes)

OH…one more thing about the company…
“A key aspect of living The Víos Life is to help improve the communities where we live and serve, and to assist those who are less fortunate in the developing world. We are proud to partner with Hydrating Humanity, a faith-based non-profit humanitarian organization providing clean, safe water, hygiene training and hope for people in developing nations.

Each year, inadequate access to safe drinking water and improper sanitation cause an estimated 1.9 million deaths in developing countries, mostly among young children. Hydrating Humanity’s core purpose is to help connect resources to needs in developing nations throughout the world. It does this by first recognizing the strengths a particular community has, then partnering with that community to empower the people for a change, at a local level, that is sustainable long after Hydrating Humanity has left.

Víos is committed to supporting Hydrating Humanity’s critical mission. Each time a Brand Partner joins the Víos revolution, we provide six months of clean drinking water and hygiene training to a person in a developing nation, helping the organization to spread hope throughout the world.”

I ❤ ❤ ❤ working with a company that GIVES BACK!!


*Disclaimer – This review was written by hotsparkmama with no outside influence or any compensation from this company or their representatives.  I tried a new product that I enjoyed and wanted to share with others.  I will however, be looking into the investment opportunity with this new company, Vios Nutrition.

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Day 24 and Beauty & The Beast

IT…IS…amazing what a good night’s sleep will do
It’s also…

Amazing what praising can do—HALLELUJAH!
I don’t worry when things go wrong
Jesus fills my life with a song…

✟ Matthew 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them

I know what it’s like, I’ve been there, to feel like you can’t pray, to feel burdens so heavy that it takes everything you have to put one foot in front of the other.  Carrying such a heavy load that you don’t feel God is listening, that you begin to doubt your salvation.  These are the times that you lean on your Christian family the most, the times you let them help you carry that heaviness, the time you need them to pray for you, on your behalf.  Encourage others around you in this situation.  It’s a tough place!  Go before the throne room and plead with God to bless them and lighten their load.  Today I find myself burdened for one of “those” friends, I’m heartbroken for their needs, teary for their hurts.  Their journey is hard, the road is long but God will carry them through.  We must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain.  Though we may be empty but God is full and His grace is sufficient for His children.  Let’s be the “two or three” that gather ❤

I got up this morning thinking “I’d like to make some cinnamon bread for my family and then tomorrow I’ll use that to make them (eggless) french toast” :p  Started mixing and then it hit me…. I WANT BE HOME TODAY!!  I got the bread in the oven but we won’t be having it today :/  Realizing the bread won’t be ready for breakfast today and the fact I can’t really rely on DH to take it out of the oven I decided to also make some Paleo Strawberry Breakfast Cookies which I already know my family loves ❤ ❤ (I however will be having an FP shake due to all of yesterday S’s that have left me feeling “thick” this morning)

What I ate today:
Spark/Catalyst/Thermo/MNS 16 oz
(8 oz)
FP/Chia tapioca shake
(16 oz)
S/2 scrambled eggs & strawberries 20 oz
E/Popcorn 16 oz
Spark 16 oz
S/Strawberry cookie & almond butter bar (I cut these into maybe 2” squares) 16 oz
E/Overnight oats (which I’d forgotten I had) and asparagus (haha) 16 oz

I woke up feel so much better today, dare I say “fantastic” but that seemed to be short lived.  I haven’t felt great since that horrendous knock in the head the other night.  I had a “spell” while driving today but luckily I was sitting in “stop’n go” traffic (Praise the Lord, God is so good).  Had I been MOVING there would have been disaster.  Met up w/ my cousin for our mom’s day out together (we do this maybe once a month), today we went to see Beauty and The Beast.  Can I just say I had some hesitancy with taking my little when it first came out.  It was all the hype I was hearing about a homosexual couple kissing and the “obvious” love of a man for another….yes, it had me concerned.  Hey listen, I don’t judge people for how they live but I ain’t bringing it into my home ya know?

Oh my soul the Cinematography of this movie (I hope I’m using that word correctly….had it been a cartoon I would’ve said the animation…) was completely amazing!  The actors chosen for each part, in my opinion were spot on (except for one)!  Emma Watson as Belle?  Oh well, I believe she may now be my favorite actress! I LOVED IT!

The original, animated version is still one of my favorite Disney movies (but ya’ll, even in that one the “three bar ladies” were “scantly clad” and Gaston was showing a hairy chest…no hairy chest in this one.  I must admit, I was NOT crazy about the fella who played Gaston as I expected it to be a much physically larger man).  And the homosexuality?  The kiss?  I NEVER SAW A MAN KISS!  Yes, Le Fleur had an obvious man crush on Gaston but it wasn’t like he was all over him…kids wouldn’t pick up on it.  When the wardrobe dresses three men as women, two scream and run away while the third turns to smile, well if I’m not mistaken that was in the original animated one as well (I plan to rewatch it to see) and at the end Le Fleur and that man do have a dance (quickly seen as they bump into each other and make eye contact).  Bottom line, I give Disney a thumbs up on this one and I will be taking my little to see it 🙂

I’m sorry I haven’t had much nutrition talk lately, I’ve got so much going on trying to maintain all my facebook groups, hotsparkmama, my schooling,  ebay, the kids’ ball schedules and still keep a happy home ❤  I ain’t gonna lie, this life ain’t for the faint of heart, I love every minute of it but I am TOO BUSY!  Therefore, I will be taking a short break from here (not exactly sure how long).  There are some Advo changes being made and I have to determine what I can and can’t share here (which means there may be quite a bit of editing and/or removal of a LOT of posts).  AND I have a friend who wrote an amazing book about motherhood that I need (AND WANT) to finish in order to write a review 🙂



**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 Essential Oils 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), Weight Loss Specialist, with a diploma in Personal Nutrition using essential oils while studying to become a Biblical Health Coach and receiving my diploma in Advanced Nutrition (whew, that was a mouthful) ❤ .

**I am an Independent Distributor of AdvoCare nutritional supplements and when purchasing through my website I will receive a commission.  I’d love to talk to you about how you can save 20-40% off retail prices 🙂   **I am an Independent Distributor of essential oils and when purchasing through my website I will receive a commission.  I’d love to be your guide through the journey of good health, let me tell you how to save 25% on all your essential oil purchases ❤


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Honey–the kind ya eat not the one you live with

I have always known that honey is good for us!  I don’t mean the kind ya buy in the plastic bear containers but the REAL (raw, pure, natural) kind!  Everybody knows what honey IS right?  A sweet, sticky, yellowish-brown thick liquid made by bees from nectar collected from flowers.  Yes, it’s also an excellent example of something or term of endearment, but for this post let’s talk about the sticky sweet kind not the one that melts my heart 😀

My pastor even had a sermon on HONEY several years ago while doing a study on nutrition.  There are actually 61 direct references to honey in the bible with the first time being in the very beginning where it’s considered “the best”, an honored gift.
Genesis 43:11  And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

In Judges the question is asked “…What is sweeter than honey?”
To me that says USE HONEY AS A SWEETENER!  In fact, until sugar became widely available in the sixteenth century, honey was the world’s principal sweetener!

In bible days honey was a symbol of good health!  1 Samuel 14:27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

Proverbs tell us it is good— 24:13 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

In Matthew, John the Baptist SURVIVED on honey, that tells me it’s a great staple for every home! Matt 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.  NOW, I’m not telling you to go eat bugs but it wouldn’t hurt ya 😉

Used as an alternative to sugar, honey is a sweet, dense, flavorful food that can vary widely in taste and color, depending on what the bees are eating. Most grocers sell it, since it is a very popular food around the world but please be sure the ONLY ingredient is HONEY.

We have this little hole in the wall restaurant near by that’s been around for as long as I can remember and they have FAMILY STYLE DINING.  You do not order from a menu they just bring you a little bit of everything being cooked that night and you can get all the refills you can eat.  We don’t do bread in our home but they had these huge “cathead” biscuits that were buttery golden and crunchy around the edges…calling my name!  I asked did they have honey…they brought me the plastic bear and first thing I noticed was the bear’s “sign” said “Natural syrup flavored with honey”. Hmmmm… I flipped it over and do you know what the #1 ingredient was?? HFCS!  That’s high fructose corn syrup for those wondering what it stands for.

We’re all familiar with it but do you know what it is?  a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose (wide-eyes HUH?).  As a sweetener it’s chemically compared to granular table sugar but manufacturally it’s is easier to handle and more cost-effective therefore its in just about everything!  It has been suggested that this sweetener should be a concern in the overwhelming epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our society.  Bottom line, IT’S NOT NATURAL and causes major metabolic disorders!  Even when used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, and tooth decay!

But I digress….
#2 ingredient was CORN SYRUP!
Hey, wait a minute….we’re talking about the little bear HONEY right?

#3 ingredient was HONEY (being the last ingredient meaning it contains less of this than the first two ingredients) fake honey

When making the decision for my family to remove added sugars from our diet, I decided that honey would remain in our diets for so many reasons!!

Y’all know I love THM (Trim Healthy Mama) and honey isn’t an approved sweetener…I take a little issue with this BUT as I’ve said so many times before we need to figure out what works best for our own bodies/families and not remove or add food groups because it worked for someone else (y)

Most of the honey consumed today is highly processed honey that’s been heated and filtered since it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey does not get robbed of its incredible nutritional value and health powers. It can help with everything from low energy to sleep problems to seasonal allergies. Switching to raw honey may even help weight-loss efforts when compared to diets containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

I believe honey CAN be good for weight management!
A San Diego State University study found that replacing sugar with honey can actually help prevent packing on extra pounds and also lower blood sugar.  Another study from the University of Wyoming found that raw honey can activate hormones that suppress the appetite.  Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia (whoop whoop bonus that’s good for diabetics)

I find when adding honey to my breakfast it offers an early boost of energy.
It provides an easily absorbed supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, making it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre- and post-exercise energy source. 

I’m sure you’ve heard it said before that “local” honey can alleviate allergy symptoms.
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to ward off infections, provide natural allergy relief and boost overall immunity.  The bees in your neighborhood go from flower to flower collecting pollen that causes you to suffer, but when a you consume local raw honey, you also consume that same offending local pollen. After some time, an allergy sufferer may become less sensitive to this pollen that previously caused problems and experience less seasonal allergy symptoms

I know so many people who are looking for a perfect antioxidant in supplement form but I suggest using honey.
Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help block free radicals in the body that cause disease. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against any number of debilitating diseases. Honey contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

We use honey (specifically Manuka) on skin issues that we can’t seem to clear up any other way. With all it’s antibacterial benefits why would you NOT use honey as a skin healing tool?

If my children complain of a scratchy throat the first thing I reach for is the honey (and I always add a drop of Lemon essential oil for “cleansing”) for soothing.  And I know you’ve seen OTC cough syrups “with honey”, you don’t need that, scientific evidence shows that a single dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs.

Looking for a natural way to clean your face or help your acne riddled teen?  Make a face wash with honey.  Yes, it’s sticky but once wiped clean your face will feel so soft and smooth.  It makes a great exfoliator! Use honey on dry winter skin by adding two cups of honey to a bath, soak for 15 minutes, then add one cup of baking soda for the final 15 minutes (I ain’t gonna lie, this one can be pricey so only recommend this one if you truly have a NEED).

Raw honey has been known to promote restorative sleep by increasing melatonin.
Has anti-inflammatory agents that can treat respiratory conditions such as asthma.
It can help improve urinary tract infections due to its antibacterial properties.
Raw honey is full of natural prebiotics which promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestine.

I mean really y’all, the list is seriously endless, do some research on the plethora of benefits this God given tool offers ❤

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First day of Spring! How’s your suffering?

Do you know what today is??? It’s the FIRST DAY OF SPRING!
Y’all, I ain’t gonna lie, I was really hoping for one more snow

With Spring comes the warmer temps, beautiful color-filled days from fresh blooms, the sounds of nature and if ya haven’t already experienced it, THE RUNNY OR STUFFY NOSE!

For 1 of every 5 people, Spring time isn’t such a pleasant change. Seasonal discomfort ranks #5 on the list of US chronic diseases! Would you like to guess the annual cost of allergies to the health care system and businesses in the U.S.? (Hope you’re sitting down for this one) It’s $7.9 billion!! Allergic conditions are the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S. 

It makes me sad that something to “simple” could be so traumatic for so many, especially our little ones!

If you or your littles suffer with seasonal symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, scratchy throat and/or cough I wanna tell you THERE’S HOPE!!!

There’s an oil for that
Actually there’s a blend of oils that I can recommend to help relieve your symptoms

Three out of four in my family were once taking OTC medications daily to help alleviate such symptoms yet not one of us has had to resort back to those since implementing essential oils! And there’s a bonus to replacing those medications with essential oils—NO SIDE EFFECTS!

Y’all that little pill I took every morning had me passing out on the couch as soon as I arrived home from work….WHO WAS WATCHING THE CHILDREN?  Then I started taking it in the evenings, yeah I slept great but whatta “hangover” I felt in the mornings. And my children were taking the same thing!  What kind of side effects were they experiencing at school that I was unaware of?  Makes me cringe to think about it now :*(

What do we use now?
Obviously you know we use Essential Oils 😀

My little takes TRIEASE:
TriEase® Softgels were developed to protect against seasonal and environmental elements and to promote a healthy respiratory system when needed most.* Each softgel contains equal parts of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils, known for their ability to maintain clear breathing and a healthy immune response when combined together
• Lemon Peel: cleansing to the body’s systems and frequently used for respiratory discomfort*
• Lavender Flower: renowned for its calming and balancing effects*
• Peppermint Plant: promotes clear breathing and healthy respiratory function*

The softgels are easier for my little one to take than the veggie caps I use for adding my own oils to for the enthusiasts and myself.  I find he and I suffer more severe symptoms (all of the above mentioned) and adding the Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint and the addition of our Protective Blend into the mix (in veggie caps) offer faster, longer lasting relief.

I also add this mix (equal parts) to a roller bottle with coconut oil carrier for ease of application/absorption.  The handy-dandy lil’ roller has been a life saver!!  We take the “pill” in the morning and use the roller as needed throughout the day.  If my sinuses hurt, I’ll even use the roller across my face for quick relief 

If you suffer with any of the aforementioned symptoms and are ready to replace your daily side effects (haha) let me know and I’ll be happy to sample you a roller of your own to try

PS: I have found that mixing these oils into a veggie cap work much better for MY issues (which typically also comes with lots of sinus pressure and tension) than the softgel but the softgels are better for convenience as I can carry them in my purse


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Ummm—how’s your poo?



This is a post about POOP…or rather lack there of :/

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that what goes IN must come OUT?

As a child I can remember my mom would fuss at me about not clearing my bowels as if it was by choice and she instilled the fear of cancer in me through my potty habits.  As a young adult I struggled with bowel movements and considered myself lucky if I went once a week.  And lemme tell ya, when it happened, it was quite an ordeal.  And you know it always hit me at the most convenient times, such as riding down the highway, standing in line at the grocery store, or just as my dinner was being served at the restaurant…cramps, cold sweats, nausea, the works!  And then there was the blowout which I will not gag you with the details but it was pleasant (NOT)!!

Wanna know the real exciting part?  Everyone who knew me knew this about me!!

This blowout scenario followed me into adulthood!

After I changed my diet and supplemented appropriately things changed DRASTICALLY (praise the Lord)!  I ain’t gonna lie, it didn’t happen overnight.  As a matter of fact I started easing into this life of good health very slowly, mainly because I didn’t know what I was doing.  I already thought that because I fixed my family’s food at home that I was feeding them healthy, never considering the fact that if it came from a box in the freezer (or cabinet) it was highly processed and potentially toxic!

I attribute following the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge program for helping me get the jumpstart I needed!  I started with a 10 day herbal cleanse followed by 14 days of one meal replacement shake/day and a series of pre-chosen supplements.  It was by far the easiest thing in the world to do!  I was given a “basic” do’s/don’ts list of what to eat and I just followed along, added in a little exercise and a lot of water (and a couple of their companion products called Catalyst and ThermoPlus)!!  My personal goal was to FEEL BETTER but I really wanted to lose about 20 lbs (I actually verbally asked my husband, “If I lose 50 lbs will you take me on a trip and shopping?” and my eldest quickly whispered, “Mom, that would be my size”.  Luckily he’s hard of hearing so I got to change it to a more realistic number) 😀 **I actually did lose 50 lbs but that’s not what we’re discussing here!

What makes us poop?
Eating food provides us with the energy and nutrients we need. Leftover fiber and undigested material, and waste products from the body, are then eliminated as poop.  Therefore poop, in simplest terms, is the body’s natural way of expelling waste and toxins that it doesn’t need once it’s absorbed all of the usable nutrients from  food.

The process of digestion- eating a food, the food traveling through your stomach and intestines and down to your colon, and then you pooping the digested waste from the food out- involves many aspects of your body including enzymes, hormones, blood flow, and more. So when just one of the involved organs or systems is off, your digestion really suffers- and that shows up in your poop of course!

What causes constipation?
Constipation is defined as having difficulty emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened feces. In other words it causes slower than normal movement of food waste (poop) through the digestive tract.  It is usually caused from a combination of different factors, including those related to your diet, level of movement, and also your stress levels. The most common causes include eating a low fiber diet, being dehydrated from not drinking enough water, and having unusual amounts of emotional stress.

When constipation occurs, several things often take place within the GI tract: there is slowed movement of stool passing through the colon or not enough stool is being formed, there is delayed emptying of the colon from the pelvis, or a combination of both.

What do you do about constipation?
Personally I start by checking my diet…
#1  What have I added/removed or changed?
Typically it’s more about what I’ve added (like sugar) than it is what I’ve removed (unless I find my vegetables have been lacking)

#2  I increase water consumption
Normal consumption for me is 90-120 oz in a day but if I’m on the lower end of the scale too often I obviously need/try to bump it up (y)

#3  I swap out breakfast/snacks with smoothies (full of spinach and fruits!)
Leafy green vegetables and fruits (& beans) are the best sources of soluble and insoluble fiber which will increase your ability to properly poop.  All leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage (yes, I have put broccoli in there before), berries, apples, chia seeds, flax seeds, and dates (for a sweetener if needed)

#4  I MOVE!!!
I’m not talking about spending an hour in the gym as much as just getting up, down and all around more.  Movement helps to stimulate your bowels so take a longer walk (HAVE I even walked lately)!  Break out some jumping jacks (or if you have a rebounder that’s perfect) or an old cardio DVD.

#5  Up my magnesium and probiotic supplements
I regularly take magnesium at night before I go to bed because I find that not only does it help me sleep but also helps keep my pipes clean.  I will increase that magnesium at night to help soften whatever is bound up in there (but not too drastically as too much magnesium will give you more than you bargained for in the poop department).

I’ve also taken a probiotic every morning before breakfast for the last several years.  Probiotics are not promoted to help your bowels but it only makes good sense that when the gut flora is good the poop flow is better right?! HaHa (yes even eating some plain grass-fed yogurt will help to increase your probiotic intake)


According to The Bristol Stool Scale, the seven types of stool are:

  • Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)Bristol stool chart, Poop chart
  • Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
  • Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
  • Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
  • Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
  • Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
  • Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces, entirely liquid

Types 1–2: indicate constipation

Types 3-5: considered to be ideal (especially 4), normal poops

Type 6-7: considered abnormal and indicate diarrhea

Sorry we had to get so down and dirty with it today but I’ve had a couple days of struggle and know I cannot be the only one that deals with this occasional issue 😉
Whatever you do—-DO NOT take laxatives!  Laxatives might temporarily help relieve constipation but they way too often overused and cause many side effects that you may not even realize until way down the road :/

Laxatives work by causing the muscles of the GI tract to contract, increasing water absorption or bulking stool so it can move quickly through the colon. The problem is that this often interferes with the renin-aldosterone part of the digestive system, causes abnormal loss of fluid and ultimately weakens muscles needed for bowel movements. The body rebounds after taking laxatives by holding on to all of the available water it can get, which will cause bloating due to water retention.

Other known health problems associated with laxatives can include:
Dehydration (fluid loss), the inability to produce enough digestive enzymes, dizziness and light-headedness, damage to the colon and digestive organs, alternating diarrhea and constipation as well as something more serious like complications with your cardiovascular systems.

Just trust me on this one and stick to the natural remedies!  If you feel that your diet is offering you no relief, I’m happy to talk to you about implementing essential oils for this issue to reach faster results (oils work BEST in conjunction with a clean diet) 😉


**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 Essential Oils 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), Weight Loss Specialist, with a diploma in Personal Nutrition using essential oils while studying to become a Biblical Health Coach and receiving my diploma in Advanced Nutrition (whew, that was a mouthful) ❤ .

**I am an Independent Distributor of AdvoCare nutritional supplements and when purchasing through my website I will receive a commission.  I’d love to talk to you about how you can save 20-40% off retail prices 🙂   **I am an Independent Distributor of essential oils and when purchasing through my website I will receive a commission.  I’d love to be your guide through the journey of good health, let me tell you how to save 25% on all your essential oil purchases ❤



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Must haves

As much as I LOVE to make everything from scratch I sometimes just can not get it done! Between ball schedules, multiple home-based businesses and simply maintaining a happy home and healthy family just takes precedence over preparation No matter how much I wish, (i wish, i wish) I was Super Woman or Mega Mom I’m only human (sigh—there I’ve admitted it).

I feel like over the last year I have pretty much given up with the family member who needs my allergen-free expertise (lol) most. My teenage son is the one who struggles with the endless list of food allergies while my 9yo just deals with the gluten/dairy foods. As a teenager he has way too much freedom! I pack him a lunch everyday and probably 7 out of 10 times he doesn’t return his lunch box (which is an indication he didn’t eat it) or he returns with his entrée, just having eaten the snacks. I don’t know what he eats or how he pays for it because I do NOT give him lunch money (unless for some reason they’re having the one thing he loves most or I need to shop HaHa). I know he has a habit of hanging out at the local Sheetz gas station (big eye roll) and he manages to eat out with friends quite a bit on the weekends (again, no idea HOW) and then there are those away games. They take my child to McDonalds or Taco Bell before their ballgames!!! (Yes, insert ANGRY face)

I had to cave in and be sure that my cabinets always have “snacks” because neither of my children (nor husband) will go to the fridge and/or fix anything. It’s all about convenience with these people. I keep fruits on hand at all times and there are always cut up veggies readily available but for some reason they feel it’s good exercise to unwrap prepacked foods (eye roll).

A few items that I feel have literally saved my life—well, at least my sanity 😉

Nick’s Sticks
100% Grassfed beef and free-range turkey jerky. These are a great protein source and there are several flavors to choose from. I don’t know what I would’ve done without having these handy-dandy snacks on hand. It’s great for quick grab-n-go! Kids can grab on the way out or when they’re working on the farm being pre-packaged they can just stick it in their pockets to carry along. They are not cheap but sometimes run a % off sale and they offer discounts on bulk orders. (If you’re interested and live local to me let me know and we can go in on larger orders to save $$)

Kid Clif Z Bars
Organic snack bars and fruit ropes. Now let me preface by saying these little babies ARE “sugar” (and may have gluten) but you know as well as I do that sometimes we just “need” something sweet. Non-GMO, no artificial flavors and NO HFCS.

Van’s Cereals
Gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, egg-free, no artificial flavors or colors and surprisingly delicious. My kids like the Cinnamon and the Honey flavors. This small box (11oz) of cereal will run you about $4 a pop however we save cereal for Sunday mornings only (and occasionally a snack).

Bob’s Red Mill Oats
Seriously!! This is one (healthy) food my son will COOK himself. Oats are naturally gluten-free but due to cross-contamination if you’re a Celiac you definitely want to opt for spending a little more and get the GLUTEN-FREE version.  Typically runs less than $4

Organic Coconut Oil (solid and liquid/fractionated)
WOW! This has changed so many aspects of my life…for real! It’s versatile enough to use in cooking as butter for baking, “frying”, as a hair conditioner, skin moisturizer, make-up remover and as a carrier to mix with essential oils. I try to remember to Oil-pull 1-2x a week but I ain’t gonna lie, if I don’t have a toothache or mouth sore I tend to not think about it. My kids have even come to realize they can relieve these type issues with as little as a 3 minute swish (adding essential oils that meet their particular needs).  Average cost of approximately $20

Rice Milk
I prefer to use homemade almond milk but that takes time that sometimes I do not have. Usually when I see it starting to get low I’ll go ahead and soak my almonds but the whole straining (& pulp drying) process is the time consuming part. If I haven’t been watching the milk levels I realize when it’s already gone that HELLO it’s already gone therefore we have to have a back up. Most store bought almond milks have carcinogens in it and I’m NOT putting known cancer growing products into these precious bodies.
Rice milk is made by blending milled rice and water. It is a naturally sweeter tasting milk due to the higher carbohydrate content however it very low in nutrient values :/

Essential Oil Diffuser
As an essential oils guru (according to friends/family haha) I use my oils daily, topically and often! Night time is no different! I wanna sleep and don’t wanna set an alarm to wake up for applying lol so I diffuse in order to still get the benefits of my oils without the thought of where/when to apply. Using an essential oil diffuser has allowed me the best of both worlds.  I have multiple different diffusers but hands down this one is my favorite, it runs 4-8 hours, provides a light while offering the perfect scents of essential oils while I’m inhaling beneficial health properties.  Learn more about diffusers with this video 🙂 (no it’s not ME but it sooo could be lol)

Fit Bit
Over the last few years I’ve completely changed my view of exercise. I used to thing “Nah, no need” then that turned to “Hit it, hit it hard” but now I believe in trusting your body’s instincts, focusing less on intensity and more on just moving. A great way to do that is to track your steps. Aiming to get 8,000 plus steps a day is a good goal to reach for. Having a high functioning watch to track this makes it fun and attainable. I prefer a Fitbit Charge and wear it night AND day because not only does it track my steps but it also tracks my sleep patterns.  (As I’ve said before YES, you get to count sex and walking to the mailbox or through the grocery store as exercise HaHa but I also want your heart rate going up for a good 20 mins/day at least 3 days/week)

Next, I’m going to get me a natural (non-synthetic) dry brush!
The lymphatic system is one of the most critical systems of the body and yet we know little about it. However, more and more information is coming out about the importance of our lymphatic system and moving it to create better health.

Given that the lymphatic system has no central pump, we are required to move our fluid through exercise, sweating, massage and any form of movement. Every contraction in your body moves the lymphatic system. If you want to increase your lymphatic flow and get a better glow I’m told to try using a dry brush. Small circular motions on your extremities moving towards your heart is all it takes. Plus it feels like a mini massage and costs less than $10.

This concept of dry brushing recently came about when I was conversing with my Integrative facility about my 9yo having some “soreness/knot” in one of her breasts. (We’ve been using a blend of Frankincense and Protective Blend) Ok, so I realize she’s a girl and that girls start maturing/menstruating at different ages but she’s 9, she cannot be growing breasts yet…can she? It only seems smart that we should start thinking about her lymphatic system

What “healthy” items do you keep on hand and/or just can’t live without?

Have you ever shopped for your speciality and/or allergen-free items online?   It can be expensive when adding shipping costs from several different sites (and somewhat confusing)  I find most of my items at Vitacost.  By shopping through this link you and I BOTH will get $10 off our next $30 purchase!!

I have found even MORE specialty items at Thrive Market.  By shopping through this link each of you will get 15% off and I’ll earn $25 in Thrive Cash when you become a paying member.  Yep you guessed it, the downfall here is that you have to pay a yearly fee for membership (and I ain’t gonna lie, I’m not sure that it’s entirely worth it as I don’t seem to shop here as often as Vitacost)

Now, finally but certainly not least—-who doesn’t yet know the benefits of essential oils and thinks they’re ready to learn??  I would be happy to set a FaceBook event to teach you and your friends/family the basics of oils (what they are, where they come from, how they work).  Know what they are and ready to start earning your own for free?  Then it’s time to jump on board, join & save!  I’ll be sure to add you to our private community to help answer all your oil questions and walk along side you on this journey ❤


**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 Essential Oils 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), Weight Loss Specialist, with a diploma in Personal Nutrition using essential oils while studying to become a Biblical Health Coach and receiving my diploma in Advanced Nutrition (whew, that was a mouthful) ❤ .


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