Happy National Iowa Day

Happy National Iowa Day! The Hawkeye State. The 29th state to join the United States.
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While many people just think of it as a fly-over state where we make our own clothes, tip cows, and watch corn grow (yes, when I was at a dance competition in Las Vegas some lovely ladies from California actually asked us those questions), Iowa truly has so many amazing qualities and gifts to offer.
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According to the U.S. News & World Report in 2019, Des Moines, Iowa is the 5th best place to live in America… in America! People, Des Moines is awesome. Des Moines has the feel of a big, little city giving you the best of both worlds. It’s small enough you get around the metro area in about 20-25 minutes but big enough to host a Kate Spade Outlet… Need I say more?
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The country side may be flat throughout the central area with some rolling hills and gorgeous plateaus/ rock formations/ valleys (according to The University of Iowa’s Geological Survey this area is referred to as the Paleozoic Plateau) in the northeast side of the state. Growing up we’d travel through Dubuque a couple times a year to get to my grandparent’s house and it was always just so beautiful to drive through. The seasons we experience are dramatic, but that makes it all the more wonderful. I live for the transition of the seasons, there’s nothing like waking up to the sound of birds with the smell of spring in the air after months of a harsh, cold winter. But then I feel the same about the crisp cool air and the changing leaves in the fall. And I don’t care if you hate the snow or cold, there’s something magical when you walk outside for the first time after a snow storm. It’s so quiet and peaceful, even in the middle of a city. The blanket of snow silences the world and it always takes my breath away… and not just because it’s cold.
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For other Mid-Westerners who may be mislead, the true saying is “Iowa Nice.” We may not smile to every person we run into but we do hold the door open and are kind and polite. While a degree of passive aggressiveness is also an expected undertone. It’s all about balance after all. And that’s all I’ll say about that. ūüôā
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And I can’t not mention the Iowa State Fair. We didn’t go much growing up but since college I’ve gone mostly every year and there’s just something about it. I mostly go for the people watching, the animals, and the variety of food. It’s a staple for most Iowans in August.
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I’m a born and raised Iowan but I do have perspective- living in Bloomington, MN for three years and traveling a good amount around the states and even one extended stay in China. While all areas of the world have their unique gems to offer, I’m thankful to live in Iowa.
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I would love to hear the things you love about Iowa!
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* Photo credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Lifestyle Adjustments for Winter

Winter is the season of the kidney. According to the¬†Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, by Maoshing Ni, this is when “all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period, yin dominates yang.”

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This is visible in the trees and plants and even the animals. It’s natural for us to be more quiet and reserved during the winter. In the fall I shared some tips for adjusting your lifestyle according to the seasons so here are more tips to help make winter a little more¬†tolerable.

Some recommendations from the Yellow Emperor are:

“Retire early, get up with the sunrise”

Is anyone else¬†struggling to adjust to¬†it getting dark at 5:00 p.m.!? It seems to be more difficult this year, so I find it helpful to go to bed a little early and attempt to sleep in a little extra…¬†Obviously this is not always easy/possible but it’s good to be mindful of the change.

“Stay warm, avoid the cold, keep pores closed, avoid sweating”

Eat warm foods¬†and¬†drink warm drinks¬†to help warm your body. ¬†Be sure to layer up and keep your skin covered –¬†your skin is your largest organ and can be very susceptible to the wind and cold, wind and cold are very common causes of¬†EPIs. When your skin pores are open, your chances of getting sick (from an EPI) are increased.

“Conservation and storage philosophy”

Just like the bears hibernate, it is helpful to conserve your resources and energy. The winter corresponds to yin, as opposed to yang. Yin is internal and more hidden. In order to have enough yin, it is helpful to rest.

During the winter I like to stay in, cuddle up by the fire, and drink warm tea. What about you?

Acupuncture Ally: Thieves Essential Oil

young living thievesTo continue our talks about the season of autumn and colds and flu, an essential oil I’m sure to never go without is Thieves from Young Living Essential Oils. 

Thieves essential oil includes clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. It’s known to help support the immune system at the onset of colds, flu and candida. It may also help with sinusitis, coughing and sore throats.

I really like diffusing thieves in the diffuser, as it smells amazing and reminds me of Christmas. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can put a drop on a cotton ball and inhale it periodically.Others will apply thieves topically to their feet with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil.

I also will add 1 drop to about 16 oz of water in a glass bottle (do not use plastic with essential oils, as the oils break down toxins, and will break down the plastic). This can have quite an intense taste, but when paired with peppermint or lemon essential oils, it dilutes it down a little. I will start using Thieves the moment my throat becomes sore, which can be a pretty good sign that an illness may be attempting to break through. Usually after one day of use my throat is relieved and I’m feeling better.

Please note: repeated use can result in extreme contact sensitization and can cause extreme skin irritation. Use with caution during pregnancy.

***The posts, testimonies and information provided on this site are not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease or illness. Please be sure to always check with your health care professional before altering any prescription medication or starting a new health care regiment regardless. The suggested use of essential oils on this page are YOUNG LIVING EXCLUSIVE. We cannot be held responsible for damage done through the use of off brand or synthetic essential oils, supplements or homeopathy suggested on this page. INGESTING SYNTHETIC or PERFUME GRADE essential oils is highly dangerous. These bottles are labeled “NOT for internal use”. Young Living essential oils are MEDICINAL grade, used internally in over 50 U.S. Hospitals and, will be noted on the label as “GRAS” by the FDA for internal use or as a food additive.

Lifestyle Adjustments for the Changing Seasons

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Have you noticed the shift in seasons has begun? Even though Iowa still has some warm days, there is definitely a chill in the air! It’s important to note when the seasons change, as it subtly suggests we should also change and incorporate some modifications into our daily life.

The season of autumn belongs to the Lung*. According to the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, by Maoshing Ni, this is when “all things in nature reach their full maturity,¬†heavenly energy cools, wind begins to stir, it‚Äôs the pivoting point when the yang phase turns into the yin phase.”

Essentially, this means it’s time to change up the way you do things a bit. Here are some helpful tips from the Yellow Emperor to naturally change with the season:

  • Go to bed with the sunset, get up with the sunrise – In theory, this sounds great, but we all know this may not be possible. Either way, it’s helpful to try to get a little more sleep.
  • Eat warm, cooked foods.
  • Stay warm. It’s tempting to want to get the last wear out of your favorite summer sandals, but be sure to layer up with scarves and sweaters to keep your qi strong. Not sure what to wear? Check out my friend Carly’s post for how to stay warm and stylish!
  • Take time to gather one‚Äôs spirit and energy.
  • Remain calm and peaceful, and try to avoid feelings of depression or grief. Sadness also belongs to the Lung.
  • Stay¬†focused.
  • Keep the Lung energy full, clean and quiet – Do so by practicing breathing exercises to enhance Lung qi.

While it may be difficult to follow all of them, focus on a few you think you can do and try to integrate the change of season into your everyday life.

Happy Autumn! 

*When practitioners of Chinese Medicine talk of organs, it does not necessarily mean the physical organ. Rather we are talking of the channel of the organ and the properties associated with the organ according to Chinese Medicine.