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I want to get down to the very basics of our health and talk about the importance of healthy fats and your mitochondria. From our very first introduction to science in elementary school, we learn that the cell is the basic building block of all living things. Our bodies contain trillions of cells, which provide our structure, thrive (or not) on the nutrients we give them, turn those nutrients into the energy that enables us to live and move, and perform specialized functions. Within our cells is the hereditary material that makes you you.
Obviously, it’s really important that we take care of our cells. Let’s look at one of the specialized structures within the cell, the mitochondria—the powerhouses or factories of the cell. They act like a digestive system that takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. So important, but things that most of us know very little about.
How healthy your mitochondria is determines how healthy your organs and muscles are—indeed, how healthy you are! Most of us start life with very healthy mitochondria. But that health gets compromised by stress, sedentary lifestyles, free-radical damage, and exposure to infections, allergens and toxin. In this article, let’s talk about one of the chief reasons our mitochondria deteriorate—poor-quality foods and a deficit of healthy ones. More specifically—poor quality fats and a lack of enough healthy fats. We are the ones who determine what kind of fuel we are going to put in our mitochondrial tank, just as we determine if will put gasoline, diesel or something else in our car engines to get the best response.
What Fuel Works Best?
Our bodies use only two kinds of fuel—fats or sugars (glycogen). One groundbreaking expert in nutritional and metabolic medicine, Dr. Ron Rosedale, describes it this way:
Health and life span are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime and so the more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier a person will be, and the more likely he or she will live a long time; and the more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a life span a person is likely to have.
The fuel that is burned in your mitochondria (fat or sugar) for energy determines how healthy you will be. We need both kinds of fuel. Burning fat produces more energy and releases fewer free radicals than sugar. However, sugar burns very fast, so is useful during times of emergency. It is extremely critical to our health to learn how to balance the fats and sugars we supply to our mitochondria so they can continue to be the efficient factories that give us energy and health.
What the Wrong Fuel Does
Today’s Standard American Diet (SAD) has produced sad evidence that it has failed miserably at improving health and increasing longevity. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, 1 in 5 deaths is obesity-related, half have pre-diabetes, diabetes or other chronic illness, and 1 in 3 women and half of all men will develop some form of cancer. The reason? As Dr. Mecola states: “Most people simply eat far too many processed foods, net carbs and too few healthy fats, and too many unhealthy fats, which results in gaining and retaining extra body fat and becoming increasingly insulin resistant.” Let’s take a look at why the SAD diet is failing so miserably.
- Nearly 1,000 calories per day are added fats (unhealthy ones) and sweeteners.
- Although the mineral density of wheat has greatly deteriorated, we are consuming 45 percent more grain than twenty years ago.
- We’ve decreased fruit and vegetable intake
- Consumption of sugar has skyrocketed, most in the form of unhealthy additives.
- There’s been an increase in added hydrogenated oils and a decrease in saturated fat.
- Processed foods make up 63 percent of our calories.
- Unhealthy genetically modified foods are everywhere—in raw foods, oils, processed foods and more.
What the Right Fuel Does
Supplying your body with a balance of more healthy fats for consistent energy and good health and limiting the carbs and sugars to just what your body needs in times of emergencies and high-energy activities will keep your mitochondria healthy.
- Healthy fat helps control hunger
- Healthy fat promotes a healthy metabolism
- Healthy fat transports the right vitamin and minerals throughout your body.
- Healthy fat insulates and protects your vital organs.
How to Fuel Our Body with Healthy Fats
Dietary fats are essential to healthy mitochondria, and therefore, to healthy people. They give our mitochondria the fuel it needs to supply energy and support cell growth. They allow our mitochondria to protect our organs and keep our bodies warm.
There are four major dietary fats:
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
The healthiest food sources for good fats are those that are minimally processed. Here are four simple tips for making sure you are supplying your mitochondria with the healthiest fuel.
- Use healthier kitchen oils—get rid of regular vegetable oils like corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, or plain vegetable oil. Instead use extra virgin olive oil, and organic avocado oil and virgin coconut oil.
- Include small amounts of healthy high-fat foods—add nuts, avocado or olives in small amounts. Use nut butters, and full-fat yogurt or kefir (if you can tolerate dairy), dark chocolate, and pasture-raised organic beef, salmon, wild-caught tuna, and whole, pastured eggs.
- Include a good source of Omega-3 fat every day—add foods like fish, flax seed or oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Consider Omega-3 supplements like this one if you do not eat fish.
- Reduce less healthy fats—ditch the chips or crackers. Avoid fried foods from fast food joints.
Make a Choice for a Healthy Eating Plan
There are dozens of healthy dietary plans to choose from, including vegetarian, low-carb, blood type, raw, Paleo, Ketogenic, and others. One thing that I find absolutely necessary for my sanity is meal planning. The important thing is to make a choice now to eat the real-food way. I can help you with some specific guidelines in my book, Everyday Natural. Learning to follow a healthy eating plan will ensure that you are supplying your body with the healthy fats it needs.
Be sure the eating plan you follow provides a healthy supply of the nutrients your body needs to be in optimal condition. These nutrients will include:
- Alpha lipoic acid, which preserves mitochondrial function, and reduces cellular stress. You can find this in organic meats and vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
- Coenzyme Q10, which is integral to the top function of your mitochondria. Get your supply from organic meats.
- Acetyl-L-carnitine, which keeps the motors of your mitochondria running smoothly. It increases the fat-burning capacity. It can be found in organic meats and poultry. The redder the meat, the more carnitine.
- Vitamin-D, a fat-soluble vitamin. It enhances energy production in the mitochondria of your muscles after exercise. It is difficult to get enough from diet alone, but it is formed when you are exposed to sunlight. You may need to supplement during the winter months.
- Add seaweeds to your diet.
- Increase your protein consumption with organic organ meats about once a week.
If you make a consistent effort to feed your mitochondria properly, you will be on the road to better health. The healthier your mitochondria are, the more efficient your cells are in processing nutrients.
After finishing my recent post on essential oils and cats, there was a bit of an uproar in the canine community: “Howl about me? Yip, yip, howl can we use oils?” So this post on essential oils and dogs is just for you and your canine companions. We love being able to support our pugs using essential oils and you should too! There has been just as much confusion and polarizing information online about the use of essential oils and dogs —perhaps more. So it’s time to take a closer look at verifiable information related to the use of essential oils with or around some of our best friends!
Essential Oils and Dogs
Just as cats are unique, and must be cared for in ways unique to their makeup, so too are dogs. Not only are they unique as a species, but there are many different sizes of dogs, so each dog must be cared for uniquely. Essential oils can safely be used with dogs, if you follow the specific guidelines for safe usage. So let’s take a look at some guidelines for safe usage.
Use ONLY pure essential oils.
Not all essential oils are created equally! Online sites, including Amazon, are loaded with fake or watered-down or polluted essential oils. High-quality essential oils can greatly benefit your pet. Because essential oils are lipid soluble distilled from plants, they can be absorbed into cells through the cell membrane. When choosing an essential oil to use with your dog, first carefully consider the quality of the essential oil.
- Has it been third party tested?
- Is it a pharmaceutical grade EO that is safe to use topically or internally?
- Have you consulted with your veterinarian to be sure there are no underlying reasons why it might be unsafe to use essential oils with your dog?
- Never use aromatherapy or perfume grade essential oils on with your dog. Use only the therapeutic grade essential oils.
I highly recommend dōTERRA essential oils because they have more stringent testing and purity/quality checks that any other company. But even dōTERRA oils must be purchased through a Wellness Advocate (not amazon) to be sure you are getting the genuine oils. Here’s my unbiased tips to look for when buying essential oils.
Use the recommended dosage for your specific dog.
Dogs cannot metabolize essential oils as quickly as humans, so the essential oils should always be diluted before using. Remember, that in general the smaller the dog, the more you want to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. A suggested dilution for a mid-sized dog would be to use 3-5 drops and dilute it 80-90 percent in a carrier oil.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Dogs are more sensitive to essential oils than humans are. Essential oils should always be used diluted, even when just inhaling. This is important to remember, as we humans don’t dilute when inhaling directly out of the bottle. Water diffusion is an excellent way to use essential oils through inhalation with your pups.
- Most issues that dogs have can be addressed with the inhalation of diluted essential oils.
- Only use essential oils with your dog when needed to address a concern—not to “prevent” a health issue. An example is to have them inhale a digestive essential oil after they eat, when they don’t have any digestive issues. This is not recommended.
- Do not add essential oils to your dog’s food or drinking water for no reason. See internal application method below for more details on this.
- Avoid using essential oils with puppies under 10 weeks of age—use hydrosols instead.
- Avoid the eyes, nose, and genital areas.
Types of Application for Dogs
The most common ways to use essential oils with your dog is: topically, aromatically, and internally. Use extreme caution when you begin. Just as you slowly introduce new food to your dog, so too introduce essential oils slowly. Start with a small amount, and watch your dog’s behavior. If there is no negative response, but no visible therapeutic effect, you can slowly increase the frequency of application. Each dog has a unique body chemistry, and can tolerate essential oils to a different extent.
Water diffusion is the recommended aromatic application. Start with 1-5 drops of oil in your diffuser. Monitor your pet’s behavior during the diffusion and always leave a door open in the room you are diffusing so your dog can leave the room if he wants to.
In most instances, the recommended method for applying essential oils to your dog is topical application. Start with diluted oils, and add more if needed. Here are some tips for applying:
- Rub along the spine—this is the most common and best tolerated application. Add some of your carrier oil to the palm of your hand, and then add 1-2 drops of your essential oil. Then rub your pup along his/her spine, as normal.
- Ear tipping—apply to the tips of your pet’s ears. Avoid this method with long-eared dogs because they may shake their head and get the oil in their eyes accidentally.
- Apply to the paws—this is not always well tolerated in small dogs. Be sure to get it on the skin between the paw pads, but be sure to dilute the oils because this is a fairly sensitive area.
- Water misting—this is helpful for covering a larger area, such as when you may be misting with a homemade flea solution using essential oils.
Exercise caution when using this method. Be sure your dog has no underlying medical condition that might cause problems with internal application of essential oils. If you and your vet feel it is safe to use internal application, a recommended dosage is 1 drop in 2 cups of drinking water or 1 drop mixed with some fish oil and drizzled on wet dog food. If using in food, use in wet food only. Remember that because your dog grooms frequently, in most cases topical application also means internal application. For that reason always use diluted essential oils.
What Essential Oils Are Best?
Dr. Janet Roark has given us a list of her favorite top ten essential oils for dogs. These are:
- Frankincense: Supports healthy cellular function, rejuvenates skin, relaxation, balances mood, soothing
- Lavender: calming and relaxing qualities, soothes occasional skin irritations, eases feelings of tension, promotes restful sleep, reduces anxious feelings
- Helichrysum: promotes a healthy metabolism, promotes vitality and energy, soothing to skin
- DigestZen Blend: great for road trips, promotes healthy digestion, soothes occasional stomach discomfort, promotes a healthy gastrointestinal tract, eases feelings of queasiness, helps reduce bloating, gas, and occasional indigestion
- OnGuard Blend: an effective alternative to synthetic options for immune support, supports the body’s natural antioxidant defenses, protects against seasonal and environmental threats, supports healthy respiratory function
- Balance Blend: promotes a whole-body sense of relaxation, evokes feelings of tranquility and balance, promotes restful sleep, eases anxious feelings, use on car rides to create a calm environment
- Myrrh: powerful cleansing properties, especially for the mouth and throat, soothing to the skin, promotes awareness and emotional balance and well-being, use when tension levels are high, maintains peaceful feelings
- Roman Chamomile: Has a calming effect on the skin, mind, and body, soothes the systems of the body, supports healthy immune system function, add to shampoo/ condition for a skin soothing bath, soothes the body and mind, blends well with lavender or the grounding blend, apply over heart for feelings of well-being, soothes anger and irritability, promotes peaceful rest
- Lemon: naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion, supports healthy respiratory function, promotes positive mood, assists with seasonal respiratory discomfort, helpful at removing grease from skin and hair
- AromaTouch Blend: comforting and relaxing effects, lessens tension when applied topically by massage, soothing
There are many other essential oils that may be safe for your pet. Try letting your dog choose the essential oil. Animals like dogs and horses will use their sense of smell to choose plants to eat when they need them for medicinal purposes. Try offering them different oils to smell. Their sense of smell is so precise, you do not need to open the bottle. Most dogs will lick the air repeatedly, which is part of their process of smelling. A dog will turn away from the oil he does not want, and try to lick the bottle or stand close to the one he chooses.
Essential Oils that May Not Be Safe to Use
Some oils should be used with caution with dogs. Some, like tea tree oil, may be too strong. These include:
- Melaleuca /Tea Tree
Other that, by and large, should usually be avoided include:
How to Use Essential Oils on Your Dog
Essential oils enter the bloodstream quickly. The most important consideration is to use only pure, high-quality essential oils. It is fairly easy to spot signs of trouble in how your dog responds. Watch for loss of appetite and trouble urinating, your pet may exhibit running eyes, vomiting, excessive panting, rubbing face, muscle tremors, diarrhea, rashes and drooling.
There are several common things for which you can use an essential oil with your dog. Here are some of the more common uses:
- Allergies—it is recommended that you work with your vet to determine the source of the allergy, since addressing the root cause will help to prevent the itching. Recommended oils are frankincense, lemon, lavender, and peppermint.
- Ear Infections—cleaning the ears regularly with a natural ear cleaner is essential. Recommended oils are diluted frankincense, geranium, lavender and basil.
- Seizures—a recommended oil to use is frankincense.
- Transitions—use when bringing a puppy home, transitions between homes, or adding a new animal. Recommended oils: lavender and myrrh.
3 Recipes for Homemade Essential Oil Solutions for Your Dog
1. Soothing Muscle Aches
- 2-3 drops of Copaiba
- 3 drops of Lavender
- 1 tablespoon of carrier oil
Mix in a glass roller ball bottle, and rub the roller on the area, and then massage.
2. Flea and Tick Repellent Spray
- 1-2 drops of Lavender
- 1-2 drop Eucalyptus
- 1-2 drop of Geranium
- 1-2 drop Lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons of carrier oil
Add ingredients to 8-oz. glass bottle, fill with water, and shake well before using.
3. Calming Mist for Dogs
- 3-4 drops Rosemary
- 3-4 drops Roman Chamomile
- 3-4 drops Lavender
Add to an 8-oz. glass spray bottle, fill with water, and shake well before spraying. Try spraying the mist into your palms and massaging your dog’s neck, back and chest to help them relax.
Essential oils have so many benefits for dogs, and can work wonders. Be sure you are offering your canine best friend this natural, beneficial option for addressing health and wellness concerns. Just be sure to do your research, and do not go essential oil crazy. I recommend that you begin by using an essential oil with your dog for about two weeks, and then give your dog a break for two to three weeks. Watch out for signs of problems and monitor your pet’s behavior. Most importantly, listen to your dog, and don’t force an essential oil on your pet. Always consult your vet if you experience symptoms or issues you cannot understand or resolve.
- Dr. Janet Roark, DVM, is a veterinarian with a specialty in Veterinary Aromatic Medicine. She has multiple resources available at: https://www.facebook.com/EODVM/, and online at: http://essentialoilvet.com/about/.
- Dr. Eric Zielinski (“Dr. Z”) is trained as an aromatherapist, public health researcher and chiropractor, and has become the #1 source for Biblical Health and non-branded essential oils education. He can be accessed at: https://drericz.com/essential-oils-for-dogs/.
- “DoTERRA Essential oils for dogs,” available at: https://healinginourhomes.com/essential-oils-for-dogs/.
- Nayana Morag has a specialty in Animal Aromatherapy, and has studied Ttouch, animal acupressure, 5 element theory, and Aromatic Energetics and Kinesiology. She has available an Animal PsychAromatica Online course, available at: https://www.essentialanimals.com/courses/introduction-essential-oils-horses-dogs-online-course/.
There have been several recent Facebook posts or blogs questioning the use of essential oils around cats. Some have been people who fear they have “poisoned” their cats because they diffused essential oils in rooms where their cats had access. Others have claimed that essential oils should never be used on or around a cat.
Others of you have been honestly questioning what the real truth is about essential oils and cats. I thought it was time that we took a real close look at verifiable information related to the use of essential oils with or around cats.
The Science Behind Essential Oils and Cats
Let’s start with a basic understanding of cats. Cats are a unique animal species—just as dogs are unique and humans are unique. Cats are, well, cats! So the protocols used to treat or nurture cats has to be unique to their species. One example of this in the current misinformation out there about cats is that all essential oils are toxic to them, because they are “deficient” in their liver enzymes, and cannot metabolize essential oils. The fear is that the oils could build up over use, cause horrible side effects or even death.
But cat experts—veterinarians, some with specialties in Veterinary Aromatic Medicine, are able to share more specific truths about the metabolism of cats. Beginning with—it’s a completely different metabolic set than ours because, well, cats are cats. They aren’t “deficient” in enzymes any more than humans are deficient in fur. They have a unique metabolism, and must be treated uniquely as cats.
Cats can metabolize essential oils, and they will not build up over time when the oils are used correctly for cats. Cats take much longer to eliminate a drug than a dog…or a pony…or you or I. The amount of time it takes the liver and kidneys to break down and filter half of the amount of a drug is called a half-life. A half-life for a cat is almost 38 hours. A dog needs only 9 hours. A pony only 1 hour. For most medical purposes, a drug clears a human’s system in 5 half-lives (each drug has its own half-life, ranging anywhere from seconds to days).
Cats have less ability to metabolize an enzyme called glucuronyl transferase than other species. That makes them more susceptible to all kinds of toxicity, including plant, NSAIDS (aspirin, Tylenol), chocolate, caffeine, lead, many types of pesticides, and, in the case of impure essential oils, even essential oils.
For that reason, the important things for us to deal with in this post will be:
- What essential oils are pure enough to use on cats?
- What specific essential oils should never be used on cats?
- What specific essential oils are safe to be used on cats?
- What ways can essential oils be administered to cats?
1. What essential oils are pure enough to use on cats?
It’s not hard to find essential oils to buy. But, buying a good one…a pure one…can be a challenge. Online sites, including Amazon, are loaded with fake or watered-down or polluted essential oils. Let me give you a few guidelines for spotting the good stuff!
- How it looks: Try this test—place a drop on white printer paper and let it dry. It there’s an oily ring left behind, it’s not a pure essential oil (except for a few exceptions that are naturally heavier in consistency and color).
- The price: It’s smart to be wary of an essential oil with a super-low price tag. Remember that it takes a roomful of plant material to fill just one bottle of essential oil, and some botanicals are scarce.
- The name: Make sure the plant’s Latin name is listed on the label, or on the webpage. Otherwise you might be getting a hybrid.
- The container: All essential must be stored in dark blue or amber glass bottles to keep the oil from degrading from ultraviolet radiation.
- The feel: Rub one drop between your fingers. True essential oils should never feel thick or greasy.
- How it pours: The bottle should ideally have a plug that controls how many drops come out. It should never have a plastic or rubber dropper pipettes, which can break down and taint the oil.
- How it’s cultivated: Essential oils should never be raised where they have been contaminated by pesticides. Oils labeled “wild-crafted” have been harvested in the wild, away from pesticides. Make sure the oils are organic.
I highly recommend dōTERRA essential oils because they have more stringent testing and purity/quality checks that any other company. But even dōTERRA oils must be purchased through a wellness advocate (not amazon) to be sure you are getting the genuine oils. Here’s my ultimate guide for buying the best essential oils.
2. What essential oils should never be used on or around a cat?
It is important to avoid certain essential oils for DIRECT (topical) application. While research shows that cats have a decreased ability to metabolize some of these oils, it does not mean they are completely unable.
Here’s a list of oils that you should use cautiously around cats. It’s important to note that most of these oils are on the list because of gross misuse of the essential oil by the owner. This means the oil was applied undiluted and over 5-10 times the recommended amount.
These oils should not be applied topically and used in diffusion only (with a door left open for the cat to leave the room).
- Citrus oils
Here are some simple tips to be sure you are not exposing your cat to essential oils:
- When diffusing essential oils in your home, always leave a door open so your cat is not confined to one room.
- Never pet your cat after applying these essential oils to your own skin.
- Keep your oils stored where your cat cannot reach them.
- Don’t use toxic oils to clean anything your cat could lick or rub (example: if your cat likes to jump on your counters and/or lick up spills on your floor, avoid using citrus oils in your cleaning solution).
- Use only higher dilutions of essential oils on your cat. You should be heavily diluting any essential oils you apply on your cats.
3. What specific essential oils are safe to use on cats?
Let’s begin with this caution: As we discussed earlier, cats take much longer to metabolize chemicals than many other animal species—including humans—so all essential oils should only be used infrequently on cats. There are at least five essential oils that most experts feel are very safe for cats when used sporadically and topically (with heavy dilution of 1 drop of essential oil to 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon). These are:
There are many others, but these are considered to be the safest. Others may include:
Essential oils should always be diluted when used with cats. Also, because just as every human is unique, every cat is different, and you should always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about the effect of essential oils on your cat. The vet can give you some bloodwork reports to ensure your cat has no underlying disease.
4. What ways can essential oils be administered to cats?
There are several ways that essential oils can be used with cats. Water diffusion is a very safe method. If you are diffusing an essential oil that might be toxic to cats, be sure you are not diffusing where the cat’s food and litterbox are kept, and make sure the kitty is not “locked” in the room with the diffuser. Most cats will simply go away if they don’t like an oil being diffused. Dr. Janet Roark, DVM, says this: “I find that most often, though, she needs the oil as much as I do, and sleeps as close as she can to the diffuser. The Protective Blend is one of her favorites!”
- Try making a litter box powder with 1 cup of baking soda and 3-4 drops of an essential oil of your choice. Stir the mixture well and let it sit overnight to saturate the baking soda. Then sprinkle this on your cat’s litter box.
- You can apply oils topically (very diluted) using 1 drop to a teaspoon or tablespoon of carrier oil, and using just a drop of that mixture. Apply along the cat’s spine or rub the tips of the ears.
- You can also make a natural insect repellent for your cat using essential oils. To repel fleas, use 1 drop each of lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood with a tablespoon or so of distilled water, and spritz your cat once a day.
- A repellent for ticks can be made using 1-2 drops each of geranium and lavender in a tablespoon or so of distilled water.
- If your cat has ear mites, you can try a mixture of 1 drop of Rosemary diluted with a teaspoon of carrier oil, then use a cotton swab barely dipped in the solution to clean the ear. Rosemary inhibits ectoparasites and reduces inflammation.
Hopefully this article has soothed your troubled spirit about the so-called dangers of using essential oils on your cat. Caution is always the best option, but make your choices based on verifiable, credible information—not online hearsay or biased opinions that are causing pandemonium.
Essential oils are must be respected and used with care. When you see someone on Facebook freaking out about poisoning their cat with essential oils, there’s a few things that I encourage you to use your common sense about.
- What brand of essential oils were used?
- What’s the lot number, brand, purchase date, dosage, length of use, and prior health concerns?
- Did the cat recently receive vaccinations or given flea and tick medication? Trust me people, these are far more dangerous than essential oils.
- Is the cat laying on blankets and bedding that has been washed with dangerous fabric softeners?
- Is the cat eating dried kibble that has no nutrition in it?
- Is the cat breathing in second hand smoke or unhealthy room fresheners like plug ins or air freshener sprays?
Let’s be smart and look at each fear-based article with a critical eye!
It’s hard to walk into a crowd anywhere without quickly noticing that nearly 85–95 percent of the people in that crowd are using their smartphones. Today’s technology—including Google, Twitter and Facebook—has become so addictive that a phenomena called “continuous partial attention” is severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. Smartphone addiction is a real thing and it’s affecting families all over the world.
Let’s get it closer to home—how has smartphone usage affected you and your family members? Let’s be honest here. I know for me and Frank and our little family, we have had to actually set up parameters for each family member that keep us off the smartphone and interacting in a much more meaningful way with each other. We even got extreme a few years back and completely got rid of our iPhones for a few years. You can read about that story here. We also have the Moment APP on our phones to keep track of how much time we are on it. And I am using a few of these apps that help control screen time on each of your family’s devices.
A few statistics about smartphone addiction:
Let’s look at just a few of the current statistics about smartphone usage:
- The average person checks a cellphone 110 times a day.
- 40 percent check their cellphones on the toilet.
- 1 in 5 people ages 18-34 have used their smartphones during sex.
- 61 percent sleep with their phones turned on under a pillow or next to bed.
- 77 percent of parents and teens have argued about smartphone usage.
- 26 percent of car accidents are caused by phone usage (source).
Has Your Mind (or your kid’s mind) Been Hijacked?
Just how serious is your smartphone addiction? We all would find it hard to live without the convenience of having a cellphone. Today’s cellphones are the one miraculous device that handles all the things that used to require the use of as many as six or seven separate devices. But unfortunately, the real danger is when you find yourself using your phone to the exclusion of interaction with others. At that point you are becoming a smartphone addict. Take the “Are You a Phone Addict?” Test here to see where you fit in.
Smartphone addiction has a scientific name—Nomophobia, the fear of being without your smartphone. Nomophobia has some serious consequences, including:
- You’re wasting time.
- You become more anxious.
- You don’t sleep as well.
- Your kids pick up your naughty phone habits.
- Chemical imbalances in the brain (source)
This last consequence is probably the one that we fear the most. It’s hard to get some teens (or ever preteens) to put down their phone long enough to share a meal together as a family. Children are learning that always being connected is normal—and therefore missing out on the importance of human-to-human interaction.
How to End Your Smartphone Addiction
You can research this topic and find many resources that will help you find practical ways to end the addiction to your cellphones. I want to highlight a 5-step plan suggested by Dr. Axe. Whether you use this plan or a different one, it may be time to take action to reduce the smartphone addictions in your family’s life.
1. Turn off your cell phone at least an hour before bed.
Give your brain a chance to unwind and commit to turning off your phone an hour before bedtime.
2. Stop shacking up with your phone.
Get a real alarm clock. Turn your phone completely off overnight, and don’t turn it back on until your morning routine is finished—including morning family time.
3. Set certain times to check your phone.
Do you really need to look at every single email the second it’s receives? Give yourself a set length of time that you allow yourself to check anything work-related. I call this my “buffer” block and have a set 30-minute time in the morning and at night at that I check my email, phone, Facebook, and texts.
4. Establish phone-free zones.
Mealtimes are a good place to start. Set some good examples for your kids. And please say no to phones in bed.
5. Engage in real human contact.
Try spending some real time with your family members. Instead of “liking” a friend’s status, call that person to hear the story firsthand. Set up some coffee dates to catch up with friends. Send cards to faraway friends with a personally written cursive note (just a little homeschool mom’s ranting there).
Establish Some Quality Family Time
One of the best ways to change a bad habit is to start a good habit. I think that can apply to getting free of smartphone addiction as well. There are so many good habits we can set within our families that will communicate the value we place on each family member—and how much we value our time together.
Here are a few ideas for things you can do together that do not require any time on the cellphones.
1. Go outside.
Take a long walk together. Visit a park you’ve never visited before. Plan a weekend camping trip. Do whatever you can to immerse yourself in the outdoors. It’s a fantastic way to connect with your family. Our family spent 25 weeks last year traveling the United States, and it was the best time we had ever spent together.
2. Read together.
Reading together provides a quiet and focused atmosphere that is free of distractions.
3. Play a game.
Family board game times can be some of your children’s favorite memories. There are dozens of appropriate games from which you can choose for a few of your family’s favorite games. We love this game and learn about different herbs while we are playing.
4. Develop enriching mealtimes together.
Whether you choose a scheduled night for going out for a meal at your favorite restaurant, or schedule a night when your entire family cooks a meal together and then spends time around the table telling favorite family memories, it will be time spent that each family member will treasure.
Turn Off the Phone and Turn On the Family Time
Maybe you’ve read this article and said, “That’s not me…I’m not addicted to my phone.” Or maybe you know you are but really don’t think you can live without it. Try this 7-day digital detox!
Whichever is you, commit to taking one first step to using it less. Let that one step inspire you to take the next…and the next…until you really have discovered that some life without technology is not only possible—but downright enjoyable!
The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free.
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb
If you have been following The Paleo Mama and other natural living websites, you’ve no doubt already read several recommendations about the practical and therapeutic benefits of using an essential oil diffuser. There are so many versatile uses for essential oil diffusers. In this article I want to give you some practical information for what, why, and how these simple little devices can enrich your life.
But we need to start by alerting you to some of the reasons not to use the trendy plug ins, aerosol sprays, and candles so popular as ways to improve the quality of your home atmosphere.
Dangers of Plug Ins, Aerosol Sprays, and Candles
Studies have confirmed that the residual chemicals from plug ins can accumulate in ever-increasing amounts in the human body over a period of time, causing health consequences. Plug ins rely on heat induction technology and special heat-activated gels, which cause a scent to be released. These gels can contain an astounding number of toxic compounds. These plug ins contain the same chemicals shown below for aerosol sprays, plus one more—Naphthalene. This chemical has been found to cause cancer in the lungs and tissue damage in lab studies. Experts believe it likely causes the same effect in humans.
Scientific studies have shown that as many as one-quarter of common household air fresheners contain chemicals that may be potentially harmful. And while our lungs have been designed to filter out toxins, the health risks are greater for people whose lungs may already be susceptible (such as asthma or COPD sufferers, and young children). Children don’t have a complete metabolic system and cannot process things in the same way that adults do.
Here is a brief list of the chemicals that may be present in aerosol sprays:
- Volatile organic compounds (1)
- Formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen
- Pthalates, which have been linked to changes in hormone levels, poor semen quality, birth defects, and reproductive harm (2)
- 1,4 dichlorobenzene, which can cause modest reductions in lung function (3)
- Allergens that can cause harm to people with seasonal allergies, chronic asthma, COPD, or even just a common cold.
If you are using candles that are not 100 percent pure beeswax, or are made with 100 percent natural waxes like coconut, hemp, or soy, they are probably toxic. Many of the candles we use, including those wonderful aroma candles, have been made with paraffin wax, which gives off dangerous vapors like benezene and toluene. Some candles have wicks that contain heavy metals that become airborne and easily inhaled when burned. In addition, some of the scents and dyes used to make scented candles release harmful chemicals that can cause hormonal, behavioral and general health related issues.
Why Use an Essential Oil Diffuser?
Essential oil diffusers have been called the harbingers of the essence of beauty and health. What does an essential oil diffuser do? A simple definition is this: They enhance the environment by spreading the fragrance of herbal and essential oils throughout the air. When you use an essential oil diffuser, the essential oil permeates every part of the atmosphere.
These diffusers have both aesthetic and therapeutic purposes, and provide tremendous health and wellness benefits for their users.
Top Benefits of Using an Essential Oil Diffuser
There are many benefits from using an essential oil diffuser. I want to give you some of the most useful benefits so you will understand how these diffusers are so much better for you than the more dangerous plug ins and aerosol sprays.
- Promote Relaxation and Better Sleep—There’s nothing more calming and relaxing at the end of a hard day than breathing in the fragrant and therapeutic aroma of an essential oil diffuser filling the area with some of your favorite essential oils.
- Boost Against Seasonal Illnesses and Threats—Using a diffuser can help you fight illness in three ways: many of the essential oils you can use are powerful anti-microbics, and their vapors ward off airborne pathogens before they can invade your body. Essential oils also can be used to boost the immune system, and they also double as humidifiers to keep your airways moist and healthy so you are not so susceptible to seasonal “bugs.”
- Support Emotional Health—Diffusing essential oils can help you de-stress or can help to energize you on a busy day. They can have a lifting, hope-inspiring effect on you when you are sad or depressed. If you are having a hard getting started in the morning, they can get you going. And they are great for helping to set a romantic mood for that special occasion.
- Provide Additional Discomfort Relief—If you suffer from chronic or persistent discomfort from head tension, sore joints, and overworked muscles the essential oils you use in your diffuser can extend the effect they have when applied topically to the body.
- Lazy Moms Way to Get Oils Into Your Kids Body—If you’re like me, then you are all for things that make your life easier, as a mom, without requiring much extra time. Every morning I turn on the diffuser in our kitchen and make my kids a healthy breakfast. By just breathing the air in the kitchen, they are getting the therapeutic benefits of whatever essential oils I’m diffusing into their bodies.
- Make Your House Smell Good without the Chemicals—As mentioned above in this article, there is a myriad of chemicals and toxins that are in plug-ins, aerosols, and candles. Diffusing can make your house smell nice without any risk of breathing in chemicals that are harmful to our bodies.
- Keep the Bugs Away without the DEET—Diffusing specific essential oils like TerraShield “repellent” blend, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and clove can help keep the mosquitoes away without ruining your airways with harmful ingredients.
Types of Essential Oil Diffusers
There are four types of essential oil diffusers. Let me briefly describe each.
1. Waterless diffusers. These work like a perfume atomizer. They place essential oil into the space of the environment in the form of droplets.
- Pros: They use no heat of water, yet disperse the entire oil into the air for optimal therapeutic benefits.
- Cons: These are often the most expensive to use or buy. Because they use only essential oil, more oil is required.
- Examples: This diffuser is made of oak wood and handmade ceramic, is waterless and uses no heat. And this diffuser is the one most used by health professionals, therapists, and aestheticians.
2. Ultrasonic diffusers. These diffusers use electric current to cause a vibration that spreads essential oil microparticles into the air. This is in the form of a cold mist. No heat is applied to the oil, which keeps the essential oil’s healing properties intact. It is the most popular type of essential oil diffuser today.
- Pros: These use only a small amount of essential oil, and no heat is generated.
- Cons: Only a small fraction of the mist is essential oil, and it depends on the air current already in the room to disperse the oil.
- Examples: The Petal and Lumo diffuser through doTERRA are my favorites. They are a well-designed diffuser structured to take up minimal surface space while filling the air with the scents you enjoy. You can get these when you purchase an essential oil starter package here. The Petal covers about 350 square feet and the Lumo covers 500 square feet.
3. Evaporative oil diffusers. These diffusers basically cause a wind-blown diffusion of the essential oils.
- Pros: Wind-blown diffusion can be a quiet way to spread the oil’s aroma.
- Cons: It may not be a therapeutic because all the components of the whole oil are not diffused at the same time.
- Examples: This diffuser is a great way to enjoy essential oils just about anywhere—plus no heat, water, or cleaning necessary and plugs into a USB outlet
4. Heat diffusers. These diffusers are units like a candle burner, with burns under an upper dish holding the essential oils. They cause the oil to evaporate quickly.
- Pros: Diffusing by using heat is an economical and efficient way to spread the essential oil aroma.
- Cons: The heat used can change the properties of the oil at the molecular level, lessening the therapeutic benefit which is why I don’t recommend using this kind at all.
Which Diffuser Should I Use?
To decide which diffuser is best for you, first consider why you want to use one:
- Do you need one in your kitchen to get you going in the morning?
- Do you want one for its calming effect in your busy office environment?
- Are you trying to provide some healing therapeutic effects for you or your children while you deal with health issues?
- Do you or your family members need help relaxing enough to fall asleep in the evening?
- Are you looking for an emotional boost or motivation?
In addition to these questions, determine how long you want the diffuser to run. Most ultrasonic and waterless diffusers have timers to run from 1 to 16 hours. Some run constantly and then shut off. Others have an intermittent option.
What space do you need it to cover? If you have a very large room, you will want a larger diffuser or two separate diffusers to set up in opposite corners of the room.
Do you want a starter bundle of essential oils to go with your new diffuser? If so then you will want to consider a discounted starter bundle that you can purchase through me here. I think purchasing a ultrasonic diffuser (like the doTERRA Petal or Lumo) is the best for most families.
My Favorite Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe
Hopefully my article has inspired you to choose your perfect diffuser and get that wonderful, therapeutic aroma flowing. Here’s one of my favorite diffusing recipes for you to try…it smells like “fruity pebbles“!
Fruity Pebbles Diffuser Blend
- 2 Drops of Lemongrass
- 2 Drops of Lime
- 2 Drops of Grapefruit
Add to your essential oil diffuser, top with water, and enjoy sweet memories from your childhood!
Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you.
—Orison Swett Marden