What does a natural lifestyle mean to you?
That’s a good question. And not so easy to answer when you really think about it. There are so many components of a natural lifestyle. Sometimes so many that it’s overwhelming!
Essential Oil Boom
One aspect of natural living that has really blossomed in recent years is the use of essential oils.
When I started my real food journey in 2010 that was not a term I had ever heard. Now it seems that every other friend is selling them.
I love seeing so many people feeling the pull towards a better way of living! It is so encouraging.
But…There Is A Problem
There is just one glaring problem I see with essential oils.
I see someone post a picture on Facebook of their current diffuser blend (usually some sort of stress relief for themselves or calming for their kids). Then the next post is of their hyper children with blue-stained faces from candy or neon-colored crackers.
Anybody else see the irony there??
I see other people so busy with two working parents, three activities per child each week and no time to cook dinner. So it’s fast food in the car four nights a week going from one sport to the next lesson back to back. Then when their child is sick for the sixth time during the winter they slap on some essential oils and call it good.
Doesn’t anybody else see major red flags here??
I see kids going to bed late after yet one more activity or get together, even if they have to get up early for school the next day. Then when the child is so overtired that they are having meltdowns non-stop, both the parents and the kids slather on calming oils.
It Gets Worse
The use of essential oils can even prevent healing and they aren’t necessarily free of side effects.
I am a firm believer that if you really want to feel well you need to address problems at the root. That means treat the actual problem instead of just symptoms.
A lot of my research on essential oils has given me ways to use them to treat symptoms. Unfortunately, for most people that means the end of their search for healing.
For example, I read about a certain oil to use if you child has eczema. As someone that has dealt with kids with varying degrees of allergies for many years I know that eczema is merely a symptom of something deeper. Eczema was my son’s very first symptom that led us to pursue more healing and to figure out his allergies.
If I had just put some oils on his legs it would not have had any impact on his gut health and deeper issues causing the eczema – even if it had helped clear the skin. Using an oil to relieve a symptom (the eczema) would have stopped us from actually working on the root problem.
That is serious!
Food. Comes. First.
I’ve been studying and living a real food lifestyle for over six years now. And one thing that I have always strongly believed is that food comes first. Always.
If you can only make enough time in your life for one step towards better health, make it nourishing food.
If you only have enough money to use towards one natural lifestyle change, make it nourishing food.
Food Comes First. Period.
Maybe you’re wondering, does this lady even use essential oils?
I’ve been using essential oils for about two years now. My kids love them. I like to diffuse in the living room so we can all benefit.
But I don’t make them my first line of defense against anything. I focus most of my time and energy on making sure my family is eating real, nutrient dense food. And for our family with various allergies that means that literally almost every single thing is from scratch. Even down to our graham crackers, tortillas and ice cream. It is a lot of work, but it is also a top priority.
After Food Comes Lifestyle
Again, before tackling symptoms, you lay the foundation:
- No late bed times (kids NEED quality sleep and enough sleep).
- Keep stress to a minimum. Every child does not have to be involved in extracurricular activities five nights a week. I promise you they will do just fine (dare I say maybe even better?) spending their spare minutes of the day just playing and having fun. Pick one activity they really love and cut out the rest of the chaos. This will make your first goal of nourishing foods much easier too. You can have family dinners every night.
- Make time for movement. Run, play and work together as a family.
- Keep screen time to a minimum. Have fun together.
- Treat a health issue from the root. Don’t simply treat symptoms.
Where Do Essential Oils Fit?
If you have all of these food and lifestyle changes in place, then essential oils can add a new dimension to your natural lifestyle. And you’ll actually see their true benefits.
Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly.Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak? Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested:You can read more about why it’s so important to dilute essential oils here, and I know the little chart will be helpful!
Do I think essential oils are bad?
Absolutely not! In fact, I use them almost every day.
Essential oils are a wonderful addition to a real food and whole health lifestyle.
But don’t let essential oils give you a false sense of security. They DO NOT negate a poor diet and hectic lifestyle. It’s like putting a little bandage over a gaping cut. It might help a little. But it’s not going to stop the bleeding.
They do not replace finding solutions to a deep issue.
Food is always first. Focus the majority of your time and energy into making nutrient dense real food. Make stress reduction and sleep a priority.
Then use essential oils for added immune boosting, calming and healing. You might be surprised how much less you actually need them!
Essential Oils and the Brain
Watch this quick video for info on the vagus nerve, how essential oils can be a “backdoor” entry to health, and the importance to your whole family of getting into a parasympathetic state more often:
Can’t see the video? Watch Essential Oils and the Brain here on YouTube.
And the oil she held up in the video is one of her own special blends, appropriately called Parasympathetic. You can get your own hands on some here.
More Information on Essential Oils and Eczema
- I’m Not Afraid to Use Essential Oils on My Kids Anymore
- I Might Have to Trash Some Essential Oil Bottles
- How to Dilute Essential Oils for Topical Application
- 3 Reasons Essential Oils Could Hurt Your Family
- We Healed our Eczema with one Simple New Habit
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from which I will earn a commission. See my full disclosure statement here.Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.