Traveling into different time zones throws off the body’s patterns, including digestion. As you know, simple things like using other people’s bathrooms, eating earlier or later, eating out more and socializing while you eat can lead to digestive troubles like constipation, bloating, weight gain and heart burn.
If, like me, you eat for energy and enjoyment, fasting for a day while traveling is not the answer. Aside from the common sense guidelines of drinking plenty of water, exercising daily, choosing seasonal fruit and high fiber foods over dairy and bread, I fall back on these three Ayurveda digestion hacks.
Photo courtesy Shar Veda.
Triphala, “three bitter fruits” in Sanskrit, consists of Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki. It is a powerful rejuvenating tonic that aids digestion and nutrient absorption through the colon, while maintaining regularity. Take it before bed to avoid constipation during every trip.
Aloe Vera Juice, a natural laxative and heartburn soother, also balances stomach acidity and aids in nutrient absorption.
Antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids, aloe juice naturally cleanses the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of remaining food particles that slow the process of digestion. You can’t drink too much of it.
Probiotics support colon health, bowel regularity and overall digestive function by replenishing healthy microbial bacteria. I always go gender specific because, like it or not, men and women have different physical needs.
All three products can be found at your local natural food stores and are worthy of space in your luggage. Stow these essentials in your dopp kit to ensure comfortable, healthy travels. Go, be free of digestive ailments and enjoy your summer adventures.
Email me comments and questions, I love hearing from you.
Shar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, yoga therapist and herbalist. Shar has been blessed to study with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook and Instagram.
While living in Alaska I was introduced to chaga, Inonotus obliquus (pronounced chaw’-guh) which is a fungus that grows on living birch trees in the Northern Hemisphere. This shapeless black mass is approximately 10 to 30 feet up the trunk of an older tree.
The fungus that grows on the tree is known as “clinker polypore” and has a black, burnt-looking exterior and rust red interior. Chaga’s can average 10 to 20 inches in diameter and may reach a weight of 30 to 35 pounds.
Indigenous peoples have been using chaga for its curative properties for centuries. Siberians used it in stews, soups and beverages to boost physical stamina and attain a long life. In ancient writing, Chaga is described as “gift of nature,” “diamond of the forest” and “King of the herbs,” due to its healing ability and high nutritional content.
Chaga is known for super-oxide dismutase, an enzyme that functions as a powerful antioxidant. Another active ingredient is lanosterol, which helps the body rebuild cell membranes and supports the endocrine system. Yet another helpful constituent in chaga is the polysaccharide content which supports the immune system.
Chaga is harvested in cold regions like Siberia, Northern Canada, Alaska and Northern parts of the United States. Harvesting sustainably requires only the inner part of the plant be removed, not the entire conk. This ensures the continued growth of the fungus which protects the tree from damage and susceptibility to harmful infections.
Because chaga is a parasite of the birch tree, when the tree dies so does the fungi. This means that it must be harvested from living trees during the fall, when the trees have gathered water and nutrients for the winter. This is also when the nutritional value is the highest. Do not harvest when the sap starts running from the tree or in the summer months.
I purchase chaga from an Alaskan company that has sustainable harvest practices. Chaga can be ordered online in ground form or individual tea bags.
Refreshing & Healthy Chaga Iced Tea Recipe
1. Put 1 teaspoon of chaga in a tea strainer and steep in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Or steep a tea bag with chaga.
2. Pour over ice. Add lemon and honey or peach slices and a bit of peach juice for additional flavor.
Desiree Bell’s inspiration comes from botanicals and natural materials. She is a vegetarian who has a certificate in herbal studies and a certificate from Australasian College of Health Sciences in Aromatherapy. Follow her on Facebook at Beyond A Garden.
Photo by iStock
Summer means spending plenty of time outdoors and in the garden. It also means the height of bug-bite season. Many commercial repellents include DEET, a chemical with a questionable health safety profile. Fortunately, making your own natural repellent is a simple process, and can also be made alcohol-free for those with sensitivities.
Make your own using this Natural Insect Repellent Recipe.
If you’d prefer to buy a natural repellent, try these effective products:
Lafe’s Organic Insect Repellent
Developed to deter mosquitoes and ticks, Lafe’s oil-based, cruelty-free formula employs geranium, cedar and lemongrass essential oils to ward off bugs.
Buy Lafe's organic repellent: $9
Photo courtesy Lafe's Organic
Herbal Insect Repellent Spray
Meow Meow Tweet’s vegan, handcrafted spray combines essential oils and skin toners for a nontoxic blend that’s safe for everyone.
Buy Meow Meow Tweet's spray: $8
Photo courtesy Meow Meow Tweet
Bug-Bouncer Concentrated Repellent
With 30 years of road-testing to its name, Bug-Bouncer contains ultra-effective, potent essential oils.
Buy Bug-Bouncer: $10
Photo courtesy Bug Bouncer
Bite & Burn Spray
Treat bites (as well as minor burns) with Fat and the Moon’s Bite & Burn Spray, which uses yarrow, witch hazel and tea tree oil to disinfect and promote healing.
Buy Fat and the Moon's spray: $10
Photo courtesy Fat and the Moon
Simply Soothing’s Bug Soother repels a range of insects, from mosquitoes to sand fleas. Its castor-oil formula is safe for adults, kids and even animals.
Buy Simply Soothing repellent: $4
Photo courtesy Simply Soothing
Photo by Fotolia/Maridav
Natural Insect Repellent Recipe
This formulation is safe for pregnant and lactating women, children 3 years and older, and those with sensitive skin. Its delicate floral-green scent appeals to everyone except bugs. This version uses oil as its base ingredient, which leaves skin feeling velvety-soft and nongreasy. Organic soybean oil has natural bug-repellent properties, but you can substitute any lightweight base oil.
Caution: Use one of the two species of eucalyptus essential oil specified. Do not use other species of eucalyptus.
• 16 drops each of the following essential oils: lavender, geranium, eucalyptus (species radiata or smithii)
• 1⁄2 cup organic soybean base oil
• 4-ounce spritzer, pump or squeeze bottle
1. Add essential oils to storage bottle, then add soybean oil. Screw on top and shake vigorously.
2. Allow spray to synergize for 1 hour.
3. Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year.
Application: Shake well before using. Put a bit of this formula on your palms, then massage it onto areas that need protection. If skin feels greasy after application, you’ve used too much. Reapply as needed.
Note: To make a lighter-textured version, which some people prefer, especially in hot, humid climates, replace the soybean oil with a combination of 1⁄2 teaspoon each liquid castile soap (peppermint- or eucalyptus-scented) and vegetable glycerin, and 1⁄4 cup each purified water and unflavored vodka. Reapply this version every 20 to 30 minutes.
Excerpted from Naturally Bug-Free by Stephanie Tourles with permission of Storey Publishing.
Photo by iStock
Studies on botanical medicines abound, but often get mixed results. This is frequently because the wrong part of the plant or the wrong preparation is used in the study. Occasional studies compare use of botanical therapies with conventional therapies. I’d say, overall, they come out to be comparable or better. One such study, published in the journal Clinical Interventions of Aging in 2014, compared the use of turmeric to ibuprofen. In the study, 367 patients with knee osteoarthritis pain that scored five or higher (out of 10) and were 50 or older were randomly given ibuprofen (1,200 mg a day) or Curcuma domestica (turmeric) extracts (1,500 mg a day) for four weeks. They were measured throughout the study on pain qualification measurements, as well as walking distance measurements to evaluate pain, stiffness and function. The study found the turmeric extracts equally effective as the ibuprofen; however, the ibuprofen had more side effects such as abdominal pain. Ibuprofen also carries known risks of kidney damage and other side effects that turmeric does not have. Turmeric can be supplemented in a variety of ways, as well—it can be eaten; mixed into drinks called “golden milks;” and taken in capsules, tinctures and much more. I like to mix the powder with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and honey and eat a teaspoon of it a couple of times a day. Preparation does matter with herbs, and turmeric is better absorbed if it is eaten or ingested with things like fat, lecithin, black pepper or other spices. (This goes to show that Indian cuisine is practically a food pharmacy.)
Photo by iStock
Insurance coverage of complementary health approaches is complex and confusing—so much so that it’s almost impossible to make any general statements about it. Coverage may vary greatly depending on state laws, regulations and differences among specific insurance plans. If you would like to use a complementary approach and you’re wondering whether your health insurance will cover it, it’s a good idea to do some investigating. Contacting your health insurance provider is a good way to start.
Reprinted from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Yeast infections are very common. So common, in fact, that 75 percent of women will have one at some point in their life. Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans, an organism that feeds on sugar and yeast, and unbalanced pH levels. If you’re prone to yeast infections, or UTIs, you’re not alone and can do a number of things to avoid them.
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Follow these five recommendations and you’ll be much less likely to ever worry about vaginal health, again.
Take a high potency vaginal probiotic. If you’re like me, you like chocolate and sweets sometimes. Well ladies, we can’t eat sugar without taking a probiotic because sugar feeds yeast. So, if you don’t take a probiotic to help battle the yeast—the yeast will get out of control. I am absolutely not a pill or supplement person, but I always take a probiotic; it is a necessity. A quality vaginal probiotic, one with acidophilis (and, no, yogurt is not enough) maintains a healthy bacterial balance in your yoni and urinary tract.
Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Vaginal Care 50 Billion is my favorite. If I go more than five days without it, my body tells me to bring it back. Note: These particular probiotics do require refrigeration. When I go on vacation, I have a shelf stable probiotic with me at all times and Health Force Friendly Force is a good one. Healthy Force is primarily for gut health, but it’s good to change things up sometimes. However, any quality, high-potency, shelf stable acidophilis will do on the road.
No more polyester pants. I don’t care how great they may make you look, your yoni needs to breath. Wear only natural, breathable under garments and pants. When you can, go commando. Yep, I did just say that.
Photo by Fotolia/Jacob Lund.
Nourish your body. Eat living fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of pure water. Avoid processed foods and sugary beverages.
Avoid things that may disrupt your body’s natural pH balance. Do not douche, use scented tampons or yeast infection bombs, and stay away from unnecessary antibiotics. These things are sure-fire ways to change the healthy balance of organisms in your vagina.
Since summer is a prime season for developing yeast infections, a super-simple way to keep irritation at bay is to change into dry clothing as soon as possible after you sweat or go swimming. Easy-peasy loves!
Find more information about treating embarrassing health conditions, natural remedies for yeast infections and UTIs, and learn more about candida to keep your body happy and healthy.
Shar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, offers deep healing through loving touch and compassionate counsel. She is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, yoga therapist and herbalist. Shar has been blessed to study with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook and Instagram!