Travel Tips- Eating Healthy During Airplane Travel

During the last decade of my life, I have had more than my fair share of airplane travel. First, a trans-Atlantic long distance relationship and then living abroad in two countries meant frequent trips back home to visit family and friends. After the first few years, it became apparent that we had to change the way we viewed eating while traveling because it seemed that a trip always threw us off our healthy eating game. What that means has evolved throughout the years, but now I would define it as plant based, high raw and nutrient dense food eaten with the goal if feeling great physically, emotional and spiritually. So, depending on your personal health goals, feel free to take what works for you and leave the rest!

Greens and Superfood Powders
Can you find a fresh squeezed orange juice, even bottled? Or water? Add a few spoons of a green super food powder and you are good to go! You can rest easy knowing that you are well nourished and getting your greens in. For green powder blends, we like our own Sacred Strawberry Pura Vida, as well as Healthforce Nutritionals’ Vitamineral Green and Greener Grasses. For single powders, we like to have something deep green, like Spirulina, chlorella, barleygrass or wheatgrass juice powder as well as something super high in Vitamin C, antioxidant and high vibrational! Good options are Camu-Camu, rosehips (rosa mosqueta), acai berries or acerola cherries. Choose ones that you like the flavor of, that feel good in your body and that you resonate with.

Bonus points for adding a few tablespoons chia seeds to your liquid and powders mix. This makes it filling and gives you sustainable energy, as well as necessary essential fatty acids and fiber. This can act as a meal in a pinch.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
This really can’t be stated enough. Planes literally suck the moisture from your body and the high stress environment of airports can make it easy to neglect this, especially if you are afraid of needing to pee. Drink more than you think is necessary, and then drink some more. Your body will thank you once you get to your destination. I can’t claim that if will prevent jet lag, but you will be in much better spirits and have a fighting chance of avoiding it.

Drink a BIG green smoothie before you go through security.
This will set you up so that you don’t need to worry about food this side and depending on the length of your flight, on the plane as well. They won’t let you take it through security, so drink up! Make it delicious and fill it with some good fats so that it keeps you fuller for longer. Excellent choices would be things like coconut butter, soaked nuts or nut butters, hemp seeds, avocado etc.

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Bring snacks!
Don’t skimp on this. It is way better to bring too much than not enough. We like to bring a trail mix of some sort (sprouted nuts and seeds, goji berries, dried pineapple , cacao nibs etc.), single serve packs of nut butters, raw chocolate for sweet cravings, raw dehydrated crackers and even cut up fresh vegetables. Cucumber is wonderful for airplane travel because it is so hydrating! Whole fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are easy to travel with. Find a plastic knife at one of the airport cafés, cut up your apple or banana, drizzle it with nut butter and sprinkle on a bit of your superfood powder that you brought. This makes it easy to use what you bring!
Also, most Sacred Strawberry snacks make excellent travel food! Sprouted crackers, kale chips and Love Balls all make excellent options for nutritious and delicious healthy snacks!

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Don’t be afraid to go without.
I understand that this one might bring up all sorts of emotions, and it may not be right for you at this time. The truth is though that being in a plane brings our digestive system to a halt. Add to that the stress of traveling, and it can add up to digestive distress. It can mean the perfect opportunity to do a little mini cleanse/fast. Make sure you stay well hydrated and that you have loads of positive entertainment- inspirational books, music you love to hear, podcasts of speakers you love to hear ( especially about health and wellness), a journal to jot down anything you want, or the feelings that come up for you. Relax and allow the freedom that comes from not stressing about what to eat wash over you.

Choose airport food wisely.
I get excited when I see a Jamba Juice, but I know now that their smoothies are NOT fresh fruit and are full of sugary things that don’t make me feel good. Instead, I go for a huge fresh squeezed orange juice and a double shot of wheatgrass juice.
Also, sometimes you can find a sushi restaurant that has avocado rolls with brown rice or seaweed salad. That really is about the only thing that we as a family feel comfortable consuming, due to a variety of factors. We have gotten sick from eating salads in airports before, and have also spent ridiculous sums of money on food that we would never ever considered eating outside that environment. It’s just not worth it!

Plan your next meal well.
If you have a connecting flight and are going to have to eat in an airport that night, pack a light meal with you and make sure that you eat it! Research what restaurants are in your terminal so that you can then look online and find out what they offer before you arrive tired, hungry and DONE! This is a recipe for heading straight to whatever your trigger foods are. In other words, fail to plan and plan to fail! If you have a short flight, find out what healthy restaurants are near where you are headed to. I never, ever go anywhere without first checking out happycow.net. That way, I can look and see what health food stores, vegetarian restaurants and markets are in our area and where I would like to plan to go visit. Tourism for me has always included vegan and raw food restaurants, health food stores and organic markets. It is one of my favorite ways to get to know a new city! Sometimes, just knowing what incredible healthful food awaits you can prevent spur of the moment less than optimal food choices in an airport.

Stay positive and do the best with what you have!
It’s not about perfection, it’s about having fun and feeling great. If you find yourself marooned and starving and walk past a veggie pizza and the idea of walking across two more terminals to find somewhere that may or may not offer salad is too much for you, then STOP! The stress and negativity that beating yourself up brings is far worse than any food choice! Whatever you eat, eat with enjoyment, gratitude and love.

I sincerely hope that something in here helps you on your health journey. Bon voyage!

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How to eat your kale and move on!

Have you heard all the alarmist news stories about how kale is bad for your health?   Well, kale is goitrogenic and thus should not be consumed in ridiculously vast quantities, especially if you already have thyroid dysfunction. For most people, we are talking having a big green juice in the morning made of mostly kale, followed by a massaged kale salad for lunch and maybe some kale chips for snacking on.   However, there are two ways to eat your kale and stay abundantly nourished and vibrantly healthy.

1. Protect your thyroid

Most people are iodine deficient.  Many types of radiation are taken in by the thyroid in search of iodine, so make sure your thyroid is fully topped up with iodine.  Our family enjoys iodine rich foods in the form of seaweed, especially kelp and also supplementing with Nascent Iodine product.  Kelp is extremely rich in iodine, in fact many times higher than most other types of readily available seaweeds.  It is also relatively inexpensive. Kelp is something that should be eaten in small quantities regularly.  If you want to mix it up a little, our Sacred Strawberry brand Tahini Dill Kale Chips contain kelp.  It’s a perfect marriage!

2. Rotate your greens

By regularly switching up the greens you eat, you avoid any build up of plant alkaloids or anti-nutrients that one particular green may have.  Kale, collards and mustard greens contain goitrogens; spinach and beet greens have oxalic acid; lettuce has traces of opioid like sedative compounds, etc. Eating too many of one thing only is not eating optimally- we need variety! By eating only one type of green that you find tastiest, you also miss out on the benefits that other greens have- different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Eating a variety of greens over time is what we want to strive for.

Love Kale!

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photo by KeepCalmShop on Etsy 🙂  I can totally see this framed and in the kitchen!

Baby Products I Couldn’t Live Without

These are just a few of the things that, while not absolutely necessary, certainly made our first year with Amethyst a little easier. Some of the things that I would consider to be necessary for us, like our homemade goat milk formula are not included on here.

1. Lifefactory bottles
We love these for the whole family!

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The main thing we love about these is that they are glass which means that they are of course bpa free and just healthier in general for not being plastic. Maybe just as important is the fact that glass wins from an environmental perspective as well. They don’t deteriorate the way our previously used plastic ones did and if we are blessed with another wee one in the future we will just need to buy new nipples.
Also, you can get sippy cup tops for them when your baby transitions.
Yay for reducing, reusing and recycling!!

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I have one for adults, too!

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2. One Size Cloth Diapers

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This is a small portion of our stash and a Pound Puppy from when I was a kid!
We love the idea of one diaper that you can use for the entire process until your child is no longer in diapers. Amethyst us almost a year old now and we use the Blueberry brand. I think we started with the one size diapers at about 2 months. I like bamboo liners for the day and micro fiber for night or when we need more absorbency, like on the road . For the newborn period I recommend TotsBots, specifically for newborns. This is one of ours. When we moved to the States she was basically too big for them so most of them are still in storage in Spain.

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Reusable diapers clearly do not look new after months of wearing and washing. If they are good quality diapers however, they can certainly be reused with subsequent babies. There is also a market for used cloth diapers if you want to either try some for cheaper or pass on your no longer needed nappies.

3. Amber teething necklaces

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Amethyst has seven teeth now and we have exclusively used these. They are super cute when worn (especially two like Amethyst wears) and apparently effective. We haven’t needed to use ANYTHING else and she always gets complimented on her jewelry 🙂 My mom has a lot of mouth discomfort due to dental issues after radiation for throat cancer and she got an adult version of an amber teething necklace for herself!

4. Kimono style onesies

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Baby leg photobomb!
Not only are these just super cute but also easier to put on than the whole onesie over the head thing. In winter a long sleeved one with footie pants is perfect and in summer short sleeved either alone or with cotton leggings is always cute and comfortable. They aren’t that easy to find ( i.e. not at any of the big box stores all over America) especially not in organic fibers but you can find them online or if you have an H&M near you, they are awesome for cool baby clothes. We got Amethyst organic kimono style onesies in really neat colors for ridiculously cheap, like 6 euros when we lived in Madrid. She has since outgrown almost all of them and I wish I would have had the foresight to buy a stash for at least up to a year!

5. Manduca baby carrier

When Amethyst was a newborn I wore her in a Moby style semi-elastic wrap and we both loved it! After a few months though, she was too heavy for it and she would sag so we started using the Manduca more. It is basically a European version of the Ergo baby or Beco Gemini.

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It’s construction and look means my hubby likes to carry her in it as well, which is awesome for all of us. We discovered about a month ago that Amethyst likes to go in a stroller and it will put her right to sleep. That does have its uses but we still don’t use it if we are out and about. It is just too easy to just wear her!

Natural Tooth Care

For most of my adult life, I didn’t really pay much attention to my teeth. I brushed daily but mostly didn’t floss, went to the dentist yearly, got fillings in my cavities and that was that. Okay, it is true that I avoided fluoride (mostly easy due to living in Europe where our tap water wasn’t fluoridated) and at some point I learned about the dangers of mercury fillings so I started getting non-amalgam fillings when I needed them. In the past few years, I read some of Weston Price and also switched to a non-glycerin based toothpaste (ToothSoap). Towards the end of my pregnancy with Amethyst, I started having some mouth trouble. Not a whole lot, but there was a tooth that I was aware of a lot. About a month after I gave birth, one day all hell broke loose and it HURT. Like curled up in fetal position while my newborn cried her eyes out in the cot because I was in too much pain to even take care of her pain. So bad. I had a drug-free birth, but this was so bad i would have taken anything!! In desperation I called my yoga teacher who happened to have pain pills from when her husband had surgery. That allowed me to sleep and figure it out. I didn’t really know what to do, but ended up at a holistic dentistry practice. It was amazing, and so different to any other dental experience I had ever had. The dentist spoke with me about my lifestyle and my diet and then did a thorough work up of my mouth, explaining to me the exact state of my teeth, which teeth had mercury fillings and which of those were cracked and/or leaching, which teeth had cavities and where, etc. and then prioritized them for me in order of importance. I still have a lot of it left to do, but I feel more empowered and responsible for the health of my mouth. Here are a few of the practices and products that I find to be especially beneficial:
1. Oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic technique involves simply swishing an oil, traditionally sesame or coconut, in the mouth and “pulling” it back and forth through the teeth for about 10 minutes. It is said to actually leach toxins from the body, rid the mouth of bacteria, reduce plaque and generally rejuvenate the mouth and body. I use olive oil because I don’t mind the taste and notice that when I do it regularly that my teeth are whiter and cleaner looking.
2. Use a non-glycerin based toothpaste. This is hard if you look for a “natural” toothpaste because all of the major brands contain glycerin. The reason why it is best to avoid is because glycerin coats the teeth, making it impossible for them to re-mineralize when we eat certain nutrient dense foods. Do you drink green juice? Well, it isn’t helping your teeth any if they can’t absorb it! I use this toothpaste now:

20130801-001007.jpg. This one has gets bonus points for having xylitol, which is known to strengthen teeth and gums and for having all food based ingredients.
3. Floss. Seriously, do it. Every day. I find that if I go more than two days without flossing, my gums begin to bleed and recede. No bueno.
4. Do not use an alcohol based mouthwash. The alcohol is too harsh for the flora of your mouth and while yes, it decimates the bacteria, that means the good bacteria too, which actually prevent tooth decay. In turn, the bad bacteria flourish unchecked and it becomes a vicious cycle. A lot of the more natural alternatives use glycerin. Not good, as per above. If you want fresh breath, gargle with an herbal tea or chew on some mint or parsley leaves. It works!
5. Learn to brush! Go with the grain of your teeth, and gently does it. Make sure you get in the pocket between your teeth and your gums, right under where the gum line is.
Living Libations has some incredible tooth care products, and while totally worth it, are too spendy for my budget right now.
Are there any practices or products that you can’t live without?

Embracing the Crafty Goddess Within

I like to think of myself as having a DIY spirit. The truth is, though, that I have more of a ” let me find a template and then search for about 10 examples of the finished product using said template so that I can see how other people have done it first.”

The problem with this approach is that

1. I spend ridiculous amounts of time on “research” and then can’t find time to actually create anything.

2. I have abundant fodder for self-comparison and thus judgement and

3. I am invalidating my experience, talents and creativity.

I know that a large factor in all of this is simple old fear of failure. What if I spend x amount of time and x amount of supplies(i.e. money) on the project and it comes out crap?

As women ( humans, really) we are infinitely creative. In fact, that is our true nature. With help from the Divine, we create the world with and through our very bodies. What could be more creative than that? I think that once we realize that it is our nature to do so, we cannot fail!

So what I can’t crochet a doily to save my life or that bias tape is my arch enemy?? So what the best gluten-free cupcakes I have ever had weren’t made by me? So what there is another mama out there who not only uses cloth diapers, but MAKES her own?

I have my own gifts, just as you have yours. But neither you nor I can ever embrace those gifts and realize our potential if we do not first embrace our true nature and embody it!

I think that keeping company with other women is important to the process. Women’s circles, stitch-n-bitch, red tents, whatever the details are is unimportant. We need a sisterhood of support, of inspiration and of shared resources. In my life, this is one of the most glaringly obvious voids and I want more than anything to one day be a part of something similar.

So go make something, already!

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DIY Diaper Wipes

Diaper wipes aren’t a very sexy blog post and clearly if you don’t have babies then it certainly isn’t relevant.
If you gotta wipe a baby booty, though, well you need a wipe.
Before I had Amethyst, I had all these grand plans to not only use cloth diapers exclusively, but also to use reusable and washable wipes like cloth ( organic hemp, of course lol.) Cloth diapering is totally worth it to really make an effort and try to make it work, at least in my experience with my family.
But the cloth wipes… For me, it just hasn’t worked out. The first time you have a blowout poop to deal with along with a crying baby and the knowledge that at some point you will have to deal with the poopy diaper, the idea of using a cloth wipe is unbearable! It’s like please give me something I can just use and throw away! Fuck it, I will be a bad environmentalist if it means touching even a little less poop throughout the day.

What I can’t do though, is wipe my littles’ precious boot with normal baby wipes. Even in the so-called natural ones there is still a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce but I know that at the very least I don’t want triclosan, parabens, sodium laureth/ laurel sulfates, and a bunch of iso-, butyl-, propyl-, hexl- what have you’s. This is where homemade wipes come in. Now, I know they aren’t perfect as it is still wasteful and using virgin forests, etc. But man, living in the world is hard sometimes.

First, get a plastic box with a lid. Something smallish and rectangular but big enough to fit a standard roll of paper towels.
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Next, get a roll of paper towels. Awesome if you can find/ afford recycled ones. Place the roll into the box.
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Now gather your ingredients.
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You need some kind of mild soap. I use Dr. Bronners unscented baby soap because I use that soap for everything I need to wash for Amethyst.
You also need an oil (coconut oil is great because it is naturally anti-fungal but you can use whatever good quality oil you have on hand like olive, grapeseed, sesame etc.) and some essential oils. I always use tea tree oil for antibacterial goodness and lavender oil because it is soothing and smells divine. Sometimes I will add in another oil like rose, peppermint or rosemary.
In a blender, put two cups of water, a generous squirt of soap, a tablespoon of oil and a few drops of each essential oil.
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Blend for a few seconds until it is foamy and then pour on top of the paper towel roll that you put in the box.
As it sits soaking up the liquid, you will be able to remove the cardboard tube in the middle.
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That is it!
If you need some for on the go, just take some from the roll and put them into a ziplock bag. I have one in my diaper bag that I refill as necessary. It works out so much cheaper for us to do this! So, even if you don’t have babies, pass this idea along to any mamas you know who might be interested.