Hey everyone! I've been a bit quiet on here lately. My quiet time has been spent doing a lot of thinking, and I want to share my thoughts with you and start a group exercise.
Let's talk about the junk drawer... It's where we put those hardware store receipts, old pens, zip ties, post it notes, electronics manuals, super glue, half used batteries, and unknown keys. All that junk is there, staring us in the face, day after day, and we just keep filling it up with more stuff. It stays there for years, most of it never being used, and it's so unorganized we can't find anything in it anyways. If we're honest with ourselves, a lot of our life resembles this drawer. Our schedules, closets, social lives, garages, attics, cars... the list goes on.
I'm so excited to share this interview with Anna from Motion in Motherhood! I love meeting and collaborating with others working in the health and wellness space to make our world a happier and healthier place!
Anna began her work as an occupational therapist in the pediatric setting after graduating from The Medical University of South Carolina. During this time, she addressed fine motor, sensory processing, self-help, milestone and feeding delays. Anna is also a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. While completing in-home services for babies and toddlers, Anna recognized the significant lack of services available for mothers to address the concerns and difficulties in their daily lives. This realization sparked significant research and training to fill a gap in services and ensure a continuum of care for mothers during their transition into motherhood. Many moms give their ALL to their family, but if the tank is half full, who is taking care of mom’s needs?
A Snippet from her website:
Labor and delivery impact your body tremendously. While recovering physically, mothers are also shifting into their role of caring for a newborn. Anna recognized the physical, mental, and psychological effects this transition has on all moms and set out to create a shift in maternal postpartum care.
Whether your goals are to decrease or prevent pain during daily tasks, ensure your baby is being well fed, adjust to your role as Mama to a newborn, or gain confidence in your routine, Motion in Motherhood is here for you.
Reach out to Anna today! https://www.motioninmotherhood.com/
Pre Travel Preparations
Part 2: 3 Min read
I’m back at it this week with part two of a blog series on traveling and keeping your gut happy and healthy. Last week we talked about pre travel packing considerations and this week we will focus on travel preparations. Away we go...
1. Eat healthy
I’m talking about eating really clean just before you leave for your trip. Put your gut in a happy place before you take off on your journey. The travel itself is hard enough on the digestive system, but adding an unfamiliar city, late nights, and possibly navigating a language barrier, it could be a recipe for disaster if your body isn’t prepared.
2. Prepare a Travel Meal
Be sure to call the airline to choose a special meal that suits your dietary or nutritional protocol best. You may discover that the meal options won’t work for you at all, so make sure you pack something healthy to eat and don’t fall into the trap of eating a bag of chips or skipping a meal. It’s a good rule of thumb to check travel restrictions before choosing the food and containers you will bring. If you are traveling by car or train it will be easy to pack a meal to take with you.
3. Research your destination and surrounding restaurants
Make sure that you are able to eat the staples of the country or city you are traveling to. You don’t want to be traveling to Japan and not be able to tolerate white rice… Do your research on the restaurants you want to go to. I search for Paleo or gluten free restaurants and try to go to ones that have allergens clearly labeled on the menu. This isn’t always an option, so calling the restaurant beforehand to discuss your needs is always recommended--the restaurant will also appreciate the heads up! I tend to do a google search or check the following sites: nationalceliac.org/directory or findmeglutenfree.com.
If you are traveling to a place that speaks a different language, you will need to do some translating. Do this ahead of time, and write down items you can and cannot eat where they are easily accessible during your trip. This will make it easier when communicating with a restaurant or market.
5. Locate a market and a green space
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is go to an open air market. The colors and smells are a unique cultural experience that you shouldn’t miss. You can buy everything you need to make yourself a picnic. Pick up some locally sourced fruit, veggies, and sliced meats, and head over to a park where you can enjoy your picnic lunch with friends. This also works if you are planning a romantic night with your partner, wink wink, nudge nudge!
6. Stay Active
If you’re exploring a city, this will happen naturally, but if you’re on a lazy beach vacation, you’ll need to be more intentional about your movement. Take a walk, go on a hike, play tennis, go for a swim, do some stretching… I’m not saying you have to go run a marathon, just make sure you are getting in some movement every day.
7. Drink LOTS of water
I can’t say this enough. Drink water before, during, and after your trip. Make sure you pack enough water on the journey to your destination, as this will help keep your immune system strong, fight jet lag, and keep your gut happy. Packing a reusable water bottle will allow you to keep your water consumption up and your card charges down. It’s also more environmentally friendly. Side note -You should always check to see if the water is safe to drink at your destination. Bottom line, drink more water!
8. Stay somewhere with a kitchen
With so many options for places to stay now, it’s easy to reserve somewhere that has a kitchenette or a fridge at the least. I prefer to stay somewhere with a small kitchen so I can cook a few meals with the beautiful produce I bought at the market. It’s a great way to be fiscally savvy, but also ensure you have several nutritious and safe meals that don’t have any surprise ingredients.
I hope some of these tips over the last two weeks regarding travel packing and prep will ease your anxiety and increase your excitement! So get back out there and get traveling!
Find me on instagram @lifestyle_innovations and let me know if this was helpful and which points resonated the most with you. Follow me for more wellness tips!
Happy Travels Y’all!
Travel and Gut Health: A Two Part Blog Series
Part 1: 3 Min read
I wrote this blog post for instagrammer @reclaimedhealthjayde, but thought it was too good not to share with my readers as well. I know we're not doing much traveling right now with covid :( , but a lot of us are dreaming about our next trip when it's safe to do so. Hope you enjoy!
I love to travel. Even more so, I LOVE to eat. So naturally, exploring the local cuisine while traveling is as good as it gets. I spent most of my 20s traveling, and upon returning home, immediately planning my next trip. I was outgoing and adventurous, never met a stranger or a food too exotic, and I ate and drank everything in sight -including sheep’s brain once in Marrakech!
Traveling naturally gets harder as we get older. There are many more obstacles and responsibilities like school, jobs, relationships, or children, but I had no idea I would also add food sensitivities and gut issues to that list. It took me a long time to recognize what the problem was, but after years of struggle, I discovered and followed the Autoimmune Protocol and experienced significant gut healing and relief.
As I began to consider traveling again, I thought about how much harder it would be now that I had to worry about everything on my plate. I am strictly gluten, dairy, and soy free. I also have to be careful with nightshades and eggs, as I seem to have a threshold that I will reach and cross without warning. At first I felt hopeless like I would never be able to enjoy traveling and eating again. But this just isn’t true, and I want to give you some tips on how to keep your gut healthy and stay true to your dietary protocols while traveling and still have an amazing time.
PSA: The number one most important thing is preparation. If you’re like me you know you can’t just show up at a restaurant, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. So I want to walk you through some steps that will hopefully ease your anxiety during the planning and traveling process.
Pre travel Packing
1. Pack early
This will decrease your stress before your trip, and we all know the intricate relationship stress has on the gut. We don’t want to add stress to the digestive system just before a journey.
2. Pack your food staples
While we’re talking about packing, here are a few things you should consider taking with you just in case. Pack only things you will actually eat, and make sure they are shelf stable items. Taking your favorite spices or flour is a good idea if you plan on doing some cooking, as they may be hard to find or unavailable at your destination.
3. Pack containers and lunch box
Taking a small cooler to keep in your room if you don’t have a fridge, or a small lunch box that will fit in your backpack is a great idea. They even make backpack coolers now! This way you can keep snacks or lunch with you and you don’t have to worry about eating something that may be contaminated with an allergen or irritant. I also suggest taking some small tupperware or ziploc containers to hold snacks.
4. Pack Probiotics
You may already be taking probiotics, but if not, you should consider taking them before you leave. Make sure they are not the kind that require refrigeration, so they don’t spoil while you travel. Collagen peptides are another great item to take to support gut health. Here is a link to some handy travel packs you can dump into your water bottle on the go. vitalproteins.com
5. Pack Digestive Enzymes
This isn’t something you should be taking everyday, as it will impede nutrient absorption, but if you plan on eating out and are concerned about ingesting something that could make you feel ill during your trip, pop in a digestive enzyme to help quickly pass that meal through your system.
Stay tuned for part two next week where I will be discussing Travel and Gut Health: Pre Travel Preparations! In the meantime, follow me @lifestyle_innovations on instagram and find my autoimmune and chronic illness facebook group Lifestyle Innovations Autoimmune Support Group. facebook.com
This summer, I’m on the quest for the perfect sunscreen and I want to share it with you. But let me tell you, it has taken FOREVER! Brands aren’t always forthcoming about ingredients and you have to do so some digging. Also, have you ever really looked at what’s in your sunscreen. Can you pronounce any of it? NOPE and as a good rule of thumb, if you can pronounce it, don’t use it.
I'm glad I’m able to save you some time when purchasing sunscreen and take a minute to educate you on the importance of buying the right product. First let me tell you about my qualifications for who made it onto this list, because there were many other sunscreens that I researched and tested, but only the best will do.
Personal health and safety is my top priority. These sunscreens have been rated 3 or below out of 10 by the Environmental Working Group. 10 being the highest offender and 0 (EWG verified) a perfect score. This group bases their ratings around concern levels of Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity, Cancer, Use Restrictions, and Allergies and Immunotoxicity. Most big name brands on the shelves of CVS and WalMart are a 6 and above. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of my eyes burning and I don’t want to worry about cancer as a side effect of my sunscreen.
Another big concern for me (and I hope for you too) is environmental safety. I love to scuba dive and paddle board and I don’t want my sunscreen to damage Nemo and his friends. Research shows us that common chemicals in sunscreens like, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are damaging to reefs and marine life. Hawaii actually banned the use of these ingredients in 2018. The Florida Keys recently passed a law to bar the sale of sunscreens that include these chemicals. The rest of the planet is catching on, but not fast enough. I urge you to be responsible consumers and purchase mineral, not chemical based sunscreens.
The last, but certainly not least criteria is gluten. Research has pointed to the fact that gluten causes increased intestinal permeability and we must remove this inflammatory item from our diets. Gut health is everything! You might be aware of gluten concerns in the diet, but maybe you haven’t thought about its use topically. Sunscreen is applied to the skin and is then absorbed directly into the blood stream. It is still making its way into our bodies without consumption. Also, think about enjoying a picnic on the beach. You’ve just reapplied sunscreen and are now eating your lunch with the same hands. The safest way to ensure no gluten enters the body is make sure your sunscreen is gluten free.
I will not have any spray recommendations, due to the fact that the chemicals are inhaled and are also detrimental to the environment. All of the sunscreens I have chosen, have slightly different qualities and pros and cons. They will likely react differently to oily vs dry skin. Try them out for yourself and be sure to let me know on instagram what you think. Happy shopping everyone!
To obtain a copy of my Safe Sunscreen Guide please join my email list on the contact page. You can also follow me on instagram @lifestyle_innovations for more wellness tips and product reviews.