Lighter Living: Eat Seasonally & Locally

By Jennifer Salos, MS, CNC

Years ago… you could only buy seasonal produce; but, with modern agriculture technology and distribution, you can buy most types of produce year-round.

Recently, however, seasonal produce is regaining popularity. Why? Eating “in season” is healthier because it’s what occurs organically, in nature – versus forced-growing in artificial conditions or produce that’s been in-transit for several weeks on the way to your local market.

Seasonal produce is fresher and more nutrient-dense. An NIH-published study shows the nutrient content of in-season broccoli, for example, had twice as much vitamin C as out-of-season broccoli.

The riper, the better. As soon as a plant is harvested, it begins to deteriorate: enzymes begin to break it down, lowering its nutrient content. Fruits and vegetables contain the most nutrients when they’re ripe.

But not all produce is picked when ripe. Harvests grown for out-of-season consumption must be transported, all over the world (which can take weeks); so, it’s picked prior to ripeness, and the decomposition process immediately begins.

So, how do you know if your produce was picked when ripe? Buy in-season from local farmers.

The more local, the better. Forming relationships with local farmers will give you the inside scoop on their growing practices, and the farm to table process. Many small farmers can’t afford organic certification; but, if you get to know them and tour their farms, you’ll be able to see which growers are using healthy farming practices.

What’s in-season now? During the summer, finding in-season, fresh and naturally-vibrant fruits and vegetables is easy!

It’s peak season right now for strawberries and tomatoes, which are noticeably sweeter, juicier, and sometimes even brighter. In winter, though, neither has the same depth of flavor or texture. This is seasonality at its best, and there’s more to it than just taste or good looks.

Farm-to-table is more than a food trend. Buying seasonal local produce supports farmers and your area’s economy, and it’s better for the environment!

Eat Seasonally & Locally

Eating seasonally and locally go hand in hand.

So, in July, if you live in Maryland, it’s easier (and often less expensive) to buy cherries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, cantaloupes, corn, snap and pole beans, okra, cucumbers, and squash – as opposed to apples, grapes, pears and sweet potatoes, which are harvested in later summer and fall.

There are several good sources for learning produce is in-season where you live: Seasonalfoodguide.org (for all US states) and MD government’s agriculture harvest calendar.

Where to buy it. Farmers’ markets and food co-ops are great places to find locally-grown, freshly-picked produce. You can also often pick your own produce at some farms. To find growers near you, search the National Farmers’ Market Directory or localharvest.org.

If you live in an area where it isn’t convenient to visit farms or farmers’ markets, some of the organic and non-GMO produce at the grocery store should be seasonal from local growers. (I suggest taking a list of what produce is in-season with you.) And, it doesn’t hurt to ask the head of the produce department, or the store manager, what farm provides that ear of corn!

Better for Your Wallet, the Local Economy & the Planet

The beautiful assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables, that becomes abundant in the summer, is also more affordable due to increased availability and reduced shipping costs. This is true for every season… whatever is in-season is generally less expensive.

As I mentioned, when you choose to buy in-season foods for your region (even at the grocery store), you’re more likely to buy food that’s grown by local farmers. There are economic advantages to doing so: in-season produce is not only cheaper for you, your purchase will support growers in your area.

And, like a ripple effect, the money you spend will be further cycled (by the farmers) into other surrounding businesses. What’s also nice… supporting your area’s farmers also helps to maintain farmland and open space in your community – and probably more trees, too, to oxygenate the air.

So, eating well, by choosing seasonal, local produce is good for your carbon footprint in multiple ways! Also think about the transportation-related fossil fuel it takes for your family to eat out-of-season foods each year… The average American meal (per person) travels an estimated 1500 miles before consumption.

There are too many good reasons to buy foods that are in-season and local to your region not to make the effort – it’s good for your health, your pocketbook, local farmers, the surrounding community and the planet!

++++++++

Source: Mark Hyman, MD


Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition. She is also a nationally Certified Nutritional Consultant and Diplomat of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants.

Lighter Living: Staying Hydrated this Summer

By: Katherine Sale, MSW, MAc, LAc, CNC

Ahhh… the “dog days of summer”… it’s the hottest, muggiest time of the year. After that long cold winter, it’s all about spending lots of time take part in fun activities such as pool parties, barbeques and sports.

But, while you’re enjoying the outdoors, did you know dehydration can happen much more quickly than you may think?

A study by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found dehydration may occur within 45 minutes of exertion. In the summer, though, you can become dehydrated even when you’re not exercising – mainly from that beautiful hot sunshine… and sweat!

Of course, when you perspire, your body excretes some of the water that makes upwards of 60% percent of your body. With that water loss, you also lose critical electrolytes and minerals, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium. The result is dehydration.

Making sure you tend to your (and your family’s) hydration needs is critical during these hot days!

What are other causes of dehydration? What signs should you look for? What are the best ways to avoid dehydration?

Signs of Dehydration

  • Thirst and dry mouth – This is your body’s first way of telling you it needs water. If you’re thirsty, get something non-caffeinated to drink!
  • Decreased urination and dark colored urine – If you’re going to the bathroom less than usual, or if your urine is dark, that’s another sign of dehydration. Look at your urine color… clear or light yellow is best. The darker your urine, the more you need water pronto!
  • Muscle weakness and cramping – When you become dehydrated, your body loses key electrolytes. This loss causes your muscles to “seize up” or cramp, and you may feel weak.
  • Headache and dizziness – A mild headache is another one of the initial symptoms of dehydration. At the first sign of a headache, drink a big glass of water!
  • Dry skin – When you’re dehydrated, your body conserves water for your vital organs. One of the first places that it takes water from is your epidermis, aka your skin! If you want healthy glowing skin, proper hydration is the best “medicine.”

Other Causes of Dehydration

  • Alcohol – Alcohol is a diuretic and can make you expel 50% more fluids than you’re taking in! Drinking alcohol while out in the summer heat can be dangerous, so use caution. If you can’t barbecue without a brew, drink a bottle of water between each alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated. This will also help with hangovers by replacing needed fluids and minerals.
  • Caffeine – Like alcohol, caffeine also has a diuretic effect and sucks the moisture out of you. On hot days, avoid it as much as possible, especially when combined with alcohol.
  • Strenuous exercise and outdoor activities – Remember that study finding (that dehydration can occur within 45 minutes of beginning exercise)? With the temperature soaring in summer, and many summer activities happening in the great outdoors, it creates the perfect storm for dehydration to sneak up on you much sooner than 45 minutes.

Healthy Sports Drinks or Coconut Water?

I’ve been saying “drink water”… but, if you’re looking for other things to drink, coconut water is a great alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar beverages, such as lemonade, sweet tea, soda, and sports drinks.

During exercise (especially in the summer); however, you should opt for coconut water or sports drinks depending on your level of activity.

When to drink coconut water. If you’re hitting the gym for a normal 30-60 minute workout, I recommend coconut water versus sports drinks. It’s high in potassium, one of the important electrolytes that is lost in sweat.

Coconut water is only 45-60 calories per serving (fewer than sports drinks), so you won’t drink back all of the calories you just burned. The average gym-goer, who’s hitting the weights a few times a week, maybe adding in some cardio or intervals, doesn’t really need the extra calories and sodium in sports drinks.

So, coconut water is great! Taking it pre-workout will also give an added boost to your exercise efforts.

When to opt for healthy sports drinks. If you’re a hardcore athlete, coconut water could be part of your fluid regimen, but it should not replace healthy sports drinks containing key electrolytes (see Hydration Tips below). Why? Although it’s high in potassium, coconut water is naturally low in sodium, which is the primary electrolyte lost in sweat. Healthy sports drinks also provide the necessary calories to replenish what’s lost during heavy training.

More specifically, sports drinks are recommended if you’re training for more than 60 minutes, particularly in a hot, humid environment where you’re sweating a good deal.

Post-workout, try adding one more sports drink, and then switch to coconut water, and plain water, to meet your hydration needs during the rest of the day.

Not a Fan of Coconut Water? Try These…

Watermelon water is probably the tastiest natural alternative to coconut water. It’s high in vitamin C, antioxidants, lycopene and electrolyte minerals, and it rivals the banana for potassium content.

Although you can buy it already prepared at many supermarkets, watermelon water is extremely easy to make yourself at home. Just remove the seeds and whip-up watermelon flesh in a blender and drink it pulp and all. Really, there’s no need to strain it. Many people add a bit of lemon juice and/or mint to make it even yummier.

Other lesser-known options for hydration are aloe vera water and cactus water. Although aloe vera water (e.g., George’s brand) is virtually tasteless, I haven’t a clue how palatable the cactus water is!

Hydration Tips:

  • Drink water 45 minutes before exercise and/or spending time in the sun to help prevent dehydration.
  • Read the label to choose a coconut water that is 100% pure and not from concentrate. Many brands out there are blends, or from concentrate, and offer less than 10% coconut water: these can be loaded with added sugar. Vita Coco is an example of a pure coconut water brand.
  • Make sure the coconut water is cold. It tastes much better cold and is more refreshing.
  • Choose a healthy alternative to the traditional sports drinks! In addition to electrolytes, these contain added sugars, sweeteners, food dyes and artificial ingredients. For example, a 12-oz bottle of orange Gatorade contains 52.5 grams of sugar (that’s 13 teaspoons!), as well as phosphate, gum arabic, acetate isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosin, and yellow 6 (yellow food dye).

Healthier sports drinks include: Recharge by Knudsen, Bulletproof Fat Water; Emergen-C Electro Mix; Honest Sport Organic Sports Drink; and Body Armor SuperDrink.

By remembering to pay attention to your need for hydration, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy the fun of summer’s outdoor activities with friends and family.


Katherine is a Licensed, Board-Certified Acupuncturist, a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner, and an Integrative Energy Therapies Provider. She offers Acupuncture, Acupuncture Detox and Ionic Foot Detox at Chesapeake Holistic.

Lighter Living: Your Guide to Summer Skincare

By: Glynda Cullen, LMT, LE

Summer’s here! Time for some fun in the sun… Grab your favorite straw hat, sunglasses and natural sunscreen before you head off to the beach or pool (or wherever you may roam) for your next sunny day adventure.

While your mind, body and spirit gain some much needed summer rest and relaxation, what about your skin?

Chlorine and the constant assault of strong sun and increased sweat all take a toll – so show your skin some love and create your summer survival plan now.

Cleanse

Even when using natural sunblock (Jennifer has a great article about sunblock next week), the regular use of sunscreen, along with summer exposure to sand, mid-day sun, sweat and chlorine means routine cleansing with gentle exfoliation becomes a priority.

I love coconut oil, which is super hydrating but quickly absorbed by the skin. Shir-Organic Pure Coconut Oatmeal Cleanser is my favorite! The oatmeal sheds dull skin cells, and the honey, aloe and coconut oil moisturize and restore while boosting antioxidant levels to combat aging and dryness. Cleanse twice daily: once in the morning and again at the end of the day to remove dirt, oil and product build-up (sunscreen, moisturizer, makeup…).

Peels are contraindicated in summer, meaning, using a peel temporarily increases your skin’s exposure to the sun. If you really feel the need to peel, avoid the sun for the time indicated by the professional providing the service. I don’t recommend using exfoliating peels, at home, during the summer.

Tone

After cleansing, mist your skin with a hydrating toner. Repeat throughout the day as needed for a quick pick-me-up for the skin. Toss it right in your purse or beach bag!

During my holistic facial treatments, guests are often surprised about how important a hydrating toner is. Toners restore the water-moisture balance of the skin, targeting dehydration.

A quality organic hydrating toner includes other active ingredients, such as pomegranate, which is a super fruit full of phytochemicals and antioxidants that help to repair skin damage from sun exposure. Shir-Organic Pomegranate Toner is what I always use on myself and clients of all ages.

Moisturize

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! In addition to a daily moisturizer, a good mask boosts your skin’s natural moisture barrier. During the summer, I suggest using a mask at least once per week if you have normal to dry skin.

During facials, I use Shira’s Mango Butter Mask with mango and shea butters and apricot kernel oil.

Another easy way to make hydrating fun is to create your own fruit- and herb-infused spa drinking water! Here are a couple of my favorite ‘recipes’ for making spa water. I don’t measure… just pour filtered water in a pitcher and add one of these combinations:

  • Watermelon cubes, with sprigs of mint and basil
  • Strawberry and orange slices, with basil sprigs
  • Cucumber and lemon slices, with mint sprigs
  • Blueberries and peach slices

Chill the pitcher in the refrigerator for a few hours, and then pour and serve.

Remember, save your face this summer by being prepared with your natural skin care arsenal. And, plan ahead… getting a facial at the change of each season is a great way to put your best face forward.


Glynda is a licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Esthetician. She offers therapeutic massage and facial treatments (and after-hours appointments). Glynda is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox protocols.

Lighter Living: Avoid & Treat Bug Bites Naturally

By Carol Heckman, RN, CNHP, MH, CNC

It’s bug season, and one of the things I’m always asked is: “What can I do to protect myself and my family that’s more natural?” Good question.

Bug bite protection is becoming increasingly important. Ticks and mosquitos carry and spread microbes that can cause serious illnesses, including West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.

DEET (diethyltoluamide) is the active ingredient in most insect repellants on the market. While effective, it’s extremely toxic to humans as well as to the environment, so use it judiciously, if at all.

The good news: with other (natural) options, exposure to DEET is unnecessary for successfully evading mosquitos and ticks.

What are good alternatives to DEET? If I do get bitten, what is a good natural remedy?

Natural Approach to Summer Insects

There are lots of non-toxic ways to repel insects. Essential oils (e.g., citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, neem, and geranium) all repel bugs as well or better than DEET. Bug sprays containing these oils may be sprayed directly onto skin and clothing for protection.

Another way to avoid bug bites is to make your body healthy and your immune system strong. Low levels of B vitamins, especially B6, can make you more attractive to mosquitoes and make bites become welts that itch intensely. For ticks, try taking Astragulus herb to boost your immune health against Lyme microbes.

Homeopathic alternatives to DEET – such as Ledum (a term for wild rosemary or Labrador tea) – are taken orally before and during outdoor time to deter bug bites, especially from mosquitoes. Ledum is also used as a post-bite remedy that may reduce swelling and help prevent infection.

Last, but not least, use some common sense preventative measures:

  • Wear long sleeves and socks (mid- to knee-length) when in the woods, spending time in the yard, or attending an outdoor concert… whenever you will be outside for extended periods.
  • When you come inside, check clothing, skin and hair for ticks (do the same for your children and dogs).
  • Make sure your lawn is mowed and shrubs are pruned. Ticks love long grasses and overgrown areas.
  • Eliminate standing water in and around your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a cap full of standing water.

Want to learn more about your health and natural methods that help to avoid bug bites? Come in and see us!


Carol is a Registered Nurse, as well as a Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.

Lighter Living: Sunscreen – What You Need to Know

By Jennifer Salos, MS, CNC

Believe it or not, direct sunlight on your skin is your body’s best source of vitamin D, even better than the highest grade supplements. However, a growing number of us are deficient from spending more time indoors.

If you must avoid the sun for health reasons (e.g., medication interference), I recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked by your healthcare provider. Low vitamin D has been linked to arthritis, depression, cancer and other diseases.

On the other hand, as you know, too much sun can be a bad thing… overexposure to the sun poses health risks, including dehydration, sun damage/brown spots on the skin, topical burns, and skin cancer.

When spending time outdoors, first opt for sun-protective measures such as: wearing large-brimmed hats, sunglasses, loose clothing that covers as much skin as possible, and seeking shade (e.g., under umbrellas and trees). Sunscreen should actually be your last defense against sun exposure.

If you will be in the sun during peak hours, and/or for long periods of time, use a quality sunscreen. Lotions provide more protection than sprays (which don’t go on as evenly and are an inhalation risk). Apply sunscreen heavily every few hours and each time you get out of the water.

Honestly, there is no perfect sunscreen. Many contain toxic chemicals, and even mineral-based formulas often contain nanoparticles: minute ingredients that your skin may absorb (and get into your bloodstream). When you swim in the ocean, these ingredients can also harm aquatic life.

Why does the quality of your sunscreen matter? Sunscreen is unique compared to many other personal care products (e.g., shampoo or even moisturizer) because you coat it thickly onto your skin, multiple times a day.

So which sunscreens are ‘good’ vs. toxic? How do you choose an OTC brand? How can you make your own sunscreen? What do you do when you get sunburned?…

Choosing a Sunscreen

Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s sunscreen report details the different sunscreen types, chemicals used, tips for avoiding poorly-rated brands, and a list by category (sport, moisturizing, for children, etc.) of the safest sunscreens.

The EWG Guide also includes research comparing European sunscreens to average US products. The findings: US sunscreens allow three times more UVA rays to transfer through skin, and Americans have fewer sunscreen choices with less UVA protection.

UVA vs. UVB rays. UVA protection is important because these rays are more abundant than UVB rays. As well, sun damage from UVA isn’t visible like UVB sunburns. Over time, exposure to UVA rays can age your skin and suppress your immune system, and increase your chances of developing melanoma and carcinomas (squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma).

High-SPF sunscreens. SPF ratings can be misleading. A high SPF (above 50) doesn’t necessarily offer more protection from UV-related skin damage, especially from UVA rays. So, you may end up spending too much time in the sun, by mistakenly thinking a high SPF sunscreen will prevent sun damage for longer periods of time than lower-SPF products.

Mineral sunscreens. These are generally safer (than chemical-based), but the nanoparticles they contain aren’t strictly regulated or studied for long-term health impact. Zinc oxide, for example, is a popular sun-blocking ingredient; but, when ground-down into nanoparticle size (so it doesn’t leave a white film on the skin), it penetrates skin’s pores and may be a health risk. Avoid sunscreens with Zinc oxide particle sizes smaller than 100nm (nanometer).

Chemical-based sunscreens. Many OTC sunscreens are chemical-based and often contain UV filters that are harmful if skin penetration occurs. A few, according to EWG, include:

  • Oxybenzone (widely used in American sunscreens), has shown skin penetration of up to nine percent in lab testing. The risk: it acts like an estrogen and irritates skin. Oxybenzone has been linked to abnormal sperm function (in animal studies) and endometriosis and altered birth weight (in human studies).
  • Methylisothiazolinone, a skin allergen for many, is a common sunscreen preservative found in 94 products surveyed.
  • Octinoxate has less skin penetration than Oxybenzone, but it still can irritate skin. It’s also been shown to disrupt hormone activity as well as the reproductive system, thyroid and behavior.
  • Homosalate (which has a less than one percent skin penetration rate) may disrupt normal estrogen, androgen and progesterone levels.

What are the ‘good’ sunscreens? Below are the top three products from EWG’s 2017 list of best sunscreens, of varying types. (Many of the highest-rated sunscreens aren’t readily available, so stock up when you find it. This is especially important when packing for travel because if you run out, you probably won’t be able to get these brands at local stores.)

Beach and sport sunscreens:

  • All Good Unscented Sunstick, SPF 30
  • All Terrain Aquasport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
  • Aromatica Calendula Non-Nano UV Protection, SPF 30

Moisturizing sunscreens:

  • Andalou Naturals, All-in-One Beauty Balm, Sheer Tint, SPF 30
  • Badger Damascus Rose Face Sunscreen. SPF 25
  • Block Island Organics Natural Face Moisturizer, SPF 30

Kid-friendly sunscreens:

  • Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
  • All Good Kid’s Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • All Terrain KidSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

If you’re in a pinch, below are EWG’s picks for the best retail options (available at drugstores, grocery stores, big box chains…).

Best readily-available sunscreens:

  • Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50
  • Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50+
  • CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 45

In its 2018 Guide to Sunscreen, EWG focused on children’s sunscreens because kids are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals during development. Below are a few sunscreens to avoid (the full list contains a large range of Coppertone products and two Neutrogena kids sunscreens), among others.

Toxic sunscreens to avoid for children:

  • Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
  • Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
  • Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70

DIY: Making Your Own Sunscreen

The best way to avoid the toxins found in OTC sunscreens is to make your own!

There are several natural butters and essential oils that provide low levels of sun protection. When mixed with large-particle Zinc oxide, however, you’ll have an effective homemade sunscreen (that’ll likely smell better than any product you’ve purchased).

Best oils/butter for making sunscreen:

  • Coconut oil – natural SPF properties
  • Shea butter – protects skin, making it ideal for use in a sunscreen
  • Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil – provides low-level sun protection; easily absorbed into the skin
  • Eucalyptus oil – has very low natural SPF
  • Lavender oil – great for soothing and repairing skin
  • Vitamin E oil – healing and moisturizing and helps to preserve natural homemade sunscreen

When making sunscreen, do not use citrus essential oils (which are more light sensitive than other oils).

For making sunscreen, be sure to purchase a Zinc oxide powder with particle sizes as large as possible (e.g., 330nm). Non-nano (large particle) Zinc oxide is an effective, broad spectrum sunblock that’s non-toxic and non-irritating for most people. When in large-particle form, Zinc oxide remains on your skin’s outermost layer, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays.

SPF for DIY sunscreen. The amount of Zinc oxide you use determines your sunscreen lotion’s SPF; it just requires a bit of math. Basically, the Zinc oxide should be a specific percentage of the weight of your other combined ingredients.

For example, if you have 2 ounces of lotion, and you want to make SPF 10 sunscreen (using the values below), you should add .2 ounces of Zinc oxide.

  • 2-5 SPF: Use 5% Zinc oxide
  • 6-11 SPF: Use 10% Zinc oxide
  • 12-19 SPF: Use 15% Zinc oxide
  • >20 SPF: Use 20% Zinc oxide

Note: To create the SPF you desire, using a kitchen scale is the easiest method for determining the ratio of Zinc oxide to all other combined ingredients.

Below is a sample natural recipe for making two ounces of sunscreen.

Ingredients:

  • .8 oz. Shea butter
  • 1 oz. Coconut oil
  • .1 oz. Jojoba, sesame or sunflower oil
  • .1 oz. Vitamin E oil
  • 30 drops of essential oils (e.g., 15 lavender, 10 eucalyptus, 5 peppermint)
  • Zinc oxide powder (use guide above to determine SPF amount for 2 oz. of lotion)

Directions:

  1. Add shea butter, coconut oil and jojoba/sesame/sunflower into a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, place a heat-resistant/Pyrex measuring cup containing the ingredients into a small pot filled with a few inches of water).
  2. Heat until melted. Remove from double boiler and allow to cool somewhat.
  3. Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth (to avoid breathing in the Zinc oxide powder), measure your Zinc oxide.
  4. Add Zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the other ingredients.
  5. Stir well to combine.

Notes about homemade sunscreen:

  • Shelf life is about 6 months.
  • Store in a dark jar in the refrigerator, when not using.
  • Essential oils are photosensitive, so keep out of direct sunlight. When not at home, carry it in a cooler or thermal bag, with ice, to prevent it from melting in high temperatures.
  • If you prefer to add zinc oxide to a different homemade lotion (vs. using the recipe above), just weigh your desired amount of lotion and mix in enough zinc oxide to achieve the preferred SPF.

Natural Remedies to Soothe Sunburn

If you do you get sunburned, there are natural remedies to alleviate the pain:

  • We carry effective, safe Silver Aloe products (salve, spray and gel) that help with sunburn. We recommend these because the combination of aloe and high-quality colloidal silver offers healing properties far beyond common OTC aloe gel.
  • Baking soda (used for 10 minutes on the skin) has a cooling, soothing effect on sunburn and helps skin retain moisture. As well, it balances skin’s pH (alkaline) levels and has antiseptic properties, both of which promote healing. Baking soda is also anti-inflammatory, which reduces sunburn’s itchiness.There are lots of DIY recipes using baking soda to make sunburn creams, pastes, sprays and bath soaks.

Lastly, remember to practice safe-sun exposure all year, not just during the summer. It’s vital that you don’t just rely on sunscreen, to protect against sun overexposure, and to choose safe sunscreen (or make your own) when you do use it.


Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition. She is also a nationally Certified Nutritional Consultant and Diplomat of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants.


Sources: DIYnatural.com | Draxe.com | EWG.org

Lighter Living: Essentials for Summer Travel

Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP

When I’m planning a vacation (even a weekend away), sometimes it takes me longer to pack “essentials” than it does my clothes.

I’ve learned there are some multi-function naturals that are must-pack items, so I’m sharing my go-tos for easy, healthy traveling with you!

What to Pack: The Essentials

I have to admit, at times, I do take a break from my regular supplements if I’m not going to be gone for too long. But, I never travel without digestive enzymes, grapefruit seed extract, and activated charcoal.

Digestive enzymes truly do help with digesting your food. These are especially handy when traveling because you’ll be dining at restaurants, eating richer foods, and, generally, most of us eat more when dining out than at home.

Grapefruit seed extract is a broad-spectrum natural antimicrobial capable of killing a wide variety of pathogens. It’s also been used for quite some time to treat parasitic infections.

I take one with each meal to boost my immune system. When packing for vacation, I bring grapefruit seed extract every time. It’s great for preventing food poisoning when traveling to foreign countries or eating in restaurants, from street vendors, etc. 

Activated charcoal is something I keep on hand at home and I always travel with it. It effectively and safely alleviates the gas, bloating, headaches, and general feelings of malaise that overindulgences of food or alcohol can cause. Activated charcoal is also a natural remedy for food poisoning and bug bites, and it may even help prevent hangovers!

Because activated charcoal binds with toxins in the GI tract, it can also absorb your medications and supplements. Timing: take activated charcoal at least 3 hours before or after taking medications or supplements, and don’t use it if you’re taking a timed-release medication.

Other essentials for summer travel… of course you’ll need to remember sunscreen and bug spray. I choose natural or mineral-based products. We’re devoting separate newsletters about each of these topics (let’s just say both of these products can contain many toxins, so it’s good to be aware of what ingredients to avoid).

Are Essential Oils “Essential” for Travel?

If I’m flying somewhere, I like to take my personal air purifier with me. It’s called a Mini Mate and it purifies the space around you on the plane. (You can find different brands online at sites such as jet.com and amazon.com.)

And last, but not least, I always pack a few essential oils, just in case…

My favorites are:

  • Thieves – antiviral with antiseptic properties.
  • Lavender – referred to as the Swiss Army knife of oils (use for skin issues, cuts, burns, allergies and sleep).
  • Peppermint – alleviates stomach issues, headaches, poison ivy and motion sickness.

True story. A few years ago, my family and I were traveling back from Turks and Caicos. I was the lucky one who had her suitcase examined in a separate room. Needless to say, I’d packed all of the things I’ve mentioned in this article.

The security woman opened each little pouch and just looked at me for an explanation. I was just praying she wasn’t going to confiscate anything.

By the time she got to the last pouch (which had my oils in it) she once again looked at me. I babbled, “Oh these are essential oils; they’re great for so many things!” In my cheery voice, I added: “I work at a holistic health center!!” With that, she closed my bag, looked at me and just rolled her eyes.

So, that’s my last travel tip: pack items in the original packaging. It probably wasn’t the best idea to have taken all of my supplements out of the bottles and put them in little baggies!


Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner. She is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox.