EASY TRAVEL TIPS!

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I got the idea for this post after a recent overseas journey which spanned around 36 hours of flights, trains and buses. Whether on a journey as long as mine, or something less intense, traveling has a definite impact on our physical well-being – time-zone changes, cramped conditions and limited food options disrupt our natural cycles, so it pays to be prepared. With the holiday season winding down this is perhaps a little belated, but keep these tips bookmarked for next time!

Preparation:

  1. The day before you travel, move around a lot – go for a long walk or gentle jog, go to a pilates or yoga class or simply stretch.
  2. Buy some healthy snacks to eat on the journey – avoid plane/train/ food if you can. I tend to pack leftovers (fritatta and salad is easy to pack) nuts, nut butter, coconut oil, dried fruit, healthy snack bars, crackers, bananas, avocados, kale chips, crisps, dark chocolate, bake some muffins or a loaf. You should be fine taking this food onto a plane but anything left after your flight you may have to declare on entering a new country (transit should be fine).
  3. Eat and hydrate well on the day you are flying so you can fill up on good quality produce and won’t be tempted by any nasties onboard. Try to get in a vegetable juice or smoothie before the flight –  google beforehand to find out if your airport has a juice bar. Green tea will help with tension headaches – I take the tea bags with me and just ask for hot water.
  4. Pack your probiotics to help keep your tummy happily digesting and to help support your immune system (being stuck in a confined airless places with loads of people can be a germ breeding ground!).
  5. Prepare your travelling outfit – choose your most comfortable clothes, soft fabric that is loose fitting or nice and stretchy. Pack an extra pair of socks or some slippers or flip flops/jandals to walk around in as you want to take your shoes off as soon as you begin your journey.
  6. Make sure you have a good sleep the night before – no last minute packing or panicking

While travelling:

  1. Choose an aisle seat so you can get out of your seat easily to walk around (without your shoes), or if travelling in a car take regular breaks to get out and walk around and stretch: turn your head from side to side, squeeze hands together behind your back, twist, sit in a low squat, lean forward to stretch the back of your legs, point and flex your feet, and so on (images below).
  2. Drink plenty of water (double the amount of water offered to you if on a plane) this will make you get up to use the toilet at the very least! Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can disrupt your sleep patterns.
  3. If you have more than one flight then use the transit time to find a juice bar, or guzzle some good quality water. If you’re hungry choose fresh vegetables/salad or fruit.
  4. If you feel tired then sleep! Or at least close your eyes and rest. Take the opportunity to practise some calming breathing exercise or mindfulness. If you are transiting and need sleep then lie down rather than sit to sleep. If you’re wide awake then walk around or stand as much as you can.
  5. Eat your own packed food. Or if you have to eat the food served to you then definitely avoid the bread and dessert – ask for a piece of fruit or a bag of nuts instead.
  6. Brush your teeth! or at least swill your mouth out with oil or fresh water! This won’t only make you feel more refreshed, but will also help keep your immune system boosted. Remember the major importance oral health plays in well-being!

After travelling:

  1. Stretch, twist and move around! The cat stretch is a great one to do if you have the floor space. Massage your feet on a tennis ball to help rebalance the different reflex points that may have been affected by the travelling.
  2. Hydrate – plenty of fresh water perhaps with a pinch of good quality salt to help balance your electrolytes.
  3. Eat well to help you sleep well – fill up on any food groups you may have missed out on during your travels.
  4. Go to bed at the local time (between 10 and 11pm is ideal) and get 7-8 hours sleep if possible.

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STRETCH!


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OIL PULLING: SWISH FOR YOUR HEALTH!

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Oil pulling is something I have been doing daily for about a year now – as mentioned in my Daily Routine post earlier this week it’s the first thing I do every morning. The results so far have astounded me: I needed no intervention during my last visit to the dentist after not visiting him for well over a year (which is unheard of for me and my teeth!). My teeth are whiter, feel stronger and smoother and my gums are a lot pinker and healthier! There are many other benefits I could attach to oil pulling such as uninterrupted sleep, no sick days, clear ear/nose/throat pathways, better digestion… but they are harder to gauge as I’ve been grain-free for a year which has also brought with it many health benefits. No matter the cause, it’s so easy to do I’m going to keep it up, especially as the long term benefits are huge. So if you fancy it, read on…

What you need:

  • 1 heaped TSP – 1 TBSP cold pressed organic oil  – such as coconut/sesame/sunflower. No need to pre-melt coconut oil, as it will quickly liquefy in the mouth

Method:

  • STEP 1 : Every morning before you eat or even take a sip of water, put 1 TBSP of oil into your mouth and swill it around for at least 15 minutes. Use your tongue and cheeks to help rinse and swish the oil around your mouth and between your teeth. You can do this while having your shower, getting dressed, making your breakfast – the time flies by! Easy multi-tasking!
  • STEP 2: Spit the oil out – never swallow as it’s now full of bacteria! You’ll notice the oil is thinner as it has mixed with your saliva, and has become white as it has drawn out the toxins.
  • STEP 3: Thoroughly rinse your mouth out with water (or warm salt water for extra antimicrobial blasting!)
  • STEP 4: Brush your teeth with just water, no toothpaste needed!
  • STEP 5: Wash your basin as that will have toxic residue too.

What’s the point?

You’re basically cleansing your mouth to support your immune system, which in turn brings better health to your whole self. Our mouths are full of bacteria, parasites, fungis and toxins, most commonly Candida and Streptococcus. These germs (fed “beautifully” by our gross sugar-laden modern diet) are what cause tooth and gum decay and many other health issues. They travel easily through the membranes in the mouth and then into the bloodstream. So if your immune system is low from poor diet, high stress levels, lack of sleep etc then these germs can multiply with ease and rush off through your gums and into your blood super highway, wreaking all sorts of havoc throughout your body (digestive upsets, anxiety, arthritis, acne, eczema and so on).

What goes on?

The swishing action stimulates saliva and the saliva produces enzymes that draw the toxins out of the mucus membranes in the mouth so they don’t enter your system. Dr Karach, the oil pulling guru, who cured his own chronic blood disease and 15-year struggle with arthritis, notes that “if we would look at a drop of this liquid through a microscope, we would see all kind of moving fibers – those are microbes in the first stage of their growth”. Nice stuff, huh.

The swishing action also activates the whole digestive tract from mouth to bottom – try thinking about your favourite food and notice the saliva build up in your mouth, as this happens the liver starts producing bile to help break down the food that’s about to enter your stomach, stomach acids also increase and your intestines start to pulsate getting ready to help massage the nutrients through your system.

Just as reflexology has reflex points on the feet that correspond to different organs and systems, the tongue can also be mapped. Each section of the tongue has organ locations – lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon and spine are all being massaged and cleansed whilst oil pulling.

The most obvious/quickest benefits

  • Teeth become firm and white
  • Gums become pink and plump
  • Deeper sleep
  • Feeling fresh and relaxed on waking up
  • Decreased dark circles under the eyes
  • Increased energy
  • Better memory

Longer term benefits

  • Menstrual problems ease
  • Less inflammation in the joints – arthritis
  • Better digestion
  • Decreased headaches/Migraines
  • More balanced blood sugar levels – Diabetes
  • Better hormonal balance – decreased acne
  • Increased elasticity and lubrication of the eyes
  • Chron’s Disease symptoms decrease

There continues to be extensive research conducted on the benefits of oil pulling. The amount of testimonials for all hosts of ailments far outways the list I have here.

So have a think about it, or better still just get on with it – super cheap, easy, and the worst it can do is improve your smile and save on your dental fees! Get swilling!

In rare cases, oil pulling may appear to initially worsen an ailment or other problem issue. Dr. Karach calls this “healing crisis”, wherein the pulling has activated a problematic symptom, making it appear inflamed. He advises to continue pulling in these instances, as this is a propitious sign that the ailment is has been targeted and is disappearing. Discontinuing will interrupt the healing process that is actually occurring.
(IMG: Randy Major)

DAILY ROUTINE

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This feels totally self-indulgent, but I’m frequently asked by friends and clients how I go about my daily routine. At every stage of the day there are small things we can do to increase our well-being through optimizing our natural bodily cycle. I like to think of the morning as a time to cleanse and detoxify the system; the afternoon to exercise and nourish; and the evening to unwind and settle. I’m aiming to eventually make individual posts for a lot of these recipes and techniques. Here’s what I do on an average day…

On waking

  • Tongue scraping – removes toxins and bacteria in the mouth, of which almost half live on and in the the tongue. Improves digestive, immune and dental health, helps you taste better and rids bad breath!
  • 15 min oil pulling with coconut oil – swilling oil around the mouth draws bacteria, viruses and fungi from the gums and means I see the dentist a lot less! Very cleansing, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying for the whole body. Make sure you spit out the oil after pulling, as it will be full of the drawn-out bacteria.
  • 5 – 20 minutes of sitting quietly/meditation

Morning drink

  • Warm water with lemon/apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp turmeric powder, pinch of cayenne pepper. Great for helping to finish the cleansing cycle that happens as we sleep  or
  • Fresh green juice made from celery, cucumber, carrot, lemon, spinach and ginger. Both of these morning drink options also help to stimulate digestion or
  • Fresh espresso with 1tsp of coconut oil

Breakfast

I tend to eat after 10am, giving my body a decent break from digesting as I sometimes eat late in the evening (often a work-related necessity, rather than choice!). I also try to give my body a 12-hour break from eating, ie. if I eat dinner at 9pm, having breakfast after 10am the next day. If I start my day with an espresso I will follow this with a strong workout and eat afterwards.

Late morning / early afternoon drink

  • Fresh espresso with 1tsp of coconut oil – freshly ground black coffee drunk within ten minutes is high in antioxidants. Adding coconut oil slows down the rate at which the caffeine hits your bloodstream  or
  • Green or yerba mate tea – yerba mate packs a massive antioxidant punch and is naturally caffeinated, which is great if you’re needing a little boost and
  • Plenty of local fresh filtered bottled water

Movement (anywhere between 30 – 90 mins)

  • Pilates  &/or
  • Gyrotonics  &/or
  • Yoga  &/or
  • Interval training – sprinting/jumping/cycling/dancing   &/or
  • Personal Training

Lunch

  • Salmon/chicken/roast veg with salad and sauerkraut/activated nuts/grain-free crackers
  • 100% dark chocolate/chocolate clusters/lemon ginger cookie

Dinner

  • Cup of bone broth; one of the most healing things you can consume! Great for the gut, rich in minerals, vitamins, amino acids all in bio available form
  • Roast chicken/salmon/lamb chops/beef (bunless) burgers with roast (or sauteed) veg/salad and sauerkraut

Dessert

Evening drink

  • Herbal tea: nettle to cleanse; chamomile to calm; licorice for hormonal balance (and sweetness!)

Preparing for sleep

  • I prefer to shower in the evening to wash off the day and prepare the mind for rest. I’ll often do some dry skin brushing beforehand. This stimulates the lymphatic system and improves blood flow; both great for the immune system, and also for tackling cellulite.
  • Evening stretches: forward bending to calm; twisting to aid digestion; neck and upper back stretches to release upper body tension and aid with any tension headache issues.
  • Belly breathing: takes you away from adrenal fight-or-flight mode, and into your parasympathetic nervous system. This triggers the body to secrete hormones that decrease blood pressure and heart rate, relax the digestive tract and in turn induce mental relaxation

Note: wherever possible all ingredients are organic, fish is organic and/or wild, meat is grass fed and organic. Water is bottled, ideally in glass. Read more here.