Why Your Body Poops Easier When You’re at Home

Why your body poops easier when you’re at home

Poop.  Every body does it.  From Kindergarten, we dive into books like Everybody Poops.  We are told that it is normal, natural and nothing to fear.  Yet, as we age, poop talk becomes taboo.  And the act of pooping feels taboo.  We shy away from pooping at work, when we are out at restaurants or even at friends’ homes.  Ever wonder why your body poops easier when you are at home?  Let’s look to the latest on how gut health (and poop) relates to our circumstance and location.

Why your body poops easier when you're at home

You may already know that a healthy gut is linked to everything from mental health to stronger immunity.  Society is comfortable with why we poop.  But the when and how we poop remain fringe topics. After today, I hope we can change that.

German doctor and author Giulia Enders, wrote Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ.  She gave a TED Talk in 2017 and described why she believes “bowels are quite charming.” Enders discussed a conversation she had with a roommate about bathroom habits and what she discovered about our anatomy that makes it so much easier to poop when you are in your own home.

Click to Read This Related Article: Herbs that Improve Digestion

The Tale of Your Brain and Two Sphincters

Basically, this is a tale of the brain and two sphincters!  We have two sphincters that control our bowels. The one we are familiar with is the outer sphincter, which we can control.  The inner one, Enders described as having more of a mind of its own. That inner sphincter opens a little bit and releases just enough gas or solid for the sensory cells near the anus to determine what happens next.

“There are sensory cells that analyze what has been delivered,” Enders explained, “and this is the moment when our brain knows, ‘Oh, I have to go to the toilet.'”

Once your brain gets the signal, it begins checking your surroundings and circumstances before deciding if now is a good time to release what is being held back by the internal sphincter. Finally, the outer sphincter and brain coordinate with the nervous cells to push poop back if you are not in a place where you feel comfortable using the toilet.

 

Control, Coordination and Communication

The control and coordination involved in the process is something that gave Enders a deeper respect for her body and digestive process.  If we reframe the feeling of needing to poop from being something embarrassing to being a biological cue, then we may be able to tap into that same respect.  By tuning into that feeling, Enders thinks of the inner sphincter as “putting a suggestion on her daily agenda.”

What would happen if we begin being more respectful of that smart sphincter’s suggestion?  While we have the option of putting that suggestion on hold, we also have the option of listening to our body and responding promptly.

In her book, Enders notes that waiting to poop when you have the urge can mess with the communication between the two sphincters.  Always delaying or denying yourself the ability to poop when the urge hits is what can create the disconnect.  There is no harm in occasionally holding off until you can reach a convenient bathroom!

 

Respecting Cues

That said, I talk with clients every day about poop, digestion, and nutrition.  Most people do not have any issues respecting their body’s hunger and thirst cues, sex drive, feelings of sleepiness, need to urinate or need to vomit.  While some of those cues are more pleasant than others, it makes me wonder why we have made poo so taboo.  After all, we teach our toddlers that Everybody Poops.  Even though we now know why your body poops easier when you’re at home, it doesn’t mean that pooping away from home has to be a challenge!  We need not be so wrapped up in embarrassment about something so universal, simple, and healthy!

 

As your Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach, I would much rather you pop into the public bathroom, work toilet or a friend’s guest bathroom and poop when you need to, than hold out and create a belly ache or constipation.  Embrace your inner 2-year-old, poop when you need to!  When you walk out of the bathroom, do it with a smile and the knowledge that your body is amazing and your bowels are major players in your health and well-being.  If more of us normalize normal bowel habits then the days of blaming farts on the dog and feeling embarrassed about this basic, critical bodily function will be long gone.  Wanna join me in a #pooprevolution?

 

Here’s the thing… I know it is not always practical or possible to poop when the urge hits.  I also know that withholding and delaying bowel emptying can result in all kinds of distress.  If you are struggling with digestive challenges, click my email at the top of the page and reach out.  Depending on your exact circumstances, we can either work out a plan together or partner with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, like my colleague at the NH Health & Wellness Center, Falguni Vashi PT, DPT, PRPC.  Do NOT let bowel and pelvic issues wreck your life.  We can help.  

 

Hand Sanitizer Safety – What You Need to Know

Hand Sanitizer Safety – What You Need to Know

In addition to Covid, ‘tis the season of coughs and sneezes and stomach bugs. This year more than years past, people are really serious about germs, however! Hand sanitizer is everywhere!  Every counter, desk, produce aisle, doctor’s office, classroom, bathroom… even suspended by cute hang tags on handbags and backpacks. While hand sanitizer safety may not be something that has even crossed your mind, there are things that you need to know.

Six months ago, people were happy to get any bottle of Plain Jane sanitizer.  However, the market is again ripe with designer scents, glittery and colorful options.  

Hand sanitizer is mainstream, so it must be safe… right?  

Covid19 Defense

I’m a holistic health professional in addition to being a mom.  As a result, I safety check everything that gets close to my tribe. This year, hand sanitizer was not just something on the back to school supply list. It’s EVERYWHERE because we know that it is a solid defense against Covid-19. The CDC reports that hand sanitizers with a minimum 60% alcohol content are an effective defense when handwashing with soap is not available.

Though hand sanitizer is a part of daily life now, there are things that you really need to know about it’s safety!  

The FDA and Safety Data

The FDA’s most recent review in April 2019 found only 3 ingredients being evaluated as potential for safe long-term use.  Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research stated

“In today’s final regulation we finalized the FDA’s previous determination that 28 active ingredients, including triclosan and benzethonium chloride, are not eligible for evaluation under the FDA’s OTC Drug Review for use in consumer antiseptic rubs. We’ve also reaffirmed our need for more data on three other active ingredients, including ethyl alcohol, which is the most commonly used ingredient in hand sanitizers, to help the agency ensure that these products are safe and effective for regular use by consumers.”

So, the question is: what do we as consumers and daily users of hand sanitizer need to know:

Questionable Chemicals

  • Scent/fragrance:  Companies are not required to disclose the ingredients that make up their secret scents. Synthetic fragrances contain phthalates.  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that mimic hormones and can impact reproductive health.   
  • Parabens: These are preservatives that extend shelf life. The problem is, they can shorten yours. Parabens have estrogenic qualities and have been found in breast tumors.  
  • Other (inactive) ingredients include benzophenone-4, carbomer, glycerin, isopropyl myristate, propylene glycol, and tocopheryl acetate. Some of these ingredients are harmless, while others are toxic. 

 

Alcohol Content  

  • Hand sanitizers are mostly alcohol, which is drying to the skin and can be harmful if ingested.
  • Ingestion is especially hazardous for children.  Here’s one headline that grabbed me:More children getting drunk on hand sanitizer.“  

 

The Danger of Ingestion

  • In Georgia, a 6 year old who ingested hand sanitizer while at school needed to be admitted to the hospital, because she was dangerously drunk. 3 or 4 squirts of hand sanitizer spiked her blood-alcohol level to .179 – That is twice what’s considered legally drunk for an adult.  The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer ranges from 45% to 95%. Ingesting even small amounts — as little as two or three squirts, can cause alcohol poisoning. By comparison, wine and beer contain about 12% and 5% alcohol.
  • Each year between 2011 and 2015, the American Association of Poison Control Centers noted that there were over 17,000 hand sanitizer exposure cases in children under 12 years old.  The data for 2020 is much higher.  As of October 31, 2020, poison control centers have managed 20,676 exposure cases in the under 12 age group. 

Exposure doesn’t necessarily mean poisoning. However, it does mean is that there was contact with the substance that resulted in a visit to a medical professional. 

Challenges

Let’s consider the challenges that hand sanitizer presents in the 3 age groups most at risk:

  • In younger children, it’s more common for ingestion to be a bit of an experiment because of the glittery look of the gel or kid-friendly smells like berry, lemon and melon. 
  • Looking at the poisoning cases in the 7-12 year olds, what’s startling is that many are NOT accidental. These poisonings are the result of children drinking the hand sanitizer intentionally in order to get drunk.   
  • Similarly, in teens, covert chemistry and distillation can spell disaster – and you bet it happens.

 

What you need to know:

  • First, a child who licks a tiny amount of hand sanitizer off of his/her hands is unlikely to become sick.
    Just a lick = unlikely to get sick.
  • However, a child who ingests more than a taste of hand sanitizer could be at risk for alcohol poisoning.
    Significant ingestion = you need to question.
  • A pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitizer is the equivalent of 2-3 shots of hard liquor.
  • Alcohol content in hand sanitizer ranges from 40% to 95%. 
  • Popular hand sanitizers (and those effective against Covid19) contain 60-70% ethyl alcohol. That is the equivalent of 120 proof and is a stronger alcohol concentration than most hard liquors. For comparison, wine contains about 10-15% and beer contains about 5-10% alcohol. The remaining alcohol is most often isopropyl alcohol, which is toxic when ingested.
  • Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion, vomiting and drowsiness and, in severe cases, respiratory arrest and death.

 

Action Steps for Safety:

  1. Choose hand-washing with soap and water when you can.  Experts affirm that hand-washing is superior protection against Covid and other illnesses.
  2. Purchase a hand sanitizer that is free of unnecessary ingredients and harmful phthalates and parabens.  These two are rated best by the Environmental Working Group:

  3. Keep hand sanitizer out of reach of children and monitor its use. 
  4. Apply a dime-sized amount to dry hands and rub hands together until they are completely dry.
  5. Call the Poison Control Helpline at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if you suspect your child has ingested hand sanitizer. Do not wait for symptoms to develop. Above all, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year for poisoning emergencies and informational calls.

 

While keeping your hands clean and germ free is important in the fight against Covid 19, eating healthy and supporting your immune system is also important.  My next post will outline a few simple steps you can take to cover your bases.  Sign up for my newsletter below and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so you stay informed and get access to new content, recipes and freebies!


BONUS Super Soap Recipe 

Soap and water is still the preferred method for germ fighting.  In addition, the CDC notes that hand-washing is preferred to using hand sanitizer as a Covid19 defense. The great thing is that hand washing is easy and something you already do! Whether you’re cooking in your kitchen, using the bathroom or cleaning up after an activity or before eating, keep up the good work!  Consider shifting from your current soap to the one here (or one like it). 

What you need:
  • 8 ounce Foaming soap pump dispenser (wash and upcycle an old one)
  • Castile soap (I love Dr. Bronner’s plain castile soap)
  • Distilled water
  • Therapeutic grade essential oils. (Thyme, clove, lemon or lavender are the best oils to use if you want to use only one oil; otherwise see list and great combo ideas below) (This is my source for wholesale pricing on therapeutic grade essential oils.)
Directions: 
  • First, fill a foaming soap bottle about ⅔ with distilled water. 
  • Then, add 3 Tablespoons of the castile soap.  
  • Next, add desired mix of essential oils (48 drops in 8 ounces of liquid makes a generally skin-safe 1% dilution; for a 2% dilution, use 96 drops. You would NOT want to use only hot oils like oregano, cinnamon or thyme because that could irritate skin).  
  • Finally, screw on the pump and gently turn the bottle upside down a few times to combine the mixture.

 

Essential oils with significant antibacterial effects*:
Balsam Fir  (E.coli, Staph)
Chamomile/ Grapefruit (Staph)
Cinnamon (Diplococcus pneumoniae, Enterococci, E.Coli, Klebsiella, MRSA, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Clove (Diplococcus pneumoniae, Enterobacter, Enterococci, E.Coli, Klebsiella, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, MRSA, Proteus, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Cypress (E.Coli, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, MRSA, Staph, Strep)
Frankincense (Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella, Mycobacterium phlei, Sarcina, Staph)
Geranium (Diplococcus pneumoniae, Enterobacter, Enterococci, Klebsiella, Proteus, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Helichrysum (Enterobacter, E.Coli, Klebsiella, Staph)
Lavender (Enterococci, E.Coli, Klebsiella, MRSA, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Lemon (Diplococcus pneumoniae, Enterococci, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, MRSA, Staph, Strep)
Lemongrass (MRSA, Staph)
Neroli (Enterococci, E.Coli, Klebsiella, Klebsiella, Strep)
Oregano (E.Coli, MRSA, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Peppermint (E.coli, Klebsiella, MRSA, Proteus, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Petitgrain (Diplococcus pneumoniae, Enterococci, H.Pylori, Staph, Strep)
Rosemary (Enterobacter, E.Coli, Klebsiella, MRSA) 
Tea Tree (Enterococci, E.Coli, MRSA, Proteus, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)
Thyme (Diplococcus pneumoniae, Enterococci, E.Coli, Klebsiella, MRSA, Salmonella, Staph, Strep)

 

These are winning combinations:

Warming: Neroli, Clove and Cinnamon
Fresh:  Lemon or Grapefruit and Peppermint
Everyday:  Lavender, Lemon and Balsam Fir
Germ Warfare:  Cinnamon, Clove, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Oregano, Thyme, Lemon
Sweet:  Roman Chamomile and Lavender
Floral: Geranium and Lemongrass

 

*While essential oils are beautiful allies for health, they are NOT effective at killing Covid19. They are effective against some pathogens and benefit health and well-being as aromatherapy.  DIY hand sanitizer is NOT recommended as protection against Covid19.  It is important to continue with proper hand washing. When using hand sanitizer choose one with at least 60% alcohol.


 

 

 


Safety Note

Always check with your trusted medical provider if you have questions or concerns about your health or about choices related to your health.


Resources:
  1. http://www.aapcc.org/alerts/hand-sanitizer/ 
  2. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/04/teens-getting-drunk-on-hand-sanitizer/ 
  3. http://chemistry.about.com/od/toxicchemicals/a/Can-You-Drink-Hand-Sanitizer.htm 
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/proper-hand-washing – Harvard Health
  5. Price, Shirley.  Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. Fourth Edition.  Elsevier 2012
  6. Tisserand & Young, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals-, 2e. Churchill Livingstone; 2013

The Secret Bedtime Drink For People Who Need Better Sleep

In a world where more people are turning to Ambien, benzos, Nyquil and Melatonin, a whole food solution for sleep and health may not be the first choice.  As a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner, whole foods and natural options are my go-to’s.  If a good night’s sleep is a challenge for you, join me and learn about the secret bedtime drink for people who need better sleep.

 

Turmeric is one of the most researched plants on the planet. Over 8000 scientific studies explore and confirm turmeric’s medicinal properties for everything from depression and diabetes, to inflammation and blood pressure regulation, to liver detoxification and immune system support! 

 

This is an ingredient that you definitely want to have on hand. The good news: turmeric is affordable and available, has a neutral taste and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine.  Hint: it’s the star of our bedtime elixir recipe!

 

Traditionally, turmeric is used in teas, curries, broths and herbal supplements. Those are great ways to get turmeric into play and as a healthy foodie, you are probably familiar with adding turmeric to a meal. 

 

Here’s my truth:

I’ve had a relationship with turmeric for years. It’s been in my soups and stews, tossed in with my potatoes and pasta sauces and even creatively added into my morning smoothies. As a student of Ayurveda, I learned that daily use of turmeric could have a profoundly positive impact on my health… so we’ve been in a hot little relationship ever since!  

 

Turmeric tea sipped throughout the day is a go-to if I’m feeling bloated or at all inflamed; I simply slice a piece of turmeric root and a piece of ginger, grate them and add them to a pot with water — simmer, steep and sip. 

 

But overall, incorporating turmeric into my nighttime routine has been magical. Here’s the thing I especially want you to try because you deserve something magical, too!  

 

Turmeric And Coconut Milk Bedtime Elixir

Servings: 4

Turmeric-infused coconut milk is delicious and warming. Try this ancient elixir before bed to improve digestion, calm the nervous system and prepare for restful sleep. Best results will be seen over time as the ingredients in the elixir work to repair and replenish your body.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tsp powdered turmeric or 2 tbsp peeled, fresh turmeric 
  • 2 tsp powdered ginger or 2 tbsp peeled, fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, raw honey OR a squirt of liquid stevia
  • 12 peppercorns, gently crushed

Directions:

  • Combine everything except the coconut oil into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. 
  • Let the mixture bubble gently for about 5 minutes, then shut off the heat.  
  • After about 5 minutes of cooling, strain the mixture through a few layers of cheesecloth or a very fine strainer if you prefer a smoother texture.
  • Stir in the coconut oil.
  • Taste and add maple syrup, honey or stevia if desired! 

 

The Amazing Benefits and WHY You Should Consider This Turmeric Coconut Bedtime Elixir:

  • Coconut Milk And Coconut Oil – The fiber and fat content of coconut are what help coax sound sleep by how each support balanced blood sugar.
  • Ginger Natural anti-inflammatory that can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, bursitis and other musculoskeletal issues; particularly calming for the digestive tract. For sleep, it’s the melatonin present in ginger that seals the deal!
  • NutmegActs as a natural relaxant in small doses.
  • Black PepperThe piperine in black pepper enhances the absorption of turmeric. It also contains essential nutrients, including manganese, iron and vitamin K and is commonly used to calm digestive issues.

 

Bonus Tip –

Some golden milk recipes include cinnamon. As a Functional Nutritionist, I encourage you to skip cinnamon at bedtime. Why? Because cinnamon is more of a stimulant. Traditional aromatherapy uses cassia and cinnamon oil to promote alertness and while the scent is warm and comforting, the actual spice helps light up your digestive fire. So, save cinnamon for the morning cup!

 

Sources:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03511/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Golden-Milk.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

10 Things to Keep in Your Pantry if You Want to Make Healthy Meals Fast

The better your kitchen is stocked, the more choices you will have at dinnertime. Here is a list of 10 things to keep in your pantry if you want to make healthy meals fast.  Most are shelf-stable, but a few require refrigeration.

10 Things to Keep in Your Pantry if You Want to Make Healthy Meals Fast

  1. Canned or aseptic pack beans: versatile and convenient. Beans like chickpeas, kidney, cannellini and black beans add protein and nutrients to salads, pastas, quinoa or rice dishes and soups. Puree them to make dressings, sauces, and dips. For veggie burgers, mix with cooked rice or quinoa, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, or nuts.  Mash, shape and bake until crisp on the edges.  The recipe here is one of my favorites – if you try it, post a picture to Facebook or Instagram and tag me!
  2. Bottled/Jarred pasta sauce: great for a quick and easy pasta meal (avoid hidden sugar by reading labels!) To make sauces taste fresh, sauté minced garlic in olive oil, add the sauce and simmer. Season with dried herbs like cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. Top with fresh basil.  A splash of wine can deepen flavor further.
  3. Quick-cooking grains and pastas: rice noodles, kelp noodles, konjac noodles, quinoa, pre-cooked brown rice, chickpea pasta, soba (buckwheat) noodles. Toss with olive oil or sauce.  Cold noodle salads with peanut sauce, sliced veggies, and torn basil.  Add to broth with a baby spinach for a quick soup.
  4. Oats: Blend oats with water to make creamy oat milk.  Mix with an equal amount of water before bed and you will have breakfast ready to go. Roll oats with nut butter and hemp seeds to form snack balls.
  5. Cooked polenta: available in a log shape that you can open and slice. Great topped with marinara sauce, chili or sautéed greens and veggies.  Polenta can be cut into crouton shapes, baked until crispy and used as a crunchy topper for salads and soups!
  6. Hemp hearts: Neutral, almost nutty tasting plant protein with healthy omega-3 fats and micronutrients. Blend with water for hemp milk or a smoothie base.  Make dips and dressings by blending with a little water until smooth.  Season with salt, pepper, and herbs for a variety of flavors!  Sprinkle on salads.  Mix with herbs and sprinkle on pasta for a cheese alternative.
  7. Boxed coconut milk: I love boxed coconut milk for a couple of reasons.  First, it is easy to separate the coconut cream from the coconut water.  Coconut cream makes a quick dessert topping sweetened with a little stevia or maple syrup.  Make a yogurt substitute by mixing coconut cream with a squeeze of lemon juice and the contents of a probiotic capsule.  The versatility does not stop there.  Coconut milk can be blended with any fruit you have on hand to make a simple smoothie.  It is a great addition to a lemony broth for noodles; just add a sprinkle of chili pepper for a Thai inspired noodle dish!  Add curry powder and a bit of plain tomato sauce for a delightful curry sauce that you will want to lick off the spoon! (The brand I linked is my favorite – no additives or preservatives.)
  8. Coconut wraps: A shelf-stable pantry alternative to tortillas. Make burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas.  Use them for wrap sandwiches, layered casseroles, or super thin and crispy pizzas.
  9. Jarred artichoke hearts: These tender veggies have great flavor and can elevate a dish from familiar to fancy!  Drain, rinse, and eat.  Add them to pasta, salads, or toss with beans to make a simple meal.
  10. Nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans, cashews… Add these to salads. Blend with beans for a creamy dip or dressing.  Chop fine and add to veggie burger mix for better texture.  Make nut milk.  Blend with broth and white beans for a creamy soup.  Chop and mix with minced mushrooms, onion, and taco seasoning for an easy raw taco “meat.”

 

Build Your Pantry

Take the stress out of mealtime.  Start building your pantry.  Adding shelf-stable items that are versatile can make mealtime a breeze.  It is also a comfort to have staples on hand that are not only nourishing but also tasty.  Start with these 10 things to keep in your pantry if you want to make healthy meals fast.  Check back for the next blog in this series that will share fridge and freezer basics.

 

Get More Great Tips AND Recipes

I love helping to take the stress out of mealtimes!  If you have not already, signup for my mailing list below to get exclusive recipes and more simple strategies like this list of pantry staples.  I want to help you use nutrition to support and improve your health.  We are in this together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eat These Herbs to Improve Your Digestion

Gas and bloating is no fun.  But, it is one of the most common digestive issues.  Pressure, abdominal pain and uncomfortable changes in the waistline are not only annoying, but also indicative of digestive imbalance. One simple solution is herbs!  The good news is that if you eat these herbs to improve your digestion, gas and bloating won’t be a problem anymore!

While gas can form anywhere in the digestive tract, it largely results from bacterial action/fermentation in the large intestine.

When undigested foods make their way through the digestive tract, microbes there break them down and gases are sometimes released.  Carbohydrates and legumes tend to produce more gas as a byproduct of digestion.

Certain herbs can stimulate the secretion of digestive juices that assist the body in digestion and can help to alleviate gas.

bunch of parsley and fennel fronds

PARSLEY & MINT FAMILY HERBS

The parsley family of herbs (fennel, cumin, dill, coriander, anise, and caraway) and the mint family of herbs (peppermint, spearmint) are renowned for suppressing and relieving gas. Studies have shown that the essential oils in these plants are carminative (relieve flatulence), support the stomach and gallbladder to secrete digestive juices, are antiseptic and also help relieve spasms (spasmolytic).

A 2016 study found that anethole, a major constituent in fennel seed, restored delayed gastric emptying. In another trial, 95 percent of study participants taking an herbal mixture containing fennel, as well as dandelion, St. John’s wort, lemon balm, and calendula, experienced complete relief of colitis symptoms, including abdominal pain and cramping, within two weeks.

To use: Enjoy fennel or any of these parsley family seeds, by taking them in capsules, tablets, or tinctures; you can chew the whole seeds, use the leaves as part of your meals or prepare them as tea.  This gorgeous salad features thinly sliced fennel bulb and fennel seeds.  Give it a try!

ginger root and sliced ginger root

GINGER

Ginger root is a warming herb that is a traditional remedy for nausea, gas and bowel issues. This herb is useful for reducing gut spasms, neutralizing toxins in the GI tract, and boosting digestive juice secretion, including bile and saliva. Studies show that ginger enhances fat digestion by stimulating bile and pancreatic lipase enzymes.

To use: Preparing ginger as a tea and drinking it after a large meal to ease discomfort is not only flavorful, but also fragrant! For bloating, drinking ginger tea three times a day, or as much as needed to ease bloating is what many digestive experts advise. Ginger can be eaten raw and used as a flavoring for sauces, broths, dressings, etc.  Pickled ginger is a deliciously spicy treat that is a great addition to any Buddha bowl or salad!

black pepper ground and peppercorns

BLACK PEPPER

Perhaps the easiest herb to add to a meal, black pepper is one that you likely have in your cabinet or on your table right now!  The main active constituent of black pepper, Piperine, is known for increasing bioavailability and absorption of nutrients. It is commonly paired with other herbs in herbal supplements to increase absorption.  Piperine works in part by increasing intestinal motility, which in tern can help reduce gas.

Try: Adding cracked black pepper to your food.  Add cracked peppercorns to boiling water to make a spicy tea (with ginger it is a bit more palatable!).  Another option is to use capsules that contain piperine or black pepper extract.

 

Are gas and bloating an issue for you?  Does your digestion impact your life?  Ever find yourself unsure about participating in an activity or an outing because you don’t know if a bathroom will be available?  Are your clothes uncomfortable or tight after meals?  Is flatulence a problem?

Guess what?  You’re not alone!  These are among the most common concerns that I hear from patients.  Let’s get you feeling more comfortable.  Click here and schedule a FREE discovery call.  We’ll take 15 minutes together, talk about your needs and I’ll let you know how I can help.

This Epsom Salt Bath Helps Relieve Stress

Think a bath is too simple to ease stress?  Think again!

Does a daily bath seem like a leisure-time indulgence?  Did you know that something as simple as an Epsom salt bath can actively help relieve stress?  It’s true!  This simple self-care technique not only feels great but also supports your health.  So, let’s talk stress and solutions!  Let’s talk self-care… I’ve seen the way people roll their eyes when talk shifts to self-care, and I bet you have too. In some ways, self-care feels like a four-letter word because it’s gotten this rap as being something self-ish and self-centered (as if those are always bad things?!)

As a Certified Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner, Certified Holistic Health Coach, Aromatherapist, Reiki Master and Laughter Yoga Teacher, I talk to people everyday who are trying to figure out how to relieve stress and live healthier. And one common denominator in most of my clients lives is STRESS!

Of all the burdens on the body, it’s stress that tends to make people feel unwell and stress that perpetuates the cycle of neglected nourishment and neglected self-care. The stigma around self-care is that we’re somehow selfish or self-centered or self-absorbed rather than being giving, nurturing and caring for others in our world.  So, we side-step the basics needed for our own well-being under the guise of being strong and selflessly caring for others. How backwards it is that our perception of self-care can make us feel as though we don’t deserve the same care and compassion that the world expects us to provide for others!

You’re Invited!

I’m going to invite you to stop sabotaging self-care, to re-member yourself, to restore your commitment to your own health and well-being, to nourish and tend to your spirit, your body, your self.

One of my favorite self-care strategies is to soak in a deliciously steamy tub. I love adding Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and baking soda to create a relaxing, silky soft soak.

Your skin will absorb some of the magnesium from the Epsom salt, which can help relax your muscles; the baking soda may help neutralize bacteria and fungus while calming skin irritation and lifting oil and debris.

Together, the Epsom salt and baking soda create a delightful tub.  Aromatherapy can amplify relaxation.    Adding a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda before stirring it into the water can enhance your experience.  Roman Chamomile and Lavender are my favorite essential oils for relaxation.  A drop of Eucalyptus or Frankincense may be added to ease congestion and support the immune system.

SIMPLE DETOXIFYING EPSOM SALT BATH

2 cups Epsom salts
2 cups Baking Soda
Optional: 5 drops pure essential oil (add these to the baking soda before adding to the bath)

Add the ingredients to a bathtub filled with warm water (not too hot!).  Soak for 20 minutes.

To take it to the next level, dim the lights, set a candle on the counter and turn on your favorite piano music.

Take your time.

Reclaim self-care.

It’s a strategy for health.  It’s nourishing.

Recharge your batteries.  You absolutely deserve it!

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P.P.S. You might also be interested in this post

I want you to get healthier so I'm GIVING AWAYmy favorite trackers and tools!

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