None of us want to be at the mercy of the ‘elements’ when we travel, whether it’s the limiting food choices, the weather, or transportation breakdowns. Much of that we cannot control, but here is what we can control: Our inner health. Be prepared with the essential ingredients to keep your inner system running optimally. Carrying packets of whole food supplements as in green superfoods, probiotics and enzymes and pure water can be a lifesaver. Also, having a first aid or travel kit with homeopathic natural medicines is a good idea. It can be enough to keep us energized, maintain a strong immune system, and remain calm in stressful environments. That is very empowering.
Let’s first take a look at probiotics and our digestive health. What are probiotics and a healthy ‘gut’ all about?
Our health begins in the digestive tract as a very complex system that supports and nourishes all the other systems, simply using the foods that we eat. Trying to eat healthily seems obvious to most of us, but how is ‘gut’ health really achieved? What about the diseases and chronic health issues so widespread in this modern culture that so many of us suffer from? Most often the solution leads us back to ‘gut’ health.
As we learn more about how the body operates as one whole ecosystem, we find that symptoms appearing in one area of the body may be caused by a completely different system that is out of balance. Even if we never have any digestive complaints, we may still suffer from skin problems, allergies, inability to lose weight, recurring headaches, muscle and joint pain, chronic fatigue and a variety of other complaints, only to find our digestive tract is at the root of these chronic health problems. There are many other possible imbalances in our body’s systems that create illness but let’s take a look at the ‘gut’. Here are some points to consider:
· The healthy ecosystem of the gut requires beneficial bacteria. There are trillions of bacteria in our gut with at least 100 times as many genes as we have in our own DNA. This bacterial DNA regulates digestion, controls immune function, protects against infections and even produces vitamins and nutrients.
· A diet high in meat, fat, and sugar provide food for unhealthy bacteria in our gut. As the bad bacteria grow, toxins, metabolic by-products and inflammatory molecules are created. These can have a negative impact on the rest of our body including the brain.
· Using antibiotics, alcohol, and prescription drugs may alter normal flora which, in turn, can cause a chain reaction that leads to inflammatory diseases.
Probiotics are healthy, friendly flora that can be introduced into the digestive tract, to aid in assimilation of nutrients, reduce inflammation, improve digestion and reduce allergies. Following are five steps to begin establishing and rebalancing your intestinal flora:
- Eat a diet rich in dark, leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, raw nuts, and seeds—these are high in fiber and feed the good bacteria.
- Take a probiotics supplement daily. Just eating yogurt may not be enough to make a difference.
- Avoid acid-blockers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, alcohol and stimulants that feed the bad bacteria.
- Reduce the amount of sugar, processed foods, animal fats and protein which create a buildup of “metabolic acids”.
- Test yourself for food allergies, the most common culprits being wheat, dairy, soy, corn and eggs and, perhaps, get specialized testing, most likely from a “functional medicine practitioner” to help assess your imbalances in the gut.
While traveling, there may be times when our systems become out of balance and pushed beyond our healthy limits. There are many natural homeopathic medicines available at most health food stores in the supplement section that can relieve a variety of complaints ranging from indigestion and heartburn to muscle pain to flu and cold symptoms. I recommend a 30c or 30x potency. Here are a few:
· Aconitum napellus: Taken at the onset of a cold if symptoms appear from exposure to strong fans or air conditioning.
· Apis mellifica: For the burning, stinging, redness and swelling of bee stings or other insect bites. Also a great remedy for hives.
· Arsenicum album: Symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting or diarrhea. Person usually has the chills and feels restless.
· Arnica Montana: First remedy to consider for trauma and injuries, falls, bruises, sprains. Helps to relieve inflammation and pain, and promote healing.
· Belladonna: Sudden, intense symptoms from overheating, including fever, red face, hot skin, and extreme sensitivity to light and jarring — suggest a need for this remedy.
· Calendula: Made from Marigold flowers, Calendula can be taken topically in a gel or cream form for abrasions, sunburns, chapped and dry skin. It promotes healing and helps to fight infection.
· Cantharis: Relieves the severe pain following a burn and sunburn and promotes healing.
· Cocculus: The best motion sickness remedy for long car and boat rides.
· Nux vomica: This is the remedy for over indulgence; too much food and alcohol. Symptoms from pushing your body just a bit too far including nausea, vomiting, headaches and hangovers.
· Rhus toxicodendron: Best remedy for all symptoms of Poison Ivy
In an acute illness, we match the symptoms carefully to the best homeopathic medicine we can find; see above list. Two or three pellets are taken every hour under the tongue as needed and if no improvement within one day, then we try the next indicated remedy. If the symptoms improve, we discontinue dosing, only redosing if the symptoms reoccur. There are many homeopathic books available as great reference material for home use for relief of common complaints. Quite often the health food stores will have homeopathic charts for handy reference.
There are no side effects from homeopathic medicines. They are safe and effective for children and adults; FDA approved since 1938, and used by millions of people worldwide.
What is truly amazing is how well our bodies respond to the right ingredients. Whole, vibrant health is possible and waiting for those willing to make healthy changes one step at a time.
This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and none of the claims should be taken as suggesting that homeopathy or any other therapeutic system treats or cures any disease. None of this information should therefore ever by interpreted as medical advice or as a recommendation to treat any particular disease or health-related condition, and you should always consult your medical professional about any health-related concerns you might have.
Resources: Mark Hyman, MD; September 27, 2010 in Ultra Wellness Library, “5 Steps to Kill Hidden Bad Bugs in your Gut that Make you Sick”
Homeopathic Wellness, Summer Remedies by Allison Maslan, June 2011.