Summertime is here! Before you head off to your summer destination, you can plan ahead with some help from nature. Don’t let minor stings and aches spoil your travel fun! Put together a natural first aid kit so you are prepared for the unexpected.
When traveling, it’s always easier to have things close by and avoid the emergency scramble to find things and/or communicate your needs in a foreign language. All it takes is a few trips to an organic store and a pharmacy to take care of the essentials.
So what are some emergency essentials to keep on hand? The Belgian Red Cross has a First Aid kit available for around 20 euros and contains all the basics including bandages, an emergency thermal wrap, etc. In addition, here are some natural remedies (in alphabetical order) to get you started.
Arnica – a tube in gel or cream form of this is useful for any trauma – but do not use on open wounds. Arnica also comes in oil form which you can use on sore and strained muscles. Try arnica in homeopathic form for internal use to minimize trauma.
Aloe Vera – the gel of this plant is great for sunburns and skin irritations.
Calendula – available in many forms including cream, this plant has soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties often used for healing wounds and burns. Many baby creams and oils contain calendula to help skin irritations.
Charcoal – look for this at a bio store and get the activated charcoal variety. This is a highly absorbent powder that is great for stomach ailments including diarrhea. It comes in powder, granular or capsule form (easiest when traveling).
Clay – Bring along a tube of ready-to-use green clay paste made from raw illite clay which can be used for clay packs and compresses in case of bone or muscle damage.
Essential oil-based insect repellant – make your own or buy one of the ready-prepared mixes that include essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, cedar, geranium, or rosemary.
Natural eye drops made from euphrasia are useful for long flights. They come in handy, single-use tubes.
Ginger – with anti-spasmodic properties, ginger capsules are especially useful for motion sickness. Keep on hand for car or sea sickness. Another easy way to bring it with you is in tea bag form. You can also try specially formulated wrist bands that use acupressure to soothe stomach upsets.
Homeopathic remedies – head over to a specialist pharmacy like Debrus-Tensi near Montgomery for some tubes to help with common problems like runny nose, fever, stings, and overindulgence. You can also get homeopathic bug bite ointments.
Oregano – another plant with anti-bacterial properties that comes in capsule form, oregano is useful at the onset of a cold or sore throat. Pranarom has a whole line of essential oil formulas that come in capsule or spray form for easy transport and storage.
Other essential oils that come in handy include lavender and tea tree oil. Lavender is easy to use directly on the skin (test a small area first to ensure there are no allergies) and helps with burns and wounds. It’s also good for relaxing and for easing headaches. Both lavender and tea tree take the swelling and itch out of mosquito bites. Tea tree has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Rescue Remedy - Bach flower remedies for calming all kinds of emotions like anger, grief, and fear are also handy to have. There is also a specific night time formula to help with sleeplessness.
Keep all of the above in a safe place – you can get creative and store them all in a recycled cookie tin or lunch box, and remember to include some padding for the glass bottles so the contents stay safe for traveling.
Now is your chance to introduce some healthy routines to help keep your child fit and in good health throughout the school year. You can plan routines for everything from physical activity and sleep, to healthy meals and snacks at home and at school. Incorporating some natural solutions can also keep those pesky lice bugs at bay!
By adjusting our lifestyles to live more in sync with nature and our environment, we can restore the balance that we describe as good health.
Living according to the season is an ancient principle for good health, happiness and wellbeing. Our individual bodies are a reflection of the environment. Human beings and all living things are part of nature. We are inseparable from nature and the seasons influence our functioning. To live in balance and harmony, our lifestyles should reflect the current season's rhythms. So what we eat, what we do and how we do things should all reflect the energies of each season. By conforming to nature, we increase our chances of staying healthy and preventing disease from dictating our lifestyles.
Conserving energy doesn't just apply to your heating and electricity. Winter is the end of an annual cycle in nature. It's also the season for quiet rest and energy conservation for our bodies. Shorter days mean less natural light and warmth – the perfect justification for going to bed earlier to get more hours of much needed sleep!
Last month's article on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Threshing out the Promises from Reality: a Look at GMOs, highlighted some of the environmental, health and economic issues behind GMOs. Here we'll look a little deeper at how GMOs affect our health. Is there really a danger in consuming GMOs, and if so, what is being done about it?
Sweden is developing standards to help consumers make conscious choices about the impact of their decisions on global warming. Products with at least 25% greenhouse gas savings will be marked in each food category, starting with plant production, dairy and fish products. The label is a joint initiative by the Federation of Swedish Farmers, two food labelling organisations and various dairy and meat co-operatives. Read more..
- There are many eco-friendly alternatives for traditional cleaning products: why not try out new brands like e.g. Ecover? They have the whole range of products from toilet cleaners to whitening washing powders.
- Dishwashing machines work equally well with products from eco-friendly brands like e.g. Ecover
- For washing machines there are many alternatives: Omnio Bianco marseille, Froggy and Ecover have powders and liquid (and Ecover has a very effective product to treat dirty stains with before washing in the machine), or try the magnetic washing balls, or washing nuts (available in bio shops)
- Have you tried washing your windows with vinegar or products like Ecover before?
- Think of your health and use eco-friendly scents based on essential oils for your home and especially for your toilets!
Monthly eco-challenge: Start biking!
Fix that bike of yours and oil it, because the season just asks for it!
No more excuses, only advantages for taking that bike forward! Check out www.bicycle.irisnet.be and www.fridaybikeday.be to find all the good reasons to bike!
And have a look at our website under transport and holiday to find the perfect tools, maps, travel itineraries, and accessories to make you feel good!
Choose your options: to bike daily to work or school, to select all distances below 6km (or more for the brave ones) or to dedicate at least one day per week to a biking tour to start with!
YogaKids is a unique approach to integrative learning using yoga as a pathway. Reading, music, creative arts and earthcare blend seamlessly with yoga movement to educate the "whole" child. The YogaKids curriculum provides children, from the ages of 5 to 12, with an exciting new way to explore and appreciate their creative potential. Children learn invaluable skills that set the groundwork for meeting challenges and growing strong physically, mentally and emotionally, cultivating self-esteem for a lifetime of successful achievement.
Yogakids has recreated traditional yoga techniques in playful, simple and fun ways. Using the Multiple Intelligences Theory of Harvard educator Howard Gardner as a foundation, each pose becomes a springboard for activities that open the doorway to fully integrated learning. We hiss like snakes when we do the cobra pose and squawk in the eagle pose.
The dog pose is always a favorite because, not only do we bark, we also walk around the room on all fours and cock our legs, "pssssss!" That gets everyone laughing. There's a serious purpose too. When we do the flamingo pose, for instance, we talk about their ecology (what flamingos eat, where they live, why their feathers are pink). I also teach basic anatomy so the children can understand how their bodies work, and how they're building strength, flexibility and coordination through yoga. YogaKids creates the ultimate learning adventure while helping youths de-stress and relax. If you'd like to learn more about YogaKids, please do not hesitate to contact me or visit the website: www.yogakids.com
text provided by yogakids
If you think you could help us realise our goals or would like to contribute or cooperate in some way please contact us
Monthly eco-challenge: Eat less meat!
The "eco-foodprint" of eating meat has been underestimated and here are just a few examples:
- Cattle are producing 18% of all green house gases.
- 78% of all agricultural land is used for cattle (fodder and grazing).
- More than 2/3 of all agricultural production in Europe is used for fodder.
- To produce 1 kg of meat, you need 15.000 litres of water, while 1 kg of grain or potatoes only need 1.000 litres.
- Water pollution, deforestation, energy use, air pollution, loss of biodiversity, more waste and antibiotics in our food are but a few other negative effects on the environment (see the FAO document “Livestock’s Long Shadow” for more details).
- The well-being of the animals has often been totally neglected, especially in big farming industries
What can you do?
- Eat organic meat and meat from small-scale farming where the well-being of the animals has been taken into account.
- Eat less meat and replace it with alternatives like fish (see our sustainable fish guides), beans, peas, lentils, tofu, seitan, cheese, eggs or other sources of proteine.
- Alternate between different types of meat (the bigger the animal, the more it pollutes).
- Take smaller portions of meat when you eat it and "beef up" your plate with veggies instead.
- Try out all kinds of vegetarian dishes and be creative when you barbeque.
- Join in with the Donderdag Veggie Dag ("Thursday Veggie Day", introduced in Ghent by the Ethical Vegetarian Alternative)
- Or just go vegetarian!
If you want to know more on the impact of your diet on our planet, read Jane Goodall’s “Harvest for Hope. A Guide to Mindful Eating”. The book is also sold at Sunbeams events.
This article was originally published in the June 2009 edition of the Sunbeams newsletter.