Staying Healthy on the Road

On Friday we hit the road on a two week tour out to BC. It’s been great so far, but the day before we left I came down with a nasty cold and I’m pretty sure I went through about three tissue boxes in done day. It’s really daunting to start a tour with a runny nose and spontaneous sneezing so I went on a rampage with hot liquids and essential oils to knock it off. Now, three days into tour I’m feeling almost 100%! Singing with a sore throat and runny nose is the pits, so I’m very thankful I was able to get healthy quickly.

Since the viruses are spreading like wildfire as they tend to do this time of year, I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks for staying healthy on (or off) the road. It takes some diligence, but if you’re able to get it right at the beginning, you will hopefully not have to deal with weeks of congestion!

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1. Ricola – That natural cough drop that you can pop in a few times a day to help soothe the throat. It’s not something that really helps get rid of a cold, but it does make it more manageable!

2. Lemons & Honey – I try and have a “Hot Lemon” every day, just to get my day off to a healthy start, but it’s especially beneficial when you’re not feeling that great. A Hot Lemon is just lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, a dollop of honey, and hot water. My mom would always make these for us when I wasn’t feeling well as a kid, and I would always try and add more honey. 🙂

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3. Apple Cider Vinegar – This magic liquid can be used for so many things, but I mostly use it when I have a sore throat. It’s the best! You can take 1 teaspoon with about an ounce of warm water and gurgle it as soon as you feel a sore throat coming on, but I also make like a hot lemon: 1/2 to 1 tablespoon with hot water and honey. It really does work wonders.

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4. Throat Coat – Any singer will know the benefits of Throat Coat and if you don’t, now is the time to change your ways and get on the bandwagon! It’s an Herbal Medicinals tea that has licorice root, slippery elm, fennel and marshmallow root (among other things) that are really beneficial to minor throat irritations. When I’m on tour for long periods of time I drink a cup of this every day, especially after shows when there are lots of people to talk to and my throat can get really scratchy.

5. Cold 911 by DAVIDsTEA – Over the holidays I worked for DAVIDsTEA and got to greatly improve my tea collection. One of my favourites is Cold 911. It’s an herbal tea with peppermint, juniper berries, and natural eucalyptus flavouring. The eucalyptus is great for coughs and any kind of chest congestion. I call this tea Cold FX in a cup. It’s soothing and slightly sweet. I’ve been drinking it religiously the past few days!

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6. Tiger Balm – This little jar of magic is a staple among many households. Not only is it great for muscle pain, but I’ve been using it every night on my chest to help clear my sinuses. It has eucalyptus like the Cold 911 tea, as well as menthol and clove oil.

7. Peppermint leaves – Lots of herbal tea blends include peppermint, but sometimes you just want the pure stuff. My favourite health food store (Community Natural Health in Calgary) has a bulk herb section so every so often I’ll buy a little bag of peppermint to have on hand. I make it like a cup of any loose leaf tea and add some honey. It’s great before bed, and also when you have a cold.

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8. Essential oils – These are your best friends when it comes to fighting a cold. As soon as I feel a sickness coming on, I take drops of oregano, and a blend called Thieves (from Young Living Essential Oils) that includes clove, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon, and eucalyptus oils. When I feel like I might be getting a cough I also use a drop each of peppermint and lavender on my chest at night. It smells so nice!

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I know there are so many ways to fight colds and other sicknesses, and I think the best method is to use everything! There are a few other things that I could have included on this list like turmeric, garlic, and the most important, getting enough rest! But this is what I have on hand right now and what has been helping me get better the past few days. I’d love to hear of any recipes or staples that you use for fighting sicknesses. Please share in the comments, and let’s stay healthy together!

Be well,
Lauren.

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Homemade Toothpaste

I’ve been on a big all-natural, homemade, no preservatives kick lately, trying to eliminate all chemicals from products I use on a day-to-day basis. It takes a LOT of time and experimenting to figure these things out, and find the right natural ingredients that do the same thing as commercial products, but the process has been really exciting. There are SO MANY natural ingredients that do more than what man-made products can do, and most people just don’t know about them! I’m trying to take advantage of our time off to learn, experiment, and find a few things that work well so I can use them on the road and better maintain a healthy lifestyle, since “tour” and “healthy lifestyle” don’t really go hand-in-hand.

One thing I had been wanting to try was toothpaste. I read some reviews of a few different recipes, and finally found a basic one to try with ingredients I had on hand. Many of the homemade products I’ve been experimenting with take a lot of time to perfect, but this was the first recipe to work really well on the first try! Of course there are a few things I’d like to add or change on the next go-round, but I’m nonetheless pleased with the result. So much so that I decided to share it with you! If you’d like to see the original post, check it out HERE.

Ingredients:
– 3 TB Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
– 3 TB Baking Soda
– 25 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
– 1 packet Stevia (optional)
– 2 TB Vegetable Glycerin (optional)

Directions:
– Mix coconut oil and baking soda together in a bowl with a fork until completely blended. Add the peppermint oil and optional stevia and glycerin and continue mixing until it becomes smooth and toothpaste-like.
– After mixing, store in an old toothpaste container or jar.

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Notes:
– I didn’t use Stevia or Glycerin, and I still liked the taste. I would like to try it with both of those and see how much it changes.
– I would also like to try using a different oil such as the Thieves blend from Young Living which would give it more of a cinnamon/clove taste.
– The Extra Virgin Coconut Oil gives more of a coconut taste and smell as opposed to Organic Coconut Oil which is odorless and better for cooking. I like having a slight coconut essence.

If you decide to try this, let me know how it goes and if you decide to change anything! I’m still learning about all this stuff, and learning from other people’s experiences is a great way to do that.

Cheers,
Lauren.

PS. If you haven’t seen it yet, we announced the release of our album “Over Land and Sea” with THIS little teaser video. Feel free to check it out and spread the word!