July 2007 Issue

FOOD FUN FACT: Is Your Sunscreen Toxic?
CHRISTI'S COMMENTARY: Traveling Tummy Care
FOOD CORNER: Christi's Summer Quinoa Salad
UPCOMING EVENTS: Summer Programs


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Food For Your Skin

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) - a non-profit group - recently compiled an investigation of more than 700 name-brand sunscreens.

They found that 83% of 785 sunscreen products offer inadequate sun protection, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.

Click here to find a link to the EWG study (where you can search for your sunscreen to how it ranks). 




Traveling Tummy Care

When you get back from vacation, people probably ask you questions like:

"How was the plane ride?"
"What was the best part of your trip?"
"How was Uncle Ernie?"


But has anyone ever asked you:

"So, did you have good bowel movements

while you were on vacation?"

I'm willing to bet the answer is a big fat "No."



For many people... going on vacation creates an inevitable disruption to their digestive routines.  If your digestion gets a bit out of whack when you're on vacation, then you know how uncomfortable it can be. 

It's no fun to wear a bathing suit when you're bloated from constipation.  It's no fun to go camping when you've got diarrhea. It's no fun to be stuck in a car on a long road trip when you've got bad gas.

I remember one vacation (when my IBS was at its worst) when I traveled for hours to get to Block Island for a weekend vacation with co-workers.  I took one look at the cottage's tiny bathroom (which was connected to the living room and kitchen, and had a HUGE gap between the floor and the bottom of the door)... and I turned right back around, got back on the ferry, and went home. 

The thought of having to suffer through my belly's IBS "activities" while my co-workers played Scrabble five feet away was just too humiliating for me.  It was enough to send me back to the ferry before I'd even unpacked my bags.



In America, we are oh-so-shy about our pooping habits.  We don't talk about them, we don't want others to know about them, and I think this is a darn shame.

I like talking about digestion, and I'm lucky enough to know a lot of health counselors who will engage in honest, adult "Potty Talk."  I ask all of my clients about their pooping habits.  I want to know when they're going, how much, whether it's comfortable, etc.  Because your digestion is a powerful way to gauge your health.

This month, I decided to broach the topic with you, my readers, because... well, someone's got to! 




I used to dread traveling, but now that my IBS is under control, it doesn't bother my stomach as much.  I've acquired a toolkit of digestive aids that help me keep my belly calm, for the most part.

Since summer is the prime vacation time, I want to share some tips that will help you ease your digestive woes during your next trip:



- Identify your "poop routine" and stick to it as much as possible on vacation. For example, a few health counselors I know (myself included) have to go to the bathroom in the morning.  Once we leave the house and start our day, we've lost our chance to go.  For some reason, doing emails in the morning gets things moving for us. So, when we're on vacation, we'll bring our laptops with us (or ask to use someone's computer).  If no laptop is available, then we read or chill out until things start to move.

Other people like to take a walk or do yoga moves in the morning to get things a-movin'.  Other people eat a piece of chocolate, a bowl of high-fiber cereal, or a spoonful of peanut butter. Whatever works for you! The important thing is to stick to your routine as much as possible while traveling.

- Magnesium - I NEVER travel without magnesium.  Magnesium has a relaxing effect, so I've found it extremely helpful for relieving constipation.  I take a 2:1 calcium:magnesium supplement at night when I'm traveling.  (Magnesium helps relieve period cramps, too).

- Do abdominal massage on yourself before you go to sleep.  Massage your belly in a clockwise motion around your belly button (that's the way digestion goes).

- "Smooth Move" and "Get Regular" teas have gentle herbal laxatives in them. If you haven't gone to the bathroom the first morning after taking magnesium, then try having a glass of either of these teas the next night.  They will get things moving by the next morning.  This is what I resorted to when I was extremely constipated after Evan was born.

- Squat on the toilet seat.  Sitting on the toilet restricts your intestines.  If you squat (yes, this means actually putting your feet on the toilet seat itself), then you will open up for a better bowel movement.

- Don't forget to drink lots of water when you're on vacation.  Getting out of your daily routine (or being stuck in a car or plane without easy access to a bathroom) can make you forget to drink water.  Dehydration quickly leads to constipation. 

- Castor oil is your last resort - this stuff can be pretty potent.  You can just put a few teaspoons in a glass of juice if you really need to get things moving after several days of constipation.  But please... only use this as a last resort.  Don't use castor oil as a laxative if you're pregnant... castor oil is a remedy that can start the labor process.


IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE POOPING ON VACATION BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE ARE AROUND (or if you're staying in close quarters, like a small hotel room or beach cottage):

- Turn on the shower/sink water - I went to NYC several years ago with a dear friend of mine, who has digestive challenges, too.  As soon as we got into the hotel room, she told me, "If I have to poop, I'm going to turn on the shower water and run the sink water, too.  That way, you won't be able to hear me."  Telling me this ahead of time was her way of giving herself permission to poop without fear, since she'd have the noise as a "buffer." 

If you are thinking, "Who cares if people can hear me when I'm going to the bathroom?" then this tip is not meant for you.  This tip is meant for my readers (you know who you are!) who are self-conscious about their digestive sounds... and would rather be constipated for days than risk someone hearing them do their thing.



- Take peppermint capsules or charcoal tablets.

- Do abdominal massage - go to the bathroom and run your belly in a clockwise motion to work out all the gas.

- Let it go!  Don't hold gas in on an airplane - it's NOT comfortable.  Just let it loose (heck, you'll never see anyone you're sitting near again.

- Avoid the airplane food.  Bring your own food with you, chew it well, or don't eat anything at all until you get off the plane.  The simple act of eating at altitude creates gas for many people.



- Slow down. I find that diarrhea tends to happen to people who are "racing" everywhere. 

This "racing" mentality can apply to your thoughts (are you someone who can't stop thinking/worrying/fretting?).  It can also apply to your physical nature (do you have a hard time sitting still, relaxing, or slowing down for a moment?  Are you a fast walker? Do you switch lanes continuously when you drive, or try to pass people on the road?).

If you tend towards diarrhea in everyday life, it makes sense that it would be exacerbated during travel.  One of the best ways to Sssllllloooooowwwwww yourself down and prevent diarrhea is to adopt a breathing or meditation practice.  Breathing and stillness during a trip (in the car, on a plane, at the airport, before bed, before rising) can help keep your intestines from racing, too.

- Chew more - one easy way to reduce your diarrhea (and slow down) is to practice chewing a TON when you eat your food.

- Avoid diarrhea triggers.  Diarrhea is usually your body's way of detoxing foods, viruses, or bacteria from your system.  My clients find that most restaurant food upsets their bellies.  Those who are trying to avoid diarrhea will often bring their own healthy, simple snacks with them so they don't have to rely solely on restaurant food.

The biggest diarrhea offenders seem to be dairy, oily/fattening/fried foods, and foods made with artificial sweeteners like aspartame (that means soda and many no-sugar candies from gas stations).  If you get diarrhea on the road, try avoiding oily, difficult-to-digest meals... and opt for soup, steamed veggies, white rice, and apples.

- Drink LOTS of water.  Water is extra important when you have loose bowels, because you need to replace the lost fluids. 

- Take a good probiotic with you when you travel.  Take it every day, to help build up the good bacteria in your gut.




If you got this far, thanks for reading...

If you loved the commentary, please let me know... your positive comments keep me going month after month.

If you hated the commentary, please let me know... your constructive criticism keeps me on my toes and helps me get more in touch with my readers.

I would love to hear from you. If you've ever thought of emailing me, please do!  If you've never written or spoken about your bowel movements, know that you've got an eager and non-judgmental health counselor ready for you to you tell all!



P.S. If you liked this issue of "Nourishing Nuggets" please forward it along to friends, family, and colleagues.  It's a great way to show people you care about their health.





I'm taking a break from all other teleclasses to enjoy the sunny days of summer with my son, Evan, and my husband, Ben.





If you are looking for inspiration around healthy living, please check out the archived copy of all past teleclasses that I keep on my website.









Last year, around this time, Cynthia Stadd and I presented a teleclass called:

"No More Emotional Eating: The Top 3 Secrets A Health Counselor Used to End Her Emotional Eating Journey For Good"

The recording is great, and I think about it everytime I'm about to head towards my chocolate chips. 

What we talked about during the teleclass makes me stop, and wait... and listen.  And then decide if the chocolate chips are really what I want. 

Sometimes they are, but usually they aren't.

If you're looking for some inspiration from health counselors who truly get what it's like to have foods tempt you when you're feeling stressed, sad, angry, or frustrated... then you may want to check out this .mp3 recording.

To learn more about the teleclass recording, click here.





RECIPE: Christi's Summer Quinoa Salad

I often make a quinoa salad dish for BBQs and summer get-togethers.  Quinoa is a light, tasty grain that is delicious hot or cold (and it goes with just about anything!).

You can find quinoa in the bulk section of your health food store, or in boxes at stores like Trader Joe's. 

Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber.


- 2 cups water or chicken broth

- 1 cup quinoa

- 1 can chick peas

- 2 tomatoes, diced

- 3 scallions, chopped

- handful of basil/parsley, chopped

- sprinkling of pine nuts

- 3 T. olive oil

- 1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar

- 1/2 T. maple syrup or agave nectar

- 1 clove garlic

- 1 t. mustard (any kind)

- salt & pepper to taste




1. Put the quinoa in a pot and dry roast it for a few minutes, until it smells nutty (you can skip this step if you're short on time).

2. Add the water and bring it to a boil... then reduce heat and simmer quinoa until water is gone (about 15 minutes).

3. While quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes and scallions.

4. Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl to form a dressing.

5. When quinoa is done, put it into a beautiful serving bowl.  Add the tomatoes, scallions, chick peas, and pine nuts.  Then drizzle the dressing over the salad.

During summer months, I prefer to serve this dish cold.

** For hands-off cooking, cook quinoa in a rice cooker. **


Check out other

Delicious Summer Recipes!





Christi Collins, H.H.C., AADP, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

**Are you wondering what a Holistic Health Counselor is?  This description may help!

Christi studied Eastern/Western nutrition and modern health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and earned a B.A. in Honors in Communication Arts from Villanova Universty.

Christi's goal is to help people fall in love with "The Big Three": Healthy Eating, Juicy Living, and Guilt-Free Self-Care.

She works with very busy women who are struggling to eat healthy and take insanely good care of themselves... without feeling stressed or guilty about it.

Christi is a three-time marathoner and triathlete, an avid pianist, and a newly converted Red Sox and Patriots fan.

She is the author of the forthcoming book "You Don't Have to be Superwoman to be Healthy: 50 Ways to Reclaim Your Health."

To read more fun facts and stories about Christi, click here.

Christi can be reached by email or phone (978.494.0144).

To visit her website, click here.

Here are the latest pictures of Christi's baby, Evan!



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