Have Fun in the Sun This Summer: 3 All Natural Ways to Beat the Heat

With summer temperatures in the U.S. climbing, finding ways to keep you and your family cool seems like a difficult venture that not everyone really wants to deal with! Of course staying inside where the air conditioning is blasting (if there is one available to you that is), is always an option. But didn’t you just spend your entire winter inside?

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Summer is the time to go play outside! Whether you’re an adult, a child, or have kiddos, getting outside and being in nature is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Not only does being one with the elements reset your emotional clock, make you feel refreshed, but it energizes the system and is a fantastic way to get yourself and your kids off the screens and using their imagination to play.

But with temperatures hitting the 90’s, especially this week in Colorado, you want to lower all the blinds, lock all the doors, barricade yourself and your family in your house, and blast that AC as high as you can! Guess what? Unlock those locks, open those curtains, and get ready to get outside and take back your summer!

Follow these 3 easy tips to keep you feeling cool and comfortable all summer long, so you can enjoy your outdoor activities without feeling like you’re melting into the pavement.

Tip 1: Use All Natural Sunscreens Over Conventional Sunscreens

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Open up that medicine cabinet and take a look at the back of your sunscreens’ bottle. Locate the ingredients list and start reading what’s in there! Are you able to pronounce all those ingredients? Do you see any of these listed: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, homosalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, retinal palmitate? If so, chuck those bottles in the trash and keep reading!

Oxybenzone, and just about any chemical that finishes with a “-benzone”, belongs in the benzophenones family are known to be hormone disrupters that affect both humans and animals. Many sunscreens and lotions on the market today claim that they are UVA and UVB ray protectors, with one of their main ingredients being oxybenzone. This simply is not true. Instead of protecting against these types of sun rays, oxybenzone acts as a UV light ABSORBER. Instead of reflecting those harmful rays, it actually absorbs them right into the skin! Not only are UV rays being absorbed, the chemical itself is also quickly absorbed through the skins pores, traveling to vital organs in the body, disrupting hormone levels resulting in birth defects, developmental delays in infants and children, and causes various types of cancer. In addition to this, oxybezone mimics estrogen in the body, lowering sperm count when consumed by males, and has been found to be associated with endometriosis and fertility issues in females.

Further, chemicals like retinal palmitate, which is a form of harmful Vitamin A, is also advertised as being great for your skin, anti-aging, and reflects harmful sun rays. Again, this has been found to be untrue. In contrast, Vitamin A is also a UV light absorber when put on the skin in direct sunlight and is now associated with the acceleration of skin cancer and various birth defects.

In comparison, many all natural sunscreens are made using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both of which are minerals found in nature (not made in a lab!), and are known to not be harmful to animals or humans. Both are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin, elderly skin, as well as infants and kiddos!

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The difference here is that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are actual UV light REFLECTERS. With conventional sunscreens, sure your skin is not burning, but those harmful rays are still being absorbed into the body by the light absorbing chemicals mentioned above. With all natural sunscreens however, it is safe to say that those rays are being reflected back out into nature instead of being consumed into the bloodstream. Yes, you may need to coat your skin more often, but feel at ease knowing that what your putting on your skin is not harmful to what lies beneath the epidermis, and is therefore saving you from years of health issues and their associated costs.

So what does all this have to do with keeping you cool this summer?

When your skin is being properly protected from the sun when partaking in outdoor activities, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to keep itself cool. Natural sunscreens also allow the pours of your skin to breathe; taking in oxygen molecules which not only fuel the blood which travels to the heart and brain keeping you energized and alert, but allows systems in your body (like your sweat glands), to keep functioning properly. Just like when a dog pants to stay cool when they are getting too hot, humans need to sweat out toxins and excess water from the body in order to keep us cool in heat.

So the next time you are looking to purchase sunscreens, think about how they can not only protect you from the sun, but allows your body to not work twice as hard to keep you cool in 85+ degree weather!

Some brands to stay away from:

  • Banana Boat (for adults and kids)
  • any CVS sunscreens, lotions, or sprays
  • any Neutrogena sun products (even the ones that say they are “natural”)
  • any of the Coppertone Sport or Kids line
  • Equate or Kroger brands for kids and adults

Some all natural brands to start using* :

(*for a full list, please click here)

Tip 2: Make a Peppermint Elixir Spray

Pure peppermint essential oil is known to have many beneficial effects for humans. Its most well-known property is of course soothing and calming upset stomachs. However, did you know peppermint can also be used as a mini air conditioner when applied to the skin? At a molecular level, peppermint is part of the menthol family, which is a known coolant. It is because of this that peppermint works wonders when used as cooler for the body, not only keep you cool in the heat, but has been used for thousands of years to reduce fevers in homeopathic medicine.

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Peppermint’s cooling properties work by activating certain receptors at the skins surface that then trigger natural cooling mechanisms in the body, allowing your body’s internal temperature to be maintained, even when you’re outside in the 90 degree weather!

So how can you make an elixir that you can carry with you anywhere you go this summer? It’s easy and takes less than 30 seconds to make!

In a 1oz. spray bottle (can be glass or plastic), add 10 drops PURE Peppermint Essential Oil, and fill the rest with cold water. Shake bottle when ready to use. Spray on the back of the neck, inside of the wrists, or bottoms of the feet. Use as often as necessary.

Tip 3: Water, Water, Water!

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We all know that consuming water is the most beneficial drinks we can put into our bodies. But when it’s hot in the middle of the summer, increasing your water intake can also increase the success of your body’s internal cooling mechanisms. Put it this way, the more you sweat, the cooler you’ll be!

Personally, I have a terrible time reminding myself to drink water. It’s just not something I crave like I do juices or iced teas. Water is flavorless. There, I said it! I don’t believe that it’s healthy for your body to add those sugary, chemical heavy, flavored water drops like the ever popular MiO Liquid Water Enhancers. And let’s be honest, the taste of those things are kind of gross.

But, in an effort to test this theory that water can keep me cool, even in 90 degrees, I started drinking gallons of the stuff. And let me tell you, it worked! Sure I was racing to the bathroom every 40 minutes or so to release my constantly full bladder, but I didn’t feel overheated. Yes, I was sweating, but I didn’t feel wet with sweat, it was more of a dry sweat.

So from now on, instead of reaching for that sugary drink that will leave you even thirstier than when you started, reach for that refreshing, clean water to keep you cool!

For more information on this, please visit my website Bella Gaia Healthy Living. For questions on anything you have read here, including source information, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

“Water, air, and cleanliness are the chief articles in my pharmacopoeia.” ~ Napoléon I

Buddha

What Am I Doing Here?

Over the last year, I found myself asking these same three questions: “what am I doing here?”, “how did I get here?”, and “where am I going?”. So for my very first blog post, I have decided to share with the world what it is I am doing here, on the internet, typing away on a blog (something I have never done before), how I got to this point in my life, and where I want all of this to go,  including what I promise to provide my readers from here on out, and how I can help you all find what it is you may be looking for too. So, let’s begin…

What am I doing here?

Something that initially drove me to embark on this great new adventure was my passion of literature and my desire to be a writer. For years, writing has always been my go-to. When I was sad or angry, feeling alone in the world, I always found myself going back to pen and paper. Writing down the words that ran quickly through my mind. Many times those words worked themselves out into poems and short stories; other times they just became scrambled words on the page, making no sense but having all the meaning in the world.

This is what I am doing here. I am manifesting what it is I want to become: a writer, a creator of words, and a sharer of thoughts to heal. I am a being that embodies not just what this universe has in store for me, but one who can strengthen where someone else falls short. Whether that means I write a review for a product you just came out with, or I’m helping someone write down who they are in a dating profile in hopes they can find love (and yes, I have done this before!). And some days I will write just to write, because the words racing around in my mind are just too great to be held in.

How did I get here?

This question always leaves me wondering: where do I begin? So, for purposes of not creating an autobiography in my first blog post, I’ll start at a pivotal moment in my life; a time where I was lost and was in desperate need of guidance, back two years ago, the summer of 2015.

That year I truly was all about self-discovery; what was my purpose on this Earth and how could I bring forth my potential? In short, I was searching to answer the question: who am I really? That was the year I was really getting into learning about traditional Tibetan Buddhism, practicing mindful meditation and of course, yoga. So that May, and with the help of my mom, I signed up for my very first yoga and meditation retreat, to be held at one of the most beautiful locations in the country, high up in the rocky mountains at the Shambhala Mountain Center.

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The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, nestled in the grounds at SMC at Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. (click here for photo credit)

I chose a to partake in an all woman’s retreat program, feeling that the only way I could connect with my true inner self, was to connect with other women. This was a road I was not too familiar with, for all my life finding strong relationships with other ladies has always been difficult for me. The program was for six days and five nights, and I had opted to camp out in a tent on the property. I arrived the night before day one, said goodbye to my mom and four-year-old daughter, and was left there alone, cut off from the world I had known so much about. The morning of day one, I woke up just before sunrise and hiked up to the very top of the tallest mountain that surrounded the property, and I sat there, watching the pristine nature waking up under the morning sun, and I was ready to bring on a new world.

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A picture of me taken by some other hikers, that very first morning before my retreat really began, just after sunrise.

There are truly so many amazing things I can write about this trip, but I will stick to the most important part of it, the part that got me here, writing this page. It was during this adventure that I was finally able to open up and be true to myself. It was then that I realized I am not just a leader, but I am a natural born healer. What I was truly meant to do in this world is to help others heal from their pain, both physical and emotional, the traumas they have gone through, and the experiences they can learn from and let go of to grow into their best beings. This is how Bella Gaia Healthy Living got started.

I let go of fear at this retreat. The fear that was holding me back and keeping me confused and stuck in a world I was not happy in. Once I allowed myself to let go of that fear, I was able to see my true inner light. I was able to see in myself that I really was a “Beautiful Earth Goddess” (Bella Gaia), and I can share my spirit with others to help them get through the trials and tribulations that surround us all.

Where am I going?

Now that I have started my website, Bella Gaia Healthy Living, and I have teamed up with the wonderful women trio of Dynamic Roots, and I have embarked on becoming a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, the sky is my limit and the world is my oyster; there is nothing but mountains from here on out to climb and surpass.

My next big adventure is to accomplish my yoga teacher certification so that I can lead retreats, meditation, and yoga sessions much like the one that inspired me to travel down this path two years ago. After that, it’s off to Chinese medicine school where I plan to dive even deeper into the world of holistic healing and herbs.

My promise to you, my readers, is to provide you with all the information that will help guide you to living a better, healthier life. One that is wholesome and natural, so that when you are faced with your hard times you can come out of it a better person and not stuck in the present, held prisoner by your past. Progression is growth. When you make the choice to subscribe to my website, you will be given the opportunity to learn something new about a healthy lifestyle everyday, information that can be shared with others.

I hope you enjoyed this read and I look forward to sharing with you my adventures moving forward.

“Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~ Siddartha Gautama, the Buddha

Buddha