Should I Eat This? Top Tips for Staying Healthy Abroad

*You can view the original article on GivingWay’s website.

We often see amazing photos of unusual foods from other countries and read other travelers’ and volunteers’ stories regaling us with tales of the delicacies they tried. However, we also have heard of some really awful nights spent in the hostel bathroom after an unfortunate turn at the table. No one wants to miss out on an incredible experience, but where do we draw the line? And how to we avoid being out of commission due to food poisoning or other unfortunate related illnesses?

Check out the top travel tips for staying healthy abroad:

  • Ask your host family, hostel, or other travellers about the water. In some countries such as Switzerland, you can drink straight out of the public fountains! But other countries’ water supplies may generally upset sensitive stomachs, even for brushing one’s teeth. Instead of purchasing inordinate quantities of bottled water, however, try for a straw or water bottle filter. You can find these online for under 20 USD$. You’ll save money, keep the tummy happy, and be environmentally conscious at the same time!
  • Talk to your doctor or local pharmacist for some really helpful medications for typical upset stomach and digestion issues. Also, a daily probiotic and multivitamin will go a long way. It’s worth the space in your bag to bring these along.
  • Meat and dairy are some of the biggest culprits for food poisoning. Yogurt or ice cream in one place will not be the same as in another. They are different in every country and can really upset your stomach, even if you’re used to eating the product at home. I would make a big exception in Italy, ALWAYS have gelato in Italy.Tips for eating when traveling abroad
  •  Fresh fruits and veggie salads get a bad reputation as well, so remember that foods with “skin” on them such as oranges, bananas, and melons are much safer since the skin protects from any water. Cooked veggies are always safer than their raw counterpart.
  • Make friends! The people that you meet may have some great food recommendations. And invite them to eat with you because you never know when you’ll meet a lifelong friend and make some amazing memories across the table.Tips for eating when traveling abroad
  • Know your limits, because the foods and drinks that are fine for locals may not sit as well with you. If you’re unused to type of beverages and other foods, just try a little at a time and see what happens. If whatever you’re trying is really, really good, come back the next day for the full experience!

But keep an open mind and take some risks! Don’t let worrying about what’s on your plate take away from your volunteer or travel experience. Getting sick can happen and that’s okay. Sometimes those times may actually make for some of the best stories!


22 Things That Happen at 22

  1. You are no longer enticed by the novelty of walking into a liquor store.
  2. You are finally sick of being asked for ID.
  3. You are still obsessed enough with alcohol for your first three items in a list to be about alcohol.
  4. You just graduated.
  5. You just graduated and you can’t get a job in your field.
  6. You just graduated and you can’t get a job working a cash register.
  7. Everyone you know does have that shitty job you can’t get.
  8. You are suddenly wondering if you majored in the right thing.
  9. You are suddenly wondering if you are currently pursuing the right job/grad program.
  10. You are officially completely done dealing with school.
  11. The weight of your loans has officially become crushing.
  12. You are living in a constant state of denial that lets you dissociate from that crushing weight.
  13. You finally have disposable income and holy fuck is it great.
  14. You don’t have disposable income but your SO sure does and holy fuck is it great.
  15. You have nothing to do and you almost want work so you stop being restless.
  16. When you do get work, it does not stop you from being restless.
  17. In fact, you are more restless.
  18. This is why you will try to start 500 projects.
  19. One of the projects might stick.
  20. You will care more than you expect.
  21. You generally care more than you admit.
  22. You don’t know what being 22 is supposed to mean.

Wednesday Warriors – Rob Bell

Rob Bell is one of the most controversial members of the modern Protestant church. He previously founded and pastored one of the fastest-growing churches in America only to leave after internal conflict. He now runs the popular Robcast podcast, continues to write and publish books, as well as speaking at conferences around the world.

So what’d this guy do, and why are we writing about him today?

Rob wrote the book Love Wins, bringing a progressive interpretation of the Gospel (New Testament) that revokes the status quo’s damning image of Hell and who goes there. (For those interested, this is called universal reconciliation.) He consistently brings people onto his show who are of different traditions, cultures, religions, identities, and life experiences, firmly believing that, “…truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview. If it’s true, it belongs to God.”

There’s humor, intense conversations, and amazing guests including the likes of comedian Pete Holmes (Crashing) and Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love). No matter what tradition or non-tradition you come from, you will finish listening to his podcast feeling better than when you started. For his writing, even the theological books are succinct and void of religious jargon making them accessible and impactful.

Rob Bell is a disruptor of the modern church. His message is to spread as much love and compassion as possible, which he believes is the true tenant of what Jesus was trying to accomplish. In a world where Christianity has been sorely lacking in those areas, Rob is a much needed voice. Where others have previously only seen divisions between religions, peoples, and nations, Rob has found the common ground. By doing so, bridges are built between otherwise separate and potentially hateful groups. For me, nothing could be more impactful than this.

What Does Graduation Mean When You Go Right Back to More College?

Graduation is weird when you aren’t done.

Saturday I’m going to stand in Madison Square Garden and get a degree.

  1. I have not been able to get a job working a cash register.
  2. I am going to school in the Fall.

What even does graduation mean at that point?

I’m getting a Bachelor’s degree in Religion and English and my main source of income is selling things on Etsy. (Yes, that is hyperlinked. No, I will never not take the chance to send you to my shop.)

My life feels pretty weird right now. I am super not an adult, and yet, I’m moving into an apartment, I’m getting my own loans (woo debt), I have my own credit line I can’t afford to use (woo, more debt), and here we are, I’m about to have a college degree that theoretically should get me a real person job that I’m not going to even look for.

So what does a degree mean when you aren’t going to use it? When you are going right back into school again?

It means, well, “one small step”, I guess.

Wednesday Warriors – Kat Blaque

I…love Kat Blaque. Like so much. Because 1) her style is A+, and 2) all of her videos are poignant and insightful. She has made me understand things and change my views over and over again through her education. She is unapologetic and amazing.

Is this post just going to be me gushing? Maybe. I love her.

Kat Blaque is a black trans woman YouTuber. Her YouTube videos focus on race, gender, and social justice issues, and she contributes to a bunch of websites including one of my faves, Everyday Feminism.

Kat really speaks best for herself, and I recommend watching her videos. Here is one of my favorites:

Book Review – Crave Eat Heal

This is my favorite cookbook. No, I’m not kidding and they aren’t paying us to say this. In fact, I’m not even sure who the author is. However, to me it’s a revolutionary (although not unique) book on how we should feed and nourish ourselves.

Most cookbooks take the viewpoint of a particular diet, region, or tradition. But Crave Eat Heal takes an entirely different approach. The book starts with what our tastebuds scream at us to shove into our faces (tostitos and bean dip followed by chocolate mint chip ice cream, anyone else? Anyone?) and finds an alternative that isn’t “the healthy option!”, but that actually gives our bodies the nutrients, both physically AND emotionally, that we need.

We are the modern age of reduce reduce reduce reduce. Less sugar. Less meat. Less sodium. Less fat. Less gluten. Less oxygen. Wait, that one’s not right. I get these things mixed up sometimes. Sorry.

And while there are certainly foods that are more healthy or less healthy, beneficial or detrimental, etc to our physical bodies, aren’t we missing something? Or rather, while we’re taking all of these bad things out, what are we putting back in? Low calorie instant freezer meals kept in fallout shelters from the 60s and then repackaged?! (I’m looking at you, LeanCuisine.)

The book also bases its contents on the simple fact that our bodies are constantly providing feedback for what they need. We get thirsty, so drink water. Our lips get chapped so put chapstick on. Our eyes get itchy and we sneeze in polluted air, so fiche le camp! Why is our food any different? If we’re craving something sweet, our bodies could genuinely be needing something that sweet foods have in them. Here’s the kicker, what we need may partly be physical, but it can also be emotional.

When do we feel like ice cream? After bad breakups and getting fired. When do we like salty chips and popcorn? Movies and parties and other exciting events. Whatever you’re craving, there’s a good possibility that a connection between your emotional and your physical needs exist. And Crave Eat Heal answers what to do about it.

This cookbook lets you choose what your craving is and offers a variety of simple and truly nourishing, unprocessed stuff (re: with nutrients) that will give your entire being the physical AND emotional filling that you need, not just your stomach. A hardback cover and pretty pictures will get you interested but coupled with a charming and funny rogue-chef-gone-writer to take you along this culinary journey, well, I leave the next raving reviews for you.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with some ice cream, either. Cheers!

Wednesday Warriors – Maria Bamford

Ask Steven Colbert or John Oliver who’s their favorite comedian, and they name Maria Bamford. Her impressions are hilarious with a pretty much unlimited supply of voices at her disposal. Her fast-paced wit keeps the audience just one step behind her, something reminiscent of a Robin Williams hour, but with fewer Hawaiian shirts and much less sweat.

But what makes Maria stand out, or perhaps, why she has yet to reach the fame of her counterparts no matter the gender, is her unabashed discussion of struggles with mental illness. She is unafraid to tell her story of breakdown and time in a mental hospital, no apologizing (and she definitely shouldn’t). Check it out here. It is uncomfortable. Unsettling even. And it should be. However, Maria also makes it funny and lets the audience laugh, turning what should be a horrifying nightmare into a mechanism to share, release, and maybe even heal.

You can find her on many a Youtube video and her special on Netflix, Old Baby. Enjoy.


5 Uses for Roses that You Didn’t Know

This is a repost of a blog post from my business blog because I totally forgot to write a post this week. Oops.


We all know roses are associated with love, but did you know the many other uses? Roses are a great beauty and health product, and here we list some of the ways you can otherwise use them.

Healing Chapped Skin

Rosebuds in a salve have an excellent healing property. This makes them great for dry and broken chapped skin. This includes dry lips, chapped hands, ashy elbows, and other dryness problems all over the body. It also protects against and aides in healing chafing.

I want your opinion! Do you want me to expand and include healing salves among my products? Comment below to let me know!

Skin Anti-aging and Other Beauty Benefits

Roses provide a plethora of beauty benefits it’s impossible to list. Drinking the tea will certainly benefit your skin, but when put in a facial steamer, it helps even more. It can regulate the pH of your skin, unclog pores, and removed dark spots and aging effects.

If you want to learn how to do a facial steamer, download our free PDF!

Bringing Good Luck

640px-Dried_Roses_(4260289056)Magickally, roses are associated to love and beauty. But did you know that they were also associated with luck? Rose petals or buds can be put in satchels or teas to encourage luck, particularly in love, but in all areas of life, and can enhance luck spells alongside more specifically intentioned herbs.

This benefit is increased when paired with other lucky herbs and oils, like orange and gardenia in our LUCKY soy essential oil candle.

Warding the Evil Eye

Roses aren’t necessarily what you think of as a protective herb, but they can be used in warding against evil intentions. Place rose petals in protection satchels and charms to enhance their protective properties, particularly against the Evil Eye.

Welcoming Friendly Spirits

If you have interest in spirit work, roses can be helpful as well. An atypical use, rose petals can be added to spirit communication spells to encourage friendly, positive spirits to communicate with the caster.

Do you use roses in your beauty and health routine, or your craft? Let me know how you use them by commenting below!

What to do, when you don’t know what to do?

This Friday post has turned into a Saturday ramble, and that’s okay. Because life gets a little hard and timeliness takes a bench to necessities. Such as sleep. And tea-making.

What’s up with the funny title? Allow me to explain. As recently stated, life can be hard. There are times when options seem few and far between. Or maybe too many. Is there a difference? The end result is something that feels like an impasse of the mind and a veritable Mount Everest of stress-inducing sh!t with which to deal.

But certainly, at some point, action needs to take place. A decision, a movement, a play in the game of life. It’s like chess, you’re not allowed to not make a move. Throwing one away is accepted, but it’s still a choice. Good choices, however, may include taking a step back and giving time and space to see what could be done next. When challenges come ’round, checking in with, dare I say the most over-used and under-appreciated word in the millennial vocabulary, self-care, may be just the thing that’s needed.

I’ve noticed that attempting to tackle the big “problem” or major “issues” first rarely works. That final paper? Let’s just start with finding where you left your laptop under the two months worth of dirty laundry. Rejected visa and about to be potentially fined and kicked out of the EU? Let’s just get the employer’s kids home from school in once piece. (Both equally true stories.) Whatever your series of unavoidable, uncomfortable, and overwhelming situations are, start doing. Even if it’s actually doing nothing, or something super, duper tiny.

Everyone’s path is a little different. All I’m here to do is say, hey, we’re not alone. Our I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing moments are unique, but our responses to them probably are not. We’ve been beaten down before, but we got back up, so maybe we can do it one, more, time.

So, without further ado, here are Natalie’s top ways to regroup and get back to your path, whatever that may be. Feel free to try them out.

  1. Hug someone (animal friends count) and tell them that you love and care for them.
  2. Make some tea or other healing beverage.
  3. Watch a comedy (Bridesmaids is my personal favorite that always makes me feel better.)
  4. Make a journal entry including 3 gratitudes.
  5. Clean literally anything. Purse, horse, clothes, desk, phone, toenails, whatevah.
  6. Make a list. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be relating to your current issue. Make it a list of top ideal Hollywood stars you’d like to see run a marathon, just to watch them suffer.
  7. Make another list, this time with your next steps to solve {{insert problem}}.
  8. Go back to bed and continue watching movies and drinking tea.
  9. Get out of bed, clean that, and then check your second list. Up to doing anything on that list?
  10. Repeat steps 1-8 until 9 seems sorta feasible.
  11. You know what to do.

Wednesday Warriors – Marina Franklin

I’ll be honest. This post’s content was partially chosen so that I had an excuse to binge watch more Youtube clips of Marina Franklin performing standup comedy. She is just that funny.

You can watch her on Conan here, and on Late Night Show with Steven Colbert here. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to talking about white guys later *cough, not, cough*).

And if, by happenstance, you’re one of those people who has convinced themselves that they don’t like stand up comedy, Marina is a host of Friends Like US, a podcast by women of color on contemporary hot topics, which you can find on Itunes or Spotify. Remember the whitewashing of Ghost in the Shell? They interviewed the makers of this Public Service Announcement.

Her comedy shines in the visual and auditory departments, and by that I mean, she makes really funny faces and voices. Many of her stand-up bits talk about issues between white and black people, like when she was dating a white guy. She has a knack for pinpointing the little moments of difference in inter-racial relations and turning them into a laugh, without dismissing the inequality that exists nor blanketly condemning white actions (even if it’s deserved).

So come on, Netflix, and can we get a stand-up comedy special with her, please?