Monday, November 30, 2009

Traveling with Food Allergies: homemade sugar scrub

Whew. Just got back from a whirlwind eight-day trip through China! I've never traveled on a tour before, it was good but exhausting since they packed a lot of sightseeing into a limited amount of time -- waaay more than I would have done on my own. I can see now how being a rock star traveling on the road could be so physically taxing, why they would need a personal assistant and why it would be so easy to go off the deep end! :) I am going through my pictures now and will post a few soon to share, I promise.

The most urgent thing I noticed when I got home was how much damage I did to my skin during this trip. Any time I travel my skin goes haywire since I am out of my controlled environment (hypoallergenic organic bed, HEPA filter), and I'm usually forced to eat some non FAQ-friendly food, and can't maintain my hyper-vigilance as usual. On this trip, there was also tons of environmental pollution to contend with as well. But this time when I got home my skin was so dry and damaged it was PAINFUL. It was rough from the minor rashes I got every day, dehydrated from drinking less water (I only drank bottled so was drank much less than I drink at home), and my skin felt like it was so hard and brittle (is that technically possible?) that it was going to crack -- it was painful enough to kept me from sleeping.

What to do? I was too jet-lagged to go shopping for a gluten-free, soy-free body scrub/moisturizing treatment, so looked up a recipe for a homemade sugar scrub on the internet. This recipe has only three functional ingredients available at any health food store (thank goodness for the Whole Foods down the street). If you can't find glycerine, the original recipe author used avocado oil, you could also use grapeseed oil.

I scooped some scrub onto my legs, since that was where there was the most damage (btw, I also bruise my legs every single time I travel just managing the luggage!). This was much easier to do in the bathtub vs. the shower, trust me on this! This scrub worked nicely for a first round of defense, now I just need to keep putting more good food and lots of water into my system, and use tons of lotion.

About the scrub ingredients: sugar is a natural softening agent, and vegetable-based glycerin (which is usually made from palm and/or coconut oil) is a moisturizing agent. (Although the author uses avocado oil, it's more expensive so I went with the glycerin.) The aloe or vitamin C is to promote healing. I didn't have any essential oils or colorings on hand which would have made it nicer, but this worked just fine and I'll add those to a later batch. This recipe is from I took a bath to soften my skin, then scooped some scrub, rubbed it in to exfoliate for about 30 seconds. Then I left it on for about 3 minutes before rinsing off. My skin was smoother, softer, and more receptive to lotion -- it was no longer in defense mode! Be sure to have the ingredients handy to make this scrub when you return from traveling.

Homemade Sugar Scrub (gluten-free, soy-free)
from Care

* 50 percent white cane sugar (note that organic sucanat, while the best choice for food, doesn’t work as well for this recipe)
* 50 percent vegetable glycerin to moisten the sugar (I used avocado oil since I was out of vegetable glycerin and it proved to be a successful substitute)
* Small amounts of aloe vera gel, vitamin C crystals, or anything healing that dissolves in water
* 1 or 2 drops of essential oil if desired (Larry recommends combining orange and lavender)
* Enough ground hibiscus powder for pink color (if desired)

Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Scoop some of the scrub onto your hand and massage gently onto your skin for a minute (the scrub will actually tighten onto your skin like a masque). Leave on for 3 to 4 minutes before rinsing.

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