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7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling Through India

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Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach Sahara Rose shares her best advice for avoiding an upset stomach and keeping your immune system strong when traveling.

Photo excerpted from Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook by Sahara Rose Ketabi. © 2018, First American Edition, DK Publishing. Sahara Rose Ketabi is the best-selling author of Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. Learn more at iamsahararose.com.

1. Carry essential oils.

My favorite for India is doTERRA DigestZen, which contains an Ayurvedic blend of anise seed, peppermint plant, ginger root, caraway seed, coriander seed, tarragon plant, and fennel seed oil. I drink this with hot water every day—even when I’m not traveling to India—to keep my digestion on point.

2. Take oil of oregano capsules.

Start with one dose a day (follow instructions on the supplement package) three days before you go to India and continue it taking every day while you’re there. “Oil of oregano is like a natural antibiotic, which can help prime your body for any exposure to bacteria or parasites,” Rose says.

See also 18+ Ways to Use Your Essential Oils

3. Take peppermint oil capsules before meals.

This will help aid digestion and also kill bacteria.

4. Take high-quality, diverse-strained, shelf-stable probiotics.

India can be hot, even when you’re traveling in winter, which is why you’ll want to make sure none of your supplements require refrigeration. “Probiotics are great because they introduce more bugs to your microbiome and have been linked with higher immunity,” Rose says. “In the US, we’re not exposed to a wide range of bacteria in our food source. In India, you will be—and that can be a major shock to your digestive system.”

See also Probiotics 101: Your Go-To for Gut Health

5. Pack protein bars.

Choose a low-glycemic, high-fat bar with medium protein to keep you satiated and nourished. You will be ecstatic when you have nothing else to eat and remember you have these bars in your bag.

6. Bring your own chocolate.

If you have a sweet tooth, carry your own low-glycemic, high-quality chocolate. “Indian sweets have a lot of sugar and dairy, which can cause an upset stomach,” Rose says.

7. Always choose cooked foods and peel-able fruits.

The reason everyone tells you not to eat raw foods in India is because of the different bacteria and parasites in the soil, Rose says. Her go-to meal: palak paneer (spinach curry with cottage cheese) with vegetables, which is a common Indian dish available at almost any restaurant. “I ask to replace the cheese with mixed vegetables, which is usually broccoli, mushrooms, and peas,” she says. “I have that with whole-wheat flatbread, called chapati, or rice and add a side of cucumber raita, which is like Indian tzatziki.”

Banana with almond butter (which Rose brings with her from the United States) is one of her favorite breakfasts when traveling in India. “Mangoes are also a must-try—during mango season there are hundreds of varieties,” she says. “Just steer clear of grapes, berries, and apples—unless you peel them.” 

See also 4 Ways to Practice Wellness On the Road



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Ayurveda

Take a Look Inside The Rady Children's Hospital Yoga Program

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A volunteer yoga program at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego is bettering the lives of its oncology kids.

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Ayurveda

How Yoga Helped One Child with Cancer Recovery

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Learn more about Julia’s story.

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Why Isn’t Yoga Covered By Health Insurance?

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The short answer is, it’s complicated.

We spoke with John Kepner, executive director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and Courtney Butler-Robinson, stress management specialist and yoga therapist for the Dean Ornish Reversal Clinic at Saline Heart Group in Benton, Arkansas, to find out why yoga therapy is largely uncovered by health insurance companies. Dean Ornish, MD, made headlines in 2010 for convincing insurance companies that yoga and meditation, when combined with proper diet and exercise, could reverse heart disease. To date, yoga therapy is covered only under the Ornish Reversal Program for heart disease, but some affiliated clinics, such as Saline Heart Group, are beginning to offer cancer care.

Yoga Journal: With all of its proven benefits, why is it so hard to get yoga covered by insurance?

John Kepner: That’s the big question. IAYT is a self-regulated organization—it’s all voluntary. We have standards and an accrediting body, continued education, certification, and an enforceable code of ethics, but we don’t yet have a certification exam. All professional health fields have some kind of exam. IAYT has just launched that effort, and I expect it will take another two years to complete. Those are necessary but not sufficient pillars when you’re talking about insurance. In most cases, but not all, insurance coverage extends to licenced health care fields.

Courtney Butler-Robinson: We are a wellness center and offer different programing. We recently extended into cancer care. The Ornish Reversal Program is the only program I know of where the whole thing, including yoga therapy, is covered by Medicare. Oftentimes, people who have cancer or have been given chemo will end up with heart problems, and in that case, we can often bill under that.

JK: One of my personal goals is yoga therapy insurance coverage for people recovering from cancer care. Their bodies have been wrecked by chemo. They need something to bring body and mind back to well-being. There’s a lot of research showing yoga can help with that. IAYT is connected with the Society for Integrative Oncology, which is seriously exploring yoga now.

See also Why More Western Doctors Are Now Prescribing Yoga Therapy

YJ: How do you see this goal coming to fruition? Will insurance-covered yoga therapy be siloed by illness or ailment, beginning with cancer and heart disease?

JK: I just don’t know. We are feeling our way. As mentioned, the Society for Integrative Oncology has two committees looking to yoga. For now, they are working independently of us, although we communicate with them. We are also developing a way to have insurance cover yoga therapies by health condition. My personal thought is that cancer is a good disease to start with. There is a lot of research and general sympathy. Heart disease is already addressed by the Ornish program.

CBR: I think Ornish will get prostate cancer covered in the next five
years. We just need to prove to insurance that this therapy will save them money.

JK: There are plenty of creative possibilities for financing yoga therapy in a health care setting beyond insurance. I wrote about it in 2005, but it’s still relative today. Anyone interested can look to my paper, “Financial Support for Yoga Therapy: A Montage of Possibilities,” published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy



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