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Health store help

Independent health store advice on how to have a healthy, happy holiday

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to nutritional therapist Liz O'Byrne and Tessa Badenhorst, owner of health store the Aloe Tree in Ennistymon, Co Clare

"We often help those packing to go on travels with first aid kits to help the journey go smoothly," says Tessa. "Firstly, we would not leave home without a good probiotic. Start taking it at least 10 days prior to the trip."

Liz adds: "The probiotic saccharomyces boulardii has proven to be helpful to stop diarrhoea so is a really helpful one to have in your holiday first aid kit. We all know that up to 80% of our immune system is in our gastrointestinal tract which contains approximately 500 different species of bacteria. Looking after the balance of these bacteria is essential to good health and immunity."

Healthy hydration

"Keeping hydrated whilst travelling is very important, especially if travelling by aeroplane and to hotter climates," says Liz. "Carry a refillable water bottle (you can empty this before going through airport security) and refill at most airports. Eating fruit and vegetables will also help to keep you hydrated and you should be able to source some really tasty local fruit in sunnier countries! If you experience diarrhoea whilst travelling, you can easily get dehydrated so it's important to drink extra fluids if this happens."

Sun protection

"There are many wonderful sunscreens out there now that don't have a plethora of chemicals in them," says Tessa. "Ones with the Reef Safe certification will give you peace of mind that if you will be swimming you won't be washing unsafe chemicals into marine habitats. An important aspect of protecting yourself from the sun and heat stroke is to avoid exposure at its strongest times. Between 12 and 2pm in most countries is peak time, but common sense is essential. If you feel too hot – you probably are. Seek the shade to bring your temperature back to normal."

Travel must-haves

"Travel soaps have improved so much over the years," says Tessa. "They can be used as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and laundry detergents. Even face cleansers, moisturisers and toothpastes come in bar form now. I'd ask your local health food store which ones have the best feedback or if they've tried one in particular. In County Clare alone we have some great local soap producers with top quality options."

"Teatree or antiseptic cream is another must-have," says Tessa. "There are many all-healing salves with great ingredients to help in all scenarios. Look for ones with combinations of tea tree and/or lavender for their antiseptic properties, calendula for healing, chickweed for itchiness and arnica for swelling or bruising. They are useful for putting on mosquito bites and everyday scratches to prevent any infections."

"When purchasing bug spray, it doesn't need to have DEET in it," says Tessa. "Try asking your local health food store if there's one they've tried or have good feedback on. It will be much more efficient if applied before you go outdoors."

Travel sickness and jetlag

"Ginger or chamomile are both known to help with nausea or motion sickness," says Liz. "You can drink ginger or chamomile tea but capsules may be more convenient whilst travelling. If travelling across time zones, you may experience jetlag. To overcome this as quickly as possible, it's best to try and get in sync with the local time as soon as you can. It may involve staying awake when you would normally be going to bed. Try to avoid using caffeine as it may affect your sleep when you do actually go to bed, and it can also leave you feeling dehydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids and doing some gentle movement like walking or swimming may help to keep you awake and ensure you sleep well when you do go to bed."

Who's who and what's what at the Aloe Tree in Ennistymon, Co Clare

This year is a particularly special one for Tessa Badenhorst, owner of the Aloe Tree, as the store will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

"It's such a welcoming industry to work in," she says, reflecting on the past decade. "Customers, colleagues and companies you're dealing with all have the same ethics and passions. We enjoy being a space that offers comfort and support for the community, and in turn we feel very held by our customers too."

Interaction and engagement with the local community is a big deal for Tessa and her staff members. In fact, the store won Local Producer Champion in the Health Stores Ireland/New Natural Business 2024 Retailer Awards in January.

"Interaction and community space are being pushed out of our lives more and more, with automated banking and checkouts, so instead we are bringing more and more interaction to the store," says Tessa.

"This year we invested in a peanut butter-making machine to show how real food can be pure and simple. It's a fun food shopping experience for kids and adults alike, refilling their jars and milling the peanuts themselves. We provide a sit-down table and kids' corner because we want the space to be communal and balanced. We have a huge variety of loose food options and refills for toiletries and detergents. I feel such a tactile and package-free way of shopping gives us back some of the human touch lost with the increase of online shopping and instant convenience."

Each year, the store holds a party evening for its customers, but this year's event will be particularly special in the run-up to the 10-year anniversary. "Make sure to call in during the first two weeks of August, as every day will be a party!" says Tessa. "We have the loan of a wheel of fortune that customers will be able to spin to see what mini prizes they win. We'll also have hampers and competitions to enter each day. Every day will have a themed hamper and in-store tastings and 10% reductions all over the shop.

We're pretty grateful and excited to have reached such a milestone, so it's a genuine sense of gratitude and achievement that we're celebrating and sharing."

VISIT: The Aloe Tree, Main St, Ennistymon, Co Clare
SPEAK TO: Owner Tessa Badenhorst
PHONE: 065-7071837
OPEN: 9am to 6pm: Monday to Saturday.

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