We all know there are some things that we'd rather not discuss (at least not openly) but we still need remedies for from time to time. Take, traveler's diarrhea, for example.
If you're fortunate enough to never have heard of such a thing because you've never experienced it before, count your blessings, chile. Although I never have (motion sickness is my personal area of expertise), I know people who do. According to them, it S-U-C-K-S.
Although diarrhea typically happens due to things like viral and bacterial infections or food poisoning, sometimes it can occur when one's digestive tract is disrupted due to anxiety, fast food, contaminated water, or germs that they come into contact with while they are on the road (or in the air).
Is traveler's tummy serious? Not really. It usually subsides after a day or two. But when you're in the midst of having loose stools and abdominal cramps, you definitely want to find a remedy sooner than later.
If you can relate, here are 6 natural ones that are directly related to traveler's diarrhea. Oh, and for those of us who get motion sick whenever we've travel, I've included 6 others too.
Drink Water That Has Aloe Vera Juice in It
Aloe vera water
When you're dehydrated, something that you're going to lose plenty of is water. In fact, the cause of death in some babies and seniors who have diarrhea-related health issues is dehydration. That's why, whenever diarrhea creeps in, it's important to remember that, no matter what, you need to drink water or a sports drink (they have electrolytes in them).
If you really want to speed up the healing process, pour a little aloe vera juice into your (non-carbonated) water. Aloe Vera juice has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce gastrointestinal inflammation.
Get Some Honey into Your System
I'm not sure if there's anything that honey can't fix. In the case of diarrhea, it's cool to know that there's such a sweet remedy to such an uncomfortable problem.
The reason why honey is so effective is due to its high amount of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It has so many of both that honey is proven to treat gastroenteritis as it reduces the longevity of bacterial diarrhea.
The best way to take it? Put about four teaspoons of honey into a cup of hot water (as hot as you can stand it) and drink it down straight. The cramping should subside within 15-20 minutes.
Take (Or Eat) A Probiotic
Yogurt chia parfaits
There are a million and one reasons why it's a good idea to take a probiotic supplement. It keeps your heart strong, reduces allergies, works to prevent yeast infections, soothes inflammatory bowel disease, decreases depression symptoms, and yep, you guessed it, is an awesome diarrhea remedy.
Probiotics work so well at treating diarrhea because they provide what is needed in order to promote good gut health by removing bad bacteria from your gastrointestinal system.
If you don't have some probiotics in one of your travel bags, that's OK. There are foods that you can eat that are loaded with probiotics too. Some of them include yogurt (although we must warn, depending on your sensitivities, you might want to go light on the dairy), pickles, cottage cheese, green olives, and (get this) dark chocolate.
(For the record, "bland" foods like toast, applesauce, and oatmeal can help to slow down gas bubbles and tummy discomfort too.)
Find Some White Rice
The problem with getting sick while you're out on the road is sometimes natural remedies can be hard to find. But if you do end up with diarrhea while you're out and about, try and get your hands on some plain white rice (like from a Chinese food restaurant or the microwavable kind you can get from a grocery store).
Although having regular bowel movements is typically a healthy thing, it's something you want to slow down when you've already got the runs. Because white rice is low in fiber, it has the ability to calm your stomach down so that you're not running to the bathroom quite as much.
You know what this means, right? If you're thinking that you'll just go with brown rice instead, you should seriously rethink that. Brown rice is full of fiber. This means that in the case of traveler's diarrhea, it'll probably cause more harm than good.
Avoid Certain Foods
If you know you've got diarrhea because you ate some foods that you had no business consuming in the first place, don't make matters worse by taking in more that don't necessarily agree with you. Foods that are loaded with grease (French fries would be a no-no), dairy (so, no ice cream either), or alcohol (it dehydrates you) go on the very top of the list. So no foods that are high in fiber (because that will only keep your system going) like leafy greens, berries, or corn.
BTW, something else you need to stay away from is chewing gum. It might sound crazy but most gum contains artificial sweeteners and that's something else that will further irritate your tummy.
Get Your Hands on Some Tea
If eating is the last thing you want to think about doing, an herbal tea bag or two can get you through the night. Chamomile tea contains properties that slow down intestinal spasms, blackberry and raspberry leaf teas have tannins in them that will soothe the mucous membranes in your intestines, and Rooibos tea is loaded with flavonoids that help to stop diarrhea-related cramping. (If you add the honey that I talked about, you can get relief even quicker!)
And what if your upset stomach is more motion sickness-related or you're not sure what the deal is? No worries, we've got 6 remedies that will help you out in that department too!
Make Some Crystallized Ginger
You might've heard somewhere that ginger is great for morning sickness. It's a surefire remedy for motion sickness too. If you want to know the scientific reason why, I've read that the properties in ginger help the development of gastric dysrhythmias and the elevation of plasma vasopressin. Basically, that means the 6-gingerol that's in it helps to soothe your stomach and intestines.
Honestly, any kind of ginger—ginger snaps, ginger tea, ginger capsules—will get the job done. But a potent (and delicious) form of ginger is crystallized ginger candy. You can get some at your local grocery store or learn how to make it yourself by clicking here.
Sip on Something Carbonated
Speaking of ginger, another thing that can help is to drink some ginger ale. Not just because of the amount of ginger that's in it but because carbonation can help to ease your tummy too.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of ginger ale but if you can't stand the taste of it, any type of carbonated drink will do the trick. Just make sure that it's something that doesn't have caffeine in it. Caffeine will dehydrate you and could lead to even more nausea and discomfort. That means Coke is a no-no. #sorry
(If you're a big tea drinker, opt for some warm peppermint or chamomile tea. They're effective stomach-soothers too!)
Create Your Own DIY Travel Oil
Even though planes don't smell the best, that doesn't mean you can't get on board with your own aromatherapy. My suggestion would be to make a blend of lavender oil and nutmeg oil. Lavender oil contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce the feelings associated with nausea and the urge to vomit. Nutmeg oil has the ability to calm your nervous system, boost your immunity, and reduce dizziness.
All you need to do is combine one-part lavender and one-part nutmeg oil into a traveler size bottle (feel free to add a little bit of a carrier oil like avocado oil or sweet almond oil if the scent is too strong). Right before you get going, put a little underneath your nose, rub a little on your stomach, and dab a little on your wrists. It should instantly relax you and make the journey much easier on you and your body.
Get in the Right Position
If you get motion sick as much as I do, you probably already know that sitting in the back of a car is worse than sitting in the front. That's because the back of the car moves around more than the front does. So, unless you're fortunate enough to have the entire back seat to yourself (so that you can stretch out across it), try and get in the front. Also, try and keep your head on the headrest as much as possible. It will stabilize you.
What if you're riding on a plane? Here's something that might surprise you. It's best to sit in the middle, as close to the airplane's wings, as possible. According to pilots, that's the part of the plane that experiences the least movement so that you'll end up having the calmest ride.
Oh, and if you've got a cruise coming up, book your reservations for the lower level cabins near the center of the ship. That's the part of the boat that moves around the least.
Put Your Phone Away
You're probably not going to want to hear this, but you should. Remember how when you took family road trips as a kid, if you tried to read a book, it made you want to hurl? Trying to scroll down the small font on your smartphone is no different (actually, it's worse).
You know what that means, right? As far as your phone goes, it's best to set it to airplane mode or only use it to listen to music until you get wherever it is you're going. Otherwise, those gossip blogs and IG stories are gonna have you feeling sick as a dog. Yes, literally.
Try to Travel at Night
You're not going to feel motion sickness nearly as much if you're asleep. So, if you're planning a road trip with some family or friends, try and get them to want to leave around sunset and let you drive first. That way, once it's time to switch drivers, you can go to sleep and miss all of the bumpy action (same goes for plane, ship or train).
Here's to some super-smooth sailing, sis!
Featured Image by Getty Images.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Text This Before You Ghost Them, Sis.
We’ve all been there at least once (or a few times) along our dating journey. Maybe you’ve had a date or two with a potential suitor, but the spark just wasn’t there. Perhaps you convinced yourself that just “one more” date would help you overlook a non-negotiable ick. At this point in the dating cycle, you’ve probably reached the point where you must decide to either communicate “why” things won’t be moving forward or simply ghost them.
What Is Ghosting?
“Ghosting” refers to the act of suddenly and unexpectedly cutting off all communication with someone you've been dating or talking to without any explanation or further contact. It typically occurs in the early stages of dating but can also happen after a few dates or even in more established relationships.
The act of ghosting has become quite a common practice in our modern dating culture and can manifest in a number of different ways. From days of ignored text messages and phone calls out of the blue to not showing up for pre-arranged plans and sometimes disappearing from someone's life without any notice or explanation.
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The Problem With Ghosting
Being ghosted may seem like a harmless act of “self-choosing,” but the person on the receiving end of your decision can be left feeling confused, rejected, and even abandoned, wondering what happened and where they went wrong.
And we get it, what explanation do you owe someone for leaving after a few cocktails and a $100 date? While that may seem like the perfect opportunity to cut and run, taking an alternative approach to fizzle out a fling is a great time to practice clear and effective communication that can pay off in the long run.
While there is a time and a place for ghosting (and even blocking) if your boundaries have been crossed or safety has been threatened, if we’re looking to live out our best healed, secure-girl summer, there are ways to date freely without leaving others with damage of their own to recover from.
Being honest and upfront about your feelings while being respectful of the other person's time is the best way to leave a situationship or fling with both parties emotionally unscathed. So if you’re looking for ways to break things off with care and consideration, we’ve provided five text scripts to send instead of ghosting somebody’s son:
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5 Texts To Send Instead of Ghosting Them
1. If you want to take the honest but gentle approach:
"Hey [Name], I've really enjoyed getting to know you, but I've been doing some thinking, and I don't see this going any further. I wanted to be upfront and honest with you rather than leaving you wondering. I wish you all the best."
2. If you want to express gratitude before saying goodbye:
"Hi [Name], I wanted to reach out and say thank you for the time we spent together. You're an amazing person, but I think we're better off as friends. I hope you understand and that we can still maintain a positive connection."
3. If you want to leave a note of appreciation:
"Hi [Name], I wanted to let you know that I've had a great time with you, but I don't think we're compatible for a romantic relationship. I appreciate the moments we shared, and I hope we can both find what we're looking for."
4. If a face-to-face convo is needed:
"Hey [Name], I've been doing some thinking, and I believe it's important for us to have an open conversation about where we stand. Can we find some time to talk about our relationship and how we both feel? I think it's important to address things honestly."
5. If you want to keep things cute and concise:
"Hey [Name], I've realized that we're not on the same page, and it's best if we part ways. Take care."
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