Thank goodness Vitacost makes it easy to ship internationally anywhere in the world. A simple shop online and our care packages of dearly-missed vitamins, supplements, medicines and beauty products are mailed to us wherever we are in Nicaragua by DHL for only $9.99 for 3.6 lbs of products. It’s a great relief when the Vitacost package arrives to our Granada Post Office with our lifeline to the best of the United States inside!
These are some of our favorite products that we cannot find in Nicaragua that we order regularly to keep our family at our best:
High quality vitamins sourced from real food.
Our growing kids need defending from the inside out. They’re in a new environment that is more environmentally toxic. A multi-vitamin that is made from real food is easily understood and absorbed by their bodies. You would be amazed at how much synthetic vitamins never penetrate our systems. If Aiden is going to take one vitamin a day, it better be a knock-out punch. Try Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids Cherry Berry or Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Children’s Chewable Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Assorted.
Note: if you order a gummy version of these vitamins make sure that you keep them in the fridge so that they don’t melt!
I also need really good vitamins to keep me feeling my best and to defend against excessive environmental toxins. Have you seen the smog coming out of those ‘chicken buses’? I often want more energy out of my body especially the older I get so I rely upon trusted vitamin brands that are sourced mainly from natural foods that my body recognizes and processes easily. I use either Garden of Life Vitamin Code Women (sourced from raw foods!) or New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily 40 Plus Multivitamin (boosting me through my 40’s…).
Organic cotton tampons
Ladies, this one is for you. So after living in Nicaragua for awhile, I learned about how cotton has been historically grown in the department of Chinandega in the north of Nicaragua. Apparently, due to intensive farming methods common to the industry, cotton is a product that is heavily laced with fertilizer and pesticide. This dependence on chemicals has lead to some very sad and serious physical side effects among Nicaraguan farm workers.
Now, please consider for a moment that tampons are made of cotton and are placed inside your body in your reproductive area. Really pondering those connections, it became important to me to use purely organic cotton hygiene products. Now normally organic cotton tampons can be very difficult to source abroad, but with Vitacost I just add Natracare organic cotton tampons to my order every few months and I never have to buy any other kind.
Nicaragua sells very cheap kid’s medicine and they even have all types of common medicines in syrup form. But they often taste dreadful. My son struggles to swallow a pill. He may not get a pill down until he’s in high school. I don’t know! But I have to be ready for whatever comes our way in the middle of the night and it better be palatable because being sick is a drag enough without adding bitter medicine on top.
So I stock up on good tasting over the counter medicine such as Little Remedies Little Fevers Children’s Fever-Pain Reliever Acetaminophen Natural Cherry, Children’s Advil Ibuprofen Fever Reducer Pain Reliever, and Children’s Benadryl Allergy Cherry. The Benadryl is not shippable to Nicaragua, so I do try to bring this in a suitcase when I am coming from the US.
Great face creams loaded with regenerative vitamins.
While we are hanging out in the hot Central American sun for months at a time, we need to be vigilant about re-hydrating and regenerating our facial skin. We can develop sun spots and dryer, more wrinkled skin in a short period of time. But this deterioration is preventable through the vitamins and moisture that you put into skincare regimen morning and night.
CSI Vitamin C Youth Serum, Glonaturals Coconut Eye Cream, Glonaturals Essentials Collection – Vitamin A Antioxidant Cream with Hyaluronic Acid & DMAE, JASON Age Renewal Vitamin E Moisturizing Crème, and Earth Science Multi Therapy Daily Sun Defense Lotion SPF 15.
Getting the steps and layering right: Wash and exfoliate your skin (baking soda is a great inexpensive, non-abrasive exfoliator) then add the CSI Vitamin C Youth Serum right away and then add onto your under eye area the Glonaturals Coconut Eye Cream, then your Glonaturals Vitamin A cream and finally for the best part: your heavy JASON Vitamin E cream which will take all trace and sense of dryness out of your face.
If I am heading out in the sun, I will hold back on the JASON Vitamin E until night and use a good daily facial sunscreen like the Earth Science Sun Defense Lotion. Does this seem like a lot? You’re right it is. But it doesn’t take long here to figure out that extreme sun calls for an extreme defense strategy.
Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
Once you get into using good apple cider vinegar to detox and boost your immunity, it’s hard to live without it. Enthusiasts know that it’s got to be unpasteurized and unfiltered, it’s better when it’s organic and it’s awesome when it’s Bragg’s ACV.
One of the best things that you can do to boost your overall well-being is to clean out your gut and load it with probiotic flora; you will also notice that it speeds up your metabolism. You will notice in the Bragg’s vinegar that there are solid bits floating at the bottom of the bottle. This is the ‘mother’ and is full of live probiotic. Give it a good shake so each energy drink or salad you make has a good dose of energizing flora.
La Colonia supermarket in Granada as of 2017 carries Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (albeit more expensively) but we imported it from Vitacost for years. If you are reading this from somewhere out there in the universe that doesn’t stock Bragg’s ACV, Vitacost international shipping is your answer.
Both kids and adults need intensive probiotics several times a year and your body usually tells you when. Another red flag is anytime you take any antibiotics or parasitic treatments, you will undoubtedly want to proactively rebalance your system with a good probiotic treatment.
We keep Aiden’s Acidophilus probiotics by Nature’s Gate on stock in the fridge (where it lasts longer) in case he starts to feel off. It’s important to have a probiotic that carries flora strains specific to the needs of kids. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s grape-flavored, chewable, and pretty delicious.
For adults you are going to want to stock up on a quality probiotic for the same reasons! It is always best to buy them in the refrigerated but when you can’t, it is okay to rely upon a brand that doesn’t require it.
We love melatonin because insomnia is a threat to good sleep and therefor good health. I have two favorite brands that I am always adding to my care package list: Schiff Knock-Out Melatonin with Theanine and Valerian and Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve (Strawberry flavor is good). If I take one of these 20-30 minutes before I want to sleep, I’m golden. Living with an unstocked cupboard, not pretty.
Load up on your favorite sunscreens! There’s no way that you can have too much! The Central American sun is fierce and you have to protect yourself. When you run out of the supply you brought from home, source your sunscreen through Vitacost and reap the savings, get more product for your money, and stock the brands you love.
My very favorite sunscreen is only available at Trader Joe’s but since Trader Joe’s doesn’t ship internationally, I am still going to be ecstatic with Alba’s Botanica Hawaiian Clear Spray Sunscreen SPF 50 with coconut. It really protects you from burning when you reapply every 80 minutes and it smells awesome!
And don’t forget your face! When you are out swimming out at Laguna de Apoyo you are going to want Kiss My Face Sunscreen Face Factor SPF 50 to keep you from lamenting all the fun in the sun your family had that day.
Toothpaste and Deodorant
Cleaning your teeth without good toothpaste is a very sad affair in Nicaragua. Until recently, Colgate held a monopoly on teeth cleaning supplies but now you can find Oral-B and Crest, as well. But there’s something strange about these toothpastes. I don’t know if it’s because I am so used to my own favorite brand, but I have to say that these products seen inferior to the same brands back in the United States. And I have to wonder, at a $1 a tube, maybe they are designed more cheaply for greater appeal here?
Anyway, our family is a tough crowd to please with toothpaste. We love Arm & Hammer Advance Cleaning Maximum Baking Soda Toothpaste because it is the best clean feeling that I have ever found out of a toothpaste tube. The only thing better is going to the dentist for the full deep cleaning but it gives you that same professionally polished feeling. And baking soda beyond being a natural, whitening exfoliate is also fantastic for neutralizing odors. My son, Aiden has been using this toothpaste since he was 6 and he prefers the saltiness of the flavor over sweeter recipes in other brands.
It’s a relief for me that Vitacost stocks this product as well as the Arm & Hammer Essentials Deodorant. The Arm & Hammer deodorant has the same neutralizing antacid power of baking soda and doesn’t have any funky perfumes that might be gender specific. I also like that this brand does protect against the yellowing of the underarm area of your shirt- you’ll need that kind of shirt protection in Nicaragua!
The Vitacost care package surprise
Every Vitacost care package that arrives to our house should have something fun and unexpected inside especially for the kids. Sometimes we get bored with what’s on offer in Nicaragua or the prices for an imported item like Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese ($6!) are too extreme. In a Vitacost package you can add in a couple wild card options to make your kids smile and a little something to pamper yourself, too!