What's in My Carry On: Wellness Edition
Nothing ruins a vacation faster than an out-of-whack tummy or digestive system. With a 3-week trip to Japan on my calendar, I was thrilled to explore and taste new things, but also a little nervous about how I would keep my system in top top shape in a land with such a different food landscape. How would I keep my body feeling great when I'm away from the comfort of my pantry ... and my blender?
Since discovering how well my body reacts to a diet high in protein and plant based nutrients, I knew I'd need to do a little preparation in order to stay on track. I learned a ton along the way about how to keep my mind, body and soul happy during long travels, so I'm happy to share a few tips with you in hopes that maybe it'll help you have the courage to book that flight to Spain or Australia or Iceland. (Oops, personal wish list right there.)
Here's what I packed to stay healthy and happy while still enjoying everything that Japan had to offer (which turned out to be a lot of Matcha flavored sweets and too much ice cream...) These opinions are strictly my own and while they worked for me, they may not all work for you, so please take what you need and leave the rest for the next gypset traveling babe.
1. Protein Bars - Nobody likes it when you get hangry, and it can be difficult to find protein bars that are not laden with sugar or unrecognizable ingredients when shopping in foreign countries. I packed enough to make sure I could carry one per day, which is more protein bars than I would ever eat back home, but again, these days weren't filled with the comforts of home where I can indulge in eggs and smoothies whenever I desire. I loooove RX Bars and GoMacro bars. Both are made with real ingredients and packed with protein.
2. Collagen Peptides - My skin and body feel so much better since incorporating collagen into my diet, so I never want to go without it. Vital Proteins makes these handy dandy individual packets that are so easy to carry around. Any black coffee, smoothie or matcha (seen above) will do - just pour and stir. Game changer.
3. MCT Powder + Ghee - Butter coffees and matchas have become part of my daily life. Butter coffee, or Keto coffee, is the combo of butter or ghee, coffee and MCT oil. I attribute my energy and even shedding a few pounds to this miracle combo. Fourth & Heart's mini ghee packets are great for the road, and Zhou's MCT powder means I can still have my medium chain triglycerides without having to tote a potentially leaky and messy oil around. As a bonus, Zhou's MCT powder also includes prebiotic fiber, aka extra gut health insurance. For my trip to Japan, I put 15 scoops (almost one scoop per day) in a recycled glass jelly jar, though a plastic bag may have been more practical to be honest. Nonetheless, I was so happy I had it and shamelessly carried it into restaurants and coffee shops if I wasn't making a beverage at the hotel/Airbnb that morning.
4. Yin Powder - Made by Sun Potion, this tonic herbal formula was made to nourish feminine energy and harmonize the whole system, from the inside out. I added this Reishi, Pearl Powder, He Shou Wu, Pine Pollen-potion to my tea and coffee when I felt like I could use a little grounding and normalizing.
5. Spirulina - I've been incorporating this green algae into my smoothies lately, and with all of its potential benefits -- lowers blood pressure, boosts energy, good source of B vitamins and potassium, fights allergies, boosts immunity, helps regulate sugar levels...the list goes on!) -- it's clear why they call it a superfood. It's also a great source of protein and can reduce sugar/carb cravings. It didn't make much sense to travel with it in a powder form since I wouldn't be making any smoothies on the trip, and to be honest I don't love the way it tastes in water. Then I discovered these tablets by Zhou Nutrition (shown above). Problem solved.
6. Calm Now - The one thing sure to ruin any vacation is stress, but it happens to the best of us. You get lost, you can't speak the language, you can't decide where to eat lunch or which train to take ... with everyone being off their normal schedule and out of their comfort zone, it's no wonder we find our tipping points a little more sensitive than usual. Another Zhou Nutrition find, these Calm Now pills are a literal chill pill, made to encourage calm, relaxing, and positive vibes. Boasting plenty of B vitamins along with Ashwagandha Powder, one of my favorite adaptogens, I took 2 a day leading up to my adventures to get it into my system, and then 1 a day during my trip with breakfast.
7. H2O - I used to really struggle with drinking enough water when traveling. I don't know about you, but I don't love airplane bathrooms, or the walk to the airplane bathroom, or the tapping of the stranger next to you to let you out to make said walk to said bathroom. But the truth is, we need to hydrate on flights!! So now I pack an aluminum bottle (I love my Swell bottle), fill it up before take off and every time a water is offered to me, and I chug, chug, chug. As a bonus, I've come to appreciate the trips to the bathroom since they give me the chance to stretch. Since becoming a yogi, I'm so much more in tune with my body and its needs, and if I don't stretch a few times during long flights, my body really talks to me.
8. Granola - Specifically Purely Elizabeth granola with probiotics. It's so important to keep your gut healthy and happy, and the formula they use ensures the probiotics last through their baking process. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that lives in or gut and ensures a healthy digestive system. When possible, I picked up plain yogurt from Japanese grocery stores and topped it with this granola for a healthy breakfast, but often times I just ate a few handfuls straight from the bag.
With all of this in my carry on, it was still only the beginning to keeping my system in optimal condition. I made sure to visit grocery stores and markets as often as I could to stock up on locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Since it was Japan, sashimi grade fish was in my regular rotation. But so was matcha flavored cakes and ice cream. I truly believe in living a Balanced life, and for me that means enjoying the flavors and traditions of the place I traveled so far to experience.
What about you? Do you have any items you make sure to pack in your bag before taking off on an adventure? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
Safe travels, everybody!