Healthy Travels, Naturally
Written by Amy Ritchie
Your trip is booked, you’re starting to pack and preparing for the adventure of a lifetime. In all the excitement we often forget one thing. Our bodies need a little pre-travel love too! When traveling I always use nutrition to help prevent getting sick while packing some natural health products to help me deal with anything that comes up food shock (like culture shock - but for your stomach).
Before You Arrive
Feed Your Immune System
What you put in your body has the power to feed or fight illness. For 1 month before your trip up your intake of immune supporting nutrients such as vitamin A, C, D, zinc and antioxidants.
My Food Rx
- 4 cups greens daily: spinach, kale, kiwis, peas, green beans, avocado, collards, chard, asparagus, broccoli, brussels, green juices & smoothies
- 2 cups red or orange fruits & vegetables daily: sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin, tomato, oranges, carrots, strawberries, raspberries, red peppers
- 2 zinc rich foods daily: oysters, pumpkin seeds, red meat, sesame seeds, lentils, chick peas, cashews, quinoa, shrimp
- At least 2L water per day
- Supplement: vitamin D 2000 IU per day, probiotics
- Decrease sugary drinks & treats that will negatively impact your immune function
Bonus! These antioxidant rich foods will also help protect the skin from sun damage!
De-Stress BEFORE your trip
On-going stress has the ability to supress our immune system and sometimes when we finally get to relax, we get sick. I suggest taking 2 weeks prior to your vacation to start incorporating an hour or 2 a day of relaxing, stress relieving activity. This look different for everyone but could include yin or restorative yoga, reading, nature walks, Epsom salt bath, listening to music or just making sure to catch up on sleep.
On the Plane: drink plenty of water while flying to avoid dehydration (and if you’re like me, maybe request an aisle seat on long flights for frequent trips to the bathroom)
What to Bring
Anti-microbial: It’s a good idea to include an herbal anti-microbial to help protect against any bacteria or viruses you may encounter. This can be taken a few days prior to your trip, during, and for a few days after (herbal antimicrobials shouldn’t be taken long term and should be separated by at least 4 hour from probiotics). This may include oil of oregano, garlic, thyme, echinacea, Oregon grape, astragalus or elderberry. Look for a formula at your local supplement store or make an appointment with an herbalist or naturopathic doctor for a custom blend.
Electrolytes: if you’re travelling somewhere hot bring along a powdered electrolyte mix and add to your water, especially on days when you’re sweating a lot. The electrolytes will come in handy if you do experience any vomiting or diarrhea in your travels – with hopefully you’ll be able to avoid!
Ginger: if your trip includes boat rides, train rides or bus rides and you’re prone to motion sickness, pack some ginger to help with nausea. You can find this is capsules, lozanges, tea or as candied ginger.
Probiotics & S. boulardii: Probiotics are live bacteria while saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast – these will help to not only boost the immune system but also prevent travelers diarrhea.
*find out if you’ll have access to a fridge where you’re staying & if not buy a shelf stable formula
Digestive enzymes: bring these along if you know you have a sensitive stomach, take before meals
Greens powder: if you won’t have access to an abundance of fresh, raw, CLEAN vegetables then pack a greens powder and add to water daily
Melatonin: beat jet leg! If you’re changing time zones grab some melatonin and take it before going to sleep. If you’re a light sleeper also bring along an eye mask & ear plugs.
While You’re There
Get Your Rest: It can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends when you’re in a new place. Keep your energy levels high and immune system strong by making time for rest. If you’re not able to spend 8 hours getting some ZZzzzzs then find time for an afternoon siesta!
Make Meals Count: If you have control over what you’re eating while travelling, load up on garlic & onions in meals! And maybe bring some mints along too..
Preparation is key and the last thing you want while on your vacation is to waste time in bed, adoctor’s office or in the bathroom. Take these simple steps to keep you healthy, energized so you can make the most of your trip!
Disclaimer: the above is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have prior to travelling. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Amy Ritchie, NNCP
Amy Ritchie is a Holistic Nutritionist with a focus on women's health, eating psychology and nutritional support for anxiety and depression. She believes in education and empowerment, helping her clients to understand their bodies and conditions, interpret their symptoms, and supporting them with dietary and lifestyle choices.
Inspired by her success improving her health naturally, Amy chose to go back to school and study Holistic Nutrition and Integrative Medicine. She graduated as class valedictorian Summa Cum Laude from Pacific Rim College, the most comprehensive on-site program of Holistic Nutrition in Canada and completed 360 clinical hours before beginning her practice.
Amy is currently working as a Holistic Nutritionist at the Thunder Bay Naturopathic Clinic.