My Secrets to Staying Healthy While Traveling

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Considering I am on vacation at the moment (just finished flying down a snowy mountain…shoop shoop) I wanted to share a few things I do to stay healthy when I am on vacation. 

I’ve learned that it is important to not stray too far away from your usual routine, mostly in terms of food and sleep, to ensure you feel your best while getting some much needed R&R. With the abundance of colds and flus flying around at the moment it is even more important to take care of yourself. When your life is filled with commitments that keep you very busy and stressed, our cortisol is typically higher. A high cortisol level stimulates immune cells to ward off inflammation and infection. When we finally get to relax our cortisol decreases, our immune system is down regulated giving way to potential colds and flus. This is an actual phenomenon! This is why people often tend to get sick when they are on vacation. So without further ado here is what I try to stick to to stay healthy:

Lemon water in the morning:

  • If this means bringing a lemon with me on the plane I will do it. Lemons are filled with vitamin C, helps with detoxification and helps keep those pipes moving. If you suffer from constipation while travelling this could give you that little push. I don’t drink coffee so when my fellow travellers are drinking their cup of joe I don’t feel like I am missing out. 

Immune Tea:

  • Have you ever brought your own tea on the plane with you? Flight attendants are always intrigued when my good friend, and fellow ND, and I pull out our own tea and snacks on a flight. Echinacea tea by Traditional Medicinals or a David’s tea immune blend are great options during the cold and flu season. 

Healthy Snacks:

  • My family knows that while traveling it is important to keep me fed to keep my energy and mood up. I usually always have healthy granola bars or nuts with me (homemade trail mix on the ski hill? Yes please!). If I am staying somewhere with friends, making a batch of hummus or energy bites always helps. This curbs the craving to grab Timbits, a sugary latte or chips. 

Greens:

  • This is something I definitely try not to stray from. When I am at home my goal is always to have at least one meal, hopefully two, with greens. Greens provide so much healthy nutrients and help with detoxification. When I’m traveling I let this slide to one meal a day if more difficult. If eating out, I grab a big salad for lunch, grab a green juice or have salad as a side for dinner. When staying at someones place, this may be a green smoothie for the group, or salad with dinner. 

Supplements:

That's me in the pink pants :) 

That's me in the pink pants :) 

  • This will vary for everyone but I bring the essentials with me to keep energy up, bowels healthy, and immune system supported. I sometimes think I am going to jinx myself if I bring my Cold-Pro supplement, but will wish I have it in case anyone including me gets sick. Sproos collagen even has little daily packs for gut health. 

Get Moving:

  • I want to keep my blood and lymph moving during vacation and my muscle strong. I try to search out some activity to do, whether skiing, playing tennis, or simply walking and stretching. Don’t be surprised if you finding me stretching in the airport or on the plane by the bathroom. 😃 

There you have it, my tips to stay healthy while on vacation. What are yours?

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

Collagen - The Do-All Protein: Decrease Joint Pain, Firm Skin & Heal the Gut

If you suffer from digestive concerns, joint pain, or aging skin (let’s face it, most people do) listen up. Collagen may be for you! 

Collagen powder really is the do-all protein and I want to explain why. Collagen is the main structural protein in our body, especially in our connective tissue found in the gut, skin, joints, bone, ligaments…well pretty much over our entire body. It is a building block of our bodies comprised of amino acids that make up 25-35% of whole body protein content. Unfortunately, natural collagen production peaks in our early 20s and slowly declines with age. It declines about 1.5% per year and approximately that by age 40 it has decreased by 25%, by age 60 decreased by over 60%! 

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We can get collagen from our diets, which is how our ancestors acquired it for the most part, however it is found in animal parts not normally consumed today. These are gelatinous meats, the cartilage on bones, such as chicken drumstick cartilage, and fish and poultry skin. Bone broth is another form in the form on gelatin, when the bones are boiled for over 5 hours, but even this is not as bioavailable as collagen powder. 

How often are you eating these animals parts in a week?? 

What to look for:

As it can be found in various animals parts, collagen powder can be sourced specific for the type of collagen wanted. Type I and III collagen makes up 90% of what is found in our bodies.

  • Marine collagen peptides - from wild fish scales and skin, is type I collagen. It has been shown to have the highest bioavailability and most effective for skin health. This also makes it dissolve very easily in anything. You can even find marine collagen sourced from North Atlantic fish
  • Beef collagen peptides - from bone and hides of cattle, is mostly type III collagen. It is not quite a bioavailable as marine collagen but still very effective. 

How it can benefit you:

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  • Skin - Collagen is what gives your skin the elasticity and improves hydration and firmness. If you are worried about aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as thinning skin from chronic eczema or age collagen is for you. It helps your skin “bounce back!”
  • Joints - Collagen is what maintains joint flexibility and strength. It also helps regenerate cartilage in joints. Because of this it decreases pain due to degeneration. Decreasing inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet, turmeric and omega 3s would still be advised for a holistic approach to joint pain. 
  • Gut - Suffer from IBS or irritable bowel disease? Collagen peptides maintain the integrity and function if the intestines. It therefore repairs “leaky gut.” I am still waiting on a study linking collagen to decreased zonulin production, a protein released from intestinal cells in severe leaky gut, but I’m sure that will come soon! There is however research showing decreased serum concentrations of collagen in those with IBD, aka Crohns and Colitis. 
  • Mood - Glycine, one key amino acid in collagen, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, therefore decreases feelings of anxiety and helps you sleep. The more you sleep, the more calm our body feels and the less inflammation we have. 

Therefore, considering how much gut health issues, mood issues and joint pain I see in my practice this is a biggy supplement! 

Extra tidbits:

  • Research shows a therapeutic dose of collagen, aka when we start seeing positive benefits, is at a dose of 5-12mg per serving
  • Due to the source of collagen the powder is definitely not vegan, for those out there on a vegan diet. 

If you suffer from any of the issue above or are curious if collagen is right for you don’t hesitate to check with your Naturopathic Doctor, or come in to see me at the clinic.

Questions? Let me know in the comment below 😃

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

(Photo credit: www.sproos.com, www.renewalliance.com)