Most people look at summer vacation””a precious week or two away from work””the same way. They embrace this once-a-year opportunity to completely separate from regular routines, immersing themselves in whatever novelties their getaway location has to offer. In theory, this sounds like a fun, upbeat way to approach time off. But the last thing you want to do when you’re away from home is to abandon the healthy lifestyle patterns you’ve established, especially with your kids in tow.
The ideal vacation goal is to embrace the best attractions of your destination, while you adhere, as best as you can, to eating and sleeping well and keeping fit. You should aim to return home rested and satisfied, with no need to “get yourself back on track” on your return.
Here are several items that take up very little room in a suitcase but will make a big difference in your wellness while on vacation:
Digestive enzymes. Trying out new food can be a fun part of any travel experience. For natural digestive support, take a digestive enzyme supplement such as Vitacost ® Mega Spectrum Enzyme.
This formula contains a wide variety of enzymes, including amylase, to help support the breakdown of carbohydrates; protease, which supports digestion of proteins; lipase, to assist with the breakdown of fats; cellulase, which aids in digesting cellulose (an indigestible fiber found in fruits and vegetables); and lactase, to support the breakdown of milk sugars. It’s also enriched with whole food extracts, including including papaya, apple pectin and a unique sea vegetable complex, and herbs such as fennel, peppermint and ginger for added nourishment and soothing properties.
Probiotics. Because the good bacteria found naturally in the intestines may become depleted due to a poor diet, it’s also worthwhile to take a probiotics supplement. Look for a formula such as Vitacost ® Probiotic 15-35, which also contains prebiotics, a type of carbohydrate that supports healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Detox tea. Not to be confused with laxative tea, a natural detox tea, such as Yogi ® DeTox, combines gentle herbs such as burdock (Arctium lappa) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), to support normal, healthy function of the body’s organ systems.
Melatonin. Even if your vacation doesn’t involve crossing many time zones, sleep interruption often goes hand-in-hand with vacationing. Consider taking melatonin, which provides natural support for healthy sleep and may help normalize circadian rhythms after jet lag. In addition, melatonin has demonstrated antioxidant activities that may even be more powerful than vitamins E and C.
Ear plugs. Ear plugs are made of foam, are as light as a feather and you may decide you never want to travel without them again. When correctly inserted in your ears, these plugs decrease the environmental noise level, measured in decibels, that we hear.
Sleep mask. Another lightweight item worth the small room it occupies in your carry-on bag is a sleep mask. Covering your eyes lightly with a shield will block out light and help you to fall asleep. Most sleep masks are contoured for pressure-free eye comfort, they come with adjustable straps to fit comfortably on your head.
Do you have any items you tuck away in your luggage that you consider vacation necessities? Share your feedback with us in the comments below!
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.