Tips for Resetting Your Mind + Body After Traveling

If your summer has been anything like mine, it's been jam-packed with weekend getaways and a bit (or more than a bit) of overindulging. As someone who keeps a pretty routine schedule from day-to-day, this can do wonders to my digestive system, brain function, and overall mental health. I've created some magical memories this summer, and have become so in tune with my body that I'm able to reset rather quickly after ingesting foods and drinks that aren't a part of my typical routine. 

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I recently took a little weekend trip up to my family's cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - it was magical, dreamy, and the perfect rejuvenating weekend that I needed. I spent my time floating in the lake, reading, napping in a hammock, laughing til my ribs hurt, and indulging in all the gluten/alcohol/sugar/snacks my heart desired. Needless to say, I woke up feeling a bit like a beached whale on Monday morning. But, I didn't freak out as I normally would have a couple of months ago. I've quickly come to realize that the experiences and memories outweigh the physical symptoms tenfold.

symptoms I experience

There are a slew of symptoms that I can experience after my body has been out of its typical routine. These include:

  • Bloating
  • Brain fog
  • IBS or IBS-C  
  • Breakouts
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Inflammation

These may not be the same symptoms others experience, our bodies are all different. But we could all benefit from a little body reset after a well-deserved vacation.

how I reset

PHYSICALLY

  1. Green juice. This is a great way to reset your metabolism, lower inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and quick start proper digestion. There are also so many benefits for the skin (post-vacation breakouts really blow) and this helps me de-bloat on those extra puffy mornings. Recipe is here.
  2. Hot water with lemon. Every morning I sip on this to kick start my metabolism and detox the body.
  3. Lighter, simpler meals. There's no need to overcomplicate anything, just a few ingredients will do the trick. Chances are, your body is already working overtime trying to digest, so adding even more foods into that equation could stress your body out even more. Avoid raw foods if they're hard for your body to digest and gravitate towards warmer, cooked meals. 
  4. Fiber-rich foods. Getting both soluble and insoluble fiber is essential for proper digestion, and both can be found in plant-based foods. Soluble fiber is liquid-absorbing and filling and can be found in oats, berries, beans, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Insoluble fiber helps move things through the bowel/shuttle all the crud out and can be found in vegetables, brown rice, or wheat. 
  5. Get your gut in check. Gut health is a hot topic today, but it's being talked about for a reason. The bacteria in your gut line your entire digestive system and affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immunity. Incorporate more fermented and fiber-rich foods into your diet and lower your sugar intake which can kill the good bacteria. When your gut bacteria is off, it can cause bloating, IBS, IBS-C, anxiety, depression, inflammation, and a slew of other symptoms. The gut-mind connection is no joke, peeps.
  6. Hydrate. Seems like such a simple thing, but often times we forget to drink water throughout the day and after filling up with sodium-packed foods and alcohol, that post-vacay body can pack some serious bloat. Drink tons of water (half your body weight in ounces is the recommended amount) throughout the day to help flush out excess toxins and release that extra weight and bloat. I carry a 40oz HydroFlask with me everywhere so I'm always reminded to sip!
  7. Eliminate foods that cause sensitivities. When I travel I tend to consume foods I don't typically incorporate into my diet. For me, these include gluten, processed sugars, alcohol, and processed food (Skinny Pop where you at). I used to be very rigid about eliminating these foods all the time, and while I definitely feel the affects after consuming them, it's not the end of the world to consume them in small quantities while on vacation. But, I know that I feel my best eliminating these foods 95% of the time. Becoming aware of the foods that cause sensitivities for you is super important if you find that you're experiencing some of these symptoms on a more consistent basis. Try eliminating gluten or processed sugars for a couple of days, reincorporate it into your diet, and notice if anything happens. Maybe nothing will, but that's the trial and error type of practice that needs to take place to become aware of these things. 

EMOTIONALLY/MENTALLY

Adaptogenic smoothie bowl with ashwagandha and cordyceps

Adaptogenic smoothie bowl with ashwagandha and cordyceps

  1. Rest. It's so important not to push yourself too much, especially the first couple of days after you're back. Maybe there's a workout class that you religiously attend on Monday mornings, but if you're body is still readjusting, you're just going to stress it out even more. If your sleep schedule has been thrown out of whack, sleep in a bit longer or take an afternoon nap without guilt. Be okay with allowing yourself to rest and take things slow. 
  2. Adaptogens. They're a specific group of healing plants that support your health and adjust your body to natural stressors. I find that incorporating specific adaptogens into my diet really increases my mental clarity, digestion, and alertness throughout the day. As always, do your research and buy from reputable brands such as Sun Potion and Mountain Rose Herbs. Some adaptogens I like to incorporate into my diet include: ashwagandha (soothes the nervous system and boosts mood), reishi (supports immunity), triphala (supports digestion), and cordyceps (supports brain, kidney, and liver function). Start small by incorporating a half teaspoon into a smoothie or your morning latte.
  3. Say no to things you don't want to do. I find that this is so important for my mental health. If the thought of engaging in something causes anxiety or irritation, I inherently know that I will not be present and authentic. It's okay to cancel plans to make time for yourself. Take this time to practice some type of self care, whether it's a bath, reading, napping, or creating. This will recharge your mental clarity and allow for you to be more present when you're around others. 
  4. Meditate. Take just five minutes every day to sit and be still. If your mind is full of thoughts and ideas, let it be full. There's a misconception that your mind needs to be completely clear or blank in order to practice "proper" meditation, but this is not the case. Meditation for me is a time to sit, to be present, to tap inward. These have been some of the most pivotal moments of personal growth and not one time was my mind completely clear. There's merit in calming the mind through various breathing and mindfulness techniques, but there's also merit in simply sitting and breathing. 
  5. Routines. Whether it's my skin care routine or meal prepping, this is a sure fire way to get me back on track mentally. I covet my routines and when they're out of whack, I tend to get antsy and anxious. I'm one of those travelers where the second I get home I unpack everything and get my apartment back in working order, even if it's 1am. For some people, this may heighten their anxiety and stress, but for me, this is insanely therapeutic. Find a routine that brings joy to you and make it a priority. 

The biggest tip I have when it comes to resetting your body after traveling is to have self compassion. It can be easy to get caught up in the self deprecating thoughts such as "I shouldn't have eaten that" or "I shouldn't have drank so much alcohol," but it's important to remember that these are not life-altering things. Yeah, you might feel uncomfortable for a day or two, but chances are you created some beautiful memories, as well. I used to get so stressed out about getting my body back to normal that it would completely overshadow the experience I just had. It was almost like it never happened. Learning to soften around those times of rigidity has helped me reset quicker and more positively.

With love and light xx

 

 

Mad About Matcha

Happy Sunday everyone!

I'm sharing this to give you all the 411 on matcha - where to buy it, how to use it, and why it benefits you. 

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I've never really been a big caffeine person.

I’ve never had a coffee habit that took me weeks to kick or any addiction to other caffeine sources. I would occasionally get a latte to-go at a coffeeshop that was laced with processed sugars and the only time I drank soda was mixed with alcohol. 

I find that coffee, similar to alcohol, is a very social thing in our society. People meet for coffee at all hours of the day, cap off their nights with an espresso (genuinely confused how those folks fall asleep…), or grab coffees for coworkers. Even when I didn’t want to be drinking coffee, I’d find myself ordering one here and there because I was usually with someone else doing the same. The power of peer pressure.

Some people drink a cup of coffee and feel perfectly fine. Others, including myself, find it very hard to digest. After I would finish a cup, I would experience nausea, sweating, irritability, jitters, acid reflux, indigestion, increased heart rate, clammy hands, and was easily startled.

Not an ideal situation first thing in the morning or during any hour of the day for that matter.

I switched to hot, herbal teas a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since.

MORNING MATCHA RITUAL

There’s nothing I love more then a slow, sweet morning. 

Getting to enjoy my rituals and not rushing to pull myself together before leaving for work or yoga is heavenly and helps set the tone for the rest of my day.

I began seeing matcha popping up all over my Instagram feed awhile ago and became curious about this green potion. It looked so inviting and cozy so I decided to give it a shot with a recipe I found online. This particular recipe included salt (why…just why?) and I remember immediately spitting it out after my first sip. I thought it was disgusting so I set matcha on the back burner for a bit.

But, I continued to find myself being drawn towards matcha. I knew there had to be a recipe out there that I would enjoy if so many people were raving about it. I found a salt-free recipe, gave it a whirl in my blender, and it was delicious.  

Since I deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as I talked about previously, I got a little weary of reintroducing caffeine into my system because I didn’t want it to cause mood swings or any type of hormone imbalance. I’m pretty in-tune with my body so I observed any side effects matcha might have had on my body after my first cup and was pleasantly surprised. I still felt calm, my mood was elevated, I didn’t break a sweat, and I was ready to take on the day. 

I also think it's worth noting that I don't drink matcha every single day and I don't rely on the caffeine in matcha to function properly. I like to have one cup about 4-5 times a week and I don't find that I experience any withdrawal symptoms if I don't have it.

SO, WHAT IS MATCHA?

Matcha is a green tea powder made from a specific tea leaf that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. White and black teas also come from this particular plant, but matcha is harvested from plants covered and grown under shade for 20 weeks which boosts their chlorophyll levels, hence the vibrant green hue.

Matcha has been used for centuries in Japan as a sacred ceremonial drink, whereas today you can grab a matcha beverage at any trendy neighborhood coffee shop whenever you’d like. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

This vibrant green powder packs a powerful punch and has been proven to:

  • Sustain energy and produce a lasting calming effect. Matcha contains L-Theanine, a non-dietary amino acid that assists in boosting alpha waves in the brain, which works simultaneously with the caffeine from the green tea to produce a sustainable calming effect. Since matcha is ground into a fine powder, it provides the entirety of the Camellia sinensis plant’s benefits unlike traditional green tea that you would steep in hot water.
  • Improve mental clarity. The L-Theanine found in matcha has been found to reduce anxiety levels and enhance your overall mood by promoting a natural state of relaxation while simultaneously improving your mental alertness. 
  • Protect you from harmful free radicals. Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants in the form of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants protect your body from harmful free radicals AKA the pesky guys that are responsible for aging, tissue damage, cancer, and some inflammatory diseases. Just one cup of matcha has the same amount of antioxidants as ten cups of regular green tea!
  • Boost immunity. Those powerful antioxidants found in matcha are also responsible for helping your body fight diseases and infections, thus boosting your body’s natural immune defense. Matcha also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps boots immunity and promote overall wellness. The EGCG also plays a big part in fighting harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause staining in the teeth, cavities, and bad breath. 

KEY TOOLS & INGREDIENTS

  • High speed blender. I'm currently using a Vitamix which is the real MVP of blending, but it is quite pricey. I've used a NutriBullet before with success, but be extra careful as I've read some reviews of people's NutriBullets exploding from the hot liquid. Always blend hot liquids with caution and never, ever put boiling water into a blender, you'll set yourself up for a third degree burn.
  • Tea kettle or small saucepan. Unless you can heat your liquids up with magic.
  • High quality matcha, duh. There are a ton of different matcha brands out there and some can get quite pricey. I'm using Ippodo Matcha right now and I'm really enjoying it. If you're new to the matcha world, I would definitely recommend finding a cheaper brand so you don't have to spend $50 on a 40g container not knowing whether or not you'll enjoy it. Mizuba Tea Co. has some affordable options as well as Whole Foods. Always check the ingredients list when searching for matcha online, a lot of brands can add fillers so make sure it's 100% matcha and preferably sourced from Japan. Quick note, I store my matcha in the fridge to prolong the shelf life and keep it fresh!
  • Coconut butter. The stuff that makes a matcha latte so creamy and dreamy. I don't use any nut or seed milks in my matcha latte, so coconut butter is essential to create maximum frothiness. You can always add half water, half milk of your choice to your matcha recipe if you really want to up the creamy factor, but I just find that it's an unnecessary extra step in the mornings. Coconut butter also provides a healthy dose of fat which prepares the stomach lining and can eliminate some of those not-so-pleasant feelings that result from drinking plain green tea or matcha on an empty stomach. I love the Artisana Coconut Butter.
  • Adaptogens. First off, these are not necessary. But, why not pack your matcha latte with a little more healing power and health benefits? If you're not up-to-date with the recent adaptogen craze that's taken the wellness world by storm, they're a specific group of healing plants that support your health and adjust your body to natural stressors. There are so many adaptogen options out there, but I typically stick no more than three adaptogens in my lattes. My favorites are ashwagandha (soothes the nervous system and boosts mood), reishi (supports immunity), triphala (supports digestion), and cordyceps (brain power while supporting the liver and kidneys), but I encourage you to do some research and find some that speak to you. Sun Potion has great options that are worth the investment. 

EVERYDAY MATCHA LATTE

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.  
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug or tea bowl and enjoy!
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HORMONE-BALANCING MATCHA LATTE

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
  • 1/2 teaspoon maca 
  • 1/2 teaspoon reishi 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

GINGER-TURMERIC MATCHA LATTE

Those nails doe

Those nails doe

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender. 
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

Leave me a comment letting me know if you tried out one of these lattes! 

With love and light xx