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Healthy Foods and How to Travel with Them – Part 1: Spices, Seasonings and Sweeteners

Although I highly recommend eating the food of the culture where you are traveling, sometimes we find ourselves in places around the world where the quantity or quality of food is not supportive to  health and longevity. Whether you travel for business, or backpack across continents, here are a handful of SUPER healthy spices, seasonings and sweeteners along tips on how to take them with you on your travels. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so much as a list of my favorite obsessions at the moment. Bon appétit!

Cinnamon

Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol and they also suggest that that cinnamon may be able to help regulate blood sugar. It is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties which some say can help with arthritis among other problems related to inflammation. When added to food, it can reduce bacteria growth making it a natural food preservative. It has also been touted as a natural weight loss booster and the smell is said to boost cognitive function and memory.

It’s a source of  fiber, manganese, iron, and calcium. And of course cinnamon can add a wonderful and unique flavor to both food and drinks.

Mexican hot chocolate anyone? Yes, please! I Regularly add cinnamon on fruits and into smoothies, milk and coconut water.

Recommended: Indus Organic Ceylon Cinnamon Powder Spice Pack, (1 lb)

Turmeric

For thousands of years, turmeric has been a standard healing spice in Indian and Chinese traditional medicine including being used as an anti inflammatory. Studies have shown it to be a power antioxidant to help zap free radicals. It is also currently being looked at in studies for it’s cancer fighting potential. Turmeric helps to support liver function and detoxification and aids in metabolizing fat. It is great for the skin and also acts as a natural pain killer. Said to be an immune booster, turmeric is recommended for keeping colds, flues and allergies at bay.

I add a small amount of turmeric to many of my foods through out the day. I sprinkle it on my eggs in the morning, on salads, smoothies, sandwiches…you name it and I probably have turmeric in it! My favorite way to drink turmeric is in Golden Milk, a traditional Indian healing tea which is also widely cherished in the Kundalini community.

Recommended: Frontier Herb Organic Ground Turmeric Root ( 1x1Lb)

Raw Cacao Powder

Simply put, raw cacao is the best thing in the world..ever. High in minerals including zinc, calcium, phosphorous and feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
It is often described as an aphrodisiac because amongst other things, it contains anandamide, which is described as having euphoric properties. It also contains PEA (phenylethylamine) known as the ‘molecule of joy. This super molecule exists naturally in the brain, but only cacao and blue green algae is the only other food that contains PEA.
Cacao is one of two cannabinoids. Marijuana being the other, but unlike marijuana it is considered to be a natural appetite suppressant. It is also extremely high in antioxidants.

Cacao, is of course, unrefined chocolate. However it is not sweet and is even slightly bitter, but I love the taste and texture and will often be found munching on whole raw cacao beans. Though it lacks sweetness, I find that it still curbs my desire for sweets. I say put cacao powder in anything you want! It is also great for making wonderful raw sweet treats with things like almond butter, cinnamon, goji berries etc. I often toss it in my smoothies and mix it with milk…and coffee (decaf right?). When using small amounts in powder form you can really get some powerful nutrients and feel good effects on the go by throwing into whatever you are eating.

Recommended: Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Powder Raw Chocolate – 16 oz

Sea Salt

I don’t have much to say here…I just love sea salt. Some research has shown there is no nutritional difference between sea salt and table salt. I will leave it up to you to do further research and decide for yourself. However, sea salt is processed more naturally which is a definite plus. Like table salt it should be used sparingly.

Fleur de Sel De Guerande- French Sea Salt ; 6oz

The Trinity Roots: Onion, Garlic, & Ginger

These three roots bring cleansing and potency effects to the body and have been used since ancient times for healing. Add these three together, and anything you are making for dinner, anywhere in the world, will taste better. I promise. If not you can come back here and tell me about it! Yogi Bhajan said: “The three roots -garlic, onion and ginger- will maintain you through the times and through the age.”

Onions
According to research onions have a strong affect on purifying and stimulating the production of blood. It is said that they have a disinfectant quality and can remove foreign bacteria in the body. By creating heat in the body, onions aid in digestion and the elimination of mucus.

And get this…I hear that if you are going to travel to India and don’t want to spend your entire trip in the latrine with dysentery, you can eat half a raw onion everyday for two weeks before your trip! You should totally try that and let me know how it goes!

Garlic
Garlic is a natural antibiotic preventing only harmful (versus awesome) bacteria in the body. Garlic has gentle, long-term effects, so eat it often! Funny enough, the more your eat it the less you start to smell like it as your body begins to absorb it and detoxify from it!

Ginger

Ginger supports the nervous system by both calming it and strengthening it. Ginger root also helps to fight nausea (if the above onion trick doesn’t work, for instance) and helps to fight fatigue – perfect for the weary traveler! You have to use the actual root because the dried powder, though tasty, has no real nutritional benefit. I still recommend the powerder for taste!

Coconut Sap

I didn’t even know this existed until last week. I have no idea why the world is still consuming sugar. Granulated coconut sap is where it’s at! So wonderfully sweet and delicious, without all of the problems of refined sugar. AND it is packed with nutrients! 17 amino acids, broad-spectrum B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium. Not only that, it is a totally sustainable product. Truly a gift from the gods (or universe… or whatever)

Recommended: Manila Coco TM – Organic Sweetener – 100% Natural Coconut Sap

Take your favorite spices, seasonings and sweeteners when you travel:

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Stainless Steel Traditional Indian Spice Box

Beautiful design. Maybe not good for packing with you on a trip around the world, but still a great way to move your favorite spices from one place to another! Say, to a dinner party maybe!

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Eze Dose 7-day Stackable Pill Reminder

I love this idea for camping!

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 DIY Pill Box Spice Container

You can fancy it up like these guy did or just go and buy a 7 day pill box for $2, leave it the way it is minimalist style, and you are good to go!

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Travel Spice Kit by Grapevine Trading

I just thought it was neat that someone came up with this….

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Plastic Baggies

The easiest way to pack your spices, seasonings and sweeteners are zip lock bags. Use small zip lock bags for the individual seasonings and then put those in 1 bigger zip lock bag.  Perfect for backpacks and suitcases.

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The Wandering Yogi