There’s something about Italy. Wandering those cobbled streets surrounded by ancient architecture, the promise of delicious coffee around every corner, sweet, fragrant garlic puncturing the air, happy hour at sunset, and, of course, the food! Now imagine the heartache you’d feel if you became sick while travelling this beautiful country, and the frustration of having it interrupt your well-earned holiday. Being in possession of a stuffy nose, one that prevents you from experiencing those intoxicating smells, or a fever that confines you to your hotel bed, is more or less worst case scenario for someone on the trip of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Carly Stein, the founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals, while she was visiting Italy for a semester abroad. But rather than spoiling things for her, being under the weather opened a brand new door!
When Stein became ill with tonsillitis, a helpful local offered propolis. This potent substance (also known as bee glue) is made when bees mix their saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, and other botanical sources. The little critters use it to line their hives and keep it germ-free, but what could it do for a human being with swollen tonsils? Well, not only did this stuff cure Stein’s ailing throat, you could say it changed her life.
When she returned home after her travels, she discovered that propolis was not as easy to find in her native Canada. Stein’s hunt for propolis set her off on a journey; she eventually found it at a local beekeeping association and joined them as an apprentice, which inevitably led to founding a beekeeping company of her own.
We sat down to chat to Stein about how to stay healthy while
A lot of people see getting sick on holiday as a bad thing, but for you, it led to discovering a passion. What advice would you give someone who gets sick on holiday and how they can make the most of that situation?
Getting sick on holiday is never fun. But the truth is, flying really does weaken our immune systems. Between the ultra-dry air in planes and the mountains of foreign bacteria we get exposed to, it’s pretty easy for our immune systems to get overloaded—especially if they’re already completely exhausted from the pre-holiday hustle.
The key is to give your immune system a leg up ahead of time. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you’re hydrating and eating well before your holiday.
If you do get sick, prioritize getting plenty of water and get in the habit of always packing products to naturally support recovery—like propolis. Then, all you can do is rest up. Getting sick can be a bummer and put a damper on your holiday plans, but try to lean into it. Unwind, lie on the beach, eat nourishing foods, and listen to your body. You still get to appreciate the beauty of a new setting along with the luxury of taking the time and space to heal. Once you let go of the idea of what you wanted your holiday to look like and start embracing the reality, it’s not so bad.
Multi-day group tours and trips are exciting but can be hectic. A lot of the time people are arriving in a new country after taking a long flight. What can they do to start right and jump in straight away?
First off, it’s important to treat yourself gently during travel. Wear comfy clothes, drink plenty of water, splash some cool water on your face. But even with proper travel self-care, jet lag is a real issue. That’s why I load myself up with brain-nourishing adaptogens right when I set out of the airport.
My fave herbal adaptogens (natural compounds that fight the effects of stress in the body) are bacopa monnieri and ginkgo biloba. Both of these Ayurvedic herbs have been shown to powerfully protect the brain, relieve stress and anxiety, and enhance focus, memory, and cognition.
I also love royal jelly, which contains a powerful blend of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that nourish and stimulate the brain. It may even promote hormonal balance (which traveling can throw way out of sync). Plus, royal jelly contains acetylcholine, which has been shown to improve attention span, spatial awareness, and memory.
I was personally astounded by the clarifying power of these foods, which is why we used them to formulate our B.LXR Brain Fuel. It’s the perfect brain boosting antidote to an exhausting day of travel.
Which essentials do you pack to stay healthy while travelling abroad?
- Propolis. Always. I won’t get on a plane without it. Not many people realise that flying drastically increases our solar radiation exposure, especially during long flights. Solar radiation can have an oxidative effect on the body and hinder your post-flight rebound. Luckily, the antioxidant power of propolis helps to counteract the free radical damage of flying—it’s my bodyguard in a bottle.
- B.LXR Brain Fuel. When it comes to getting off the plane and dealing with jet lag, I try to stay away from caffeine so that I don’t further dehydrate my body. Instead, I reach for our natural B.LXR. Since I am always travelling for work, B.LXR has been a lifesaver when I need to invigorate and nourish my brain after skipping over a few time zones. Plus it’s full of antioxidants, immune-supportive compounds, and adaptogens to help you better handle the travel stress.
- A water bottle. Because the recirculated air is very low-humidity, aeroplanes practically suck water out of your body. It’s not uncommon to lose around half a litre of water throughout a long flight from respiration and perspiration alone. And that doesn’t even factor in the fact that we tend to drink less water during flights. Bring an empty reusable bottle through airport security and fill it up before boarding. You can even ask the flight attendant to refill it for you (so you don’t have to waste any of those absurdly tiny plastic bottles or cups).
- An extra sweatshirt. I’m always freezing on planes—no matter what time of year—so I’ve learned to come prepared.
- Podcasts and a good book. I try to find articles and podcasts (pre-loaded on my phone) that will stimulate my mind so I can stay mentally engaged and continue to improve myself while travelling.
- Activated charcoal and B.Chill Hemp Honey Sticks. I always keep these on hand, just in case I eat something funny. Charcoal helps to draw out toxins. Raw honey contains live enzymes which soothe digestion. Hemp oil helps to fight nausea and inflammation. It’s a powerful trio.
What are some things that you might recommend readers do after a trip to manage things like jet lag and post-vacation blues?
When it comes to jet lag, I always go to B.Chill to deal with the stress and a bit of B.LXR Brain Fuel to speed up recovery. Of course, eating well and getting a solid snooze in doesn’t hurt, either.
Post-vacay blues, on the other hand, can be incredibly tough. I think the key (vacation or not) is more self-care. Do a little self-massage. Take an Epsom salt bath. Do something you really enjoy. I also find it really beneficial to
How has travel shaped your passions and day-to-day life?
Travel has been integral to broadening my perspective. I believe that it is so important to escape your bubble and see how other people live. Immersing yourself in a new way of living and thinking really helps to build a sense of empathy and camaraderie that I feel is so lacking in modern life.
Plus, travel has really helped me to learn to push the bounds of my comfort zone. Embracing a little bit of discomfort builds confidence and opens up a whole new part of myself to explore. That means every time I travel, I grow and evolve as a person, which is so cool.
If you could take a tour anywhere in the world, where would go and what would you do?
I would love to go hiking in New Zealand or explore Iceland. A vacation for me all about getting wild in nature. Since a lot of my day-to-day is spent in front of a computer, any vacation needs to be as wild and unplugged as possible. And let’s face it, both Iceland and New Zealand are active outdoor meccas!
This story was created in partnership with: Beekeeper's Naturals