I have been asked by the Xtreme team to give them some advice on how to support their health via nutrition, both before and during their challenging trip across Cambodia. I am both pleased and impressed they have actually considered nutrition; it shows some foresight.
The fact is, doing something that is seriously physically and mentally challenging as what they are about embark on, is very stressful on the body no matter how fit you are. It can affect your immune system and trigger health issues. The more obvious consideration when travelling in such an exotic country is food poisoning. There are ways that you can protect yourself to strengthen gut immunity so as to not experience it – food poisoning can take years to properly recover from and is best avoided. Other infections can be easily picked up, especially in the kind of places they will be staying in. The other concern is nutritional deficiencies. If they have any deficiencies before they start, this will be exacerbated by the relentless physical and mental effort that they will have to make with 8 hours a day of manoeuvring bikes (and staying on) of difficult terrain. Put this together with the prospect of the heat, humidity and possible lack of sleep, the need to supplement nutrients and use digestive support, is high.
Preparing for the trip
If you want to hit the ground running in Cambodia, I recommend you start support eating before you go. You should also cut back on certain substances that have an affect on energy levels and general overall well being. I also recommend that when you arrive and in between starting the challenge to steer clear of alcohol as this will really affect your performance, focus and energy levels.
Dietary changes prior to trip:
Remove excessive meat consumption – try to keep to fish, poultry and eggs, keep red meat to a minimum or avoid completely.
Reduce dairy – stick to easier to digest products like goat’s cheese and milk or use alternatives like Hemp milk, oat milk or Bon Soya milk.
Reduce then avoid coffee. If you can wean yourself off coffee completely before you go, this will have a beneficial effect on your blood sugar.
Reduce carbohydrates – sugary foods, white bread and pasta, sweet drinks – including fruit juice.
Finish eating early as possible – before 7pm – you won’t be able to do this on all nights, but if you can do at least 3-4 days where you have a good sized breakfast and lunch and very little in the evening, this will take the strain off of your digestive organs and allow for much better detoxification and repair. You may need a small healthy snack before sleeping to support blood sugar levels. (Apple, a few dates, half avocado on wheat free cracker, hard pear, banana+a few seeds or nuts, one of my FoodSpa energy balls)
I also recommend taking some sachets of protein powder – you cannot afford to become protein deficient on this trip.
Avoid eating raw foods, or undercooked foods – no pink meats and no raw fish – it’s too risky.
You may want to do a couple of days before you go of ‘apple fasting’ as this will clean up your liver and give your digestion a rest. Mental clarity is increased too. I will send the guidance for this.
Supplements for liver support: LivCo – MediHerb, MSM – Higher Nature
BioCare Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids – 500mg capsules (Buffered) You can take high doses as these will not cause irritation to gut lining or settle in joints. Avoid cheaper Vitamin C as these are too acidic and cause problems if taken in higher doses.
Dose: Prior take 4 x 500mg capsules spread over the day.
Nutri Ultra Muscleze – A multivitamin and mineral drink that you can take via bottles of water. Either take 1 tsp. in a glass of water or add to your water bottle and drink over the day. Contains some B Vitamins and highly absorbable magnesium along with other nutrients.
During trip take it twice per day – so 2 bottles of water with it in. Avoid taking just before bed due to B Vitamins that stimulate energy so may keep you awake.
2000mg at least per day. I like to use BioCare MEGA EPA
Probiotics (Not allowed to call them ‘probiotics’ due to ridiculous European directive! But it’s easier than saying a ‘Multiple strains of beneficial human strain bacteria that are pro-life!’) – These give protection to the gut immunity and help to digest food. Take the high dose:
BioCare Acidophilus Forte 30 Billion dose – Prior to trip: 1 with breakfast every morning. During trip: 2 with breakfast every morning. Helps to keep bowel moving or stop loose stools.
Psyllium husk powder In case of loose stools: You can use Psyllium husk powder (not ‘fibre’) The powder helps to bind digested foods and toxins in the gut. This is a much healthier way to stop loose stools than taking a pharmaceutical remedy as this may cause constipation which in the long run on a trip like this would be very uncomfortable.
Take 1 x tsp. in a glass / bottle of water and drink quickly.
Herbal inhibitors – to help avoid infection and food poisoning you can take an herbal complex. You can consult Master Herbalist Andreas Symiris at the Bloomsbury Health Centre.
Or you can buy herbal remedies and complexes. i like BioCare’s Oregano Complex with garlic
High strength Garlic capsules can help too.
You can also take a small bottle of Grapefruit seed extract – it’s easy to carry – you need to take daily as a preventative:
“Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) This bitter herb is widely used by naturopaths and alternative minded doctors to treat SIBO and other GI infections. Lab testing has shown it to be effective against a long list of microorganisms including Giardia lamblia, Proteus vulgaris, E.coli, Aspergillus parasiticus, Salmonella typhi and Staphylococcus aureus. GSE is especially useful where infecting microbe cannot be determined as it is effective against such a wide range of pathogens. Another advantage is that it is effective for controlling diarrhoea. GSE generally comes in either capsules, good if you can’t stand the taste) or in liquid concentrate form. As low a dose as 2-4 drops in 4oz water or juice twice daily can be effective.”
Looking after your health both prior and during the trip will not only support you but will help you get the most out of the experience.
Good Luck Boys