Rock Your Immunity through Culture Shock and Travel Stress

Thank you to Raw Elements Ambassador, Danielle Zies, for authoring this blog post for us! Danielle is a Nutrition and Wellness Coach who is passionate about showing others how to achieve and maintain inner harmony through nutrition. Read on to learn how Danielle naturally balanced out from culture shock and her travel product must-haves!

It’s been about eight months since I planted my roots somewhere totally new and began adjusting to life in Asia. Seoul, Korea to be precise.

My partner had a travel itch that needed to be scratched and I was a comfortable homebody who cherished Sunday brunch hangs with my family above most things other in my life. Nevertheless, in the name of love and adventure, we made a plan, took the plunge, and stepped outside our comfort zones to go experience some new things in new places… and here we are!

I had heard that arriving in Seoul was actually a pretty soft landing in terms of culture shock, compared to other big cities in Asia like Hong Kong or Tokyo, but dang! I realize now that I didn’t completely understand what culture shock is. I imagined that I’d simply be overwhelmed by all the new sights, sounds, and experiences. When we arrived, I felt that! I was shocked, surprised, and totally excited to soak it all in.

However, the REAL culture shock took a little longer to kick in and crept up in a totally different way than I had expected. This is when I realized that culture shock is a lot more than awe, sensory overload, and surprise – it is literally a “shock” of different types of stressors on your system. It’s the type of stress you feel when you’re hungry but struggle to find good food – despite there being hundreds of options – because you can’t read the menus and didn’t do the best job planning ahead. It’s adjusting to new foods and ingredients in general. It’s adjusting to a totally opposite time zone and overcoming jetlag. It’s missing your family and the comforts of home. It’s feeling confused and overstimulated. Ultimately, it’s your body adjusting to a radically different environment: different air quality, different water, and different bacteria – different everything!
Don’t get me wrong, I had so much fun adjusting! It’s just that I could see and feel the wear and tear my body as it worked on recalibrating and balancing itself.

So whether you’re taking a quick vacation or travelling for a longer haul, it’s always important to be gentle with yourself. It also helps to reduce stress in other ways, where possible. This is where good nutrition and good self-care comes into play.
I arrived in Korea well-armed with a few staple supplements that were incredibly helpful in supporting my body through the adjustment phase and the culture shock. I was so glad to have these items in my arsenal, and credit them as key players in supporting my resilience while my body balanced out and found its bearings.

Here are my top three products that helped tremendously:

Ormus Super Greens by Sunwarrior

This product was an easy way to get a punch of potent nutrition from a variety of cleansing greens and superfoods. It provides trace minerals and antioxidants, which benefit the whole body but especially the adrenal glands (stress resilience). It also offers naturally occurring probiotics to support immunity and healthy digestion. So many wins, and now on the top of my list as a “healthy travel essential”!

Instant Reishi from Four Sigmatic.

I knew mushrooms would be abundant in Asia, but I wanted to have some on hand and easily accessible upon arrival. I’m glad I did! Reishi is not only amazing to help keep the immune system strong and balanced, it’s also great for supporting a healthy gut and reducing anxiety. I kept a few of these Four Sigmatic packets in my purse and would mix them into coffee and tea while out and about. I love the “chill” power of reishi.

My dry skin brush

This one might surprise you, but I threw my dry skin brush in my suitcase at the last minute and was so glad I did. I have loved integrating dry brushing into my pre-shower morning routine for a while now – for the lymphatic stimulation (which is great for our immunity) and because it feels nice. It’s a really invigorating way to start the day! It was great to incorporate this familiar habit into my routine upon arrival. I enjoyed the physical act of dry skin brushing and liked that I was simultaneously taking a gentle measure to keep my immune system strong.

A Korean Recipe For You

In addition to these natural immunity-boosting must-haves for travel, I want to share a simple and delicious traditional Korean recipe with you. It’s called “Seolleontang,” sometimes called “Korean Bone Soup.” It’s a very basic recipe that centres on a simple, nourishing bone broth. You pour this broth on top of a few ingredients and season right before eating. It is typically served with thin slices of beef brisket that have been boiled in the broth, with some sea salt (or tamari), freshly minced garlic and scallions.

This recipe was designed long ago to feed the “most people with the least amount of ingredients” and though it requires a bit of patience to make the broth itself, a few bones go a very long way. You’ll have this amazing, collagen and mineral rich broth to use in various other recipes for weeks to come!

Traditional Korean “Seolleontang” Recipe:

Ingredients needed:

  • For the broth
    • 2-3 pounds of cut up organic beef leg bones (marrow and knuckle)
    • 1 lb of organic, grass-fed beef brisket
    • 1 white onion, quartered roughly
  • For the soup
    • Thinly sliced pieces of the cooked brisket from above
    • Scallions
    • Minced garlic
    • Quality Sea Salt and Pepper (+ Cayenne if you like spicy)
    • Optional: Rice (or grain/noodle of choice)
    • Not traditional, but I love adding Turmeric

To make the broth:

Traditionally, a white, creamy looking bone broth is made from boiling chopped beef bones over moderate heat for many hours (please note moderate heat is a gentle boil and not a simmer). If you cook on a lower temperature, your broth will be on the brown and translucent side, and not the “milky creamy color” you are aiming for.

1. Clean your bones. After washing and rinsing the bones well, add them to a pot of water, bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Next, dump all the water out and rinse the bones clean. Wash the pot.

2. Start your broth. Add the bones back to the pot with the onion (no other seasonings needed at this time) and bring back to a boil, letting simmer on moderate heat for about 2 hours until your broth is milky white in colour.

3. Cook your brisket. When you first start cooking your broth, you can add the full brisket to the pot and boil it with the bones. When it is mostly cooked through, remove from the pot and let cool while the bones continue to boil.

Note: You can make a few batches of broth with the same bones. This is the most labour intensive part of the recipe, but you will have lots of nourishing bone broth to either freeze or make into soup. It’s best to let the broth cool before serving so you can skim the fat from the top. 

4. Prep your soup stuff. Make some rice, chop your scallions and garlic, and slice your brisket.

5. Serve your soup. Add scallions, garlic and brisket slices to a bowl. Top with piping hot broth and add seasonings as you desire. In Korea, this is always served with a small serving of rice on the side. 

Sending love from Seoul and hope you enjoy this versatile recipe!

Happy World Tourism Day to all and Happy Chuseok to all those celebrating!
Xo Danielle

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