Supplements For Expeditions

By Haley Tamberi

On average, our bodies get rid of 300 billion cells every day. How do those cells get replaced? Well, we’ve all heard the expression, “you are what you eat”, right? That’s how - the food we eat directly affects how our bodies function. So, if you eat a bunch of processed foods, poorly managed and sick animals, conventional produce, and synthetic vitamins then your cells will constantly be replaced by less viable versions of themselves. When we are putting higher demands on our bodies, we require even more input to restore our output. Ideally, on long, multi-day expeditions, every cell in the body receives what it needs to rest, digest, recover, and repeat. How can this be achieved? Regular meals are fortified by supplements and powders that will help keep the body on track so nothing is compromised. 

Here is the list of the top 5 supplements I would not leave behind on any adventure:

  1. Super Amino 23: This is pre-digested, plant based amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of life, which make up a ‘protein’. What this means is that all 23 amino acids are readily available and in their simplest form to be absorbed and utilized in your body within 20 minutes, skipping liver and kidneys. Breaking down animal protein into its simple form is taxing on the digestion and you likely don’t get as much of the “protein” from it as you think. Since your body has to work to unchain the protein structure and get it into its simplest form to be distributed. 
  2. Beet root powder: This is really great for endurance and performance. Increases blood flow by helping produce cellular ATP, so it gives our body energy on the cellular level. The powder I use has cordyceps mushrooms and other adrenal supporting herbs that also help increase oxygen to your muscles. In addition, it has coffeeberry to give you another extra caffeine boost without the jitters. 
  3. American ginseng: Ginseng is great to sustain energy levels. It also supports the body’s response to stress by supporting the adrenals. 
  4. Green Powder: I would suggest a green powder that is sprouted and solar dehydrated (that way it's not heated up, therefore destroying the nutritional quality). To me it also makes sense for it to be filling since it is taking up room in my backpack, I want to get calories out of it. Not all powders are created equal. I look for ones that have a strong nutritional quality on the label of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals from the plant sources instead of synthetic, lab made vitamins (i.e., no ascorbic acid, folic acid, and cyanocobalamin to name a few). 
  5. Xanthin: Have you heard of this? I surely hadn’t before a few months ago. It is an algae. I take this before and after strenuous activity. It is a carotenoid that is considered to be a more potent antioxidant than beta carotene. It helps combat free radical damage to muscles and helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid so your recovery time is diminished.  An added bonus is it helps protect the eyes and skin from UV rays from the inside out. 

I suggest folks start taking these supplements during training, prior to leaving on a trip. That way, you can fine-tune what works best for your body. The source really matters, not all supplements are “naturally occurring” and oftentimes they contain harmful fillers. 

Ask yourself these questions; Is it whole foods based? Do I recognize all the ingredients? Is it USDA certified organic? And better yet, is it grown on regenerative soils? It can be challenging to navigate the supplement industry. I am happy to give recommendations for companies that meet a high standard, just shoot me an e-mail. Most importantly always read the labels, know what you are putting in your body, it really matters because you are what you eat!


Haley is a massage therapist in Durango, Colorado. It is the longest she has ever lived in one place in her adult life. Before that, you could find her seasonally between Gunnison and Moab, waiting tables and living the dirtbag dream. If she is not at the office or at home studying, she is usually somewhere outdoors. She is already dreaming up new adventures, a few of them are in the works. There has to be a really good reason for her to bail now. If you are inspired by this article and want more resources, she would love to hear from you at

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