Tips for Healthy Travel
It all starts at the airport, so here are my flying travel tips for optimal health:
- Drink water! Flying dries us out - with altitude and low humidity levels within the cabin, we quickly become dehydrated. Therefore, we need to drink more water than we normally would in order to stay hydrated and to avoid headaches, fatigue, and dry skin. Pack a large empty water bottle to fill up at the airport and don’t be shy to ask your flight attendant for multiple cups of water during your flight.
- Bring a healthy meal and healthy snacks for your travel day! It is incredibly challenging to find a healthy meal at the airport. Finally there are some better options (like Napa Farms or Plant at SFO), but I think it’s always safer to pack something from home, where you know exactly which ingredients were used. Try my cucumber, red pepper, corn, and black bean salad over a handful of greens with ½ an avocado and a lime wedge - drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. It will last for a few hours at least!
If you need to buy snacks at the airport, look for snacks that have 5 or fewer ingredients and are ingredients you recognize and know are minimally processed (like Epic Bars and jerkeys, RX Bars, and Go Macro bars). Better yet, pack your own snacks- like energy balls, trail mix, fruit, seed crackers + hummus, Nana Joe’s granola bars, Go Raw sprouted seeds and crackers.
- Up your Vitamin C intake! Boost your immune system and fight airborne germs! I recommend taking a vitamin C supplement on your travel day and even when in a new place, where you might be around some new and different germs.
What if I am changing time zones?
- Do your best to adjust your circadian rhythm to the new time zone - ideally arrive in the morning and get outside into the sunlight. You may want to try taking melatonin at night (your sleep hormone) to help you fall asleep.
- Try to get some exercise before traveling and get as much movement as you can while on the plane - walk up and down the aisle every so often. Exercise in combination with natural sunlight stimulates the release of the hormone serotonin to improve mood and wakefulness.
- Stay hydrated, eat healthy, fiber-rich, plant-based foods, and avoid processed foods and sugar while traveling to keep you more regular, alert, and energized
Tips for being on “vacation mode” while staying focused on your overall health: You shouldn’t feel like you need a vacation from your vacation :)
- Start your mornings with a healthy breakfast, full of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This will give you the energy you need to explore and go about your day. Plus, you will be more likely to make better choices at future meal times.
- Try to eat a meal based on whole/real foods at least once a day - with lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, good protein. Research grocery stores and healthy cafes/restaurants before you go!
- Follow the 90/10 or 80/20 rule, which means 90% (or 80%) of the time you stick with a plan of eating nourishing, nutrient-dense foods that will support your health. Then 10 % (or 20%) of the time, you can indulge and not worry about what you’re consuming. This way you can still enjoy food and culture when exploring a new place without feeling terrible.
- Stay hydrated (bring a water bottle with you wherever you go) and try not to overdo it with the alcohol intake. When drinking, avoid those super sugary cocktails. You’ll feel so much better!
- Walk a lot!! When traveling to a new place, choose the walking route as often as possible, rather than hopping in a cab - it’ll save $, you’ll get to see more of a place that way, and you’ll be getting in movement!