Traveling Healthy / by lee tilghman

Traveling is one of life's greatest joys. 

There's nothing like the excitement of visiting a new place for the first time. However, that excitement and anticipation can come along with anxiety, stress, and fears. Whether you are afraid of flying, routinely run so late that you have to beg the attendants to let you onto your flight, or experience crazy digestive issues while traveling so much so that you can't go to the bathroom, then this article is for you!

I decided to share my healthy travel tips - things I've learned over the years of traveling across the country multiple times a year (my family lives across the country). 

Ahead of Time

If you live in the states, consider signing up for TSA Pre Check/Global entry. Purchasing this has been a huge game changer in decreasing the amount of stress I feel when I get to the airport. Now I don't have to worry about the crazy TSA lines. 

Even if you don't have TSA Pre, still plan to arrive to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. This gives you a solid hour to check in and go through security and a safe 30 minutes to use the bathroom, fill up your water bottle, buy a magazine. This extra time and routine helps decrease the amount of adrenaline and calms the nervous system. 

What to Eat

MORNING TRAVELING: If you are flying early in the morning (6AM, 7AM, 8AM), eat a lighter meal high in protein before your flight. I like hard boiled eggs, avocado toast, or a paleo bagel with almond butter. I sometimes like to have a bulletproof matcha latte full of adaptogens before flying too. This ensures I get in some healthy fats and the adaptogens help to relieve stress and anxiety. If you plan on fasting during your flight, the addition of collagen not only helps my hair, skin, nails and leaky gut, but it also provides 21 grams of protein which aid women in completing the ketosis process. Ketosis is when your body burns fat rather than glucose.

AFTERNOON/EVENING: If you are traveling later in the day, be sure to eat a hearty meal before you fly. I like big salads or macro bowls with roasted veggies before a flight.  Make sure to include healthy fats and lean proteins to keep you full and satisfied and not reaching for the candy aisle. 

Fasting

Personally, I used to look forward to bringing a huge homemade packed meal for my flight. I never understood why I'd feel SO bloated, lethargic, cramped and gassy afterwards. I get very anxious on flights and eating would bring me comfort, but it would make me feel so crappy.  After mentioning this to an ayervedic practitioner (my friend Sahara of Eat Feel Fresh), she told me this happens to most people, and that fasting while traveling is an excellent way to reset your body. I took her advice and she was right- fasting made me feel so much better during and after my flight (if you prepare!)

Use travel as a time to give your body a break and a reset. It's the most beneficial time to fast as your digestion becomes "vata" (air and space) making it hard for your body to break down foods. Vata is the cold, dry, moving, dosha that is unpredictable, scattered and rough which can lead to bloating, constipation gas, malabsorption, and forgetfulness. Ever wonder why you feel so out of it after flying? That's because your literally moving in a vessel through the air and you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually un-grounded. 

By fasting you also have one less thing to worry about for the flight. You can focus on other things: sleep, watching a movie, journaling, listening to your favorite album or reading. The best part? You can treat yourself to a fresh meal as soon as you get off the plane and arrive at your destination. 

Sahara suggests drinking hot tea throughout the flight, and avoiding cold, dry foods such as crackers, pretzels, nuts, smoothies and chips. Pre flight, its a good idea to eat as many grounding foods as possible such as sweet potato, squash, root vegetables, ginger, turmeric, beans and cooked veggies.

If you are going to fast- make sure you eat something beforehand. I like hard boiled eggs, bulletproof matcha, or some sweet potato avocado toast. If your flight is longer than 6-8 hours, fasting may not be the best option. And of course, if you are so hungry and fasting isn't working for you, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. 

Be Prepared

For the plane/car ride, be prepared. The last thing you want is to be stuck on a 8 hour flight with no backups- so prepare yourself. 

  • HYDRATE: 24 hours before traveling, beginning upping your water intake. For the actual flight, bring an empty water bottle and continuously refill it on your flight. Don't accept those plastic water bottles. Horrible for our planet and health. Bring your own refillable one and kindly ask the attendants to refill it. Don't worry that you are annoying them, you are doing the planet a SOLID.
  • TEA: Drink hot herbal tea, hot water with lemon, whatever works. Warm liquids help ease the digestive system which can sometimes get flustered while traveling. 
  • ESSENTIAL OILS: I like to bring ylang ylang and lavender essential oils with me while I travel. These both help to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety, something that can pop up a lot whilst traveling. 
  • SELF CARE: I love the cactus collagen pads from Honest Hazel. I like to pop these on in the beginning of my flight and keep them on until landing. They help make the plane ride a bit more fun and remind me that self care comes first. 
  • HAIR/SKIN: I love to lather my hair and skin with coconut oil during travel. It's easy for skin to get super dry, so it's a great time to self-massage some oil onto your skin for some extra TLC! Also if you are oil training your hair, this is a great opportunity to moisturize those locks before washing. 
  • ENTERTAINMENT: To make the whole process less stressful, use this time on your flight to treat yourself to something you keep pushing off when you're on the ground. Buy yourself a magazine, delve into a good book, catch up on podcasts, watch that movie you've been dying to see, start writing that novel. 
  • MOVE: Make sure you get up every 30-60 minutes during the flight. Slowly walk up and down the aisles, do some light stretches (lift your knees to your chest, do a quad stretch) and torso rotator twists. Try to get an aisle seat so you don't bug your neighbors!
  • MEDITATE: I love using the Calm App on my phone to sit with myself for 10 minutes. I usually do this on the plane once it gets moving. Focusing on your breathing is an excellent way to feel grounded and connected. 

On the Trip

  • EXERCISE: It's important to stay moving, even on vacation or while traveling. I love walking when I travel, it is the best way to see a new city. Check ahead of time to see if your hotel has a gym, and utilize that if so. If not, bring running sneakers and go for some power walks throughout the city. Or, research some boutique fitness studios so you can fit in your workouts as planned.  Discover a new yoga studio. Go on a hike. Working out while traveling makes it 10x easier to stay on track and keeps your energy up!
  • SUPPLEMENTS:
    • Enzymes are your BEST FRIEND. Trust me. Stock up on them before you travel and bring them with you everywhere you go! When you travel, you are eating at different times, other people's foods, most likely at restaurants who use different oils and styles of cooking. Digestive enzymes are A LIFESAVER. I love Enzymedica and Clean Program's.
    • A good probiotic to take with you when traveling is the Probiotic from Clean Program. It doesn't need to be refridgerated, making it the perfect travel companion. Also, the single-serve packets from Vital Proteins are dope. 
    • Magnesium to help you stay regular. I used to be a victim of constipation while traveling and taking 3-4 magnesium pills before bed each night is a huge help. I like the magnesium from Designs for Health
  • ADAPTOGENS: are key too. I like to make little bags full of adaptogens to add to my waters, teas, and smoothies while on the go. I like bringing Sunpotion's Ashwagandha, Chaga, and Reishi as they help me stay calm. 
  • SNACKS: I always bring some snacks with me for when I arrive. I love the Bulletproof Snack Bars. Full of healthy fats and low in sugar. 
  • SLEEP: I know how hard it is to adjust to new time zones, beds, and sleeping schedules, but do your best to adjust your internal clock to your region's time zone. If you are flying to London, try to go to bed when they go to bed and wake up when they do. This will help make your trip much much easier. 
  • VEGETABLES: Eat your vegetables! Check yelp for healthy, organic eateries that offer salads, organic macro bowls, or go to the grocery store and make your own using the hotel's kitchenette or AirBnB's kitchen! When eating out a lot, make sure to fill up on veggies first with an appetizer of a side salad or vegetable soup. Traveling is an amazing time to eat all the different foods that different cultures offer but you will feel much better if you get in those necessary vitamins throughout!
  • HAVING GRACE: Remember, you are traveling, you are not home, nor grounded, so have some grace with yourself! The goal is not perfection, but progress.

What are some of your favorite travel tips?