Traveling can take you to some sexy destinations, but let’s face it – the dining experience en route leaves a lot to be desired. Add to the mix a pinch of flight anxiety, lack of sleep, constipation and other woes, and we could land at our destination exhausted and lacking our travel lust. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had gooey “salad” and crusty french fries in moments of travel-day desperation. Staying vibrant and nourished while bopping around the globe doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, or require a private jet. Here are some tips I’ve learned as a lady on the move:
1) Get used to peeing a lot. My motto when flying? Water water water! There’s no way around it: flying is a very dehydrating experience for your body. Prep yourself by bringing your own refillable water bottle that you can empty out and refill after you go through security. Airplane cabin humidity levels are unbelievably low, from 5-10%, creating an environment with less humidity than the Sahara Desert! It is advised to drink one glass of water (8oz.) per hour in the air to keep moisture levels stable. This is an easy way to reduce the risk of jet lag and fatigue and needing to pee is a biological reminder to get up and move around. All I can say is, that lucky man on my flight to Korea. He received many midflight pseudo lap dances as I hopped to and from my window seat to the loo, every hour for the 14-hour flight. Okay, he was actually Nyquil-ed and sleeping, but for storytelling sake we shall omit that detail.
– Opt for water-only, without the ice.
– Avoid all sugary sodas and canned juices that they offer, as they are just a non-organic cocktail of pesticides and acidic sugars.
– Nix alcohol for obvious reasons. Read: dehydration much?
– Say no to drying coffees or caffeinated teas. Caffeine can be taxing for the adrenal glands, the cute little guys responsible for pumping out adrenaline and cortisol – our hormones that help us to cope with stress. Keeping the adrenals calm is preferable for traveling without anxiety or other symptoms that befall us when in times of high-stress: insomnia or exhaustion to name a few. I often grab a few bags of organic lavender and chamomile tea from home and pop them in my purse. When the flight attendants come around offering beverages I ask for a cup of hot water and D.I.Y. my own relaxing beverage. Mmmm.
2) Don’t get caught with low blood sugar. Bad things can happen. Airports are notorious for shitty, overpriced food. I’ve had too many “I’m a hunger-monster” experiences of gagging down a $15 iceberg lettuce salad or buying a $10 5 oz. bag of pistachios in an attempt to be healthy or feel satiated. Whenever possible, I recommend packing a quick bag of snacks to keep yourself nourished and clearheaded for maximum traveling sanity! Think ahead. A quick stop to a health food store before a travel day can be a lifesaver.
To pack: As I mentioned with in-flight dehydration, you want to increase hydration, so emphasize moisture rich foods. Also seek out foods containing the fabulous fiber that we all need for that elusive post-flight poo. Aim for:
-Fresh, raw fruits and veggies are ideal. Pack more than you think you’ll eat. Because we know you will become a travel-monster and suddenly want to eat stupid overpriced “protein” (candy) bars if you have nothing else with you.
-Trail mix is a great travel ally, as it rarely spoils and powerpacks great protein and fat, the satiating macronutrient. Side note: I recommend raw nuts as they aren’t likely to oxidize and create inflammation in the body.
– Grab a bunch of carrots and scoop a few tablespoons of tahini or almond butter into a Tupperware/ziplock. I know, a glob of nut butter ain’t sexy, but at least I’m not eating a $8 banana. This concoction will pass security and give some yummy room temperature-stable dip for veggies. You can also find mini nut butter packets if you wanna be more lady-like. I’m cheap and make my own.
– Make a burrito, or a veggie wrap, put egg salad in a giant collard leaf and wrap it up. Leftovers (if not too gooey as to be held up in security) are also great eats.
– Pack a small avocado and a plastic knife, cut it open on the plane and go to town! Trust me, other people will be jealous.
3) Get cozy. Sleeping on a plane is no simple feat. Sleep is integral to overall health, immune function and digestion! On long international flight days, I’m a sleep floozy and I’ll take it where I can get it. Oh, on the tarmac, pre take-off? Yes, please. Awkward waiting area with everyone watching? You know it. Set yourself up for slumber success, always pack:
– eye mask (extra points if it’s animal print)
– extra pair of warm socks just in case the temperature gets crazy
– your favorite snuggly and cozy items
– craft a calm music playlist that is likely to cultivate a low-anxiety and relaxing personal microclimate at your seat, despite the kid behind you, playing Angry Birds at full volume whilst headbutting your spine. You won’t even care, you will be too busy dabbing lavender oil on your temples and oozing to the sounds of James Vincent McMorrow.
4) Try to eat before and after your flight…as opposed to during. Digestion is greatly suppressed by the high-altitude / crazy pressure – so it is best to simply consume water-only while in the air. Our gastrointestinal tract has a hard time maintaining efficient functions in the air, and everything sloooows down. I always have a big meal or snack before the flight and try to think of flying time as a mini “fast”. This keeps me from the unavoidable post-flight abdominal pressure that can make a girl feel the need to take a pregnancy test. You know what I’m talking about. Insta-bloat. Abstaining from eating while in flight is obviously easier on shorter flights.
If you have a long flight and need to eat:
– Seek out high-fiber foods to normalize your digestive experience post and during flight. Aka: no pretzels. I’m serious. They are nothin’ but trouble, and gluten! But that’s for another blog…
– Aim for fresh fruits and veggies, salads.
– Before boarding, grab a smoothie (avoid anything pre-sweetened). Ask for yours to be blended with water or milk instead of juice, to avoid extreme blood sugar spikes that will plummet when you’re in the air and don’t have access to other food.
– Ask a cafe for a side of steamed veggies, or a fried egg for some easy protein. I have literally gone to a crappy sports bar in an airport and told the waiter I would pay them for a few raw carrots. He looked at me like I was insane, but I got food and they made a redonk profit on some raw carrots!
Keep yourself smiling and hydrated, and don’t forget to power walk between flights to keep all circulatory systems happy. Who knows, maybe the hottie at the newsstand will be impressed with your strut and ask to join your flight to Fiji? 😉
What do YOU do when you travel? Share you comments below!