We're counting down the days to this year's trip to Fiji for our second-annual Island Fitness & Wellness Retreat! I thought it was a perfect time to share with you a few tricks I use to stay healthy while traveling. I hope these tips will be helpful for those of you who travel often for work or fun; airplanes are notorious for being germy and making you more susceptible to catching a bug. (Think: lots of people, no fresh air. Ick.)
Now scratch that last thought and instead, envision yourself in a bubble of wellness and immunity as you take your next flight, using these tips to keep you healthy!
1. Ginger Juice Shot
I love these single serving ginger shots from Kor Wellness in Santa Monica, containing a powerful ZING of ginger, cayenne, coconut water, and lemon. Ginger is considered a powerful antimicrobal agent, and as a bonus can sooth upset stomach and help alleviate motion sickness. I drink one on the way to the airport. You can also ask your local juice bar to make you a similar concoction!
If you've been following my blog for a bit, you know that I'm a HUGE proponent of probiotics for gut and overall health (read: Healthy Belly Bugs and Why You Should Eat Some Sauerkraut). But it's tough to carry sauerkraut with you on the plane (and I'm sure the other passengers appreciate my leaving the stinky delight at home), so I use probiotic pills as a backup. Jarrow shelf stable Probiotics is one of my favorites, with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria; I take them every day while traveling to keep my digestion populated with the good guys, and they come in sealed individual packs that don’e need refrigeration - perfect for trips!
3. Herban Essentials
Let's be honest, I doubt the little area around our airplane seat receives a thorough cleaning between each trip. It's a very public area we'll be sitting, sleeping, and eating in. So I like to give my tiny personal space a wipe-down as soon as I settle in. Herban Essentials are perfect for the job - they use pure essential oils that are naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. I'm loving this Mixed Bag for travel. I use them to freshen up after the flight, and carry a few in my bag for use as a yoga mat-wipe as well!
4. Coconut oil in your nose
Ok so hear me out on this one - it's weird but it works. Airplane air is extremely dry and pressurized, as well as recirculated throughout the flight. This can mean dried-out mucous membranes in our nostrils. That mucous membrane is our line of defense against invading airborne bacteria and viruses. To keep your nose moist, take a small container (a sample cosmetic size works well) of coconut oil to moisturize your lips and the insides of your nostrils throughout the flight. One more use for coconut oil! You're welcome :-)
5. Your own food
Airplane food = not a great idea in most cases. Questionable ingredients, many preservatives to keep it "fresh," and reheated. One of the best things you can do is stock up on a few healthy snacks of your own to take on the plane. See my previous post: Real Food On The Go: Eating Well While Traveling for specific ideas!
As I just mentioned, airplane air is DRY. Stay hydrated by drinking as much water throughout the flight as you can. I'm sure I bug the flight attendants with how much water I request. And don't worry about the extra bathroom trips - those count as extra leg-stretch breaks on long flights! Just be sure to use an Herban Essentials towel for your hands when you get back.
7. Green Juice To-Go
There's nothing like having a huge nutrient boost of green juice ready for you each morning, without having to track down a juice bar or take your blender in your suitcase. (I know people who actually do travel with their blender!) Amazing Grass now makes these little single-serving Green Juice packets perfect for travel. It mixes well even without a shaker bottle, and has a smooth, slightly sweet flavor. These are a must in my travel bag!
8. Post flight mouth-wash
I heard this one somewhere a while back and it makes sense, so I use it every time. Bacteria and viruses usually enter our body through the nose or mouth, and start taking hold in the throat. Now I'm normally NOT a fan of anti-bacterial mouthwash, because it will kill both good and bad bacteria in the mouth and throat. But the theory for the post-flight rinse of a strong antibacterial mouthwash like Listerine is, that by gargling with it immediately post-flight, you'll kill any potential invaders in your throat before they have a chance to take hold. Since I'm dosing up on probiotics during travel anyway, I like the thought of wiping out any bad guys that may have landed in my throat while I slept (which I do embarrassingly with mouth gaping wide open) on the plane.
9. Exercise - Shake the dust off after a long flight
Especially if you've been sitting for hours on a plane, one of the best things you can do once you get settled in is to get out and move. I love to lace up my shoes and take a long exploration walk around, and throw in a little yoga and stretching.. You don't have to make it a full workout; a brisk walk is just enough to get your blood flowing, heart pumping, and body realigned. If you tend to feel jet-lagged when traveling, the endorphins from exercise will give you energy, and help you sleep better, making it easier to adjust to your new time zone.