Do you get jet lag, digestive distress, or general fatigue when traveling? Travel fatigue is so common today, not just from the stress and lack of sleep that often accompanies travel, but from what happens to your body when you fly.
If you stop and think about your last trip—what was it like? If you are like most people, it probably went something like this:
- You worked really hard to get your job and house settled before leaving: running around, staying up late, getting up early, and burning the candle at both ends.
- The little time that remained was spent packing the things you and your family needed for your trip.
- You made lists on paper—or maybe in your head—and found that your mind was swimming with thoughts about what you might have forgotten.
- In the week-before rush, meals were eaten on the run, came from restaurants, or out of boxes or cans.
- You ate the food on the plane but did not really enjoy it—maybe you started to feel symptoms of digestive discomfort.
It’s amazing the lengths we go to for a week or two off. We go on vacation to relieve the stress of everyday life and yet, we find that there is often a price for our precious time off—both before and after the trip. And what about business trips? We often arrive home more tired than before and “crash” from fatigue.
There is a better way to travel—a way that will help minimize the stress we feel before, during, and after our trips.
Just like anything else, it takes time and preparation, but the increase in energy you will feel will be worth the investment.
3 Ways to Travel The Body Ecology Way
You have probably heard the basic guidelines to beat jet lag before. According to the National Sleep Foundation, based on the 24-hour circadian rhythm cycle of the body, it helps to choose a flight that arrives in the early evening so that you can stay up until at least 10 p.m. when traveling to a new time zone. You can also prepare your body in advance for a time change by waking and going to bed earlier several days in a row before an eastbound trip—or waking and going to bed later prior to a westbound trip.1
The World Health Organization advises arriving at the airport as rested as possible and taking short naps, less than 40 minutes, on a medium to long flight. Eating light and limiting alcohol consumption are also key. Heavy meals and alcohol can affect digestion and impair sleep quality.2
Yes, the health of your body before, during, and after a flight can greatly impact your chance of jet lag and travel fatigue.
The best way to prepare for an upcoming trip, large or small, is to consider what your body needs before you take off:
- Minimize stress – This is easier said than done in today’s busy world. Consider making a list to get the details out of your head and onto paper. That alone will help minimize stress. Play soft music and take deep, focused breaths whenever you can the week before your trip. Consider taking a day off before and after your trip to give yourself space to plan for and recover from travel.
- Prepare simple meals – The week before the trip, take some time on the weekend to prepare simple, healthy, BED meals for the week. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer so you can take them out and have quick, healthy food during the week. This will keep you healthy and full of vitamins and minerals to feed your body’s energy producers—the thyroid and adrenals. Cultured veggies are a great fast food that is nutrient-dense and can easily be carried with you for a meal before or after your flight.
- Plan your airport and plane nourishment – Bring a simple BED meal for the airport, but don’t eat food on the plane. When the plane takes off, your whole body goes out of balance, including your digestive organs. This is why we feel so tired after flying. Bring liquids packed with minerals for the flight and plan your meals for before or afterwards.
You deserve to be at your best whether you are traveling for business or pleasure.
These simple steps will make a big difference in how you feel so that you can truly enjoy your vacation.
Traveling mixes things up.
Think about it—we all know that a plane has much lower oxygen levels than what we are used to at ground-level. As long-time pilot and physician Brent Blue told Vox, “The cabin is only pressurized to simulate an elevation of 6,000 to 8,000 feet on modern jets. That’s a significant difference for people who live at sea level and aren’t used to it.” In rough translation, sitting in a six-hour flight with blood oxygen saturation lowered by 5 to 10 percent can cause major fatigue in most passengers.1
The simple act of flying can also cause dehydration, swelling, and increased risk of infection as you breathe in up to 50 percent recycled cabin air from your fellow passengers.
If you have a sensitive digestive system, if your immune system reacts to the slightest red flag, or if you are simply devoted to a longevity diet, travel can complicate things:
- Freeways and highways are lined with fast food drive-thus and diners.
- If dining on a plane, food is portable, processed, and easy to prepare. Not necessarily health-promoting.
- Your host or your hotel may not carry all of the foods that you are used to eating.
- The foods at your final destination may be totally foreign to you and may contain hidden wheat gluten, sugar, unhealthy oils, or other food additives.
A few simple steps can make a world of difference.
Want to stay healthy and energized on vacation? Plan ahead by making fermented snacks and by taking Body Ecology probiotic beverages with you on-the-go!
Feeling bloated or having a gastrointestinal tract flare-up can take away from the joy of traveling. Choosing to ignore your dietary needs while on vacation or away from home isn’t always the best idea, especially if you have seen a dramatic shift in your health while on the Body Ecology Diet. This is because an immune response to food, whether in the gut or elsewhere in the body, can be painful and distracting.
5 Body Ecology Approved Healthy Travel Tips
Below are a few tips to help you follow Body Ecology principles, even when traveling:
- Contact your hotel, local markets, and restaurants in the area you will be staying.
Find out what foods are and are not available in the area that you will be traveling to.
- Buy a travel book. Go online and research where you will be staying and what kind of fresh produce is available. Keep in mind that sometimes availability depends on the season.
- If you are traveling to a place that does not speak a language that you are familiar with, prepare a translated list of food allergies and restrictions. Do this before your departure.
- Pack snacks to eat while en route.
Carry Body Ecology-friendly snacks with you. Here are some ideas. Get creative!
- Fermented veggie crackers. If you have a dehydrator, make little crackers with your favorite fermented veggie mix. Prepare the night before you leave.
- Large, roughly chopped vegetables. Try strips of celery, napa cabbage, summer squash, carrot, and red radish.
- A small bag of dried sour fruits, such as bing cherries or black currants. Be sure to check manufacturers’ labels for added sugar or oils. Eat dried sour fruits alone and on an empty stomach.
- A small bag of soaked and sprouted almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. If you have a dehydrator at home, coat with lime, cilantro, ground coriander, and Celtic sea salt. Add a tablespoon of soaked and well-blended flaxseed. Toss everything together and set on dehydrator trays. Run the dehydrator the night before your trip.
- Travel with fermented beverages.
On the road, Body fermented beverages, especially will keep you hydrated.
- The good bacteria will stave off any cravings you may have for starchy, sugary travel food. This includes alcohol.
- When flying, pack probiotic liquids in a separate suitcase. Make sure to also wrap them in a plastic bag.
- Make a travel kit.
A travel kit should contain little essentials that could transform any basic dish into a Body Ecology delight. Use leak-proof plastic bottles, especially for liquid items. Customize your travel kit to fit your own needs and preferences. Here are some ideas:
- Organic, extra-virgin olive oil
- Organic roasted pumpkin seed oil
- Unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Stevia Liquid Concentrate
- Pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
- Essential Oils
- Pack enzymes and fermented beverages.
Traveling itself, especially through several time zones, can cause your body to contract. Your body naturally responds to the stress of travel by contracting and becoming acidic. This happens whether or not you feel stressed. It has to do with the irregular cycles of cortisol and melatonin in the body.
Keep your body in balance and minimize the effects of cortisol by making sure you drink two ounces of Body Ecology fermented beverages several times a day. If you find that your digestion is sluggish, enzymes will help your digestive juices in breaking down food and resetting your hormonal rhythms.
Traveling can do more than make your favorite foods less available.
Travel can significantly increase the degree of stress in your body. This causes a fluctuation of hormones and can ultimately leave you feeling exhausted! Support your body and your needs while traveling, and you will feel refreshed and energized throughout your trip.