Travel Hacks | Let's Talk Jet lag, Food & Happy Bellies
It doesn’t matter if it is a trip to the next town, the nearest country or the other side of the world. It’s not uncommon for our well planned trips to go astray and leaving us feeling a little worse for wear. Traveling is a big passion of mine, coupled with sensitive digestion and well, just all round sensitive, I am no stranger to having experienced some of the perils that come up while traveling.
I have put together some main topics that I hope will help with your next getaway and keep you full of energy to enjoy the amazing experience.
The dreaded sleepless nights, feeling dazed and tired, this is not the best way to start and end an amazing holiday. Jet lag disrupts the bodies circadian rhythm when we transit through time zones. Simply speaking, our body clock gets confused and this effects normal bodily habits such as sleep patterns, hormones, digestion, energy levels, blood pressure, and neuro-hormone production like melatonin.
Many hormones are involved in keeping us awake and asleep at the right time. One of the hormones that regulate sleep is called melatonin. It is through consumption of lean proteins such as chicken, fish, meat, beans and lentils that we obtain the amino acid tryptophan. It is tryptophan that is then converted into serotonin and further more into melatonin. Make sure that the days leading up and upon arrival that you are eating a well balanced diet with a focus on getting enough protein.
Suggested nutrients to consider when flying are:
B vitamins: Improve cellular energy and aid in the production of the sleep hormone melatonin
Vitamin C: Protects cell damage and inflammation due to radiation of the plane and systemic stress of time zone changes
Amino acids: Provide important amino acids to build the sleep hormone melatonin and aid in recovery of cellular stress
Electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, chloride and magnesium: To replenish dehydration and aid in muscle relaxation
Tip: Start to prepare yourself a day or so before flying. Load up on nutritious food, increase your water intake and adjust your sleep and wake times to where you are going to land. This will aid the body in recovering quicker.
Finding Healthy & Suitable Food
Maintaining your current eating habits while travelling can be a bit tricky in some countries. If you have food allergies, intolerances or follow a particular diet, then you have to be prepared with food options before hand. Stock up as much as you can with suitable, long lasting snacks you can take with you on planes and as spare emergancy snacks on the road. Options such as nut bars, paleo and raw food bars, protein balls, packet mixed nuts and seeds are great as they are sealed in packets and will last inside your luggage and hand bags.
Suggestion: Contact some suppliers that you buy from and ask if they have any samples or travel sized products of your staple products.
If you have access to a kitchen, consider preparing food for the day where you may get stuck with not-so ideal food choices. Boiled eggs, pre-made sandwich or wrap, left over cooked meats and/or vegetables are great ideas. If possible, freeze a bottle of water and use it as an ice pack if needed to keep the food cold.
Pack with you a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle that you can carry with you at all times. Hydration is important while exploring and will aid in better recovery from all the sightseeing. It will also help with jet lag, sleep and supporting digestion.
Tip: Social media is a god send in some instances. Spend some time before travelling and have a look at the food options available through the internet, blogs and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. You may be pleasantly surprised of the options.
Flying and traveling for long periods of time can disrupt our digestive functions leaving us feeling a little bloated, gassy, and all round blah. Plane food and on the road snack options are often high in sodium, sugar, preservatives, refined carbohydrates and lacking in fresh vegetables and fruit. Not to mention the effects of dehydration while flying and disruptions in our electrolyte balance and all round digestion.
Here are some of tips for great digestion while travelling:
Keep meals simple and skip the refined carbohydrates such as bread rolls, heavy grain dishes, and desserts.
Focus on meals containing lean protein and as many vegetables as possible.
Keep fruit to a minimum if you are sensitive to fructose and simple sugars (Esp. FODMAP and SIBO sufferers)
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Drink water before meals and try and wait at least 20-30 minutes post meal before having more water to aid in optimal digestion.
Consider a digestive enzyme and travel friendly probiotic
We hear all the time it is important to stay hydrated while travelling. And yes, I absolutely agree!
Sometimes when travelling on long bus or car rides with no available toilet in sight can make us a little weary of gulping down a litre of water. Taking small sips can help keep you hydrated without having you running for the bathroom.
Natural electrolyte drinks such as coconut water or low sugar electrolyte formulas can aid in recovery from dehydration from long trips. Consider dissolvable electrolyte tablets or dehydrated coconut water for easy packing.
Know one wants to hear these words or even more experience this while travelling. It is better to be prepared in this situation than to be stuck sick without support.
If you have a senstive tummy and tend to pick up bugs easily, I would suggest you look at supporting the gut and immune system a few months (at least) before your trip. The stronger your immune system is and stronger your digestion is the better chance you have to fight off any nasty bugs.
Some top picks for supporting gut and immunity are:
Saccharomyces Boulardii- A fantastic beneficial yeast strain that aids to protect the gut from pathogens and infections. Promotes beneficial bacterial growth in the lower bowel for digestion and immune support.
Zinc - Anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal. This mineral is your immune systems best friend. Aim for around 25-30mg a day for adults.
Activated Charcoal- This black super powder will be what you want if you happen to pick up a nasty pathogen while travelling. Used as soon as possible, activated charcoal can bind and remove pathogens from the gut and get you back on track to enjoying your amazing holiday.
Last but not least….have fun!
We live in a fast paced, goal orientated life. Take this opportunity to release expectations and be open to new experiences. You may find you feel different or experience less symptoms than normally such as fatigue, IBS, changes in sleep patterns etc. It is a good idea to take note of this. You may get a glimpse into some causes of the symptoms you experience in normal day to day life and make realistic changes once home to improve your general wellbeing.
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