Blog, Travel & Health

5 Tips For Healthy Airport Travel

While traveling is fun, flying on an airplane for long hours takes a major toll on the body. I used to have issues with constipation, bloating and fatigue for days after a long flight. After years of trial and error, I have discovered some excellent ways to stay healthy while traveling.

1. Hydrate

It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people in general walk around dehydrated. Take into account the low humidity of the cabin air while traveling, and you are on the fast track to dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so it’s best to keep on drinking water throughout your journey.

I never rely on the puny little cups the stewards hand out. Instead, I bring a water bottle on the plane, and ask the steward to fill it up. Many airlines have a filtered water tap by the kitchen and will even let you fill it up yourself – much easier than having to bug the stewards every hour for a new cup of water.

Another way to avoid becoming dehydrated is by taking it easy on the caffeine and alcohol. I know many airlines offer free coffee, tea, and booze, but just because it is free, doesn’t mean it is good for you!

2. Bring Your Own Food

This one is so crucial. Airline food is loaded with sodium as it is an easy and cheap way to add flavor to otherwise bland mass-produced food. The recommended intake of sodium for the average human is 1500mg per day, and I’d bet that most airline meals exceed this amount. Excess salt can make you swell and bloat.

Seeing as I prefer not to arrive at my destination looking and feeling like a Goodwill blimp, I always bring my own meals. This week I will be flying to France, and I have 19 hours of travel ahead of me, so I am packing my dinner and breakfast. For snacks, I always bring raw almonds and walnuts to munch on, or RX Bars, as they keep my blood sugar stable throughout the journey. And for my sweet tooth, a few squares of organic dark chocolate.

If packing your food is out of the question, I read that some airlines offer low- sodium meals as a special meal option: United, Delta, Lufthansa, Emirates, Thai, Japan, Alitalia, Turkish, Swiss, and Iberia all have histories of providing low-sodium meals, but be sure to check with the airline directly. And as always, try your best to find the healthiest options during layovers, as your body will be able to defend itself from the jetlag better with good fuel instead of junk food.

3. Bring Your Airplane combo pack.

Stick to your sleep cycle and try to get some shuteye. One of the best ways to combat jetlag is to get rest on the plane. I know this isn’t always easy, but I have found that bringing a neck pillow, eye mask, and lavender oil helps me get more ZZZ’s. The eye mask blocks out the light from my neighbor’s movie screen, the pillow adds more comfort, and the lavender oil helps with relaxation.Another aid is to bring a bag of chamomile tea on the plane to drink before attempting to snooze.

4. Avoid Germs

In addition to dehydration, low humidity also increases the risk of catching a cold. When the air is too dry, the mucous in your airway can’t do its job, and bacteria and viruses can enter easily.

To best protect myself I always bring my own blanket (I bring a light weight sarong) and pillow on the plane, as the ones the airlines use are not washed with every use (gross!). I also wipe down my tray with anti-bacterial wipes (who knows the last time it was wiped down?) because I’ve seen babies get their diapers changed on them many times.

One last thing I do to protect myself from getting sick is to bring a bottle of orange oil to breathe in occasionally during the flight, as it is anti-viral. Doterra also makes an antiviral, antibacterial, anti-infectious blend called OnGuard, which is a blend of clove, cinnamon, wild orange, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.

 

5. Stretch

Keeping circulation going on a flight is crucial, so when you are not sleeping try to get up at least every hour to stretch. This will get your blood circulating and prevent cramps and blood clots. I’m a fan of walking to the back bathroom with lots of space, and I feel no shame for doing a few toe touches or side stretches. Here is a list of good yoga stretches you can do in your seat. 

As a final tip, if you tend to get constipated when flying I recommend taking magnesium citrate before you go to sleep. Without a proper movement your body will not be able to flush out all the toxins accumulated from your long flight, so it’s crucial. I always bring my Magnesium Citrate with me while traveling and it has been a life saver.

What are your favorite ways to keep healthy during travel? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Happy Travels!

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Health & Wellness, Travel & Health

5 Health Essentials to Bring on Vacation

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” –Saint Augustine

fruitbeach

Traveling has enriched my life in many ways. I have learned valuable life lessons, experienced new cultures, and I even met my husband while spending a year in Honduras.

But traveling isn’t always glamorous; the Instagram shots from backpackers and jetsetters might make it appear so, but the truth is, there’s a flip side. Jetlag, constipation, diarrhea and food poisoning many times accompany travel. This is inevitable due to foreign bacteria, different degrees of hygiene, and to being at the mercy of someone else preparing your food.

But please don’t let these things discourage you from traveling my friends! From my experience, I’ve found that some people are less vulnerable than others due to lifestyle choices, habits, and a little preparation. And by bringing these five travel essentials on your next trip, you will feel light, energized, and ready to sight see!

So don’t cancel your flight just yet. Continue packing your bags-just make sure to include these five essentials to avoid getting that Delhi Belly.

5 Health Essentials to Pack for Your Next Trip:

1.Probiotics

Probiotics promote good gut health, which is crucial because it’s the key to overall wellness. I’ve been on the road for the past year and a half, and have only fallen ill with food poisoning twice (very mild cases). I contribute my strong constitution to taking a high-grade probiotic and eating fermented foods daily. My probiotic of choice is Green Vibrance because it not only includes 25 billion probiotics, but it also includes an array of greens and vitamins. Look out for their individually sealed travel packs. If you prefer the convenience of a pill, I recommend Ultra Flora Spectrum.

2. Grapefruit Seed Extract

This is a lifesaver. If you have a parasite or have been introduced to bad bacteria from food, this stuff will flush it out pronto. Eating papaya seeds first thing in the morning also helps kill parasites*.

3. The Airplane Combo Pack

One of the best ways to combat jetlag is to get rest on the plane. I know this isn’t always easy, but I have found that bringing a neck pillow, eye mask, and lavender oil helps me get more ZZZ’s. The eye mask blocks out the light from my neighbor’s movie screen, the pillow adds more comfort, and the lavender oil helps with relaxation.

4. Healthy Snacks

When traveling you are many times at the mercy of restaurants. Seeing as you can’t always predict when the next eatery will pop up, carrying healthy snacks with you is crucial. Things like unsalted almonds, cashews and walnuts are excellent for balancing your blood sugar levels and keeping your hunger at bay. Rx Bars are also easy options, as are individual protein powder packs.

In addition, I always travel with an emergency supply of oats in case I find myself in a pinch. I make a few individual servings in Ziploc bags with oats, cinnamon, goji berries, chia seeds, and walnuts, and I always carry a tin cup and spoon so I can make a meal wherever I go. When I find myself starving and without healthy options, I simply pour my prepared bag of oats in my handy cup, add a little hot water (or cold if not available), and lunch is served.

5. Magnesium Citrate

It’s very easy to get constipated while traveling. This is understandable as travel routines can be unpredictable, and your body isn’t getting the same food it’s used to. A simple solution is to take a few Magnesium Citrate (around 300-400 mg) at bedtime, and constipation will not be an issue.

All right folks, if you follow these five tips, you are more likely to enjoy your trip without all the not so glamorous side effects.

And don’t forget to bring a BPA-free, or stainless steel water bottle along with you. Fill it up religiously and keep track of how many you are drinking a day. I cannot stress how crucial it is to get your two liters (or more if traveling somewhere hot!). Trust me, it’s all too easy to get dehydrated while traveling, as you are distracted with all the new exciting sights and smells.

Happy Travels!

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*If you are pregnant, do not consume papaya seeds, as it could terminate the pregnancy.

Blog, Health & Wellness, Travel & Health, Weight Loss

A Survival Guide To Staying Healthy During the Holidays

jinglebells

Hey Folks! It’s that time of year for families and friends to get together to be merry! I don’t know about you, but I used to get stressed out over social holiday events because of my healthy and “weird” eating habits. My family always poked fun for my being a vegetarian and at social gatherings I let myself get embarrassed when people looked at me weird for passing up the turkey or ham. Needless to say, it got hella frustrating.

Consequently, I acquired a little anxiety about going to holiday parties and would sometimes even skip going to them altogether. Stupid, right?! Thankfully today I know better.

I’ve realized that just because I choose to eat healthy, living foods in order to live a vibrant and abundant life, doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice social events. These events are not only fun, but are also a great opportunity to introduce new foods to people – and if they ask, a great opportunity to let them know why I choose not to eat meat.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of the holidays is spending time with friends and families – the food is just an added bonus. And as much as I like spending time with my family,  it also brings me so much joy to share delicious and healthy dishes with the ones I love.

If you find yourself worrying about how to maintain your healthy lifestyle during the holidays, I recommend following these great tips I found the other day from Dr. Hyman. And they aren’t only for the holidays; they are great for all year round!

How to Succeed During the Holidays:

Restaurants, Business Luncheons, Social Events

• Be Obnoxious! Be clear about your needs and do not accept any food that does not nourish or support you. Do not assume you are being impolite; you are simply taking care of yourself.

• Choose the restaurant when you can.

• Tell the server you do not want bread on the table nor the alcohol menu. But do ask for raw cut-up veggies-no dip.

• Ask for water. Drink 1-2 glasses before your meal to reduce appetite

• Tell the server you will die if you have gluten or dairy. Not a lie-just a slow death.

• Ask for simple food preparation. Grilled fish with an entire plate of steamed vegetables with some olive oil and lemon drizzled on top. Always ask for olive oil and lemon in lieu of dressing. These often have hidden dairy and gluten as well as unhealthy oils.

• Skip the starches. Ask for double vegetables

• Avoid sauces, dressings and dips which are usually laden with hidden sugars, poor oils, gluten and dairy

• Follow “hari hachi bu.” Do as the Okinawan Japanese do and stop eating when you are 80% full. Instead of eating until you are FULL, eat until you are NO LONGER HUNGRY! Bring leftovers home as even too much of the right foods may spike insulin.

• Ask for berries for dessert.

 Create An Emergency Pack

• Buy a small hand-held cooler you can keep in your car, at work, trips etc. It’s your life pack.

What’s in Dr. Hyman’s Life- Pack:

  • Small bag of raw almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • Small bag of cut carrots or celery
  • Small container of hummus such as Wild Garden single-serve packets –
  • Can of wild salmon or sardines
  • A container of chickpeas with olive oil, lemon, herbs, salt, pepper
  • Healthy whole food protein bar (eat half in morning, half in afternoon)
  • Bottle of water

 Be Prepared For Holidays and Special Events

Sometimes you will have to eat someplace where you perceive to have no control. Avoid food-anxiety by planning ahead and making your host aware of your dietary needs and:

• Eat a small protein-based meal before the event

• Bring your emergency pack as a backup in case there is nothing to eat. You can always eat after.

• Just relax and eat. Choose nourishing foods such as lean poultry, fish, beans and vegetables. Have as many vegetables as you want. Do your best and relax. Stress will decrease your metabolic power. And remember, there is always tomorrow to resume your routine in the morning!

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Happy Holidays everyone!

And remember, a little of what you fancy does you good. Food should never be feared, only respected.

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Health & Wellness, Herbal Remedies/Drinks, Recipes, Travel & Health

My Quick and Easy Cold Fighting Remedy Recipe

gingerteaThere is never a good time for a cold – especially while on the road! Right now I can feel one coming on so I’ve made a quick and easy cold fighting remedy: Ginger tea with turmeric and honey.

Why does it work?

The ginger is an immune booster and it also clears the micro-circulatory channels of the body, including those annoying sinuses that flare up during colds. Ginger also warms up the body, so it promotes healthy sweating that detoxifies and releases cold symptoms. Turmeric is rich in curcumin which can prevent infections from getting worse. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory that will aid in faster healing. The honey is anti-bacterial and antiviral, and also helps soothe the throat as well as provide a sweetness to the drink.

My Quick and Easy Cold Fighting Remedy:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 an inch of peeled, fresh ginger cut up into small chunks, or 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  •  1/2 an inch of peeled, fresh turmeric cut up into small chunks or 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  •  Honey to taste (use raw if possible and remember honey is high in fructose so don’t go all crazy with it. I use about 1 tablespoon)

Directions:

  1. Pour boiling water over the turmeric and ginger.
  2. Let infuse until warm. About 5-10 minutes
  3. Stir in honey. 
  4. Add lemon if available.

If you are on the road and can’t find turmeric, no worries – the ginger and honey will still work wonders!

When I’m done with my tea I like to reuse the fresh ginger and turmeric to make another cup. Of course you can’t do this if using powders, but the fresh roots can make at least two powerful cups of cold-fighting goodness.

Now, go show that cold who is boss!

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Travel & Health

Travel Tips: How to Avoid MSG in Asia

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I love traveling and I love trying new foods, but I do not love MSG. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly found in most Asian cuisines, and I’ve been dosed more than once while traveling in southeast Asia this year.  I have an extreme allergy to MSG, resulting in migraines and flu-like body aches for a few days if I’m exposed to the stuff. But if you don’t have a severe allergy like me, you should still avoid MSG as it is extremely damaging to your health.

Most places in Thailand use MSG, which is frustrating, and I have had to be incredibly alert to stay away from the toxic stuff. I didn’t have a problem in India or Vietnam, but avoiding MSG was also a real issue in Indonesia and Malaysia.  Consequently, over the last year I’ve become an expert at dodging MSG!

Here are my 7 tips to help you avoid MSG on your next vacation to Asia:

1. Do not trust a restaurant’s claim of being “MSG-free”.

This is the Golden Rule, folks. Just because a restaurant advertises that it is MSG-free, don’t start getting green curry happy.  Trust me, I’ve been dosed a few times this way. Most times it’s not because the restaurant is purposefully trying to deceive its customers. The owner most likely genuinely believes their food is MSG-free. However, as I discussed in my article Why MSG is Toxic and How You Can Avoid ItMSG hides under many different names, and is found in many flavoring packets and sauces. The same ones which the restaurant most likely uses in their curries, soups, fried rices, etc. Yes they might not add that skull and cross bones shaker of white crystals conspicuously labeled MSG to their dishes, but they might still be using flavoring powders with a form of MSG to prepare their food.

2. If it tastes sweet and salty and the same time, be wary.

This is the ultimate sign to your taste buds that the dish you are eating has MSG.

3. Carry a picture saying”NO MSG” written in the language of the country you are in. 

I have this on my iPhone and I carry it around everywhere.

nomsg

“NO MSG” in Thai

4.  When in doubt, avoid the sauce.

MSG is usually all in the sauce. Your picture saying “NO MSG” might work, and the cook might have the best intentions. However, there is still a chance you may get dosed, seeing as MSG is hidden under many different names. If I’m at an establishment that I don’t fully trust, I ask for my veggies to be steamed or stir- fried with no sauce (I have a picture on my phone saying no sauce in the language of the country I’m in). I also ask for no salt, because sometimes their “salt” is MSG.

5. Carry a small bottle of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt with you.

Seeing as steamed veggies can get old real quick, I carry a small bottle of natural sea salt with me to give my dish some flavor.

6. Eat at restaurants advertised as “Vegan”. 

It’s not hard to find vegetarian restaurants in Asia, but I’ve found that this is not a guarantee for MSG-free food. However, I’ve found restaurants advertised as “vegan” are usually MSG free. Most times, they even advertise “No MSG” on their menu. So look up vegan restaurants on Happy Cow and support those establishments. Halaal

7.Eat at Muslim-run restaurants.

Seek out Muslim-run restaurants. These establishments do not use MSG, as it is not Halal. While in Thailand, I’ve eaten many delicious Thai meals at restaurants owned by Thai Muslims.

Good luck and happy travels!

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Gut Health, Health & Wellness, Travel & Health

5 Tips For Healthy Digestion While Traveling

fruitbeachWhile traveling around the world is fun, it tends to wreak havoc on the digestion system. Many people tend to go to the bathroom either too much while on vacation or too little. It’s understandable because while traveling we are introduced to new foods, and at most times are at the mercy of restaurants. Traveling also tends to break the routines we have back home that keep our engines running smoothly.

But there is hope for keeping a happy tummy and regular visits to the loo!

I’ve been in India the past few months and here are some tips that have helped me while on the road:

1. Take Probiotics

I can’t stress this enough! Bringing probiotics with you while on vacation is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy while on the road. Without these your gut doesn’t have the good bacteria that it needs to digest your food properly. It’s even more crucial while on vacation because you are constantly being exposed to new bacteria from the water and food.

If you are bringing probiotic pills, make sure to check you buy ones that do not need to be kept refrigerated. In addition to probiotic pills, I like to bring individual Green Vibrance packets with me while on the road, and I drink this every morning.

2Drink Plenty of Water

We tend to not pay enough attention to how much water we are drinking while traveling. The sightseeing and excitement of a new place tends to side track us! This is why it is even more important that you are aware of how much water you are drinking.

I always drink more than the recommended amount of water while traveling in hot climates seeing as I’m sweating so much (click HERE to calculate how much water you should be drinking daily). To keep track of this I fill up my water bottles for the day and make sure I go through them all. For example, I drink 2.5 liters a day so I fill these up, and make sure they are gone by the end of the day.

The bottom line is, not staying hydrated is a good way to get constipated, which will make you feel lethargic and uncomfortable. So keep a note on your iPhone, set an alarm reminder on your phone-do whatever you have to do make sure you are hydrating your body.

3. Eat Fermented Foods.

Fermented foods contain natural enzymes and probiotics that help the body digest its food. They also contain vitamins and minerals that help the body maintain optimal health. Examples of living foods are yogurt, curd, sauerkraut, kimchi, tofu, and kombucha.

Do your research before traveling to your destination to see what fermented foods are local to the country you will be visiting. For example, on my trip to India I found out there are many fermented staples in the Indian diet such as curd and dosas (crepe made from fermented rice and black lentils), and I was able to spot these on a menu no problem.

Incorporate at least 1-2 servings per day to your diet and you will find yourself feeling groovy.

4. Eat Your Veggies.

I know it’s not always possible to eat what you want while on vacation (I’m currently reminded of this by the lack of dark green leafy veggies in India, believe me!) but do your best.

Find the veggies on the menu and order them. Visit the local market and buy your own if you have to. The more veggies you eat, the more fiber you are adding to your body.

However, if you are leaning more on the constipated side, take it easy on the raw veggies, and opt for lightly cooked ones.

5. Stick to the closest version of the foods you eat at home.

Try to stick to the closest version of what works for you while home. I know this isn’t always easy, but be creative. If your stomach is giving you trouble don’t feel like you have to get all Travel Channel and try every exotic food that is offered to you.

Protect yourself and stick to the foods that you know work for you. There is no shame in being a picky eater while traveling if it’s for the sake of your health!

Photo from Pixabay

Bonus Tips:

-Try to find an accommodation with a kitchen so you can make some of your own meals.

– Take Magnesium Citrate to avoid constipation (it also helps you sleep better).

– Don’t overeat even if all the new food is tempting.

– Do your best to eat meals at the same time everyday.

– Keep the body moving and incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

– Drink warm water with lemon or lime, depending on what is available. Do this first thing in the morning for a dose of enzymes to kick-start your digestive system in the right direction. Lemon water also gives you tons of Vitamin C for the day which will keep your immune system strong.

Happy Travelin’!

xx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Health & Wellness, Travel & Health

5 Tips On How To Stay Healthy During Long Flights

While traveling is fun, flying on an airplane for long hours takes a major toll on the body. I used to have issues with constipation, bloating and fatigue for days after a long flight. After years of trial and error, I have discovered some excellent ways to stay healthy while traveling.

1. Hydrate

It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people in general walk around dehydrated. Take into account the low humidity of the cabin air while traveling, and you are on the fast track to dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so it’s best to keep on drinking water throughout your journey.

I never rely on the puny little cups the stewards hand out. Instead, I bring a water bottle on the plane, and ask the steward to fill it up. Many airlines have a filtered water tap by the kitchen and will even let you fill it up yourself – much easier than having to bug the stewards every hour for a new cup of water.

Another way to avoid becoming dehydrated is by taking it easy on the caffeine and alcohol. I know many airlines offer free coffee, tea, and booze, but just because it is free, doesn’t mean it is good for you!

2. Bring Your Own Food

This one is so crucial. Airline food is loaded with sodium as it is an easy and cheap way to add flavor to otherwise bland mass-produced food. The recommended intake of sodium for the average human is 1500mg per day, and I’d bet that most airline meals exceed this amount. Excess salt can make you swell and bloat.

Seeing as I prefer not to arrive at my destination looking and feeling like a Goodwill blimp, I always bring my own meals. This week I will be flying to France, and I have 19 hours of travel ahead of me, so I am packing my dinner and breakfast. For snacks, I always bring raw almonds and walnuts to munch on, or RX Bars, as they keep my blood sugar stable throughout the journey. And for my sweet tooth, a few squares of organic dark chocolate.

If packing your food is out of the question, I read that some airlines offer low- sodium meals as a special meal option: United, Delta, Lufthansa, Emirates, Thai, Japan, Alitalia, Turkish, Swiss, and Iberia all have histories of providing low-sodium meals, but be sure to check with the airline directly. And as always, try your best to find the healthiest options during layovers, as your body will be able to defend itself from the jetlag better with good fuel instead of junk food.

3. Avoid Germs

In addition to dehydration, low humidity also increases the risk of catching a cold. When the air is too dry, the mucous in your airway can’t do its job, and bacteria and viruses can enter easily.

To best protect myself I always bring my own blanket (I bring a light weight sarong) and pillow on the plane, as the ones the airlines use are not washed with every use (gross!). I also wipe down my tray with anti-bacterial wipes (who knows the last time it was wiped down?) because I’ve seen babies get their diapers changed on them many times.

One last thing I do to protect myself from getting sick is to bring a bottle of orange oil to breathe in occasionally during the flight, as it is anti-viral. Doterra also makes an antiviral, antibacterial, anti-infectious blend called OnGuard, which is a blend of clove, cinnamon, wild orange, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.

4. Sleep

Stick to your sleep cycle and try to get some shuteye. I know sleeping on a plane is far from ideal, but I find that applying lavender oil to my temples and to a sleep mask always helps me sleep a little better, as the lavender is calming, and the sleep mask prevents my neighbors’ movie screen or book light from shining in my eyes. Another aid is to bring a bag of chamomile tea on the plane to drink before attempting to snooze.

5. Stretch

Keeping circulation going on a flight is crucial, so when you are not sleeping try to get up at least every hour to stretch. This will get your blood circulating and prevent cramps and blood clots. I’m a fan of walking to the back bathroom with lots of space, and I feel no shame for doing a few toe touches or side stretches. Here is a list of good yoga stretches you can do in your seat. 

As a final tip, if you tend to get constipated when flying I recommend taking magnesium citrate before you go to sleep. Without a proper movement your body will not be able to flush out all the toxins accumulated from your long flight, so it’s crucial. I always bring my Magnesium Citrate with me while traveling and it has been a life saver.

What are your favorite ways to keep healthy during travel? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Happy Travels!

Health Coach Jenna

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