5 Health Essentials to Bring on Vacation

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

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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.

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. I also make sure to wear my blue blocker glasses on the plane to avoid overexposure of blue light from the screens around me; this hack will help you sleep better and prevent jet lag.

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