The Shrinking Violet Guide: Travelling Healthy
It’s no secret by now that I spend a lot of time travelling. I got the travel bug at an early age, taking my very first international flight at just four weeks old! My Dad was a pilot for Cathay Pacific which meant I grew up between Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. I was also fortunate enough to take many family holidays overseas and had a colourful passport by the ripe age of 10! These days, any extra money I save goes towards the next destination and I have been fortunate enough to travel near and far this year.
The only problem with travelling is that it can definitely take its toll on your body. When you travel, your digestive system is the first thing to go (hello, foreign food!), followed quickly by your regular routines. It’s all too easy to forget good habits and not resume them when you get home again. This is something I am very aware of and since I care so much about health and wellbeing, I have made an effort to make rules for myself that ensure I never get too off track and make coming home a breeze! These days with all of the research out there, we now know how important gut health is for our long-term vitality. It influences our immune system, our metabolism, and even how we think and feel.
I’m sharing these tips with you today to help you stay on track with your health too!
- Go Gluten Free
- Digestive Supports
- On the Plane
- Returning Home
Choose Gluten Free
So by now, you will have all cottoned on to the fact that I am gluten free 99% of the time. The other 1% is reserved for occasions where I am unaware there is gluten in something or if I give myself a rare food pass. Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is as real as it is common. I highly recommend watching What’s With Wheat? for a great in depth explanation on the harm gluten and wheat can cause in your body, especially with gut health.
When travelling, eating to my goals becomes a lot harder. I can’t control everything on my plate, but most of the time I can choose a gluten free option. This definitely is tricky if you visit countries where you have a language barrier, or a country that doesn’t have the easiest options. For me, this was Bali. In situations like that, you’re best to pick the option that you think is least likely to contain gluten – which most of the time does mean western food! Salads are your best bet, followed by steaks. This can be hard if you want to sample local cuisine. This is where my rare food pass comes into play; if there’s something I reaaaally want, then I’ll have it. But I just know I have to deal with the consequences after.
However, in situations you can control, going gluten free is your best option. Nothing will be perfect when you aren’t cooking for yourself, but you definitely have the opportunity to make it a little easier on your gut. Choosing the gluten free option on the plane ahead of time, as well as checking to make sure a restaurant has options for you has been my saving grace.
As I mentioned earlier, the first thing to suffer while travelling is your digestive system. I have a few ways that I support mine during and post travel to ensure that I cause as little disruption as possible and keep myself on track for healing any damage that does happen throughout travel. The first way is food – of course. As mentioned above. Additionally I tend to supplement.
There are a few supplements designed to focus on gut health and digestive support. The first, is probably one of my most talked about supplements: Probiotics. Probiotics are something I take regularly anyway, but they are an important part of my travel routine. Probiotics are made of good bacteria which is vital to the human microbiome (microbiome is basically a collection of bacteria, fungi, protists, archaea, and viruses that make up your biome. You can read more here.). This is essential to good gut health – and as mentioned, all good health starts in the gut! My favourite brand of probiotics are BioKult and I take two of these daily. You can additionally eat and drink probiotic enriched foods such as yoghurt (I like dairy-free coconut yoghurt – my fav brand in NZ is Raglan Coconut Yoghurt), sauerkraut, kombucha and coconut kefir.
The next supplement I sometimes take is Swedish Bitters. Swedish Bitters is a tonic that supports digestive function, detoxification and liver function. These are a great way to help your digestive system while you travel, especially with foreign foods your body isn’t used to.
“Bitters are an important class of botanicals that help support efficient digestive, assimilative, and eliminative functions. The primary function of Swedish Bitters is to help with digestive complaints like bloating, flatulence, sluggish digestion and constipation. Bitters stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, which in turn stimulates intestinal peristalsis and promotes nutrient absorption. By enhancing digestion, Swedish Bitters are a great help in cases of bloating, flatulence and gas.”
I don’t have a preferred brand of Swedish Bitters, however you should be able to find it at your local health store.
The last item that I’m super excited to be taking on my next trip, is my RejuvaCol+. This will be my first trip taking this away with me and I already know it won’t be my last. Most people I know love RejuvaCol+ because of the amazing effect it has on your hair, skin and nails – which of course is amazing, but the reason I’m taking it away is because of how good collagen is for gut health. Collagen contains 18 amino acids which have the power to prevent and even heal many digestive disorders. Collagen helps with repairing and sealing the gut lining (particularly efficient for those of us suffering Leaky Gut), increases stomach acid and aids in digestion.
Additionally, RejuvaCol+ is made from Marine Collagen. Marine collagen is really good for helping improve people’s sleep quality, which is incredibly beneficial when going through time zone changes. There are plenty of studies on this – it’s the glycine component in the amino acid structure that helps in this area, which you can read more on here, if you’re like me and wanna geek out a bit. Plus it tastes like pineapple and that’s probably enough to sell me on its own.
PS. If you use ELORA at the checkout – you’ll get 15% off your RejuvaCol+ purchase!
On the Plane
One of the easiest places to control your food is on the plane. In fact, apparently some airlines have even adopted LCHF meals. I am yet to come across this, however always request a gluten free meal. These are usually great. Not only is the food actually decent, but you also get served first too – bonus! The only thing I always end up skipping is the bread and sweet treat they serve with them. The bread is usually just horrific tasting and the sweet treat is essentially pure sugar. That being said, sometimes airlines don’t get the memo when you book gluten free – so always make sure you confirm at check in or even call to confirm the day before.
When you’re sitting still bored, often with hours of nothing to do especially if you’re not one who sleeps easily on planes, turning to food is usually how you pass time. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s wrong, because as someone who has renamed my backpack “the snackpack” I would be totally hypocritical. I spend a lot of time and consideration when planning my snackpack for long haul flights and often that’s the first thing I pack. I often fill my snackpack with bars, nuts and a little chocolate for a treat. My absolute favourites are Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars, Pure Delish No Grain-Ola Bars and the recently launched Venerdi Paleo Crackers. These items all travel well, and I can stock up on them to keep them handy during my travels too. That way if there’s no suitable food I can buy where I am, at least I’m armed with good quality snacks to get me through. This is a vital part of my travel scheme!
Staying hydrated on the plane is also super important – we all know that planes can very much dry you out because of the airflow, so drink plenty of water on your flight too.
When it’s time to kiss the holiday goodbye and return to reality, it’s super important to ensure you make things easy for yourself. My rule is that as soon as I step off the plane into New Zealand (or wherever in the world I’m living at that point), my eating goes back to exactly how it was before I left. I have to say, having this rule is definitely what has saved me. I went on 6 international trips in 2016 alone (mostly for work), and it made such a difference to have that mindset. I knew that I couldn’t drag my holiday eating out a few extra days and I got straight back into routine. This way, a few days can’t become a few weeks and so on.
I also set myself up beforehand. I make sure I have Bone Broth in the freezer to take out when I get home as well as freezer meals just in case I don’t get a chance to nip to the supermarket. If you have the opportunity to get someone to stock your fridge with some eggs ahead of your arrival home, that’s fantastic! But it’s not always that easy. So freezer meals are the next best thing where you can grab good nutrition and start that routine. I also try to get to a workout the next day where possible, because again, that routine is so important. Keep drinking plenty of water to flush toxins and keep your health in the front of your thoughts so you know why you’re making such an effort.
So there you have it – my tips on how to travel healthy! It might seem like a lot to think about, but your body will thank you in the long term. Just like you purchase travel insurance for a trip – think of this as health insurance!