- Functional Medicine -

Come Fly with Me

It’s been more fun to fly since I’ve been following a self-care routine.

illio soap bar

I love (and am grateful for) going to exciting and fun places, but I don’t much care for airline travel itself. I tend to feel foggy-headed and nauseous during most of it. I also know planes are great incubators of various germs, an especially relevant concern during cold and flu season. It’s a bummer being sick, but especially so when you’re traveling.

I’m sure you’ve also noticed that airports have limited healthy eating options. It’s a sea of Big Macs, Whoppers, bagels, frozen yogurt and tiny bags of peanuts and pretzels.

The past few times I’ve traveled though, I’ve changed up some things to make it a bit more fun and healthier.

My pre-flight routine now includes using my neti pot to clean out my nasal passages. I also bought a nasal spray to take along as the neti pot is a bit cumbersome to carry in my luggage although it appears they do make travel versions. I got a tip on the nasal spray from some Experience Life twitter followers. It really does pay to be the community engagement specialist!

I follow up the neti pot process with a a series of sun salutations and stretches to get my blood flowing, calm my pre-flight jitters and to clean out my sinuses further.

I add a vitamin C with zinc tablet to my regular daily multivitamin, vitamin D and digestive enzyme regimen. I’ve actually been doing this all winter anytime I know I’m going to a party, the Experience Life office or any place it seems I may be in closer quarters with a lot of other people. So far, I’ve avoided getting a cold or the flu. That tapping sound you hear now is me knocking on wood.

Food wise, I pack my own snack bag. This helps me use up the things I may have on hand in my cupboard and refrigerator so that I don’t have to throw away food. What I end up eating is a little different each time depending on what’s on hand.

This trip, I found the following items in my vegetable bin and cabinet and they made for a pretty delicious and healthy alternative to the airport food options:

  • 2 cups of raw almonds (I didn’t eat these all at once, but  I knew I’d eat them at some point during my vacation.)
  • A KIND bar
  • 2 clementines (more vitamin C!)
  • 1 cucumber (that I sliced into wedges before I left home.)
  • A few slices of (a type of hard, cheddar) cheese along with some rice crackers.
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • The remainder of a bag of pre-washed spinach

I wasn’t sure how I’d like eating raw spinach with no dressing or mixed in with other yummy salad fixings, but it was actually really delicious and spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium, making it an excellent antioxidant and travel companion.

My travel snacks were really good, but mostly they made me feel like I was doing something good for my body, which is just as important in my opinion.

Finally, after all the sitting on the plane, I did a little more yoga (I consider it a way to practice meditation on-the-go) at the gate to a few confused glances and a couple of smiles. I must be on to something here as I came across this article that reports some airports are opening yoga studios.

On my trip home, I’ll try out my nasal spray, pack my own lunch and do more yoga. This time, though, maybe I’ll ask if anyone wants to join me in a moment or two of pre-flight Zen.

Happy and healthy trails!

Heidi Wachter is the Community Engagement Specialist for Experience Life magazine. 

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