The Art of Long Haul Travel & Keeping Balanced
I've just returned from my trip to Canada - a trip to reconnect with family and friends, whilst infusing my time with foodie research. Living in Australia has its perks, the climate, the food, the people and the scenery - but with this comes the tyranny of distance! Flying back to Canada has me sitting in a plane for at least 14 hours, in a confined space, with sub-par food and low quality air. So what do I do to ensure I keep an even keel AND land feeling refreshed and ready to make the most of my time whilst travelling?
With restrictions on liquid transport on international flights, my preferred option of bringing my own filtered water onto the plane is out the window. The water on board some flights can be of dubious quality and likely contains chlorine and other contaminants that your body does not need! What do I do? I bring a water bottle with a built in filter, and ensure I fill the bottle once I get past customs, I avoid buying water in plastic bottles as they have the double edged sword of being future landfill and being full of leached toxins from the plastics (BPA-free or NOT). Drink as much water as you can whilst in the air, the air is very dehydrating and keeping hydrated helps you and your body deal with the long haul and ensure you are in balance when you land. Dealing with long haul travel is one thing, but doing it whilst dehydrated, that is a nightmare!
Washing My Face
When I am close to my destination, I love to ensure that I feel as fresh as possible. I always take a face cloth and my favourite organic skincare to freshen up - it not only wakes me up, it makes me feel human after flying for half a day in a metal tube with wings. This also hydrates my skin after it has dehydrated in the dry air.
BYO Food + Fasting
Airplane food is quite simply, rubbish. No matter how they try to dress it up! At altitude the tastebuds aren't that crash hot, and flavour needs to be enhanced A LOT with salt and flavour enhancers. You just don't know what you are going to get served, and many options are usually overcooked and low on nutrients. I have a two pronged approach when I fly long haul.
I avoid eating as much as I can, in effect fasting as a way to prepare for my new timezone. The body clock is dictated by both daylight and our food clock, so matching your in-flight eating to the new timezone you are headed for is the best approach. Airlines don't think like this, they seek to serve food at the most convenient time for the flight attendants! My approach is this, eat very little in flight, and allow your first meal upon landing to reset your food clock.
I also take my own snacks for in-flight, that way I know what is in my food, and it allows me to manage my nutrition intake. BYO nuts and seeds - just make sure you only bring enough for a light snack, you will likely need to dispose of any food before you enter another country.
Now - I rarely take supplements. This is one time I use supplements, purely to help reset my body clock. The body naturally creates melatonin in darkness to help the body rest and recuperate in the sleep cycle. I take a melatonin supplement to help reset my body clock (either in transit or upon landing, depending on my flight schedule). It can help you get to sleep better in the air (if you are landing in the morning of your new timezone), or help you sleep better on your landing (if you are landing in the afternoon/evening of your new timezone).
The first thing I do once I can get out of the airport is to find some grass and nature and put my bare feet onto it. Grounding one self is a chance to connect your body and "bring yourself back to earth" - it works every time!