How to stay healthy on a 10h+ flight or my health story
I will be traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina this Thursday for the first time. I meant to go many times but the traveling conditions and plane ticket prices always stopped me quite quickly. This time, I finally gave in because my girlfriend was already traveling there for work and it just made sense to meet her there whenever I could. From Montreal, it takes about 16 hours and 3 flights if you choose the quickest route and that's a lot of time spent in airports and planes! It might sound weird but you will usually find that present and future entrepreneurs have an important interest in eating well and it kind of makes sense when you think about it since it's all about leading a better life.
Back to 2005
I finished college in 2005 and the 3 years that I spent learning programming were also the 3 years when I gained a whole lot of weight. Of course, college life didn't really help with all the fast food in between classes and work and the beer at parties, but something else was up with me. After a blood test, I found out that I had a condition of hypothyroidism and no matter what sport I did, it wouldn't change much.
Around the same period, I got in my first relationship with a vegan working in a health food store - talk about timing! I had already started taking pills for my condition and she quickly convinced to stop and try an holistic approach. After a shopping session under $30, I left with dried algae and vitamins.
Believe it or not, after a few months of incorporating mostly the dried algae to any of my meals* and getting tested once again, I was off the hook! No pills for the rest of my life and no more drastic gain weight.
*My meals didn't involve fast food anymore but a mix of vegan and omnivore recipes
My introduction to healthy nutrition
After living this experience and realizing that my health could go down so drastically, I became very interested in nutrition and the different types of diets* available.
I got back in a regular training schedule at the gym and cooking most of the time at home. It was a good start but after a while, I still felt tired and heavy from the 30 pounds that I had gained and could not seem to lose.
Then NYE 2008 arrived and after a bad party, I got home and started looking online for a solution to my problem. I ended up on a raw food blog, and then another and another... I read incredible stories and the concept behind all of it made sense.
So I became the green smoothie at hand girl at work and followed a raw diet for over 11 months. I lost weight, got a whole-lot of energy back and was just in a great mood!
Why am I speaking at the past tense? Well I acquired a very strong passion in 2009 for good food and drinks and blogging about it. I realized that I couldn't follow the raw diet if I wanted to get a real taste of the restaurants in my city and I kept feeling bad for "cheating".
Slow Carb Diet
Finally, in 2011, I heard about the Slow Carb Diet from Tim Ferris and I found it to be the perfect diet for me. All my worries about if I was getting enough protein when I trained or eating enough vegetable which I love got fixed and my plate from morning to evening now makes sense!
I've been on it actively since the end of 2011 (second time after a trip and summer break) and I really can't complain. If you're curious, I still didn't lose all the weight that I gained while being sick but I know I'm on the right way and the most important part of it is that I'm feeding my body what it needs!
*When I refer to diets, I mean a way of eating on a regular basis and not starving yourself for an exact amount of day
Ok, back to traveling now please
I travel about 3 times a year taking 1 to 3 planes to get to my location and I believe I became a pro at airports and what they offer. It's close to impossible to follow any type of diet if you rely 100% on what you will be given on your trip and it's super important to come prepared.
No matter at what time you're leaving for the airport, make sure to get a generous meal just before. In the day, I like to go for a good brunch and in the evening, I cook myself something yummy and fresh! Airports charge way too much for food that is prepared in advance and won't make you feel good.
I'm sure you've read it a hundred times but hydrating yourself though the day is super important! Bring along an empty bottle that you can refill every time you get past the security gates at a water fountain or on the plane by kindly asking. I prefer stainless bottles for their light weight plus you don't have to worry about breaking it.
Snacking is never a good habit but so is spending hours in airports and planes. Bring a small bag of your favorite roasted nuts for a little protein kick. I also like to bring 2-3 Clif bars in case I miss a whole meal or my options are super bad.
Just before landing at your final location, mix an Emergen-C with water for a vitamin kick. I also like to bring a bag of moist towelette to clean up quickly and feel fresh.
In general, that does it for me and I try to wait to get to my final destination to finally grab something fresh and local instead of something heavy. I usually take a nap to get rid of the jet lag so it's always better to not eat right before.
How about you?
What are your best traveling tips?