Have you ever wondered what to eat on your travels to help prevent jet lag? Well the answer is simple: Nothing! Seriously. After years of experimenting, the most effective way that I’ve found to beat jetlag is to fast as long as possible on long haul flights. I eat before I leave home or at the airport and then try to fast for the duration of the flight while drinking as much water as I possibly can. If really hungry I eat some fruit or a small healthy snack that I’ve brought with me and tha t’s it.
This is much easier said than done of course. With food constantly plonked down in front of you on long flights, it’s so easy to eat out of boredom or because you think you should be hungry (I rarely am if I’m really honest with myself). But the effect of that dense, processed airplane ‘food’, that was prepared hours beforehand, sitting in your system for the duration of the flight is devastating to your digestion and, without a doubt, makes you feel sluggish and weary when you land. According to a few people that I’ve spoken to who work for airlines the meals are purposefully stodgy so that people don’t use the bathroom as much. Hence all the carbs they put on the tray – to block your system up! Gross!
- So here are my top 10 tips for surviving long haul flights and to feeling as best as you can when you land
- Start drinking tons of water the day of your flight
- Prepare some healthy snacks to take with you e.g. homemade trail mix
- Eat a good, healthy meal before you leave or at the airport if necessary
- Bring a water bottle onto the flight and ask for it to be filled up regularly
- As soon as you get on the plane start thinking as if it’s the time zone of your destination and plan sleeping around that
- If it’s nighttime when you get on the flight go to sleep immediately with an eye mask and ear plugs, ignoring when they come around with that first meal
- If you have trouble falling sleeping try melatonin, a natural sleep aid
- No alcohol or caffeine on the flight
- If you’re hungry, first drink more water or herbal tea
- If you’re really hungry eat some fruit when they bring around a meal or your healthy snack. Eat a little then stop
- Take walks, stretch, move your body
Believe me, your digestive system will thank you for not loading it with heavy, processed foods during what is already an unnatural state for the body to be in. Flying by it’s very nature – hurtling through the sky at an extreme speed – sends your vata sky high, whether your dosha is vata or not. High vata already causes insomnia and constipation so by keeping your digestive system clean at least you’re not making it worse.
Here are my top tips for grounding yourself after a long haul flight and for bringing your body back into balance:
- Eat warm, cooked, nourishing foods, only when you’re hungry
- Keep hydrating your body by drinking lots of water
- If it’s daytime when you land get some natural sunlight if you can
- Try to stay up until it’s nearly bedtime, as tired as you may be, to improve chances of getting a good night’s sleep
- Continue supplementing with melatonin for falling asleep or 5htp for staying asleep (both natural sleep enhancers) for a few days after you land
- If your digestion is sluggish take triphala before you go to bed for a few days
- The morning after your flight, get up and move – practice, run, hit the gym, whatever it is, just get the body moving!
Jet lag is possibly the worst thing about traveling long distances but it doesn’t have to be quite so painful. All it takes is a little extra preparation and a bit of determination not to do what everybody else on the plane is doing! Surely one day fasting in order to have a much softer landing is worth it!