By Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCIH, CNC, CNW, CNH
For many the hot topic of the day has been about TSA and airport travel, but for others our thoughts are not just on gropings but on what in the world to eat while traveling. I know this because at the writing this column, I’m setting in an airport in Denver Colorado on my way to San Antonio, Texas.
Before I go any further I’d like to give kudos to the TSA agents at the Medford airport, the agents greeted everyone politely and often with smiles, no pat down or revealing scans, just the same o’l thing as what I’ve gone through for the last ten years in airports. What a nice way to start my adventure.
So with airlines no longer providing plastic chicken and warm ice cream, I have found my own foods far more palatable. Here are a few travel foods I carry with me;
- Trail mix in quart ziplock® freezer bags. I use raw nuts as they are better for us, and less likely to cause GI upset from roasted – damaged oils. I combine the mixed nuts with dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries and dark chocolate chips. This blend provides calories, antioxidants’, essential fats, protein, minerals and sugar to fuel the brain.
- Veggie sticks in a quart ziplock® freezer bag, I find sliced fennel bulb (helps prevent gas), snap peas, carrots, celery, red bell peppers and raw yams hold up well and provide something crunchy to chew on.
- Sliced apples, pears and pineapple add a little zing in flavor once again in the TSA approved ziplock® freezer bags, the pineapple helps keep your apples or pears from browning like Indians in the summer.
- Finger steaks – now I’m a meat eater and almost have to have it when traveling to keep my energy up, so before leaving home I make up elk, beef or chicken into marinated finger strips that I cook well. I only make up enough for my lunch so I’m not letting it set around all day. Make sure your meat is chilled thoroughly or even frozen before tucking it into your carry on.
- Water at every airport is a must. Keeping yourself well hydrated helps prevent catching any one of a multitude of bugs. I carry a container on Airborne® with me and load one or more water bottles with it to help support my immune system, these types of products also contain vitamin C and B vitamins for energy.
- Meal replacement bars, and nut bars like Kind Plus®, these are handy for breakfast or snack while sightseeing and require no refrigeration.
- Hand sanitizer, we like the ones made with peppermint oil and ethanol (EO® hand sanitizing spray), or one they smell a whole lot better and it doesn’t taste nasty if some transfers from your hands to your food. Glasses wipes work great for cleaning your hands after eating as well as keeping your eyeballs happy.
- Don’t try to carry it all (cloths, toiletries, and food) in your carry-on, I have traveled enough over the last ten years to know it’s easier and less stressful to ship your luggage through, and use your carry-on for medications, jewelry, laptops, snacks and essential documents. Travel Light! You don’t need as much as you think.
By being selective about your food choices while traveling you can keep your weight from ballooning, water retention down and you will have more energy for playing when you get to your destination. Remember to go easy on the coffee as it increases muscle cramps and low back pain from working your kidneys without sufficient water.
When I get to my destination I follow some simple rule;
- Eat breakfast that contains protein and complex carbs like oatmeal, nuts and fruit. Have at least one cup or glass of warm water with fresh lemon squeezed into it and the pulp and rind added. This every day will get your liver to prompt your bowels to move.
- Stay away from dairy foods as they are mucus formers that lead towards chest/nasal and gut congestion that can lead to constipation. In order to feel your best you need to keep your gut moving so for some a regular fiber supplement may be in order, I recommend plain psyllium seed. If you have never used a fiber product before start with one fourth the amount listed on the label and over two weeks slowly increase to the amount listed on the label.
- Make lunch your biggest meal, begin each meal with a salad and use vinegar as the dressing on the salad or steamed vegetables. By adding as little as a tablespoon of vinegar to a meal you can lower the overall glycemic load, reduce blood sugar and blood pressure and stimulate healthy digestion reducing the likelihood of GURD or Heartburn.
- Make dinner your smallest meal heavy on the vegetable side. You will rest better and have more energy for the next day of sightseeing.
- Keep coffee, alcohol, fried foods and deserts to a minimum. A teat now and again is ok, but not at every meal. All of these things add weight and elevate blood sugars which can make you feel draggle and tired the next day.
- Get out and move every day.
- Drink plenty of water, 4-8 glasses a day of 6 to 8 ounces keeps the water retention down and light headedness, headaches and low back pain away. Tip: drink in small sips, this keeps you from running to every bathroom in town.
To your good health and Safe Travels.