I get a lot of questions about how to stay healthy with such a globe trotting lifestyle.
I also get a lot of questions of how the heck I manage to eat vegan when I’m traveling to countries that most people assume have NO options.
Before I dive into answering both of these questions with more specific tips- I think it’s important to note (once again) that I’m not a health care professional nor nutritionist.
These are examples of what works for ME.
Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for YOU.
I’d also like to add that this blog isn’t about pushing veganism on anyone.
Because, once again, although this way of life allows my body to thrive- maybe it doesn’t work for you in that same way.
The point here is really to offer general tips of total well being- some of which include what I eat in order to cater to my plant-based diet in a fulfilling and nutritious way.
Essentially- you can take what works for you from this piece, and leave the rest.
Trial and error through your personal experience, and cultivating a more in-tune relationship with YOUR body is going to be a helluva a lot more valuable than any advice from me (or anyone else for that matter).
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Echinacea and Zinc:
Because airplanes can be a breeding ground for illness, I start smashing these two supplements 1 – 2 days prior to my departure.
For me, these have been the most effective in warding off any unwanted colds that tend of happen on long, international flights.
2. Healthy Travel Snacks:
I’m not a fan of plane food.
Even when I order the “special” vegan options- they’re usually pretty dismal.
This means I always come armed with my own goods to ensure I’m sustained with NUTRITIOUS fuel, rather than empty carbs and highly processed options.
Unfortunately, when traveling internationally- you often can’t take fresh fruit and veg with you (every country is different).
So this means I opt for roasted veggies and dried fruit (with no added sugar), instead.
I’m also a hummus fanatic, so I tend to bring a little jar with me for the veggies- which is a great option for protein.
It’s important that the hummus is unopened, and in a marked 100 ml container- because otherwise they might confiscate it (again, every country is different here).
Again, for more sustenance- nuts or nut butter are perfect (note that nut butter should also be sealed and in a marked 100 ml container, as well).
This last trip, I brought some of my homemade Juice Pulp Crackers and Autumn in Oz Cookies.
If you don’t have time to make something like these- then quinoa cakes, or raw vegetable crackers are great munchies.
If you’d rather have more of a full meal- then something like a simple Soul Bowl would be a nourishing option.
Regardless of how long you’re flying, you can’t go wrong with a short 15-minute stretch session prior to boarding.
This is especially helpful if you tend to get pain/soreness in any particular part of the body.
I tend to focus on hips to alleviate any tension in the low back.
1. Reprogram Digestion:
This is more applicable for international travel with different time zones.
I’ve found my digestion has been one of the biggest contributors to jet lag, because when the body is used to eating on a certain sort of schedule- then it becomes more awake or more tired accordingly.
I’ve found that it helps me to start eating in accordance with my destination’s time zone while on the flight.
2. Echinacea and Zinc…again:
Yep, keep downing these two magic makers.
Even if you don’t feel so much as a tickle in your throat- they’ll both help to boost your immune system, so you can’t really go wrong.
3. Feel Good Practices and Topical Applications:
I tend to get really dry on planes, so I always pack a small thing of Jojoba or Rosehip oil for my face, as well as some sort of hand cream.
If I have a super long flight, sometimes I even use a cucumber face sheet to rehydrate (which feels freaking amazing).
I’m also a fan of aromatherapy, as I find it incredibly soothing even when I’m tired, irritable, and feel pretty dang gross.
My go-to on flights in lavender oil.
Just a little dab on the wrists, or on the soles of my feet if I’m trying to sleep.
I also find music to be a big contributor to my mood.
I love listening to calming tunes when I’m traveling, because I find it just chills me out a bit more.
And the more relaxed my mind is, the more relaxed my body will become- which is crucial when you’re scrunched up for hours on end.
Which leads me to the last one- and that’s back to stretching.
Whether it’s in my seat, or getting up and hanging in a rag doll forward fold in the back of the plane- just getting my circulation going, and my joints unwound feels like heaven.
These are all just little examples of what makes me feel a little more human (especially on LONG trips), but I’m sure you’ll find your own.
All of these are also awesome because they don’t take up a ton (or any) space as far as packing goes.
Meditation and/or breath work is also a great option here, especially if you battle with anxiety in the air.
1. Full or Half Day Fast:
Alright, I know this might not be for everyone- but this has really changed my jet lag.
Like I said before, I’ve personally found that digestion is a big contributor to my mind and body getting out of whack when constantly changing time zones.
I started doing half day fasts upon arrival, and have recently gone to 24-36 hours, instead.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, because fasting can be super challenging.
Especially if you’re going some place that’s known for its cuisine!
But, I’ve found this has really helped to recharge and energize me for the duration of my trip, as I don’t battle with jet lag for as long, or at all.
If water fasting feels like it’s out of the question- then go for a juice or coconut water cleanse.
As long as you’re on liquid only, it gives your digestion a chance to rest and reset.
If you’re interested in learning more about my personal fasting journey/practice, click here.
2. Getting Grounded:
Because travel literally uproots us and transports us somewhere else, this means that Vata (or qualities of the Air Element) are increased.
An excess of Vata can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and general feelings of flightiness.
This means it’s important to ground down wherever you are.
What does any of that mean?
Well, grounding means we’re turning up qualities of the Earth Element.
One of my favorite parts of the Earth Element that I like to focus on is the idea of HOME.
This means, I pack a few things that allow me to feel at home no matter where I am in the world.
As you guys know, I love my SuperFeast tinctures and teas- so these come with me around the world.
Something as simple as maintaining my tea-making ritual in the morning gives me that sense of routine that pulls me back down from the clouds and onto the Earth.
As I mentioned before, I love aromatherapy.
This means I always travel with incense, Palo Santo and White Sage (yeah, I’m THAT chick).
All of these evoke a sense of peace and comfort, and give me the same cozy feeling of my own living room.
Any other practices that I’d typically do at home (for me it’s usually to do with my morning routine) I continue to do when I travel.
A few examples are morning meditation, journaling, and gratitude.
Do what works for you here.
Maybe this means packing a super old, comfy shirt that makes you feel like you’re being hugged.
Maybe it’s a crystal, or a specific essential oil.
Figure out what gives you that feeling of HOME, and bring that with you abroad.
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with getting grounded.
And I think you guys will know what I’m going to say here:
Yoga, meditation, breath work, journaling.
These are my go-to’s, because they’re simply a part of me, and when they fall to the wayside- I can feel the shifts mentally any physically.
These are also great, because you don’t need a whole lot of space.
Even when I’ve stayed in the shittiest, smallest hotels rooms- I still always managed to find enough space to roll out my mat.
Another thing I often do is go for long walks every day.
This is a great way to get acquainted with wherever you are, and also to get some exercise.
Unfortunately this isn’t always possible everywhere I go due to safety, bad pollution, non-pedestrian friendly roads.
I just work with what I got.
You practices might be different, and that’s okay.
Do what feels best for you in order to come back to yourself even if you’re away.
4. Supplements and Tinctures:
Clearly you’ve realized I’m an advocate for Echinacea and Zinc.
I keep downing those for the first few days after arrival just to make extra sure I don’t get anything nasty from the plane.
Everyone’s supplements are going to be different, so I’d just say keep taking whatever you’re taking at home.
I’m not going to share all that I’m taking, because they might not be relevant for YOU and your needs.
If you’re in a country that has unclean water, or is notorious for bad food poisoning- activated charcoal tablets are always my favorite option for funny tummy syndrome.
As mentioned above, SuperFeast offers a great variety of herbs, tonics, and mushroom blends.
Check them out to see if any of their products are suitable for your needs.
Apple Cider Vinegar is also a lifesaver.
I drink it before every meal.
Same with lemon water (hot or room temp).
Both of these support liver function, and alkalinity in the body.
Colloidal silver has also been an awesome addition in supporting my immune system.
I’ve also fallen in love with YourSuperFoods, as they have quite a large variety of superfood blends that come in TRAVEL SACHETS!
This is wonderful, because they don’t take up hardly any space, and there’s no risk of the powders getting everywhere in your bag.
These are great additions to any drink if you need an extra boost of nutrition.
At this point, you’ve burned through your healthy plane food/snacks- and you’re ready to eat locally.
As someone who’s vegan, and often travels to places where people have never even heard this word- I actually find this challenge more fun than I do frustrating.
Let’s just jump to the worst-case scenario:
Everything is super meaty or fried.
I can just about guarantee you that there will be produce stands wherever you are.
Even in the most remote, desolate places- I’ve managed to get my hands on fresh produce coming straight from the farm.
Obviously, some areas are more plentiful that others- so you just gotta work with what you got.
Go for fruits and vegetables that are LOCAL to the region you’re in, rather than imported.
This is great, because it also means you might be trying something brand new, too.
Fruits with peels are easy as far as contamination goes, but if you’re eating something raw without a peel- make sure to clean with filtered water before consuming.
Vegetables can actually be super dangerous to eat raw (depending where you are), so either thoroughly clean with filtered water, or cook them.
If you don’t have cookware or a stove- no worries.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought my own produce, and then brought it back to my guesthouse and asked them to cook it for me (usually only places where vegetarian options are scarce to none).
This works out for everyone- because they still get paid, rather than me eating out- and I get to have something that serves my body’s needs.
Another great resource here for my fellow plant eaters is the Happy Cow app, which lists restaurants and eateries with veg options and reviews from customers.
Here’s the thing- you might be going some place that you don’t have to HUNT for your meals, which is always a bit of a relief.
If that’s the case, the best advice I can offer is sticking closely to whole foods.
It’s always fun to try local cuisine- which isn’t always the healthiest thing.
I say everything in moderation is key.
For me personally, I’m strictly vegan- so I don’t actually make exceptions for local food that has meat or dairy.
However, this is also because I haven’t had meat or dairy in SO LONG that it actually makes me sick.
And who wants to be sick on the road?!
The most I can do is my best, but at the end of the day- when other people are preparing you food, you can never be 100% certain what goes into it.
This is especially true when you’re also dealing with a language barrier.
Like when I go to India and ask for no ghee in my curries and dhal, do I really think they don’t put it in every time?
Not at all.
Did I do my best?
Yeah, I did.
If you’re someone who isn’t as fussed about staying within a certain boundary- then eat what feels right to you.
Maybe that means trying something fried, or an especially yummy sugary desert.
Just know that if you usually eat clean, and then you binge hard on holiday- then it might make you feel shitty.
Take it all in stride, rather than going balls to the wall.
Let yourself enjoy your travel in every sense (including the yummy food), but also honor your body at the same time.
If feel you’ve overdone it at any point, a great way to reset is a half or full day of fasting (water, coconut water, or juice).
I feel this deserves a separate category, because I’m a major snacker.
My brother says I rarely eat a whole meal, because I’m constantly grazing- which is pretty accurate.
This is even more accurate after my 10-day fast in Thailand, as my stomach shrunk so much that there’s just not space for full meals.
And I hate wasting food- so lately I tend to have one full meal, and small snacks in between.
My advice here is similar to that of above:
Stick to whole foods as closely as possible.
Sure, it’s often easy to find a produce stand and stock up on your favorite fruits.
But what about if you want something else?
I’ve been especially surprised how challenging it can be to find yummy snacks without sugar, palm/corn oil, or preservatives.
I’ve been a lot more anal about checking labels since dealing with this Candida crisis, and I’ve been shocked at the way in which even seemingly whole foods still have a bunch of bull shit in them.
If there’s a label, read it.
If not, ask the shop keeper.
Some of my favorites that I’ve been able to find just about everywhere are:
Nuts, nut butter, rice cakes/quinoa cakes, dried beans/peas, dried fruit.
Again, most of these manage to sneak in nonsense (especially sugar), so check before you buy.
I’ve found the best bet is usually going to a small roadside shop, rather than a big super market (well, at least in some countries).
The larger shops tend to have more processed food.
However, depending where you are- the larger shops might also have a health food section, so it’s worth a look nonetheless.
Just a quick example of this would be on my most recent trip to Thailand.
I went to one of the largest stores on the island, and I walked out empty handed because even the packaged nuts had sugar and palm oil.
I stopped at a shack on the side of the road to get more dragon fruit, and noticed some of her other goods.
She had fresh peanuts from her farm for about 5 cents a pack.
And, look, eating a bit of sugar or palm oil isn’t going to kill you.
You don’t want to get to the point that you’re stressed about not knowing exactly what you’re about to consume, because stress is a heck of a lot more detrimental than one not-so-healthy snack.
Just do your best.
Trust your body’s ability.
And ALLOW the food you put in to be the fuel and nourishment you need.
I hope these tips and tricks contribute to the value of your next trip.
Happy travels, my fellow nomads! XO