There has never been a more important time to look at ways to stay healthy and safe while traveling. Air travel during COVID times has brought increased health risks and challenges, so it’s important to be prepared and organized before you set off on your next trip.
This Face the Travel Feature is published in Issue 33. Order PRINT here, SUBSCRIBE to digital edition for unlimited access, or continue reading this article below.
Here are eight holistic health hacks to help make your flight a safer and healthier one:
1. Immune Boosting Supplements
Leading up to your flight, start taking immune-boosting supplements that contain nutrients and herbs that help bolster your body’s immune defence systems. Take these supplements with you on the plane to also have while traveling. Some of the best immune-enhancing nutrients include vitamins C, D, and A, zinc and selenium, and herbs such as echinacea, astragalus, andrographis, olive leaf, and garlic. Medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, shitake, reishi, turkey tail, and chaga are also excellent choices. You can take a sachet of a healthy hot chocolate with medicinal mushrooms to have with hot water on the flight.
2. DIY Hand Sanitizer
As we all know, good hand hygiene is a must when you’re traveling to help prevent the spread of COVID—especially when you’re going through airports and on planes.
Wash your hands often for at least twenty seconds whenever you can, particularly after touching surfaces and before eating. When you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitiser. Travel-size hand sanitisers are a must for flying! You can easily make your own using four simple ingredients: alcohol (70-99%), aloe vera gel to help nourish your skin and reduce the drying effects of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide to preserve your spray, and essential oils for aroma. Some essential oils with anti-microbial properties include lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, citrus, thyme, and rosemary.
Ingredients using 90% alcohol:
250 ml 99% rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
60 ml aloe vera gel
3 drops essential oil of your choice 20 ml hydrogen peroxide
Ingredients using 70% alcohol:
(If you’re using a 70% alcohol, make sure you don’t dilute it by more than 10% or it may not be as effective at killing COVID.)
300 ml 70% alcohol
5 ml aloe vera gel
3 drops essential oil of choice 20 ml hydrogen peroxide
Combine all ingredients in a jar and transfer the mixture to a clean spray bottle. Make sure you properly label your hand sanitiser.
To use the spray, cover all of your hands well in sanitizer and rub it into your skin until your hands are dry. You can use this spray to sanitise surfaces around you on the plane, too.
3: Stay Hydrated
Make sure you have plenty of water with you on the flight to keep well hydrated because plane travel is extremely dehydrating. Travel with an eco-friendly water bottle that you can fill up at designated filling stations. You can even take a sachet of your favourite super greens powder to supercharge your water. (Super greens like seaweeds, broccoli sprouts, wheat grass, and spirulina deliver immune-boosting compounds.)
4: Protective Herbal Teas
A soothing cup of tea can make a long flight more bearable, so pack some immune-strengthening herbal tea bags for the flight and bring your own reusable collapsible travel cup. Some good options include ginger, echinacea, rose hip, and elderberries. Green or matcha teas are also rich in antioxidants that have immune-boosting properties. You can even add tea bags to your water bottle for a cold tea infusion.
5: Pack Healthy Snacks
Avoid unhealthy sugar-coated dried fruits and pack nourishing snacks in reusable bags. Stock up on healthy in-flight snacks such as hummus with wholegrain or flax crackers, veggie sticks, fresh or freeze-dried fruit, seaweed, kale chips, or roasted chickpeas. (Be mindful to use a three-ounce container for your hummus or it will be confiscated by airport security.) Raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds also make an excellent protein-rich snack, and you can add some sun dried fruit to make a trail mix. Plant-based protein powder sachets are also handy to take on flights to mix with water for a quick nutritious snack.
RECIPES FOR HEALTHY SNACKS:
Healthy Granola Cookies
Healthy snacks are hard to find at airports and are rarely served on flights. Avoid eating sugary granola bars and breakfast bars and instead bring some healthy homemade granola cookies instead. Eating too much sugar affects the functioning of your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to infections.
Sunflower Seed Granola Cookies
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almond meal
3 heaping tbsp sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup cold pressed coconut oil
8 medjool dates, deseeded
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or essence
1/4 heaping cup sunflower seed butter or almond butter
Preheat your oven to 150°C and line a cookie tray with parchment paper.
Place all ingredients in your food processor and blend until mixture is well combined and sticks together when pressed with fingers. If your mixture is too crumbly, add a little extra sunflower seed butter.
Make twenty-four cookies by forming a ball with a couple spoonfuls of the mixture. Flatten out on a cookie sheet or press mixture down into the holes of a cupcake pan.
Place in the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes until cookies are a light golden colour.
Allow cookies to completely cool before eating, and store in the fridge.
Homemade Bliss Balls
These nutritious strawberry bliss balls are packed with plant-based protein and dietary fibre to help give you a sense of fullness and satiety. They make a healthy alternative to chocolates and sweets when you get the munchies during your flight.
Strawberry Bliss Balls
1 cup cashews or almonds
8 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 heaping tbsp plant-based vanilla or berry protein powder
1/3 cup mixed seeds (hemp, sunflower, pumpkin)
3/4 cup diced strawberries
Extra coconut to roll
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until well combined and crumbly. If your mixture is too moist, add extra coconut and seeds.
Roll into small balls, then store in the fridge until ready to eat.
6: Immune Boosting Beverages
Veggie juices make an excellent healthy alternative to sugary sodas and fruit juices. Veggie juices contain immune boosting vitamins C and A, and antioxidants. Be on the lookout for a nutritious veggie juice to purchase and bring with you on your flight once you get through security. Kombucha—a fermented beverage that contains probiotics to support immune and gut health—is another great choice that can be a good substitute for alcohol or soda.
7: Pack a Wholesome Meal
Healthy meals at airports can be limited, and some airlines are currently not providing food on flights due to COVID. Don’t get stuck being hungry—bring your own wholesome meal with you! Salads make a fabulous healthy and light meal while travelling, so try a quinoa, kale, or roasted veggie salad. Wraps with plenty of salad, hummus, and falafels are also a superb choice, as are chickpea and lentil salads. For something a little different, try roasted veggie pesto pasta with rocket, or a noodle and edamame salad with miso dressing. You can also pack a sachet of miso soup or instant oatmeal and add hot water during the flight. Use eco-friendly collapsible food containers and bring a spork for a handy utensil. (As a friendly reminder, don’t pack anything that has a strong odour or that will be too messy to eat.)
8: Travel Essentials
Don’t forget your modern-day travel essentials like alcohol wipes to wipe down airport seats, surfaces, and your phone. Pack some fresh masks and always wear a mask in the airport and on the plane. Bring travel tissues, face cleansing wipes, moisturiser, and some nourishing hand cream. An eye mask and neck pillow are also essential to travel with to help you sleep better on long flights, because adequate sleep is important for a healthy functioning immune system. Meditation apps on your phone can also be helpful for relaxing and sleeping. If you’re on a long-haul flight, take some calming sleep herbs with you like valerian, passionflower, chamomile, and lemon balm. GABA and magnesium can be beneficial for helping you sleep, and they are also useful if flying makes you feel anxious.
If you have an upcoming trip, try these tips for yourself so you can board your flight a safer, happier, and more prepared traveller. Have a great—and healthy—flight!