Healthy Travels

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On a recent trip to San Diego, where I traveled for 16 hours on 4 planes, I saw a sign on a kiosk that read “Treat Yourself Today. You Deserve It.” Underneath the sign were a bunch of different candy bars: Twix, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, etc.  For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@omthemoment), you know that I live a plant based lifestyle and believe in honoring oneself on a daily basis…which basically means making your best mind, body and soul choices every day.  And I don't believe that 'treating' yourself to a food-like candy bar is something your body deserves or needs. 

Traveling can be stressful all around. Have you ever gotten sick right after you travel? Or does your plumbing not work correctly when out of town?  It’s because we stray from our routines or we adopt this ‘hey I’m on vacation’ type of attitude and abandon the nourishment our bodies need. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail so here are my tips on how you can travel healthy on the go-go.

Ditch the purse, bring a backpack: I’m usually carrying tons of books and magazines for the flight so I bring a backpack with me. It serves to house all of my reading literature AND you can load it up with food.  It easily fits under the seat in front of you so you can access it whenever you need it.

Bring an empty reusable water bottle: Fill it up at a water fountain once you pass security.  Because of the low humidity on the plane, dehydration is a cause for concern.  Try to drink as often as possible.

Fruit it up:  Buy a ton of fruit, cut it up and store it in gallon size plastic bags. Fruit is the easiest and most accessible food to snack on and you feel light and satisfied after eating it.  Plus, many fruits are loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants which allow your body to fight off those pesky germs lurking around. I pack a small paring knife (in my checked bag of course), extra plastic bags and a portable cutting board so I’m able to cut up fruit in my hotel room. I load up my backpack each day with fruit just in case I can’t find any healthy food options.

Go Nuts: Nuts are a great source of protein and full of fiber to keep you fuller, longer. I like to make my own trail mix with sunflower seeds, cashews and walnuts or you could buy some at the market. Try to buy them raw and unsalted without the chocolate (we are trying to be healthy, right?). You could also bring some granola bars like Kind Bars (aim for under 5 ingredients and nothing that you can’t pronounce). The key is to not allow yourself to get hungry.  Once you feel starved, it’s easy to make poor choices.  So snack away!

Hot Tea, Please:  I love to have hot tea on the plane because I’m usually cold and it feels like a treat, so I bring peppermint or green tea bags with me.  It goes great with the mixed nuts or granola bar. Just ask the flight attendant for some hot water/lemon and you are good to go. 

The more you know:  What I’ve found to keep me motivated on my health journey is to always be reading something informational/inspirational.  On the plane, I read Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance by Brendan Brazier and Meat is for P*ssies: A How-To Guide For Dudes Who Want To Get Fit, Kick Ass and Take Names by John Joseph. If you haven’t heard of either of these guys, it’s worth looking them up. 

Don’t Hate, Meditate: As soon as I get to my seat, I put in my earphones and open my meditation app.  I’m not such a good flyer so I prepare myself mentally before the flight takes off. Sometimes I meditate well into take-off and calmly fall asleep.  It’s the best.

Excuse Me-Pardon Me: When I have the choice, I select the aisle seat.  I usually have to visit the restroom a few times during the flight but I mostly need to stretch my legs.  It’s a good idea to move around especially on longer flights but if you don’t want to be that person climbing over folks, you can do wrist/ankle/neck rolls or alternate legs to chest,  anything to get the blood moving. Here are some other suggestions.

Engage:  I’ve met some pretty interesting people on flights.  I encourage you to engage and listen to someone else’s life story.  Not only will it make the flight more enjoyable but you could learn a thing or two. 

Journal: I keep a journal but I don’t write in it every day.  Actually, when I journaled recently on the plane, I noticed I hadn’t written since July.  But that’s OK.  I like to journal when I travel because a. I have the time and b. it’s great to preserve the memories of your trip.  So if you don’t have a journal, get one for your trip and write away!  Journaling is extremely cathartic. There is just something about putting pen to paper that allows true introspection. 

And that’s all folks! These are my quick and easy tips for keeping yourself healthy on the go-go.  If you have any tips that you would like to share, please share them in the comments below. 

Healthy Travels!

Stop, Breathe & Think

Meditation is not a means to an end, it is both the means and the end.
— J. Krishnamurti

Have you noticed that every year there is a buzz word or phrase that somehow gets adopted by the masses and before you know it, becomes a part of our vernacular like “it is what it is” or “selfie” or “bootylicious” (seriously, it’s in the dictionary).  The term I’ve noticed lately is ‘hacking’ as in how to hack your life, diet, exercise routine, work day, etc.  According to Wikipedia, “life hacking refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.”

My life hack comes in the form of meditation.  I know it sounds weird that I’m looking for a quick fix in this area since the actual act of meditation requires you to slow down and tune in but, I’ve learned that when I want to commit to something, I need to find what works best for me.  From my yoga training and many books I’ve read on the subject, it was always advised to work up to 20 minutes or more of meditation a day.  With many trials and errors, I realized that a. yoga shouldn’t be stressful and b. I need to do what works best for me. So, despite meditation being an age old tradition, I found my hack in an App.

It’s called Stop, Breathe and Think.  I mean the name alone gets you into the meditation frame of mind. After you create an account and they walk you through the basics, you’re given options for all sorts of meditations based on the way you are feeling: happy, sad, anxious, nervous, etc.  These guided meditations are short and easy to follow.  My favorite is called ‘Body Scan’ where it walks you through bringing awareness to every part of your body.  After 8 minutes, you are completely relaxed and in the zen zone. And the more you meditate, the more you're rewarded with trophies and words of encouragement.  It's your zen cheerleader encouraging you along the way.

I believe that the meditation benefits come with consistency and not with how long you do it.  Brainstorm today on when you can sneak in some time to meditate, maybe in your car before or after work, during your lunch break or as soon as you get home, hiding in your closet. Whatever works best for you, make it happen. Don't worry about if you are doing it right. If you can't sit up that long, then lay down. If your mind wanders, focus on the guide.  Eventually a sense of calm will come over you. Allow yourself to just BE.

Hack your meditation practice today by downloading Stop, Breathe and Think for free in the App store.  If you don't have an iPhone, search for a similar app to help get your started.  Happy Meditating!

P.S. If you have any life hacks that you would like to share, I’m all ears (or eyes)…leave your comments below :)

Early Bird Special

I’ve reconnected with my old love of running.  Back in the day, I used to run half/full marathons for fun (seriously) and I would wake up super early to run countless miles without hesitation.  I totally burned myself out and left running all together and focused more on yoga.

Early this year, I began taking short runs to be outside and break a sweat while getting some Vitamin D.  And then my husband decided to sign up for his first full marathon.  As I began to get him encouraging books from the library and talk to him about the best training programs, etc., I noticed a shift in myself.  I was feeling the running bug again. So, we made a pact to wake up at 5:30am to exercise.   Even though we both had been down this road before, we’d become quite lazy and the thought of doing anything that early in the morning was daunting.  But after trying it one morning, I felt a serious surge in energy. I thought for sure that I would be tired later in the day but it never happened.  My mind felt clear and I was ready to tackle the day.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is some sacrifice with our bedtime and in order to feel fully rested we have to be in bed by 9:30-10:00.  But after a few days of waking up early, my body was begging for sleep at that time.  By the weekend, we were ready to go bright and early.  It’s like we flipped on our early bird switch and reconnected with our circadian rhythm. 

If you are thinking of starting a workout routine in the morning whether it be running, yoga or maybe joining a gym, here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Get your clothes/equipment ready the night before.  This simple action gets your intention set for the next day and helps get you mentally prepared to wake up early.
  2. As soon as the alarm goes off, sit up in bed and do some easy stretches (neck rolls, wrist/ankle rolls, knees to chest) anything to get the blood flowing.  Ease into it.
  3. Drink a full glass of water.  As I mentioned in my last post, you need to hydrate from fasting all night.
  4. If possible, exercise outdoors. It gets a little tricky since it’s dark in the morning but try to find a well-lit path or purchase a head lamp with reflective gear.  If you have a patio or balcony, take your yoga mat outside to practice.  Connecting with nature, breathing in fresh air and listening to the sounds of the early morning enhances your experience.  Seeing the sun rise is also a cool bonus.
  5. Set an intention.  I always like to dedicate my run or yoga practice before I begin to something I’m working on personally or someone who needs some positive thoughts sent their way.  Getting out of your head in the morning frees up space to just be in the moment.
  6. Bonus tip: a little goes a long way. Don't get so hung up on doing 30 minutes or more. If you are first starting off, just put in 10 or 15 minutes.  Be easy on yourself. Eventually you will work your way up. 

If you Googled why you should exercise in the morning, you will find that there are numerous studies/articles to support the benefits.  Not only will it help you physically, but your overall demeanor and mental strength will improve as well.

I hope this inspires you to start you own early morning routine.  If you already exercise in the morning, what are some of the tips you use to get moving every day?

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