While I’m not a fan of putting rules and restrictions on myself when it comes to eating and food, I have discovered one incredibly helpful wellness tip that I try to follow whenever I fly. I practice this flying tip because it benefits my digestive health so much. (And you know that for me, everything about wellness comes down to maintaining a healthy, balanced gut!)
My #1 wellness tip when flying is to fast during the flight or flights.
Please note that I do not fast while flying for weight loss purposes or to “crash diet” before a beach trip. I do it strictly to benefit my digestion and eliminate any digestive symptoms that tend to come up when flying, like gas, bloating and constipation. So let’s talk a little more about what happens to your body when you fly, and why people tend to experience digestive symptoms when flying.
Think about it: when you fly, the dry, high-altitude environment is dehydrating which slows down movement in your digestive tract. Also, the pressure changes inside the cabin cause the gas inside your stomach and intestines to expand, which is another reason why you may feel gassy and bloated. (There have been studies done on flight crew members to confirm this.)
For me, I feel like fasting when I fly gives my gut a bit of a break, and helps me steer clear of the gas and bloating I experience when I eat and then hop on a plane. And since gut health is literally everything to me, of course my #1 wellness tip with flying has everything to do with gut health!
If you’re like me and you don’t love to practice intermittent fasting on a regular daily basis (I feel better when I eat three smaller, balanced meals throughout the day), here are more tips for fasting while flying, without starving:
- If I need to, I’ll have a small snack that’s very easy to digest, about 30 minutes before the flight. This is typically fresh fruit like a banana, an apple or a cup of berries, all of which are very easy to find in airport eateries. Starbucks almost always has bananas and cups of fresh fruit like grapes and strawberries. If you can find a smoothie eatery, they’ll have any fresh fruit you want. You can also bring your own in your carry on. I try to always pack dried fruit like figs and medjool dates in my carry-on, so if I’m in a pinch and starving, I’ll grab one or two of those. Dried fruit does take a bit longer to digest than fresh fruit though, so if I’m going that route I try to have it an hour or so before my flight so that I have time to digest it before the flight. Most anything other than fruit takes longer to digest and that’s when I find that I end up with the lovely gas and bloating when I fly.
- I drink tons of water and herbal teas at the airport and while on flights to help keep my body hydrated and keep my system moving. Pro tip: pick a window seat so you can make it to the bathroom easily!
Other tips when flying:
- I try to practice a bit of deep breathing once I’m settled and the flight is in progress. It’s very stressful to fly (worrying that you’ve packed the right clothes or if you have too many liquids, getting to the airport on time, going through security..). It’s all perceived as stress in your body and even if you don’t realize it, you’re probably breathing shallowly throughout the process. Once I’m comfortable in my seat and the flight is in progress (and everyone is mostly settled making it easier to find stillness), I’ll close my eyes and focus on getting 10 breaths, inhaling through my nose slowly and deeply, letting my ribcage expand and taking the breath into my low belly, holding it for just a moment at the top, and then letting that breath go just as slowly and deeply through my nose. You won’t believe how much calmer you’ll feel after, and this has numerous health benefits for your body.
- As soon as I can after my flight, I try to get grounded by practicing earthing in some way. You are so far away from the earth when you’re 35,000 feet in the air! As soon as I can, I’ll either walk barefoot in the grass or on sand, or get into a hot bath with sea salts to feel more grounded again.
Do you have any favorite wellness tips for flying? Leave them in the comments below!