Friday, April 26, 2013

STAYING HEALTHY WHILE YOU TRAVEL: On Board an Airplane Survival ❤

Staying healthy while traveling is a huge hurdle for healthy travellers, and an airplane flight just adds to the challenge.  Many things are out of our control when traveling (why do people travel when they are sick and share their germs with us?) but there are a few things I do that seem to help my kids and I stay healthy.

There has been so much info on the news about how many germs are on an airplane when we travel. On the seat, seatbelt, tray, tray lock, headrest....the list goes on and on! There is only so much we can do, but making our seat and area cleaner is a good start!

I always carry a big plastic container of anti-bacterial wipes in my on-board travel bag and use it often and everywhere. Ever since my kids were little (their first airplane flight abroad was at 9 months old. They did great!) I have a routine I stick to when I board a plane and arrive at our seats.  First, I wipe down all the tray tables, arm rests, seat belts, and remote, then use a clean wipe on my own hands. Seventh Generation, a great eco-friendly company, make a nice "natural" wipes that I love for wiping down our seat area. 

 I have read this past winter during flu season, that the only wipes that killed cold and flu viruses are CLOROX wipes (ew, I know) so you may want to try these if you don't mind a bit more of a toxic wipe, but something that really gets those germs. I know I rather have a toxic wipe in my hands a few minutes than risk picking up any viruses, germs, etc. left by previous travellers.

I love the company EO. They are a California Company that make "natural" products, don't animal test, and are eco-friendly. I carry EO wipes and sanitizer on our hands. Watch out for the sanitizer if you are flying as it will count as a liquid and you will have to send it through security separately with your liquids. Make sure you get the smaller bottle that is under 4oz.  To be on the safe side, I love the individually packaged wipes for airplane travel. It does not count as a liquid and I can pack them in my purse too. They are expensive so I usually save them for airplane travel only rather for every day.

EO is a great company and the sanitizer smells

EO individually wrapped hand wipes are the best thing to
use in carry on luggage.

JUST A NOTE...I saw Gwenyth Paltrow on the Dr. Oz Show today, and she mentioned that, when she travels on an airplane with her kids, she uses a Colloidal Silver spray on all surfaces around her seat (and theirs) as well as sprays some under her tongue. It is supposed to be a good anti-bacterial. I plan to look into the information on Colloidal Silver and perhaps try some of it this June when my kids and I travel to the East Coast.

Can you guess the germiest place on the airplane? Yep, the front seat pocket. Flight attendants and airline staff who clean cabins in between flights who were interviewed mentioned that they have found everything in those pockets from vomit bags, dirty diapers, and used tissues. It makes sense...where else are most people going to put those things if the flight attendant isn't walking by with the trash bag? EW!  The studies don't lie, it's a germy mess. After reading up on the studies done, I no longer store ANYTHING in that front pocket, even on long haul flights.
Read the facts: and a CNN article:

DRINK...HYDRATE (but make sure it's bottled water!)
I buy a big bottle of water for myself and my kids before boarding. I NEVER use plastic bottles (BPAs!) normally, but it is so important to stay hydrated when flying, so I make an exception. What choice do we all have since we can't take liquids through security and we are stuck buying water at a shop near our GATE at the Airport at quadruple the normal price. But it is worth it! Tests show that several bacteria, including E. coli and listeria, is often found in airplane drinking water!

Here's a few articles that mention the findings by the EPA:

So no drinking the water that is handed to you in a cup unless you are lucky enough to get handed a closed, SEALED water bottle from the flight attendant. I have a girlfriend who used to be a flight attendant in the late 1990s, and she said she and the other flight attendants often filled up commercial water bottles with airplane water and serve it to guests in glasses. So beware.

For some reason, I always point the air nozzle towards my face and blast it as high as I can tolerate for the duration of the flight. It always seemed logical to me that the air would blast away the germs from the coughing and sneezing passengers sitting around me.  Low and behold, it turns out there is some truth to this theory! I've been reading articles on healthy travel tips recently and blowing the air in front of your face seems to often be recommended as a way to help keep germs away. So give it a try! In an NPR interview on Staying Healthy on a Flight, Dr. Mark Genderau said it best, "Set your ventilation at low or medium, he says,  then position it so you can draw an imaginary line of current right in front of your head.  I put my hands on my lap so I can feel the current, so I know it's properly positioned.  Then if something infectious is floating in your personal space, he says, that air from the vent will create enough current to blow it away, and you'll be more likely to go home healthy"
That sounds good to me!

If at all possible, don't eat that free meal on your next long distance flight! Or even the pre-made sandwich that you over-paid for on your domestic flight, there is a good chance you may get sick!  

"In 2010 the FDA issued a warning about food-borne illness from airplane food, reporting that cockroaches, ants, flies, and debris had been found during an inspection of the Denver facility of the world's largest airline caterer, LSG Sky Chefs, which provides 405 million meals a year worldwide for more than 300 airlines. The FDA also detected the deadly bacteria listeria in samples taken from a kitchen floor."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

San Francisco to London: Dealing with JET LAG....naturally ❤

Having a healthy light meal really gives me a nice boost of energy when I am tired after a long flight. I am often quite hungry since, as I mentioned before,  I don't eat much on an airplane. 

ABOVE: Here, we were greeted with a yummy vegetable pie (courtesy of Sue❤) waiting for us when we arrived in London after a long 19 hour travel day. We are lucky to have wonderful family to take care of us when we visit England every year, but, with a little planning, you can find a nice healthy veg meal at your destination which will revive you a bit after your long and tiring journey.

ABOVE:  Don't forget the greens! The perfect light vegetarian meal to give us a healthy boost of energy.


There is nothing better to help you relax and unwind than a warm bath. It is the thing I dream about while sitting uncomfortably on a long flight with my neck stiff from trying to sleep comfortably and my legs aching because the flight attendants need me to stay in my seat. By far the healthiest choice for a relaxing bath is using EPSOM SALTS.  Bubbles are fun but the benefits of the salts are many. The high levels of magnesium and sulfates in EPSOM SALTS increase circulation, help the digestive tract, ease sore muscles and joints by reducing inflammation, and generally detoxify the body. Ideally 2 cups of EPSOM SALTS in the bath is a perfect amount and make sure you soak for 10-15 minutes. I like my bath quite warm for extra added muscle relaxation. good. The best part about EPSOM SALTS is they are easy to pack. Since I am currently trying to learn to pack "carry-on only" anything that is not a liquid I have to measure out is great to me! Just measure some salts out into a zip lock bag (I double the bag) and you are good to go. I try to take enough for a few baths, especially for that first week when JET LAG is the worst. I take a bath every day for the first 3 days then try to fit 2-3 in a week while I am away. The other great thing about EPSOM SALTS are that they are inexpensive. If you take only enough for a bath or two you can always find some more to purchase in any drug store or pharmacy. Try it you'll love it! ❤

ABOVE: My favorite thing to do after a long flight is relax and soak in a warm bath. Here, our host, kindly drew a lovely bath for me while she prepared our dinner. A nice hot SALT bath, some bubbles if you like, and a glass of wine or sparkling water really helps to pamper, relax, and rejuvenate after a long stressful day of travel.

UPDATE June 2014: Here's a great link to an article on the Dr. Oz website titled: "20 Amazing Uses for Epson Salt". Check it out!

 ☼ ☾
Although I used to be able to sleep several hours on the 11-hour journey from California to England, I can no longer rest or sleep very easily on a flight anymore, only an hour or two if I am lucky, so I always arrive exhausted. Once we settle into our accommodation, unpack and relax a little, it is usually late afternoon, and we've been up nearly 24 hours straight! Throughout the afternoon there are usually some energy ups and downs and taking a late afternoon nap sounds really good,  but in reality, it just wreaks havoc on your internal clock. I try to do some low key activities like going for a walk or doing a little yoga. I found the best thing to do is stay outside in the sunshine as much as possible. Jet Lag fatigue seems to come and go so when I feel a wave of tiredness, I make sure to have a drink, go outside, or just keep moving a bit until it passes. If I make it until 9:00p.m. that is perfect, and, although that is quite early for me to retire, it's late enough to get me through till dawn (or later if I'm lucky). Occasionally, I sleep 11-12 hours my first night in a new time zone!


There are lots of homeopathic remedies available at health food stores that claim they aid with Jet Lag, and I've tried many of them, but can't really swear that any have really helped me. "NO JET LAG" is the most popular homeopathic meds sold, and I have bought it several times, but the thing I find most challenging about them, is remembering to take them every 2 hours on an 11-hour flight! My kids often sleep 4-5 hours so they miss several doses of it as well. So it's hard to tell if it really helps since I've never really taken the doses properly. You also can't eat or drink 15 minutes before or after taking the remedy and that is sometimes hard to work around. No taking mints either as this adversely effects homeopathic remedies. Again, this is difficult for me because I eat a lot of mints on flights to keep motion sickness at bay. This summer we will be flying from California to NYC on a short 5-1/2 hour flight, so I will give "NO JET LAG" another try and report back. Our flight is a daytime flight so no naps and that will hopefully keep us on schedule taking the pills every 2 hours.