How a Functional Medicine Doctor Stays Healthy While Traveling

HEALTHY TRAVEL TIP ESSENTIALS

Lately my schedule has me traveling on a plane from the East Coast to the West Coast at least 1-2 times per month. As a Functional Medicine physician and working mother, there is always a lot on my plate, and the travel adds an extra layer of detail and a lot of back and forth. The plane travel and time change alone is a lot for the body, immune system, and daily circadian rhythm cycles to handle!

Travel can cause all kinds of various symptoms; from dehydration, to constipation[1], to jet lag, and catching a common cold.[2] None of which are easy, or fun to deal with, and many of which can ruin or greatly impact a trip. I thought it might be helpful to list some travel essentials that I take with me, to keep myself as healthy as I am able to.

HEALTHY TRAVEL TIP ESSENTIALS

  1. Empty Metal Water Bottle
  2. Emergency Food
  3. Health + Immune Boosting Supplements

Let’s break these “Healthy Travel Tip Essentials” down into their details:

  1. Empty Metal Water Bottle: Dehydration is pretty much a guarantee while traveling. Fill your empty water bottle up after you go through security.
    • You will save money: buying a water bottle in the airport is expensive! Not to mention buying plastic water bottles adds to plastic toxin exposure, and is wasteful.
    • Metal is not breakable, nor is it filled with nasty chemicals that leach from plastic water bottles.
    • You won’t get dehydrated if you have a handy water bottle filled up!
      • Dehydration causes a whole host of symptoms: constipation, headaches, cracked lips. No thank you!
  1. Emergency Food: Unfortunately, not all airports have healthy food options available these days. Getting stuck in a random airport for a lengthy layover, or traveling across the country without a proper meal can be a bummer if you don’t have an emergency food stash in your carry on bag. I make it a habit to always fill my carry on backpack with food for my family.
    • Bars: Bars don’t tend to spoil easily, and are super easy to transport! Here are a few I permanently have on hand in my home (and purse):
      • Epic Bars: If jerky and a bar were to have a baby, this is what you would get. This is an easy and immediate meat protein source. (Paleo)
      • Yawp Bars: Made only from SEEDS! These No Nuts bars are super yummy. (Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan)
      • Rx Bars: 6-8 ingredients and (as advertised) no B.S. (Paleo, Vegetarian)
      • Kind Bars: My kiddos love these, as they tend to be sweeter and are more like a “treat”. Kind Bars come in a ton of flavors (chocolate covered too, for you chocolate lovers). Some flavors have rice and oats, and others have only nuts. (Vegetarian)
    • Fruit: Fresh, portable, healthy. Nature is so smart!
    • Jerky: Easy, doesn’t spoil, portable meat source.
    • Meals: If you know your travel time overlaps a major meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), bring your meal with you!
      • LunchBots: These stainless steel lunch/meal containers make traveling with a meal super easy. They stack nicely, don’t break, and provide nice spacing between compartments to keep each meal item separate so nothing gets soggy.
  1. Health + Immune Boosting Supplements: I do not tend to bring all of my supplements if it is a shorter 3-4 day trip (unless of course, I need to). I highly recommend purchasing physician grade supplements versus OTC, through a trusted practitioner. My usual supplement regime gets pared down to the bare bones essentials:
    • Magnesium: Magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxant.[3] Not only does it help relieve tense muscles from sitting awkwardly in a plane all day, it can also help you relax to sleep, and help get the bowels moving. That’s right, it can help you poop! A side effect of dehydration and plane travel is constipation. Nobody wants to be constipated on a trip.
      • 400-800mg/day (at night) tends to do the trick.
    • Probiotics: The world of probiotics is brimming with new and exciting research on immune, bowel and cognitive benefits[4]. I never leave home without my probiotics!
      • Finding a shelf stable, higher dose, physician grade probiotic is best.
    • Vitamin D3/K2: Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin![5] Keep your mood up, your hormones steady[6], and your immune system primed[7] with a steady dose of Vitamin D3/K2.
      • 2000-4000 IU/day
      • Caution: Pregnant ladies- avoid any supplements with >10,000 IU of Vitamin D3.
    • Immune Boosters: There are many different Immune System stimulating herbal formulas out there. I always travel with one “just in case” I start to feel a little tickle in my throat.
      • Vitamin C: So simple! Our bodies need Vitamin C as a building block for every structural component, and to help maintain optimal levels of Glutathione, our King anti-oxidant of the body.
        • 500-1000mg/day is a good place to start to help maintain healthy immunity.
        • Higher doses may be needed for chronic disease, or when fighting an infection. Space your doses out throughout the day to avoid diarrhea.
      • Every practitioner has their favorite Immune boosting formula: Ask your Functional Medicine doctor[8] what their favorite one is!
        • I personally love the advanced herbal and colostrum immune-support formula product: Immu-Zyme.

Enjoy this little “Inspired Health Tip” and stay optimally healthy on your travels!

Be Inspired,

Dr. Meaghan Dishman

 

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/all-i-got-for-christmas-was-constipation/422046/

[2] http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204058404577108420985863872

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1602005

[4] http://hmpdacc.org/overview/about.php

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/

[6] http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/the-benefits-of-vitamin-d-why-its-the-sexiest-vitamin-around/

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

[8] https://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117

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