Heading to the Hills After a Long Break? Tips to Travel & Eat Fit
Tips on how you should travel and eat safe while travelling for holiday or work in a pandemic.
Now that the lockdown has eased up and travel for both profession and pleasure has begun, it’s time to learn how you can stay healthy away from home. This is specially important now, as travelling during these corona riddled times can often be physically and emotionally very demanding. Keep these tips in mind to navigate through these times.
Staying up half the night packing is a sure shot way to guarantee exhaustion, fatigue, and irritability; so getting a good night’s sleep before travelling is essential. Also breakfast is important so don’t skip it before a trip.
It is possible to reduce stress by allowing ample time to check in and reach little earlier than your departure time. And if you are prone to airsickness, reserve a window seat over the wing.
On the Road
While traveling, first rule is to avoid eating food or water that may be contaminated by bacteria, or parasites as it may lead to Traveller's diarrhoea (TD), So be wary of foodstuff that is uncooked or raw and/or sold open on the streets. Infections may cause diarrhoea and vomiting (E.coli, Salmonella, cholera), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis).
So avoid salads, raw vegetables, and fruits that cannot be peeled. When you eat raw fruit or vegetables that can be peeled, peel them yourself after washing your hands with soap first. Preferably eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot and steaming. Diarrhoea may also be aggravated by factors like fatigue, jet lag, and a change in diet or climate.
Do not consume unpasteurised milk and milk products (like curd especially raita, and paneer). One can never be sure of the hygiene during the methods of preparation and storage.
Avoid eating non-vegetarian food, unless you are really sure of the source; these get very easily contaminated. Avoid deep fried food while travelling; as the oil used for frying is often reused innumerable times and can therefore harm your system in more ways than you can think of. If you have to gorge on the deep fried pakoras that you have heard many traveller friends raving about, absolutely avoid the chutney that comes with it. Carry your own bottle of readymade chutneys, dips or ketchup instead.
Drink Safe too. Any drink that requires addition of water (like fresh lime water) should be avoided, unless the water is boiled properly. That is why hot beverages (coffee or tea) made with boiled water are your safest bets. Also ensure that the bottled water and beverages you pick are of a dependable brand. Ice should be avoided too as it may be made from unsafe water.
Do not eat anything your stomach is not used to. If you normally avoid heavy food, don’t let down your guard when on the road. This is definitely not the time to experiment, as your system may not react too kindly to new foods.
Stay prepared. Always carry your own water, snacks, medicines etc to fall back on if need be.
Getting adequate hydration is extremely important throughout your trip, but particularly on your travelling days. Excessive sweating can lead to loss of salt and therefore muscle cramping, so drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration. Alcohol, coffee and caffeine-laden soft drinks lead to dehydration, so steer clear of the cocktail cart. When flying make a special effort to stay hydrated, as the air is very dry inside the plane.
Carry your own instant hand sanitiser and clean your hands regularly, obsessively.
Eat Lightly When You Travel
Don't starve yourself but definitely don’t over indulge. Or else you’ll find yourself feeling stuffed. Also eating too much starch, dairy products or very high sodium foods can cause gas and unpleasant bloating.
Get as much exercise as possible before, after, during and between long flights and train/ car rides. Simply walking around the airport / railway station or finding some stairs to climb up and down couple of times will help. Taking a short walk to loosen your leg muscles, and stretching before getting in the car is a good idea.
Small precautions can also go a long way. Always carry a first aid kit (antacids, topical disinfectant/antibiotic, pain killers, antihistamines, thermometer, adhesive bandages, scissors, tweezers, nail clippers and a pocket knife) with you – in your handbag not your luggage.
And don't forget cough drops and tissues too. It's a good idea to carry your doctor's phone and fax numbers as well as copies of prescriptions for medication you might require along the way.
If the food available is poor or limited then trying cooking your meals in the kitchenette where you are staying to make sure your diet is well balanced. Eggs, beans, lentils and nuts are all safe ways to get protein. Fruit you can peel (bananas, oranges for example) are always safe and good means to score vital vitamins. Also try to eat plenty of grains and bread.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)
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