Warmer weather is finally here and that means a couple things: longer days, more socializing, more sunshine (…and natural vitamin D (!), which is a great thing for hormones though you should still take a supplement), and more travel.
It’s all exciting and energizing stuff. But the more you get out—and especially the more you travel—the harder it can be on your hormones.
Why? When you travel, your sleep schedule tends to go sideways. Healthy eating can feel difficult, if not impossible, in airports and train stations. You might skip the key supplements you usually take and crossing time zones can mess up your internal clock. Exercise becomes an afterthought and hydration often goes out the window… at which point constipation can become the norm. And when your GI tract is backed up, excess estrogen gets stuck in our system and wreaks a bunch of havoc.
All these shifts are hard on hormones. Actually, that’s an understatement. Sleep, food, supplements, hydration, exercise… these are THE things that keep your hormones working for you and not against you. When you have these lifestyle strategies locked down, you put an end to period problems like acne, bloating, PMS, severe cramps, heavy or irregular periods, hormonal migraines, and irritability and moodiness.
But when you travel and your hormone-supportive strategies get thrown off track, you can feel rotten quickly…and who wants to be bloated, moody, and covered in zits on summer vacation?!
For this week’s post, I’ve gathered my best strategies for staying in the FLO when you’re traveling. A few small tweaks can keep you feeling great when you’re on the move.
Your Summer Travel Hormone Survival Guide
Follow these steps and your hormone health doesn’t have to go out the window when you go on vacation.
Step 1: Drink water. Travel is dehydrating, especially plane travel. No matter how you get around this summer, make sure you are drinking enough water or herbal tea. (Skip caffeinated tea, though. Say no to coffee, too. Caffeine is devastating for hormone health.)
One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to bring a stainless steel water bottle with you on the road. Empty bottles will get through security at the airport and once you’re at your gate you can fill your bottle from a water fountain or with bottled water. A good guide for how much water to drink in any given day is half your bodyweight in ounces. So if you are 120 pounds, you’d want to drink 60 oz of water that day. You’ll want to aim for a bit more when you’re traveling.
Step 2. Proactively protect your digestive system. One of the biggest things I hear women complain about when they travel is how their normally regular GI system comes to a screeching halt.
Take action before you hit the road! I suggest starting a fiber supplement a few days before you leave and continuing it while you travel. You can find many healthy fiber supplements in single-serving packs that are easy to take on the go.
The other must-have supplement when you travel is a probiotic. This will help with constipation and it will also keep your gut healthy as you encounter new foods.
Even if your packing space is at a premium and you opt to leave some of your normal supplements at home, don’t skip these two. They are a travelers best friend when it comes to preventing symptoms and it is worth making room for them in your bags.
Step 3: If you plan to engage in “vacation eating,” bring along digestive enzymes. Sometimes when you go to a new place, you want to engage in the local customs and eat foods you normally wouldn’t.
Let’s say you avoid dairy religiously back home because of its negative effects on hormone health, but you are headed to Italy and want to try some of the country’s famed pizza. These one-time splurges are a treat emotionally and socially… but not so much physically. Your body is likely to have a negative reaction to foods you typically avoid. Digestive enzymes can help temper those negative effects.
Step 4: Pack smart snacks. Airport and train station food is notoriously unhealthy. (So is most of the food available to you on road trips.) Avoid getting hungry on the move by packing snacks that keep blood sugar balanced. I like to pack hard-boiled eggs, dark chocolate (70-percent or higher), almonds (or other healthy nuts) and pumpkin seeds.
Step 5: Safeguard your sleep. Travel messes with your internal clock. Even going short distances can leave you feeling wide awake at 11:00pm and dead tired at 11:00am. Bring magnesium with you to relax before night; an eye mask and ear plugs to block out distractions on planes and trains; and if you’re really worried about a disrupted internal clock (international travel), bring valerian root or melatonin to help with sleep in your new time zone.
Step 6: Pack a “Just in Case” Case. It stinks to get sick on vacation. So it is worth making room in your luggage for some rescue remedies if you start feeling crummy.
First, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say, which is why I always bring along all-natural hand sanitizing wipes. They are good for hands and for wiping down oft-touched surfaces (like the touch screen TVs on planes).
If you do start to feel a little off, make sure you have vitamin C and zinc. I recommend being liberal with the Vitamin C: 2,000 mg per day is ideal. Take 50 mgs of zinc each day to keep your immune system strong.
Now, here’s to a healthy, happy summer filled with amazing adventures!
Always remember: once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side.
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