Hopefully, by now, you have a lot of powerful tools in your superhero utility belt—smart sleep habits, an exercise routine that you love, mindfulness, and a well-rounded diet that supports your goals. But have you ever thought about travel as a way to enrich your overall health and wellness? We know that vacations can be relaxing, but science shows us that traveling actually has many health-affirming benefits.
Travel has been associated with lower rates of heart disease, better mental health, and a greater sense of connectedness. That being said, being away from home and out of your regular routine can take its toll on your body in the short-term. Traveling has been shown to negatively impact your immune system, digestion, sleep schedule, and skin.
Today you’re going to learn how to be your best self while traveling. This episode is loaded with ten practical tips you can use to support your body while you’re on the road. You’re going to learn about establishing good sleep habits away from home, how to optimize your digestion, and more. These ten habits have helped me immensely, and I hope you will put them to good use as well so you can feel your best while away from home.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- The link between traveling and heart health.
- How traveling can make your relationships stronger and more satisfying.
- The truth about airplane air.
- Why you should always keep a water bottle with you.
- How jet lag and time changes can affect your microbiome.
- Examples of resistant starches (and how they can help you while traveling).
- When to take digestive enzymes.
- How to support your microbiome when you travel.
- Why you should set up a sleep sanctuary wherever you go.
- How melatonin usage can backfire, and when it’s appropriate to use.
- Ways to avoid constipation while traveling.
- How the Puborectalis muscle works.
- Why you should eat two serving of leafy greens every day.
- How to find healthy meals while you’re away from home.
- What kyphosis is.
- How to support your body’s structure after a long flight or drive.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Onnit.com/Model ⇐ Get your optimal health & performance supplements at 10% off!
- Squatty Potty ⇐ Exclusive 15% off the Squatty Potty!
- Organifi.com/Model ⇐ Use the coupon code MODEL for 20% off!
- Hydration and Water Masterclass – Episode 73
- The Microbiome Solution – With Dr. Robynne Chutkan – Episode 180
- Your Body’s Hidden Fat Loss System with Dr. Alan Christianson – Episode 332
- The Surprising Connection Between Your Microbiome And Your Lifespan With Guest Dr. Steven Gundry – Episode 336
- Improve Your Digestion, Assimilation, and Elimination – Episode 41
- Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcasts by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
On this episode we're going to be talking about something that adds to your character, expands your worldview, and as you'll see today, has some surprising health benefits.
Talking about travel. I am talking about traveling. And also this can be a sketchy situation sometimes.
We're going to be covering the top ten healthy travel tips, and some of the things that I've picked up over the years, because I've put in some sky miles. Alright?
And this is definitely something that's had a huge impact on my life, and something that's for all of us, that we need to look forward to and do more often, as you're going to learn today why.
And also understand that it can come with some complications sometimes, so there's some crazy benefits you're going to learn about, but also we need to learn how to navigate our travel, and get the most of it, and be able to bring back good health through the process, and really be able to enjoy ourselves.
And so for me, my travel experience was very, very limited until the age of 25, was the very first time that I even got onto an airplane.
I was very isolated in my environment outside of some summers when I would go to my grandmother's house. And she had moved from the city, which is where I lived with her when I was- up until second grade was over, and then she moved to the 'country' with my grandfather, back to where he grew up. And this is Piedmont, Missouri.
And I know you're like, "Oh yeah, Piedmont." No, you're not. You've never heard of Piedmont, Missouri.
This is in the 'boot hills' country. Gravel road to get to their house. I believe their house- it looked like a cabin type deal, but it was like built over like a mobile home or something. I don't know.
But you know, bright blue skies, fishing, hanging out in the rivers and the lakes over this summer, and just a different life than what I was exposed to when I was living in the inner city.
So that experience in and of itself added so many dimensions to who I am and the person that's here with you today.
Because I bet you wouldn't know I like me some country music. Alright? I was raised on- the trips down there, the four hour drive, Randy Travis. Alright? Conway Twitty.
You can't forget about Dolly Parton. Reba McEntire. Alright? But you might not know that, and all of those things add different layers and textures to that tapestry or that collage of who I am.
And so this is another reason it's important for us to travel, because this allows for me in some form or fashion to be able to communicate at some level with different people.
And those experiences, and having that time where I was out of my typical environment, and put into a new environment adds, again, so much to our character.
So getting back to my first- cut to the trip coming up when I was 25 years old on the urging of my then girlfriend, now wife, now wifey, we went to Miami.
You know? It was like we were both just coming- you know, college and all that stuff, and I was just not trying to do that. I didn't see the purpose. Like why? I'm good where I am.
But I wasn't good. I didn't know that there was so much more than my little sphere. And even from there, jumping- let's go outside of our country and travel more.
Because I don't know if you know this, but U.S. citizens travel the least to other countries, international travel, than pretty much all other developed nations.
We get into our little U.S. or bust situation, and we're missing out on so much culture, and really expanding our world view, and so that's something I want to encourage with what you're going to learn today as well.
So just within the last couple of weeks, I've been from Saint Lewis to Jamaica to Saint Lewis again to New York City to Saint Lewis again to L.A. to San Diego to San Francisco.
Yeah, it's been quite a bit. You know, I've been on the move, but at the same time, I've been able to absorb so much culture and so much interaction with people from different places.
And it's really been remarkable. And you could probably see, I don't know if you're watching me on YouTube.
I've got the beard, it's not well-groomed right now as a result of being on the road. I'm going to keep it for a little bit because I think this beard is at that- you know, some people might call it a Zaddy beard.
It might be a Zaddy status beard. I don't know, it's not me saying it, but shout-out if you know what I'm talking about.
So just even in the last couple of weeks, so what I want to share with you today is that even though this has massive value, which were going to dive right into, there some tactics that I've picked up that have enabled me to maintain my health and well-being throughout all of my cloud hopping. Alright?
Now listen to this. This is why in this episode we're talking about science-based reasons you need to travel more. Listen to this.
There was a joint study from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and it revealed some fascinating data on the potential health benefits of traveling more often.
According to the study, women who vacationed at least twice a year had significantly less risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart failure compared to women who rarely vacation and travel.
Alright? Now the men too, what about the men? In the same study, men who did not take an annual vacation were shown to have a 20% higher risk of death from all causes and about a 30% greater risk of death from heart disease.
Now again, when we're talking about health and wellness, this is The Model Health Show. We're talking about all aspects of health, and what creates that model, that template for us.
You don't hear about travel and vacation when it comes to supporting your health, but this is something we add into that tapestry.
We add into that formula for us once we get information like this. Because it should be pretty eyebrow raising, right?
It should be like, "What? I never heard of that." You know? And also taking this as an opportunity or an invitation to make some changes.
But for me, I'm automatically like, "How? How is that possible that we can see results like that from travel?"
Well obviously, stress is going to be a huge component. Today we're seeing over 90% of physician visits being for stress related illnesses. You know?
So this is definitely a big player. We know that tends to be a stress reliever when we're vacationing, and traveling, and all that good stuff.
But also on a more subtle level, when we're in different environments, we're able to diversify our immune system inputs and our microbiome. Right?
We've been talking, of course, a lot about the microbiome here on The Model Health Show for several years, and we'll put a couple recent ones that are just absolute masterclasses in talking about the impact of our microbiome in the need to diversify our microbiome for you in the show notes.
But that's not what this episode is about. Alright? So make sure to pop back and check those out. But that's what travel does as well.
Also, our minds. Our minds are able to grow and adapt when we change our environment. This is one of the things that keep us younger and more vital, and it's even a hormetic stressor. Right?
When we're getting outside of our normal daily routine, and we're literally forcing our minds to change and to create new connections. Right?
And I love this statement from Jim Kwik. When your body moves, your brain grooves. Alright?
So when you're putting your body in different environments, even just through typical stuff, exercise movement, but also putting your body in different situations and different places, different environments.
Your brain is creating new grooves and new neuro associations, and this is definitely one of those things that can help to keep us younger longer.
Another study that recruited 1,500 women and published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal uncovered that women who took annual vacations were less likely to suffer from depression and other mental health issues.
And subsequently, these women on average had better relationships, were less fatigued, and enjoyed a higher quality of life.
Wow, really interesting stuff. But speaking of relationships, what about that? Does traveling affect that?
A recent U.S. travel survey conducted by Edge Research revealed that couples who frequently travel together report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship.
I can't get no satisfaction. Travel, alright? Travel. So I thought that was super fascinating.
But listen to this. Couples who don't travel together- in this same study, couples who don't travel together are twice as likely to report that their relationship problems don't seem to get resolved.
Super fascinating. Why? What is going on there? Is it the change of environment, getting out of that daily taking the person for granted? Is it that quality time together?
These are all components. These are all components. Shared experiences, all things that add to your intimate relationships.
But also, let's expand that in relationships. Other studies indicate that leisure activities with family, such as travelling, can increase a sense of connectedness between family members, including children and their parents.
We all know this. We know this, that traveling bonds us together. Right? We see this reflected in movies.
Whether it's the Great Outdoors with John Candy, whether it's the Girls Trip, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, or even Frodo with that ring and travelling with his crew.
At the end, traveling together, everybody was much closer. Well, hold on, let me make this clear. Unless you've got a Gollum in your group. Alright?
It might be your significant other who's playing that Gollum, it might be a friend who's just always doing the most. Alright?
You know that Gollum is like, "Everybody here wants to have the fun, but I'm here to f- it up." So beware of the Gollums, alright?
Outside of the Gollums, we've got this bonding that takes place. Alright?
Gollum's going to throw himself off the cliff and melt with the ring or whatever, but that's a totally different situation. Alright?
If you're not visiting no volcanoes, you don't got to worry about it.
But just understanding that this is something to be proactive about with the people that you care about. You know?
Travel and experience new things because it's going to circle back and bring more health, more well-being, more connectedness into your life. Right?
Now, from there we get into- and this is just some. There's so much data now that we see as studies are being compiled looking at how does travel and getting into diverse cultures affect our health?
But some travels are automatically more health supporting. You know, travels to like hike. I never thought- I don't want to hike. You know, I never thought about that.
Why am I going to go somewhere to hike when I've got to walk two miles to my bus stop every day? Because I had to, alright? I actually had to do that at some point.
I know people have those stories of like, "I walked seven miles barefoot wearing a toga to get to school every day." Right?
It wasn't like that, but I mean, you know it gets pretty snowy here. And I had to make it happen.
But so some people are traveling for that experience. You know, hiking, and climbing mountains, and things like that, and also skiing, and exploring exotic locations.
You know, you put in a lot of miles when you're in a place like France, and like going to different museums.
And shout-out to everybody listening in France. Big love to you guys, as well. And we have that aspect, but other travels are a little more complicated when it comes to maintaining your standards of health. Right?
So maybe like have you been on a cruise? Have you? My goodness, let me tell you. We had the Phenomenal Life Cruise last year, and just shout-out to everybody who was there.
It was phenomenal. Alright? Outside of the fact of being on a boat in the middle of the ocean, for me personally, not my fave.
I can't just get up and be like, "I'm going to go to the store." I can't swim that far, okay? You're kind of trapped.
And the food that you've got, that's what you've got. And of course, like you do the best you can. I brought some supplements, I had my special little coffee drinks and things like that.
But at the end of the day, you're kind of subject to the environment. And so how do you traverse a situation like that and potentially come out of it healthier?
It was a really cool experience. Like I never thought about- like they had this big screen to watch movies out on the deck. It was amazing.
Basketball court. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. You're going to play basketball on a boat? Full court. Alright?
But for me, it was still just like the equilibrium thing. You know, I did not like the fact that I'm walking down the hallway, and people are walking towards me, and we're all leaning like we didn't have our V8 today.
Alright? We're all leaning to the side. "Hey, how's it going?" You know? It's not normal. Alright?
And then when you get off the boat finally, like you're walking sideways trying to get your stuff back together.
But anyways, certain conditions like that can be a little bit more difficult to navigate. And we all go through this stuff.
And I just want to, number one, encourage you to travel more, but also to give you these top ten health strategies so that you can do this in a more healthful and life-affirming way.
And so today I'm going to share some of my favorite things that I bring along with me, I literally keep them in my book bag many of them, and strategies that I employ, and my top ten healthy travel tips.
So we're going to start with number one. Numero uno. Why would we start with number three? We start with number one.
Number one: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Let's just talk about if you're jumping on a plane, because for a lot of us, that's how we're traveling. Alright?
If we're going to another state or another country, the plane. The plane. I don't know if you've ever seen Fantasy Island. Anybody who has, they'd be like, "Oh yeah, Shawn."
So if you're on a plane, listen to this, just being on a plane and taking that trip to whether it's a layover or your destination, it's one of the ways that immediately gets you dehydrated.
Listen to this, here's why. The air you breathe on a plane actually comes from recirculated air, and from the outside as well.
It's about a 50/50 mix, and it can be a little bit shifted, the pilot can change it a little bit depending on trying to save fuel and all this stuff, but we don't need to get into that.
But the air at that altitude that you're at has very little moisture. One expert reported that you're flying in an environment where the relative humidity can be as low as 10%, which is more than two times drier than the Sahara Desert, alright? That's dry. Very, very dry.
It's just pulling water from your body, and your body is going through, just every microsecond, so many processes that are happening in a water medium in your body, and that needs to get replaced to flesh out metabolic waste products, and to add fluid for everything from your synovial fluid, to your brain, to your cerebral spinal fluid, to everything- your blood, you know?
Your entire body is really operating on a water medium. And so a long flight can reduce your body's set point hydration level by easily 2%. Which you might be like, "Well, that's not a big deal."
Well, if you're not drinking water and hydrating yourself going through this experience, that level of dehydration can be enough to damage your DNA, and that's not good.
Your DNA is, again, is printing out those copies of you depending on- you know, what kind of copies are going to get printed? Are there going to be mistakes? It's far more likely when you're dehydrated.
So some of the results that we can experience on flights, and you might have had this happen. Reduced cognition, you know?
Reduced ability to have executive functions working well, problem solving, social control, decreased attention span, increased irritability. I've seen that before.
And also increased feelings of tiredness and fatigue. So a lot of times you might have just taken a flight, it wasn't like a really stressful day, or nothing like that, but you just feel more tired.
And once you can really super hydrate your system immediately, you just feel like the energy has just been turned back on in your body.
And so that's the big takeaway for this one, is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate when you're traveling, especially if you're flying. Not really especially, every situation matters, but this is something to pay a little bit more special attention to.
And you know, if you haven't listened to this episode, I did a master class on hydration and water that will change your life. Alright?
And we'll put it in the show notes for you if you have happened to miss it. We've had- it's getting close to a million people have checked that episode out, and it's super important.
It's just important stuff because, again, we are a water-based being, and to find out all the different things that water is responsible for, and how to find the very best water.
But things have changed for me personally even since then because knowing what I know about water, I became a little bit of a water snob. I became a little bit of a Jasmine Guy on A Different World.
A little bit of a Cruella de Vil even about the water, just because I know. If we're dealing with water bottling in plastic, and that water is a universal solvent, and plastic photodegrades.
It's constantly breaking down, and water being a solvent, it integrates with those compounds that are being released from that plastic, and is literally creating like a plastic tea.
Which one of the big things we see that we have a lot of data about is BPA, right? Bisphenol A, which is a known xenoestrogen that has been found to attach to estrogen receptor sites in the human body and turn on programs that estrogen controls that might not be good. Right?
All of that. So I went on a situation. Many years ago, this was before the birthing of The Model Health Show when I was doing clinical work, I was still working as a strength and conditioning coach, and doing my work as a nutritionist, but I was speaking a lot.
And I was invited to speak at a TED event in Las Vegas, right? And my wife- so this was over eight years ago, somewhere around then.
She was pregnant with my son Braden, and I think she's maybe around five months. And so we went out there, it was a fun time, fun event, and when we were coming back- because at the time, even that long ago, I'm still on the penny pinching side, not really understanding the value of like investing in travel, and travelling the way that I want to, and comfortability, and all this.
So I had a little hookup, alright? We've got a family member, who is the godmother of my son, who works for the airline. Okay? Shout-out to June. She's also a raw food chef. Shout-out to June.
And so she got us the standby passes. Alright? Now it sounds all good. "Oh, we get to fly for free? Okay, sign me up."
No, you are standing by to see if there are seats available. And so it was easy getting there, like we literally hopped on a flight, and I thought standby was the greatest thing ever.
No. Getting back and going through that Las Vegas Airport. First of all, we couldn't get on the first flight, which was troubling in and of itself.
And outside of that, they were like, "Well, you can't get on the plane, sir." Because I was like- I had my joggers on, T-shirt, comfy. I'm going to be comfy.
Like, "No, you have to have on proper attire." And so because you're standby, you're representing the company now.
Which nobody's going to come around to my seat and be like, "Hey, you must represent the airline."
No, it's just one weird little thing that they had, and they were just giving me a hard time about.
So I needed to have on some dress pants, or khakis, or something like that, and a collared shirt just to get on the plane. I don't have that stuff with me. Okay?
First of all, it's not my vibe. Alright? So in order to catch this next flight that was leaving in like thirty minutes, I had to find some clothes somewhere in the airport.
And so I remember we walked past a PGA store, and so this airport was huge. You've got to take like two shuttles, okay? Like the airport trams or whatever.
So I got on there, got over- you know, she was waiting for me because for whatever reason she had on some maternity khaki pants, which she never wears, she's never worn since.
Alright? My wife has never worn any khaki anything, but she just happened to have them on, so she was all good.
So I jumped on, went to the PGA store, got me the khakis, the collared shirt, and you know I threw this stuff on, and I just felt like I just wanted to punch myself in the jugular.
Like the way that I looked, I didn't like it. I didn't like me when I saw myself. Right? But I got back, I was like, "Okay, I'm dressed like you want. Can I?"
And so they were like, "Cool, you're cleared to get on the next flight." Next flight was full and we ended up spending the night in another city.
Because there was a plane that took us to another city, and then we spent the night there, and then we can go home in the morning. And so that was not fun.
But while through all this whole process, because they didn't have the quality water that I wanted, I didn't drink. Okay?
Even when we got to that hotel that we stayed overnight, I didn't drink. You know? We weren't by any kind of stores, or anything like that, and so I was just going to just not drink and be dehydrated.
What is that going to do? That is going to break my body down. That is a situation where it's just silly to be neurotic like that.
Drink some water that's in a plastic bottle. It's better than nothing. And here's a great thing about your body. Your body will preferentially choose the higher quality stuff, especially when it comes to water.
It will displace water that is old and used and even lower tier and replace it with the new stuff. That's what it will do.
And so don't be like me, the old me, and be super neurotic about it. We do need to be educated about water, and make the best choices where we can, but the most important thing is to drink some clean water, even if it is coming in not the best form that you want.
Alright? So I wanted to share that story with you, that we all make mistakes, we all grow, and we all learn from stuff. Because I cannot believe that I did that to myself, and I felt terrible. I felt terrible.
Already going through this situation, dressed like I was dressed, and then being dehydrated like that, it's just silly. Just absolutely silly.
So number one: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Keep that bottle with you even here. I'm collecting. I got this bottle from Jamaica. You see this?
If you could see the video, this looks like designed by Usain Bolt right here. Got my stainless steel bottle. Keep the bottle with you because you're far more likely to drink water.
Let me get a sip. Right here live, this is happening. It's commercial right there. It's far more likely that you're going to drink when you have the bottle with you.
Alright, moving on, let's get back to our list here. We've got our top ten healthy travel tips. Be proactive with that hydration. It is number one. It's number one for a reason.
Let's move onto number two. Now number two is going to be prefaced, and I'm going to share a study with you from my book, 'Sleep smarter,' which I have here, and I'm going to crack this open as the teachers of old when they would have us gather round to hear a treatise, and share this with you directly from the book.
So listen to this. 'A study on what happens to your intestinal flora due to irregular sleep patterns was published in the journal Cell.
Researchers discovered that your circadian timing system influences your bacteria balance. Common experiences like jet lag were enough to create bacterial dysbiosis in the gut, which in turn leads to metabolic disorders.
In this study, researchers analyzed fecal samples from people before, during, and after bouts of jet lag from a ten-hour flight spanning multiple time zones.
They found that the jet lagged participants showed an increase in a type of bacteria known to be more prevalent in people with obesity and diabetes.
Then the levels of these microbes dropped back to normal once the travelers got back on a regular sleep cycle.
It's been found that your gut bacteria also have a circadian timing system and there's a virtual 'changing of the guard' that happens every night to help keep the good guys in control of your vessel.
If you don't sleep or don't sleep well, then it gives the opportunistic bacteria a chance to take over your gut, and thus your brain.'
So that's from 'Sleep Smarter,' that is Chapter 7, and this study is super fascinating showing that our microbiome changes just from irregular sleep patterns and changing time zones from something like a long flight. Right?
Our bacteria, which we know today, we've talked about this many times on the show, our microbiome has a huge influence on our health, and literally we're seeing that the microbiome cascade that we see in folks who are battling with diabetes, for example, or even if you're a healthy individual, will shift and become more like that.
In start, the expression of certain genes from those specific bacteria that are becoming more in power, and it can be a slippery slope.
So we want to make sure that we're supporting our gastrointestinal health, specifically when we're traveling, is super important.
So folks tend to get sick and things like that, a big part of it is the gastrointestinal tract having this kind of weird deregulation.
So we'll talk a little bit more about sleep and that component in a moment, but I want to talk about fiber. Okay?
Fiber. Fiber. Super important for us to focus on when we're traveling, making sure we're getting plenty of these various fibers.
And according to a recent guest that we had on the show, Dr. Alan Christianson, there's like over a dozen different types of plant fibers that we need for our diversity of our microbiome, and many of them were missing out on.
But bottom line is we need to make sure that we're proactively seeking out these fibers to make sure that we're keeping our gastrointestinal tract nice and happy, specifically the good probiotic friendly flora need resistant starches.
Alright? Resistant starches. So this can come in the form of a supplement, and so I'll even take a prebiotic supplement when I'm traveling.
But also we'll see adding in foods like Jerusalem artichoke, raw onions and garlic, and the various plant fibers we might find in just green vegetables and things of that nature.
And even as Dr. Alan Christiansen mentioned, green bananas. It's a great source of resistant starch.
So there's many different types. You know, beans that are prepared properly, if possible. We need to make sure we're proactively getting this in. Support that microbiome shift as we're travelling.
And also of course, the hydration aspect helps here, too. Because without that hydration, those plant fibers are not going to be moving and sweeping through and doing their jobs, feeding the friendly flora, and allowing them to create things like these short-chain fatty acids that help to protect your gut, and also help to even protect your brain.
And so this is something that I wanted to put on the list and to be proactive and conscious about when we're traveling. This is a huge tip, is making sure that we're getting plenty of fiber when we travel.
Number three on our list, and something that I keep in my backpack- Dora the Explorer has her backpack. I have mine, okay?
I don't have map. I don't have the map because Dora didn't have an iPhone, but I do have my superhero equipment. You know what I'm saying?
For me, I travel with enzymes. So number three on our list is to take some enzymes, digestive enzymes.
Now the reason I say this, and specifically when I travel, is that you might have a tendency to experiment, try new foods, eat things that you normally wouldn't eat.
Let's give your digestion a little bit of assistance because, for example, if you're trying cuisine that is the cultural thing where you are, and you want to experience the culture but it has some dairy in it, and for you, if you have even like a bite of dairy, everybody has to clear the room because it's smelling like rotten eggs and childhood trauma up in there.
You know? So you've got to be mindful of that. If you've got issues with dairy, what can you do? Lactase enzyme can help you to digest the lactose that you find in dairy that tends to cause people the most problems.
And also, amylase and glucoamylase can help you to better digest grains, for example. So again, you might have your protocol that you're doing when you can manage your environment, but when you travel, things can be different.
And so those are just a couple of the enzymes that are found in a product that I really love, which is DigesTech from Onnit.
The reason I love them is they also- not just the digestive enzymes that help to digest your food and break down those food particles, but also it helps to fortify and boost your digestive fire because of having things like pepsin and ginger in their capsules as well.
And it's super easy to travel with because they are capsules. Definitely check it out. You can add this to your travel superhero utility belt. It's www.Onnit.com/model. That's www.Onnit.com/model and just go to the supplements category, it's right there. Alright?
DigesTech, definitely one of my travel essentials. So that is number three on our list; take some enzymes, especially if you're eating some questionable food, you don't know how your body's going to react. It can really be helpful and stave off some problems.
Number four on our list is staying in the same lane as the things we've talked about, to take care, and protect, and fortify your microbiome, which is- number four is to get some friendly ferments.
Alright? One of the first things that I do when I hop off the plane if at all possible, I'll go to a Whole Foods, or a health food store, or something like that if I have the opportunity, whichever city I might be in, and I get myself a fermented food or fermented beverage just to take back with me to- it might be the AirBnb, or to the hotel, wherever it might be.
And super easy for the beverages today, there are so many. You know, when I started doing this and started traveling heavily, Kombucha was hot, but that's pretty much the only option we had in typical yogurt.
Now they've got- if you don't do well with the dairy, which for a lot of people that can't really digest dairy well, yogurt isn't a problem because a lot of that milk sugar has been kind of consumed and digested by the bacteria.
But not saying for you to- if you're not doing the dairy thing, that's all good. They have different ones which are based on coconut yogurt, and things of that nature.
So different options to choose from. We've got kefirs, we've got obviously the fermented veggies, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles. Alright?
Pickles are also a fermented food as well, but you want to get the good stuff if at all possible.
And so literally, like I'll get a jar of sauerkraut, and the next day with breakfast, I'll have a serving of that.
You know, I might even order food from the hotel. It might be room service, but I've got my addition to it, to make sure I'm getting that friendly flora for my digestion and to help support my microbiome in its change from being in a different location.
Alright? So number four on the list is very simple, very specific, but are you doing it? Get yourself some friendly ferments when you are traveling.
Alright, number five on our list, and this one is super important because this is a game changer when we're traveling.
Number five is to set up your sleep sanctuary. Set up your sleep sanctuary. I wrote a book on sleep wellness, it's called 'Sleep Smarter,' which I hope that you have a copy.
Audio book, e-book, the physical book, whatever it might be. If you don't have Sleep Smarter, this is like an essential part of your library, so make sure to check it out if you haven't already.
You can get it anywhere books are sold. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all that good stuff. But make sure to check it out. Audible. Shout-out to Audible.
But here's the thing. Traveling and not being in your controllable environment, it can definitely be a curveball.
So proactively in me having these experiences, I might go to a place where I'm staying, and it's just like major lights outside, and they're just shining through the little crappy blinds that they might have.
So what do you do? Right? So set up your sleep sanctuary. Be proactive knowing that, "Hey, I just want to be prepared."
And so here's one of the things that I do when I travel. I actually bring some construction tape with me. So this is like that you use for if somebody is painting to like guard the edges, and to tape plastic to the carpet, and things like that.
So I'll take tape in my bag, and I'll put tape covering over these sources of 'light pollution' that might be in my room. So what does that look like?
Well, one time I stayed at a hotel and they got the fire alarm, and that's cool. That's good, have that.
The light was so big, it illuminated my room like I was getting beamed up into a spaceship all night. It was crazy.
So little piece of tape to cover the light. Teeny little piece, problem solved. Alright? Same thing, it could be the light from the television monitor when it's off, this beaming light, or whatever the case might be. Just bring a little bit of tape.
And another situation that might happen, and this might be that super neurotic thing that ten years from now we're talking about, I'm like, "Well you know, back in the day, I did this."
But I do this now, and I just did it for my son. We stayed at an AirBnb in L.A. and his door to his room led directly outside, and the door was like a cloudy glass door.
And so all night he had the light just shining into his room from outside, you know, a street light, and I didn't know.
He told me the next day, and so we grabbed some aluminum foil and just put it up over the door, put it up over the glass. You know?
We used the tape that I travel with, put it up over the glass, and blacked his room out. Now for some of us, it might be like, "Well, that is a little bit much."
Listen, Cornell University did a study and they took the test subject and put them into an otherwise dark room, and they shined a light just the size of a quarter, a fiber optic cable behind their knee, and that was enough to disrupt their sleep cycle. Alright?
Light pollution is a real thing we're going to be talking more and more about, because that light is beaming on you all night, this unnatural light, this artificial light is throwing off your body's circadian rhythm, and it's definitely going to affect how well rested you are and enabling your body to go through its normal sleep cycles.
So it's not just some crazy thing, and it's just a simple fix. Aluminum foil, boom. Tape that up, we're done.
You know, so it might be a window, it might be a full door, like it was in my son's case, and it took us all of three minutes to do that, and he slept so much better the next night.
So having those little tools in your superhero utility belt. Also maybe it's roll up a towel under the door. Especially if you're staying at a hotel, that light can just beam into your room.
Roll up a towel, put it right there. Alright? Some people do that because they're smoking, they might be doing some stuff. We do it for better sleep. Okay?
So that's number five, set up your sleep sanctuary, and this can include your typical sleep routine factors. You know, having your good book, or your podcast, your magnesium, whatever it might be.
Set up your environment so that it can help you to naturally transition into great sleep. Right? Be supportive of that.
And so I even look for that stuff with different hotels or AirBnb. What's that curtain situation looking like?
Now, I'm not super neurotic about it, but if I can, I even take the towel if I need to, if there's light coming in from the top of the curtain.
Just roll up a towel, stick it up there. Right? Get my room as dark as I can. So that's number five on our list, is to set up your sleep sanctuary, because supporting your sleep wellness, as we talked about with that study, it's going to support your microbiome.
It's going to support your energy levels, protecting your immune system. It's one of the biggest issues with our immune system getting hit is due to sleep deprivation. Alright?
So number six on our list stays supportive of number five in supporting our sleep wellness, and this is bringing along something on the nutrition side to support your sleep.
And so for me, especially when I'm changing time zones, I want to help to get my body adapted to the new time zone as swiftly and gracefully as possible.
And for that, I'm a big fan of situational occasional melatonin supplementation. Now in my book 'Sleep Smarter,' so I'm going to refer back to that.
This is something you've got to be careful with when we're talking about melatonin. It can be really, really helpful, or it can be a problem. So listen to this.
There was a study published in The Journal of Biological Rhythms that discovered that faulty timing our large doses of melatonin can cause desensitization of melatonin receptors.
Essentially you can start shutting down your body's ability to even use melatonin at all. Not good. Not good.
Melatonin isn't just about regulating sleep. It's regulating your entire biological clock.
It's also a very powerful anticancer hormone, and it's also involved in fat oxidation, so literally burning fat, and the list goes on and on. It's not just one thing, but it's super important for your sleep quality.
And if we're haphazardly taking melatonin all the time, that's not okay, and also if it's in larger amounts.
Small micro dosing consistently, okay, but I'd much rather use this in spot situations. So for me, changing time zones.
I have my sprayable melatonin from Onnit, which they're using earth grown nutrients and sources for making all of their supplements. So that's why I really love them.
It's super easy to travel with as well. And plus, by being it's sprayable and in that liquid form, it's much easier to absorb, especially if it's sublingually under your tongue.
You know, you've got receptors there that can just kind of get into your system a little bit faster.
So melatonin and/or something else. You know, so might not be melatonin for me all the time. It might be bringing along some reishi tea, or it might be some magnesium.
I travel with that, topical magnesium, or I might use the oral supplement of magnesium, but something to help my body to get adjusted to the travel.
Alright, so I highly encourage you to do the same thing. These little things can really help for you to stay healthy and to enjoy your experience a little bit more by doing something really small and simple, like doing a little supplementation to support your sleep.
Number seven on our list, listen to this, number seven is poop like a boss. Right? Poop like a boss. I know you wasn't expecting that, but this is one of the top ten here.
And this goes back to supporting the digestive system, and our overall microbiome, and our overall digestive wellness.
When we travel, a lot of folks get constipated. Right? Because it's called being regular, but that pattern, that cycle can get thrown off a little bit.
So doing our thing with the increased fiber, the hydration, getting those ferments, those are all going to help but we also want to make sure that we're getting ourselves in the right position. Okay?
I did an entire episode dedicated to this in talking about the Squatty Potty. Alright?
And so I've got Squatty Potties in all the rooms in my house, I've given it as gifts probably more than any other gift that I've given, because of the crazy science behind it.
You know in just the puborectalis muscle, and just not being in a squatting position when we go to the bathroom, when we do the do so, the number two, it does not allow for complete elimination.
And we see improved bowel function, reduced rates of diseases, of issues with diverticulosis, and things like that when people are able to get in the right position.
So this is just putting your feet up. You just slide it in and out on a normal standard toilet, and it puts you in that proper position.
But what about when you travel? Well, we have a Porta Squatty. So it's a travel version of the Squatty Potty, and man, I love it so much.
It's super easy, like literally I have two of them, and I keep one in my suitcase because I don't want to forget it again. It was a while back, but I forgot it, and then next thing you know, you're trying to figure out what to do.
You're making a makeshift because you're so used to that, and it's just better. So you're like flipping over little trash cans and stuff, and trying to get- it's just not the same. It's not fun.
So I keep it in my suitcase when I unpack, and there's another one my son keeps as well. Because literally when we get there to the hotel or the AirBnb, somebody's got to use the bathroom.
So my son, he was just like, "Do you have the Squatty Potty?" Nobody wants to go without it now. The little guy, or my older son either, or my wife.
You know, none of us want to go drop the kids off at the pool without the Squatty Potty. Alright? So highly, highly encourage you to get yourself a Porta Squatty.
For me, from my experience, travel essential. Travel essential. You can check that out at www.SquattyPotty.com/mode. I do get a discount for my audience over there, so it's www.SquattyPotty.com/model.
Get yourself a Squatty Potty like yesterday. If you don't have a Squatty Potty, listen to the episode. It'll just blow your mind. Okay? It'll blow your mind.
So www.SquattyPotty.com/model, and the Porta Squatty when you travel is a super good idea. It's a newer release.
Squatty Potty like- they were on Shark Tank, and just the company just blew up. Maybe that's not a good analogy. Never mind. Never mind.
The company did really, really well, and it's helping people feel better and have better digestive health all over the world.
Alright, so let's move on. So that's number seven. Moving on to number eight. Number eight is to specifically fortify your immune system with nutritional insurance.
Did you know that when you're flying, when you're in an aircraft, one of the most significant things that our body is exposed to is actually radiation?
So we're talking like cosmic radiation from outside our atmosphere. We're getting closer and getting exposed to that, and to kind of put this in context, this is because at high altitudes the air actually gets thinner, and the further you go from the earth's surface, the fewer molecules of gas there are per volume of space.
And this thinner air with fewer molecules is now unable to deflect as many of these incoming cosmic rays, which is this radiation from outer space.
And so without this atmospheric shielding, and just having less of it, there is a lot more exposure to radiation that's just automatic.
And so researchers at the University of California San Francisco published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology finding that pilots flying for just one hour at 3,000 feet altitude received the same amount of UV radiation through the cockpit window as they would from 20 minutes in a very strong tanning bed.
Alright? That radiation is just hitting you up. And radiation, here's the issue, is that number one it can damage your DNA, suppresses your immune system, and also it can even damage your telomeres.
And your telomeres are the end caps on your chromosomes. It's the greatest biological marker we have for how long you're going to live. It can shorten those bad boys.
In fact, a 2015 study published in Frontiers in Oncology found that radiation directly impacts and causes dysfunction in our telomere function. Alright?
So we have to be mindful of this. We have to be mindful of this. Again, we don't need to be neurotic because we're going to be flying.
We're just seeing the beginnings of what we're going to do as far as aviation, and travel, and things like that. It's just becoming more, and more, and more.
But what can we do to give our bodies a little bit of extra insurance and defense? Listen to this.
There was a scientific review published in The Journal of Applied Psychology on the benefits of spirulina, and it states that many studies suggest several therapeutic effects of spirulina ranging from reduction of cholesterol and cancer, to enhancing the immune system, increasing intestinal lactobacilli, reducing toxicity by heavy metals, and radiation protection.
It's one of those foods that has these remarkable capacities to protect us in different ways. So spirulina is one of my favorite things ever.
It's 70% protein by weight, and it's super rich in B vitamins, a natural source of iodine which is great for supporting your thyroid health, and also phycocyanin.
This very rare compound that's only seen in a few foods, phycocyanin, that's been found in studies to promote stem cell genesis, which is literally the creation of new stem cells. So that's one aspect of it.
Also the chlorophyll content in there. That's why it's such a deep green color, is that chlorophyll appears to be one of the most effective nutritional means to protect your body from radiation in and of itself.
It's kind of like how plants are- green plants are dealing with the radiation themselves. It's like this medicine, or this kind of an antidote in a sense, in dealing with radiation.
So that's one component that we have in Organifi's Green Juice, because spirulina is one of the aspects of the formula they have.
Also in there is chlorella, which is the highest chlorophyll source food that we know about. That's in there as well, and it tastes good.
So another thing that I travel with that I keep in my bag at all times are the Organifi Green Juice go packs.
And the reason that I use Organifi Green Juice formula versus- there's a lot of different green juice blends on the market, or green superfood kind of concentrates, but they do a low temperature processing, so we actually retain a lot of the nutrients in there, and the formula tastes good.
So if we're on the plane, I could hand one to my son, open it up, he could pour it into his bottle, and he's all good.
He's like, "I don't want to have this. It's green, it's gross." It actually tastes really good. You know, it has this really great- it just makes you feel clean as well. You know?
It's just really, really awesome product, and highly recommend checking that out for your travels. Throw some Organifi go packs as that nutritional insurance into your bag, whether you're flying or not.
You're going to get your nutritional bases covered as a supplement. Because of course we want to continue to eat real food, but this is where things like this come into play. Alright?
Because it's far better than these synthetic so-called multivitamins that aren't even real food sources of the nutrients we think we're getting. Right?
Food has it, but also it has the array, and the bile constituents, the co-factors that help your body to use and absorb it better because it's from real food.
Alright, so that's www.Organifi.com/model for 20% off their green juice formulas. It's www.Organifi.com/model, you get 20% off, so definitely check that out.
Alright, we're at number nine on our list of the top ten healthy travel tips, and number nine is to proactively search, seek out healthy restaurants in your area. Alright?
Prior to having all this information on our phones, we would go to like Google and try to map out, we were using MapQuest. Do you remember MapQuest? You printed out- what?
Even before MapQuest, do you remember maps? Come on now. Now we've got it all on our phone. Such a gift. You can literally put in the keywords if you've got maps on your iPhone, for example.
Healthy restaurants, or of course you can go to Google 'healthy restaurants near me.' Right? Or you can put in the keywords like 'organic,' 'farm to table,' 'grass fed,' 'vegetarian.'
Whatever it is that you're looking for, and it can give you immediately a list of different options that you could check out. Alright? So be proactive at that.
You don't have to be at the mercy of, "I'm at this place, and I don't know what to eat, so just whatever. We'll see what happens." Just use your phone. Simple search.
So that's what we do. We literally- if the kids are wanting to do some burgers, we want to get the best quality that there is. You know?
So you could type in if it's vegetarian burgers, or grass fed burgers, and you're going to get a list from a lot of different places in the U.S. and also different places outside the U.S. now are kind of catering to that because we've changed the game.
You know? You, and me, and the rest of us who are really being proactive in making decisions about the quality of food that we're eating are forcing change in how stuff is done in our culture, and I'm super proud of that. And so just doing a simple search.
And also in this process, even if you don't have access to the very best food, make sure you get your two servings in. I've talked about this many times.
This is incredibly important in maintaining our health if we're looking at the digestive support side, but also Chicago's Rush University Medical Center found that people who eat just two servings of green leafy vegetables each day experience fewer memory problems and cognitive decline compared to people who rarely eat green vegetables.
They found on average, folks who eat two servings a day of green vegetables have brains that are roughly eleven years younger, simply by doing that one health practice.
So whether it's lunch, or even for my breakfast when I'm traveling, if it's a hotel and I'm just ordering up- a lot of times you get a cage free omelet if you want. It's pretty standard out there now.
But I'll say, "Hey, I'd like to get a side of sautéed spinach." And because it's right there if it's on the ingredients of what can be added to an omelet, they've got the spinach. And just ask.
And you know with spinach, for example, when we talk about getting two servings, an entire jumbo box of spinach. Have you ever cooked spinach?
You take all the spinach and you cook it, this huge box, and it ends up being like a teaspoon of spinach. Right? It's a little baby spoon.
All that spinach is going to turn into a little baby spoon. Alright? It's super easy to get those two servings in, is what I'm trying to say.
Alright, so number nine on our healthy travel tips, search for restaurants in your area. You could do this before or during the trip, once you get there, and make sure that you are looking for restaurants that have your standards, and make sure you're getting your two servings of green leafy vegetables in each day no matter what.
That's your one target. Everything else, do you. Just do that one thing for me, get those two servings in.
Alright, number ten on our list, and this one is super important as well. Number ten is to get your body organized. Get your body organized specifically after long car rides, and especially flights.
So what do I mean by this? Being on a flight can really throw off your body's mechanics. Typically we see a back position where we're not in a natural position for our spine, and we can be sitting in the standard seats on a flight, and you can lose your L curve, the lumbar curve of your lower back.
Right? That's going to get lost when you're sitting on the typical airplane seats. And also, we can see the propensity- and that's called flat back syndrome, by the way. Flat back syndrome. They couldn't come up with a better name, but that's what it is.
And we also see kyphosis. Right? When you sit in those chairs, your shoulders start to lean forward, and you've got the flat back.
I'm just looking like a mess right now. Okay? If you can see the camera, I'm looking like Quasimodo. Alright? Like I'm flexing, but never mind.
So be aware of this, right? This kyphosis and also flat back syndrome. This can lead to your glute muscles literally turning off and increasing the risk of low back problems.
So what do we do? On the flight itself, I've found a couple of hacks. One of them is supporting that L curve by just rolling up- maybe it's a blanket, or maybe some flights might have a pillow, or even taking a jacket, just roll it up, and stick it right there behind your lower back.
Right? And then you sit back, sit nice and tall, and then tighten that seatbelt. Alright? And that's a great use of the seatbelt because why do we have them? Alright?
If something actually- they can be pretty neurotic about having that seat belt buckled. Like if something happens, what's a seatbelt going to do?
But I get it, I get it, and no disrespect to any flight attendants who are listening right now.
My son's godmother June is a flight attendant, she'd be like, "You'd better buckle that seatbelt and shut up."
But for me, it's just like this is a good use of it, is making sure that I'm supporting the L curve in my spine. Right?
So that's one little aspect. Another little strategy is simply getting up. You don't have to sit for a whole three-hour flight. You know?
If there's an opportunity, just get up, go to the bathroom. You know, just stand up, maybe keep your snacks in your bag so you've got to stand up just to get them out.
Set things up so that you can get up a couple three times throughout the flight, and just allow your body to kind of decompress and you can straighten yourself out a little bit. Alright?
So that's a couple of things on the flight, but it's really about getting your body reorganized once you get off the flight.
Whether this is at the airport or at your final destination, but you want to make sure that you stretch your hip flexors, because your hip flexors are going to get shortened by sitting all that time whether you're in a flight or in a car.
And also your neck, because you're going to have a tendency to just have this straightforward position the majority of the time, and I've seen this many times where folks get little neck issues from travel.
Your neck and also just moving your joints around period, and getting some blood flow, and circulation, and lubrication to your various joints.
So I'm somebody, like I prefer to actually do a little quick two to three minute mobility when I get off the flight. Alright?
I'm not trying to be that guy. He's like, "What is he- is he doing yoga?" I'm not that guy, but I'll find a little side spot, stretch my hip flexors, which is just basically you get down on one knee, you're putting your knees and your ankles of your legs, both are kind of at 90 degree positions, and then you're just pushing your hips forward.
So I'll do that, and maybe do a couple of things just to kind of move my lower back around, little side bends, twisting, that kind of stuff.
But just taking a couple of minutes to let my body get back, reorganize, and to get fresh. And then you could do a proper session once you get to your AirBnb, your hotel, your friend's family house, whatever the case might be.
But these are the ten things we need to do. It can stave off a lot of problems, and make sure that we're healthy through the process, but also being able to carry that health back when we get back home, so we can just hit the ground running and get back into our normal routine.
So I hope that you got a lot of value out of this and it's inspired you to travel more, and also to just be proactive at employing a little bit more intentional strategy to take care of yourself, and also the people that you care about. Alright?
So this is something to add to your overall health strategy, because travel is one of those things that impacts our health on all levels; who we are mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically.
It impacts all of it, because as I talked about at the beginning of the show, travel is something that adds to our character, expands our world view, and it also has some surprising health benefits.
I hope you got a lot of benefit out this episode. Share it out with your friends and family. Definitely share it out with the person in your life that loves to travel or especially- especially the people in your life who don't travel.
Share it out on a social media; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all that good stuff, and of course you could tag me. I'm @ShawnModel and I appreciate you immensely.
We've got some powerful episodes and show topics coming your way soon, so make sure to stay ready. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.
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