Podcast #37 – My best low tox travelling tips, with Alexx Stuart!

This week…

I have you guys all to myself with a show I did on my best low tox travel tips! But first? Our lovely sponsor for the next two weeks is Moonbird designs and we have a super generous, world wide offer for you on their organic pyjama range which is expanding by the day into other beautiful textiles offerings. 

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Now on with the show!

After my recent travels, I have been asked a load of questions over and over again about travelling low tox. So? It’s just me this week and I’m sharing my best low tox travel tips when it comes to food you can and can’t take aboard, movement, preventing swelling, indispensable products to take with you and sustainable choices you can make to save on single use plastics. By the end of this show, you will be brimming with ideas to make your next travels more sustainable as well as knowing not how to look like a pale grey puffer fish with scaly skin – nobody needs that, right?

Here’s a little snapshot of the goodies in today’s episode –

First up here are my tried and true low tox travel product favourites –

  1. Weleda Arnica pills – A homeopathic remedy that no French family would be without. It’s almost like a chorus when someone bumps themselves “Va chercher l’arnica!!” – go find the arnica. Arnica supports and relieves inflammation, bumps, bruises and swelling – be gone swollen ankles, be gone! I haven’t suffered them in years and I used to even wear compression socks and still come out with cankles after 13 hours. I also do a few squats in the little back corridor every 2-3 hours to get blood flow happening quick smart. You could also get the Arnica cream and give yourself an ankle and foot rub every 3-4 hours in the plane too! Both are great, just depends which you fancy more.
  2. Olive leaf extract – A powerful antioxidant and immune booster, Olive Leaf extract is traditionally used in Western herbal Medicine as a natural immune booster. I absolutely love taking it as a quality assurance and I think it actually somehow helps with jetlag because the past 2 international trips I’ve used it, and I’ve hardly had it. My friend Mel has cited a similar story recently too!
  3. Magnesium Spray or roll on – I like the roll on because it’s under 100ml and great for international travel. Magnesium deficiency is rife and if you have a dodgy tummy, sometimes it won’t be well absorbed, so transdermal (through the skin) is where it’s at. A spray on pressure points – wrists, back of neck, back of knees, is where you’ll get the fastest uptake. It relaxes and energises at the same time, so it really helps with the ‘scatty feelings’ vibe of traveling and settling in.
  4. W3ll People Mascara – For someone who doesn’t wear much make up at all, to give you an idea about my passion for my mascara wearing at all times – I wore mascara applied at 5am with contractions 3 minutes apart and excruciating pain to the hospital in labour. I never skip a day unless it’s a beach holiday. It’s my thing! So, after being a Definicils devotee for a good 20 years, 5 years ago I started venturing into the natural ones. The gloopy, quick clumping natural ones. The panda eyes natural ones. I tried them all and W3ll People is where it’s at. It’s expensive but it’s less expensive than a prestige brand, still and the best part? You get to skip out on the coal tar and hormone disrupting chemicals. No thanks… tryin’ to cut down! 😉
  5. Organic Australian Rosehip oil roll on by Rosehip Plus- Rosehip oil is a brilliant oil and as a little carry on roll on it’s a dream travel product. 15ml well under international rules for 100ml and a little roll here and there around the eyes and on the lips keeps you from looking hagged at the end of the flight I swear it. Everyone should have one of these in your purse basically. At this tiny $12.95 price for a beautiful organic product there is zero excuse.
  6. Weleda Skin Food – This thick and unctuous cream is 90 years old and still going very strong. It is a god send for many a reason and many a people I’ve introduced it to. There’s no dry skin it can’t sort out. It’s healing, restorative, shielding. It does it all, and with a 30ml size for travels, it’s a little pocket rocket of awesome that I would never travel without. Weird dry knees (why do I get dry knees on the plane!? I mean, knees? Random)
  7. Black Chicken hydrating face mist – So many face mists are too drying whereas this is moisturising, refreshing AND complexion brightening all in one because of the delicate balance of oils in the mix.
  8. Mini Dr Bronner soap bottle – that does everything from hand wash to dress spot treatment to dishes and cups in hotel, to shower gel to hand soap… Just so handy and just $12.95 and one ‘cleanser’ to carry for all those things instead of !
  9. My favourite travel essential oils. Vetiver (calming nerves on plane), Rosemary (work focus when time is limited at the computer), Peppermint (energy pick me up), Frankincense (skin support with a drop in moisturiser), Digize (after meals a drop on the tummy, so good!) and the Tranquil roll on (I roll it on my bed pillow) are my favourite travel oils if I have to whittle things right down. You can use whatever you fancy by way of oils, and I’m certainly not going to start mentioning oils every 3 seconds to you, but seeing as we’re on topic, I use the Young Living range because of their seed to seal assurance and commitment to owning many of their farms, farming biodynamically and distilling in house rather than buying oils on the open market and whacking a pretty label on them. I’m a sucker for romance and nerdiness and they deliver in spades on both the brand story and the science front so voila… if you fancy getting a wholesale account my member number is 2450874 and you can just pop over to the YL Aussie website and join. I highly recommend one of the premium starter kits (I love the dewdrop diffuser) and essential rewards. That’s what I do. Once you’re all set I’ll be notified and I shall pop you in our oily chat group to learn how to use the virtual office and how the oils can best support you. Really lovely safe uses and support – no internet doctor crazies talking ingestion etc. If you do open an account, rest assured I place zero expectation on anyone to start a business or be a ‘leader’. It’s just an oily appreciation group and a lovely bunch of peeps at that.
  10. Dr Bronner Lavender hand sanitiser. I don’t use weird soaps without ingredient lists and with weird smells in hotels, airports, restaurants. I squirt my hand sanitiser and rinse with water. It’s super gentle on hands and missing all the weird stuff of many hand sanitisers like Triclosan or petroleum based ingredients. Job done. Au naturel!

On the Real Food front

  • Make a cake loaf / cheese bikkies / nourishing cake / anzac biscuits or coconut cupcakes for the journey and cool completely before putting into an airtight container. These will be fantastic to boost meal times, or stave off hunger in an airport / train delay. They will keep fresh for 4 days, no problems, and if you’re staying in an apartment with a kitchen, you could even freeze the leftovers (except the biscuits) for the next time you’re traveling.
  • Take buckwheat / quinoa crisp breads and a good cheddar or gruyère if you eat dairy, which will be fine for 24 hours out of the fridge.
  • Take a little jar of nut butter (decant the big one into a little airtight one) again to have on your crackers, or even to smear onto apple or pear slices.
  • Take fresh, organic fruit.
  • Cooled roast veg will be fine for the day out of the fridge.
  • Activate a batch of almonds / nuts with a couple of different flavours to keep things interesting. I did a salted caramel jar and a curry blend jar.
  • Cherry tomatoes, Carrot and celery sticks – These will keep fine for a couple of days while traveling and are great to have for raw, fresh food – something definitely lacking on the travel front!
  • Make a round of smoothies and freeze them the night before traveling. Keep in large container as it will defrost much more slowly, and this will be cold for a good 6-7 hours after you leave home – note, for international travel there’s the 100ml liquid rule, so this is better for ground travel or if you’re travelling early in the morning to pack for the airport  breakfast on the run. This chocolate breakfast shake is perfect for that.
  • Pack some dehydrated crackers, that you can find at a health store.
  • Pack a small jar of fermented veggies. Fermented / cultured veggies are wonderful for keeping the digestion going during long periods of sitting down and keeping your good bacteria aplenty, which while traveling means less chance of getting sick. They’re much more potent than probiotics which lose potency out of the fridge for too long. The cultured veggies are fine unrefrigerated for a day, and then back in the fridge when you get to your destination. For the full low down on fermenting your own veggies and getting started, head here.
  • Pack some hard coconut pieces / coconut flakes. Super nourishing, filling and protecting against illness with the lauric acid content.
  • Pack a small jar of coconut oil (under 100ml for flying because if it’s a hot day and the oil is liquid, they will take it away from you in an international airport)
  • Pack a few herbal tea bags. It took me a long time to admit that tea and coffee on an aircraft are both revolting and I was just saying yes for something to do! Prepare ahead and BYO! As an aside, why does it always get turbulent when tea and coffee are served? Every time? Without fail? It’s weird.
  • If you’re trying to avoid factory farmed meats, gluten and processed food at meal time, tick vegetarian and gluten free. You’ll be given most likely a salad or vegetable stir fry of some kind along with some pieces of supposedly edible cardboard. You can then fill yourself up on other goodies from home.
  • Meat eaters – if you can find it at your ethical butcher, pack a packet of grass fed beef jerky. I loved skipping the horrific meat dish flying out of America to Paris, and enjoying a few bits of beef jerky, the salad, and some fresh blueberries and kale chips I’d picked up from the market in NYC that morning. A handful of nuts for a snack and voila. Fed and happy until landing 7 hours later.
  • Consider traveling with a high quality green superblend to mix with your water, if you’re on a really long flight.
  • Pack a lemon, halved, and have a couple of lemon water drinks throughout the flight to keep digestion working and act as a good tonic for the body.
  • Make a trail mix of your favourite treats – activated nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried berries, cacao nibs.
  • Pack a tin of sardines or mackerel (apologies to the guy next to you!) and half a lemon and seed crackers. My new favourite, cheap and easy up-in-the-air meal.

Low tox living in the air

  • Exercise as much as you can – even if you look like an idiot! I blow up like a puffer fish in the air if I don’t keep moving. Every couple of hours I do a few scissor twist jumps, lunges, plain jumps, squats and if it’s a 747 / A380, a bit of downward dog time. Yes, people laugh, but I’m feeling good at the end of the flight, despite the tiredness, and that to me is all that matters.
  • Drink buckets of water and book an aisle seat. Yes you’ll have to pee all the time, but it will also mean you get up and move often.
  • Drink minimal alcohol. A glass of wine to relax and unwind with a movie is fine, and if you’re a spirits drinker, switch the sugary / juice mixer for soda water and fresh citrus as the mixer. Sugar is inflammatory and we don’t want any more inflammation than is already caused by flying.
  • Get a good tea tree / eucalyptus saline based nasal spray and use liberally throughout the flight. Not only will it protect you from ear, nose and throat infections that we’re prone to when traveling, but it will also keep your airways working well and stop blocked ears most of the time. I use the metagenics one, which is practitioner only that you need to get form a health store that has a resident naturopath, or a colloidal silver one. Both are great.
  • Consider taking a natural anti-inflammatory product such as some homeopathic arnica tablets for any stiffness or swelling.
  • Consider investing in a good magnesium chelate supplement to relax and nourish your muscles and keep your system detoxifying well.
  • Use your low tox face wash to wash your hands too – The toxic stuff in the airport and air plane bathrooms is not good news and the last thing we need while under already very unnatural conditions, is to be hit with pthalates, triclosan and parabens.
  • Get a tourmaline necklace. I have a big tourmaline block at home for it’s electromagnetic protective effects. It lives next to our wifi modem. I tried wearing it for the first time this trip on the flight back. Truth be told, it was something I saw at Dubai duty free and after 16 hours of traveling and before a 14 hour flight? Well let’s just say that if there had been a product made from recycled paper that promised me wellbeing while flying, I’d have bought it. I put it on. It was very warm to the touch after take off, and then cooled right down after landing. Spooky. I also felt physically far less swollen than usual and just wonder whether this little disc might have played a roll. Researching for another post on this for the next couple of weeks but the product information said it was excellent for circulation and oxygenating the blood and I genuinely felt much better than usual after a long haul.
  • Use the eye mask and ear plugs to block out the surrounds and get some deep sleep – even if it’s just a couple of hours at a time.
  • Get yourself some magnesium oil spray. It will help you sleep with a few sprays to the feet and protect from the pins and needles and cramps you can get while sitting still for lengthy periods or sleeping in a contorted sitting position – I just had a flash back asking the stewardess for my fifth pillow and then an hour or so waking up on the lovely british backpacker’s shoulder who was sitting next to me. Oops. Awkward. I usually travel with the husband and have ‘access’ to two seats. Apparently not this time.
  • Try, awkward as it is with those little basins, to splash your face with water and moisturise with coconut oil or your preferred natural moisturiser. You’ll feel great for it. Our body craves ‘back to body’ experiences like water, grass, sun to balance itself. Water is the only one we have up in the air and it really helps.

Customs Note

Meat, dairy, veggies will have to be eaten by landing, as most customs / quarantine will want it handed in. That doesn’t mean don’t pack them – it just means, only pack enough for your flight as it won’t be coming off the flight with you.

Baked goods, crackers, nuts, superfoods are fine, so you can pack for well into your journey with those, especially if you’re traveling somewhere you’ve not been able to find a good local health food supply for. We went to fiji a couple of years ago and packing zucchini bread, activated almonds and muffins baked at home was the best thing we could have done. Without much budget and an ‘ok’ hotel, it meant on our touristy days, we didn’t have to eat from road side ‘coca cola / twistie stalls’ with limited options.

On the ground

Find a patch of grass or sand and hang out barefoot (weather permitting) for at least 10 minutes. Earthing yourself charges your body with good energy, boosts circulation and reduces foot swelling so quickly, you won’t believe just how much and how fast, until you try it! If you really want to geek out, do a before with shoes and after with shoes. Yes, I did. I did that. I am a complete nerd.

Failing the above, you can reduce your swelling with a 10 minute cold water splash of the feet under a bath tap.

Have an epsom salts bath (pack your salts in case you can’t find any on arrival anywhere).

Get direct sun if weather permits. Don’t even wear sunglasses. 10 minutes is all your body needs for the ‘Yep, it’s day time’ message.

Google your destination for wholefood / organic shops before you leave so you know where the closest one is to you. In NYC you have Trader Joe’s, Life Thyme, Wholefoods all in various parts of Manhattan. In Paris, 2 fantastic organic supermarkets called La Vie Claire and Naturalia, and for Fresh juice Wanna Juice on Rue Montorgeuil, one of my favourite streets in Paris, as well as 3 other locations throughout town. Nothing, however, beats a local produce market and eating fresh and seasonally when overseas. I went to Union Square markets in NYC which were absolutely sensational, Williamsburg Brooklyn markets and then in Paris Versailles, Raspail, Batignolles, Le Marais and the Bastille. Yes, I love markets. Doesn’t mean I didn’t buy any shoes or pretty dresses 😉

Save a fortune on breakfasts and avoid refined grains, unethical eggs / bacon and a generally sugar laden start to the day by getting a couple of punnets of berries and natural yoghurt, an avocado / spread of some kind like nut butter and a packet of crackers of your preference. If you drink milk, also get your milk of choice for tea / coffee or the little ones because long life milk and creamers are some of the most processed products going around.

Lots of food allergies in the family? Probably best to get an apartment so you can shop and cook and not have to be upset if there are limited options for you. Being upset on holidays is no fun!

While it might seem it, I don’t feel OCD at all while traveling. I have a gluten allergy, so for that alone with the average airport / plane offerings, one has to be prepared so one doesn’t go hungry. I eat normally in a restaurant, except deep fried to avoid GM oils and vegetable oil in general and I do a little research on ethical options and delicious places I want to dine in in advance, so I don’t have to take chances on quality factor and waste money on crappy foods. I don’t worry too much about whether produce is organic while I’m away, but if there’s an organic option, then sure, that’s what I go for. Fresh and local is my focus and all the flight stuff is with the motivation of arriving tip top healthy, in shape and ready to go, as opposed to loaded with processed foods and swollen like a michelin man and needing to lie down for 2 days. Who’s got the time for suffering, when you’ve arrived in the amazing NYC?

If you want to click through to iTunes from here to subscribe to the podcast and listen to this week’s show, and the episodes that have aired since our launch in July 2016, GO HERE

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Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world. (To do this from your phone, you can’t be ‘in the show list’ – go to the podcast search function and type low tox life, and then click on the show and click ‘review’. Annoyingly tricky but hey. I figured I may as well help you out if you’re going to take the time to leave a review!)

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet

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