Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Pass Me the Meal Tray not the Sickbag; The Truth About Food and Digestion at Altitude

Death warmed up doesn't quite describe the feeling when you've eaten something before takeoff or during the flight that doesn't quite agree with you. Save yourself the pain by understanding what is in play between food digestion and altitude.  No matter how much airlines try to dress food up and make it appealing plane food is meant for one thing, sustenance while getting you from A to B.

Articles like the 10 foods to avoid before flying name foods such as chips, red meat, beans, soft drinks, chilli and other usual suspects (coffee garlic and gum) as foods to avoid but the truth is if you understood the flying environment better you might find that

  • Altitude is a hypobaric environment, which means all physiological functions are affected. Digestion becomes less efficient at altitude.
  • Any borderline issues you have with food in a normal setting will more than likely be pronounced at altitude.
  • The acid or alkaline value of any food eaten at altitude can have an effect on how digestible it is in the oxygen-poor aircraft cabin. 
  •  Food serves a little known psychological purpose at altitude. Think about it, you are hurtling through the air in a tube which defies gravity and seems to be moving so slow. This can be quite unnerving. Food and the ability to be certain that you can at least fill your stomach gives you a sense certainty. Food is a distraction.

Altitude is not the place to become a gourmand. If you want the meal tray and not the sickbag it is best to keep all meal choices as simple as possible when flying.

TIP If your enjoyment of the flight is dependent on eating the inflight meal and beverage offering your best bet is to pack some good quality digestive enzymes with you for those times you don’t want to say no. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

4 Essential Supplements for Travelers – An Alternative List

The 4 essential supplements for travelers article from is well intentioned, but it leaves me feeling a bit meh! Aren’t you tired of well-intended articles that scratch the surface of a subject they have no in-depth experience of, I know I am! As a frequent flyer, you need tools you can use specific to your travel lifestyle, otherwise, you won’t use them consistently to reap the benefits.

For the symptoms of fatigue, stomach trouble and colds brought on by travel, the article recommends probiotics for digestive health, B vitamin complex for immunity, zinc for preventing the common cold, and magnesium for a good night’s rest.

As a frequent flyer if you repeatedly have problems with digestive health, immunity and catching colds, the elephant in the room you are ignoring is travel stress, leading to compromised overall immunity. Here is an alternative list to get your OVERALL immunity back on track.

  • ·      Chaga – for extraordinary immunity building and protection.
  • ·      Cordyceps – for endurance and cardiovascular health.
  • ·      Holy basil tea- for inexpensive adaptogenic health comparable with Panax ginseng and
  • ·      Magnesium oil – for better absorption and sleep, see below

For a good night’s sleep, the best way to get the most out of magnesium supplementation is transdermally (via the skin). Magnesium oil is the way to go. Magnesium oil also known as magnesium chloride has better absorption rates.  (Supplements - thirtieth percentile, magnesium oil - sixtieth percentile). Magnesium oil travels well as a spray which makes packing it for travel a breeze. 
Ps If you want to forego the idea of having to supplement these items just make Chaga, Cordyceps and Holy Basil as teas and apply Magnesium oil after your warm shower before bed!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

KLM Launch World's First On-Tap Draught Beer - Comment

Special circumstances require special measures, and although flying at 36,000 feet doesnt seem particularly different or special, the truth is, it is a rather unique environment. It is not the kind of environment to encourage the consumption of the worlds first on tap draught beer at altitude. If this kind of first continues it will end up doing more harm to the flying public than good, heres why.

Of late we have seen a continued trend aimed at easing the plight of the traveler throughout the aviation industry. It has come in the guise of technological advancement of the planes. The airport and baggage infrastructure that runs in the background, designed to make travel seamless and even the quality of sustenance served on-board (draught beer is NOT sustenance!)  This trend has gradually changed focus from infrastructure enhancements to people-centered enhancements. Recent surveys point to a growing trend of wellness centered initiatives to make flying healthier, it is hard to square this circle of health inspired solutions for travelers by introducing draught beer.

When you travel as much as some productive frequent flyers traipsing the globe, the watch word becomes efficiency, how can I get from A to B and do a good job with the least expenditure of energy on my part. Efficiency these days includes health amongst other factors. Flyers would do well to note that draught beer in no way enhances their efficiency as travelers. On the contrary, it will probably encourage the conditions that lead to jet lag.

Apart from the brutal reality of what airline travel does to the body we also have to consider the messages we are sending out when we embrace an innovation like this as progress.

1.    We are saying drinking at altitude is a good thing even though the barometric pressure is different than sea-level and causes intoxication more rapidly.
2.    We are encouraging anti-social behavior at altitude when people indulge in too much of a good thing.(Not to mention the problems of policing alcohol in the lounge before boarding).
3.    We are shifting the burden of responsibility to airline crew to police drinkers in a confined space with possible dangerous implications for everyone on the flight, air rage for whatever reason is still with us, we do not need to put more tools within reach of misbehaving or disgruntled travelers.

Draught beer belongs in your pub not at 36,000 feet.