Traveling any time of the year can take a toll on our immune systems with erratic schedules, routine changes, weather extremes, and seasonal illnesses. Amongst all the excitement of travel, we may also find that sleep isn’t as much of a priority. These things can wear down our immune systems, so let’s talk about how to stay healthy and happy away from home.
How Traveling Affects Our Gut Health
Gut health is one area where traveling can affect us the most. In fact, our guts seem to understand when we are off schedule or traveling, which explains a phenomenon many people know all too well — symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and other gut issues can arise once we leave home and our schedules change. Excitement and nervousness about traveling may also play a part in those stomach symptoms since our nervous system interacts with our gut through the gut-brain connection. Our skin health may even take a toll if we’re traveling somewhere where the climate is extreme or we’re making unhealthy food and drink choices.
Taking care of our gut health while traveling doesn’t have to be too hard. With some successful tips for preparation and boundaries, we can still have a great time and maintain our health during our adventure(s).
1. Before You Leave Home: Eat Something Easy to Digest and Get a Full Night’s Rest
Staying ahead of the game is the idea here. Set yourself up for success by eating something you know your system will digest well. This can vary for everyone, but general foods that sit light in the stomach and digest well are a good idea to include in your last meals before you leave home. Adding a serving of fermented foods can also be of benefit, including Lifeway kefir! Lifeway kefir’s easy-to-digest, lactose-intolerance friendly, high probiotic profile allows for a balanced gut and supports a healthy immune system. With billions of probiotic cultures per serving, it’s also a source of complete protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Check out all our delicious flavors here.
Do your best to ensure you get a full night’s sleep before you leave home as well. Having 7-9 hours under your belt can go a long way at supporting your immune system during your travels. Sufficient hours of sleep support a healthy mood and have a connection to a healthy gut microbiome.
2. Pack Some Self-Care Tools
When it comes to what to pack, it may help to keep in mind some favorite supplements, such as vitamin C for immune system support, magnesium for sleep, and perhaps any shelf-stable probiotics and digestive enzymes for extra tummy care. Since it might be hard to get ahold of fresh probiotic sources in fermented foods during your travel time, these options can support you until your body has access to real food sources of live cultures.
Additionally, you might find it helpful to pack your favorite comfort items, such as herbal tea bags that support relaxation (don’t forget your favorite mug), a blanket and pillow, and even your new favorite book. If you’re traveling somewhere cold, a heated blanket may also come in handy!
3. Once You Arrive: Seek Out Support
Once you arrive to your destination, seek out some healthy food choices so you can be sure you’re feeling your best. If you have a local grocer nearby (or a health food store), stop in and see if they have some Lifeway kefir on hand! It can be great to stock up on whether you’re staying at a hotel, with friends or family, or in an Airbnb. If you are staying in a hotel that doesn’t have a fridge, ask the desk clerk to send one up so you can store it while you’re there.
Having a serving of fermented foods like kefir, cultured cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, or similar options can go a long way at feeding your gut and immune system (and your brain). Our 8-ounce bottles are great for single servings, while our ProBugs are great options for kids to serve as healthy snacks (although adults can enjoy them, too).
Lifeway Oat is an excellent option to find locally if you’re vegan or sensitive to dairy sources of probiotics, and it’s organic and gluten-free as added bonuses. More of a cheese and crackers fan? See if they have any Farmer Cheese nearby since it’s another fantastic source of complete protein and probiotics to help your stomach feel its best.
Don’t Forget: A Few More Things
Do your best to sleep a full night each night during your course of travels, despite how challenging that might be. It may be helpful to pack a small white noise machine (or download an app on your phone), and eye mask to help you sleep better. Avoiding caffeine and high-sugar refined (highly processed) foods at night are other healthy choices that can help you wind down while you’re away from home.
For more self-care tips all year round, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and stay connected with us on social media where we share all things new at Lifeway! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We wish you the best travels!