‘Tis the season to hit the road!
Whether you’re setting off to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, get to a vacation spot, or clinch a business deal, it’s hard to stay balanced on the road. I spend most of my time these days traveling back and forth from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to Nemacolin and its hard to stay full of vitality, energized and …dare I say it…regular!
Why does traveling take its toll? Well, it’s because when we travel by plane, train, or car, your body moves faster than nature intended it to. High-speed travel introduces a light, mobile, spacey quality into your body and mind. Plus, it disrupts your daily routine and often pulls you across time zones. All this aggravates the vata dosha—the energy that governs movement—and leaves you vulnerable to dehydration, insomnia, sluggish digestion, anxiety, spaceyness, jet lag…the list goes on. But how about when we travel on vacation?
My husband does not really like to travel – however, the more exotic a place I can find, the better it is for me. My ideal trip is hiking throughout Europe savoring every new food I can find and thoroughly enjoying striking up conversations with whomever. I would thrive on all the unexpectedness, the packing up and moving on every couple of days. The trip would leave me feeling energized and full of a renewed sense of purpose. My husband, Ken on the other hand would feel exhausted, wrung out and sluggish. It’s not surprising that travel affects us all differently as remember there is no one size fits all. It is the same in travel too. We all handle travel differently…
Vata’s have trouble sleeping in a new bed, they will be anxious about the travel plans, and all that new food will likely play havoc with their digestive system. Vata’s are not the best travelers, although they like the idea of traveling.
Pittas cannot take getting all hot and bothered-you will find them cooling off at the swimming pool eating ice-cream, and lastly those loveable Kaphas are the ones that are the most grounded, travel actually makes them feel alive and adventuresome.
So what’s a dosha to do?
Vata’s need to stay warm, eat cooked foods that have some warming spices added. If you are a vata, you will do best by reducing caffeine, sugar and processed foods when traveling, so pack some nutritious food and stay stress free.
Pittas need to stay hydrated and add some cooling lime juice to their water. Aloe vera juice and coconut water is a great drink for the road too to stay hydrated. Choose foods that are cooling as you are apt to get irritated with trip delays – things like mint, cucumber, watermelon and any fresh berries. Stay away from spicy and fried foods.
Here are my top travel tips:
1. If flying try drinking ginger tea before you even leave the ground. Ginger enkindles the digestion which will help improve circulation and relax the mind.
2. When traveling, keep hydrated – drink more than normal. Avoid coffee, sodas and alcohol as these are dehydrating and will aggravate Vata.
3. Adjust your watch to the local time straight away and get on that schedule. Don’t nap if you wish to reduce jet-lag. Do you know that sunlight reduces jet-lag. So, when you get to where you are going, take a walk outside in the sun for 20 minutes to reset your internal clock.
4. Eat grounding foods. What the heck are they? Apples, steamed veggies, lentils, garlic, quinoa, soups. Add some simple chicken or fish, no heavy sauces. Avoid things like salads, dried fruits and potato chips. Chew fennel seeds after each meal, to keep you regular and reduce all that gas that can accumulate!
5. Add that all important grounding self-massage at the end of each day with sesame oil. Take a warm shower before bed.
6. Add a cup of warm nut milk at night before bed. Pitta’s choose coconut milk, Vata’s and Kapha’s choose almond milk. Add a pinch of nutmeg – a natural sleep aid, and a pinch turmeric and a little honey for a sleepy end to your day.
7. The one supplement I do recommend is Triphala-regulates the bowels prevents constipation and gently detoxifies.
Traveling can be so much fun, especially if you follow my tips.