The Ultimate Guide to Flying Healthy

Just throwing it out there: flying is fucking insane. As human beings, it is definitely unnatural to fly through the air so high, and so fast in little metal tubes...and don’t get me started on plane food or the fact that most planes now blast wi-fi into our bodies; but I digress. Despite the ever increasing evidence that flying in a plane is causing serious harm to our human body, the ability to travel across the globe by flight is also an absolutely invaluable gift. This guide will give you all the tips and tricks you need to ensure you mitigate some of the damage of flying, as well as reduce (and even prevent!) jet lag. 

 Picture I snapped back in 2012, boarding a plane from Mexico to Canada.

Picture I snapped back in 2012, boarding a plane from Mexico to Canada.

 

Booking Your Flight

1. fly at night

Solar radiation is higher during the day, so night travel reduces exposure to this cosmic radiation.

 

2. try to avoid flights with wi-fi

This one is difficult considering wi-fi on planes is becoming common practice; but given the choice between the two- opt no wi-fi.

 

3. sit near the back of the plane (and avoid the emergency exit area)

The seats near the wings of the plane are surrounded by the most electronics and so most exposure to harmful non-native electromagnetic frequencies. The back of the plane is furthest away from these high nnEMF zones (wings/ cockpit).

 

4. avoid the window seat

The window seat has increased exposure to harmful UV-A rays, and if you do sit next to the window, keep the curtain closed. Sitting in the aisle will also enable you to get moving more often without feeling like you have to mountain climb over a row of humans.

 

5. opt-out of the in-flight meal

Don't even tempt yourself with consuming anything served to you on an airplane, opt-out of the meal when booking your tickets.

 

Pre-flight

1. hydrate like a mofo

Water is pretty much the answer to all things, make sure you don’t fly dehydrated, so focus on proper hydration a few days before flying. (Non-fluoridated water, of course! Go for spring water, or properly filtered water/ reverse-osmosis).

 

2. food

Fuel up on grounding foods, as well as DNA protecting/ repairing foods, fermented foods, and foods with high DHA content. Root veggies (beetroot, carrot, turnip radish, ginger, garlic), as well as high quality organic meat, and nuts are grounding. Fermented foods (like sauerkraut, kvass, and kefir/ yogurt) will dose you with immune boosting probiotics. DNA protectors (like chaga) will support your cells as they are inevitably exposed to in-flight radiation. And DHA rich foods like fatty-fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies) are key as DHA is depleted due to stress and exposure to non-native electromagnetic frequencies... so load up on these brain-boosting fats preventatively.

 

3. earthing

Earthing (or grounding) is a powerful way to support your circadian rhythm, engage the parasympathetic nervous system, and relax you. Put your bare feet (/ skin) on the earth surface (like grass, dirt, etc) and allow the build up of positive ions to release into the ground. The positively charged ions (which causes inflammation, among other things) will naturally balance out as you pick up the negative ionic charge of the planet. Which is a fancy scientific way of saying that being barefoot on the planet will calm you, and support a healthy body.

 

4. Adjust your sleep schedule

Pre-empt your circadian rhythm change about 3 days before travel, by slightly adjusting your bed time to match the time-zone you will be travelling to. Nothing drastic, 15 minutes or so x 3 days before you leave will do wonders.

 

5. avoid alcohol

Avoid alcohol 3 days before flying (/ideally avoid ingesting poison in general).

 

6. reduce the stress

Flying is extremely stressful, so pencil in some extra self-care in the days before flying, and prevent any extra cortisol release by getting to the airport mad early! This will also ensure you have time to sock up on clean water, and give yourself enough time to opt-out of the radiation security scanners.

 

7. skip the radiation security scanners at the airport

Opt for a pat down instead. It may take a few minutes longer, but you'll avoid the unnecessary mini-microwave session. You are always entitled to the good old fashion pat down simply by asking.

 


During flight

1. Fast

Fasting (especially on longer flights) is probably the most powerful thing you can do to support your body during a flight. Our digestion basically comes to a screeching halt during flight, so introducing food into your system is not doing it any good. Fasting will boost your immune system, support your hormonal systems, reduce inflammation, and help ensure your circadian rhythm adapts more quickly to your new time zone. Ideally you want to fast a couple of hours prior to your flight, and keep the fast going as long as possible post-flight to truly reap the autophagy benefits. True fasting = water only (and optionally a high quality salt). 

 My favourite digestive bitters, by Surthrival. Click image for more info.

My favourite digestive bitters, by Surthrival. Click image for more info.

If fasting isn’t for you (it does require a generally balanced blood sugar/ a basic fat adaption), definitely bring your own snacks/ meals. Needless to say: do not touch plane food, and definitely do not drink alcohol or caffeine (which will trigger cortisol release and respectively dehydrate you and impede your circadian rhythm adaption). Even seemingly healthy provided plane snack generally contain horrifying additives. Opt for grounding foods (like organic nuts, nut butters, root veggies, and chaga or reishi) as well as easily digestible (activate your nuts, fermented foods) and since radiation depletes your DHA, if you're going to eat during flight: DHA-rich seafood is a good idea. Consider taking a digestive enzyme or other digestive aid (HCL, bitters, ginger) with your meal.

 

2. Hydrate

BYO water onto the flight (yep, you’re going to have to drop like 9$ on - preferably glass- bottled water at the airport). Ideally you’ll remain fasted on the plane, so consume only (clean) water during your flight, and consider adding a pinch of high quality (sea or himalayan) salt to your water to help your body retain adequate hydration. Stay away from tap water (which is always foul but especially on planes). 

 

3. Mitigate exposure to all light and noise

With ear plugs, eye mask, and blue light blocking glasses. The plane environment is already extremely unnatural, avoid exposing yourself to artificial light as much as possible (especially during night flights). Opt for blue light blocking glasses while you’re awake, and throw on a sleep mask and ear plugs while you sleep.

Use code "BFH10" for 10% off all sleep-optimizing gear (including blue light blocking glasses)  HERE.
Simple silk eye mask HERE or hardcore sleep mask HERE.

 

4. collagen eye mask

Eye/ face masks are a great way to keep your face hydrated and avoid puffy-post-flight eyes. I like THIS brand.

 

5. Gua Sha/ dry brushing

Gua sha and dry brushing are great ways to prevent build up of lymph fluid (aka the post-flight-puff). Simply pack your gua sha tools and/ or a small dry brush and massage your face/ exposed skin once or twice during the flight. Learn how to do perform gua sha HERE.

Get rose quartz gua ha tools HERE.
Get a dry brush HERE.

 

6. Compression gear

This is something I don't personally do, but if you have a tendency to puff up on flights, wearing compression gear (especially gradient with tightness at your feet and loosening up towards your waist) will help your body circulate blood and prevent swollen feet/ legs.  

 

7. Curtain closed

If you’re sitting next to the window: keep the curtain down; exposure to UVA light so high up + cosmic radiation = skin damage, and cataract damage... no thanks!

 

8. MOVE!

Try and walk up and down the aisle as much as possible, maybe sneak a few cheeky lunges and squats in while you’re at it. Check out THIS video for a few stretches you can do while sitting.

 

9. inflatable j-shaped Sleep pillow

The down side of an aisle seat is definitely sleep situation, but investing in a j-travel pillow will totally take care of that problem. These pillows are epic, and inflatable! …so you won’t have to awkwardly lug around a neck pillow throughout your travels.

Check them out HERE.

 

 

Post-flight

1. get grounded

Practice earthing as soon as you get to your destination. Flying disrupts your body’s natural electromagnetic field (your body will build up a positive charge of electrons that deplete your energy, and promote inflammation and disease), and the earth has a negative charge- so earthing (bare feet on the planet) will help your body release the positive charge, balance your energy, reduce inflammation, and calm your nervous system.

 

2. Real light exposure

Make sure you get sunshine on your (bare) skin and into your eyes as soon as possible after your flight. This helps set your circadian rhythm to your new location, nourishes your mitochondria, and provides your with invaluable vitamin D.

 

3. hydrate 

Do it.

 

4.  exercise/ sweat

Plane travel exposes you to numerous harmful chemicals and the recycled plane air does no favours in terms of germs; one of the best ways to get rid of the unwelcomed bacteria and chemicals is a vigorous sweat sesh. Get in a workout as soon as you can, which will also help you beat jet lag, boost your immune system, and rev up your digestive system. A nice long sauna session is a viable substitute if you're feeling drained.

 

5. cold thermogenesis

A cold shower, cold bath, or cold plunge will do wonders to reset your circadian rhythm and boost your immune system.

 

6. stay awake until bedtime of your new location

As exhausted as you may be, avoid sleeping until proper bed time of your new time zone. Normally I would say stay away from artificial sources of melatonin, but if you’re crossing multiple time zones: this is the one instance where a dose of melatonin will help you tune your sleeping patterns to your new location. If needed take a nap the day of arrival, but try and synch your sleep schedule as soon as possible by staying up until bed time. 

 

7. Food

Opt for grounding foods like root vegetables (beetroot, carrot, turnip radish, ginger, garlic), as well as high quality organic meat, and nuts. Try to avoid eating right off the plane, as it will take a bit of time for your digestive system to rev back up. Consider adding fermented foods (and digestive aids, like ginger, enzymes, HCL, or digestive bitters) with your first couple of meals.

 

8. avoid alcohol

Avoid alcohol 3 days after flying (/ideally avoid ingesting poison in general).

 

9 .get your lymph moving

Stagnant lymph= water retention, heaviness, bloating, and disease. Dry brush, practice gua sha, or consider getting a massage after you fly.

 

 

Supplements

Personally I would opt to supplement pre- and post- flight, and truly remain fasted (water only) during the flight. These supplements (not all at once!) can be used to help support your body. Note that you want to consume activated charcoal a couple of hours before or after any other supplement, as it will minimize the effects of anything in your system.

 

  1. Activated coconut charcoal: is your best friend if you're bloated, and is a must have on hand during any type of travel. Take a tsp (or 2 capsules) in a big glass of water at the first sign of bloat, or pre-emptively if you generally get bloated while flying. Note that consuming activated charcoal will counteract any supplement or medication you have in your body, as it binds to things as it passed through your stomach and GI tract (hence taking care of bloat); so don’t take it near anything you DO want in your body. Smashing some activated charcoal post flight will also help rid your body of any germs you may have picked up on the plane (… recycled plane air *barf*).
  2. Lipomosal glutathione, lipomosal vitamin C, and molecular hydrogen tablets: are all powerful anti-oxidants. Flying definitely generates high levels of oxidative stress, so loading up on anti-oxidants (especially bioavailable “lipomosal” forms) is a good idea before and after flying.
  3. DHA/ omega-3 fatty acids: protect our brains, big time; and DHA is depleted with exposure to wi-fi and radiation. Good sources are fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines) or get a high quality fish oil supplement (THIS is the ultimate cod liver oil in butter oil supplement).
  4. Magnesium: is one of the most important and under used minerals, and is particularly useful to combat high cortisol levels. Magnesium relaxes the body, and is depleted during times of stress. Good forms include orally consuming magnesium bisglycinate, using topical magnesium gel, or taking an epsom salt bath. Ancient Minerals is a fantastic mag gel/ oil/ epsom salt brand.
  5. Probiotics: are the ultimate immune supporter. Our gut bacteria act like soldiers, and depending if you’ve got the “good” or “bad” kind: they are either fighting for or against you. Opt to double dose yourself with a high quality broad-spectrum probiotic pre- and post- flight to ensure your gut is filled with the good kind of bacteria , that will support your exposure to germs, stress and unnatural conditions as you travel.
  6. Ubiquinol (a bio-active form of CoQ10): is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps protect from oxidative and supports your mitochondria.
  7. Astaxanthin and Chaga mushroom: are both powerful protectants against DNA damage (like radiation-induced damage from flying) and also potent protectors against sun damage. Whether you’re flying somewhere cold, and especially if your flying somewhere sunny, implementing one or both of these supplements a few weeks before travel will not only protect your cells from travel and sun damage, but also help you get a better tan!
  8. Wild oregano oil: is a powerful natural anti-biotic. I take a full dropper a couple of times a day if I feel run down, and especially good if you sat next to a coughing human on the plane. Note that because the air is recycled on a plane, odds are you have been exposed to a plethora of germs during your flight. Activated charcoal (or wild oregano oil) and a good sweat session will help boot the bad guys from taking residence and making you sick.

 10,000 ft above sea level, driving up in the clouds on Haleakala, on Maui, in Hawaii... definitely felt like we were flying.

10,000 ft above sea level, driving up in the clouds on Haleakala, on Maui, in Hawaii... definitely felt like we were flying.

What are your go-to healthy travel hacks? Comment below!