In the eyes of Ayurveda, the energetic force known as Vata is inevitably increased during travel. This leads to high anxiety, restless mind, sleep issues, overall depletion, gas, bloating and constipation. Therefore, it is vital to pacify the Vata before, during and after times of travel. Eating a Vata-soothing diet is one way to help keep overall balance during travel. Here are some of the basic Ayurvedic guidelines to keep in mind.
Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Travel
1. Eat light, warm, and well-cooked foods, especially on the days of travel.
As already mentioned, the digestive fire is extremely low during travel. This means that the food taken in should be light, well cooked and easy to digest. Foods such as basmati rice and cooked veggies, soups, stews, oatmeal and quinoa porridge are all good options to avoid indigestion and constipation. Overall make sure to avoid raw, cold, dry and rough foods such as raw veggies, salad, crackers, dry cereal, dry toast, dried fruit, frozen foods and iced drinks.
2. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat!
Although I do not typically recommend skipping meals, it is important to realize that while travel (especially the day of), you may not want to eat quite as much as you are used to. With the digestive fire being so disrupted during travel, feeding the body when you are not hungry will only increase indigestion, constipation and discomfort.
3. Avoid eating out as much as possible.
This may be a hard one to follow, but as much as possible it is really important to eat “home- cooked” meals; whether you borrow a friend’s kitchen or cook on a hot plate in your hotel.
4. When you do have to eat out, try to find healthy options.
It may be useful to research the healthiest options in the area before your trip begins. This could be health food grocery stores in the area as well as health conscious restaurants. This way you can stock up on some healthy fresh food from the grocery store right away and then occasionally get a healthy treat at a nearby restaurant. Believe me, a little planning ahead will make a big difference!
5. Stick to a regular eating routine.
During your days away from home, it is really important to eat with the current eating schedule, even if it is off due to changing time zone. This means you should still eat a small breakfast after awakening (8-9am), a decent size lunch around noon, and a small dinner around 5-7pm. This will help your body and digestive tract align with the sun and its natural rhythm.
6. Stay hydrated!
During travel, keeping the body hydrated cannot be stressed enough! Like all of these recommendations, this is most important the day of transportation. It is key to drink lots of warm water before the actual flight, and continue to sip on water throughout the airplane trip (or car ride, etc). Please avoid cold water during the entire vacation, as this will further constrict the GI tract and weaken the digestive fire.