TRAVEL HEALTH: REDUCE YOUR TOXIC LOAD IN 5 DAYS
Toxins are nasty little critters which can seriously affect your mojo, your exposure to them is increased if you're a frequent traveler.
Don't let them take you down!
A toxin is a synthetic chemical (essentially a poison) known to have harmful affects on the body. As travelers we expose ourselves every day to toxins, take a look at these scenarios:
THE BUSINESS TRAVELER
It's Monday morning, you've got a train ride to the airport, followed by a flight, followed by another taxi and then a short walk to the office where you've got a 'make or break' meeting at 11am so your day starts with personal care, you want to look good of course. By 7am you've already used at least ten different skin and haircare products, by 9am you've been exposed to car and vehicle fumes as you navigate the city, by 10am you've bought and drank two plastic bottles of water and when you get home totally exhausted at 9pm you heat up your dinner in a plastic container and realize you've skipped your workout, again.
THE ADVENTURE TRAVELER
After an 8 hour bus ride you find your hotel, unpack, send a couple of emails and then head out to find some lunch. You're careful about what you eat and consider yourself to be clued up about health and wellness. Your all-organic lunch arrives along with a sneaky cocktail which you sip happily through 5 pretty blue plastic straws. After lunch you think it's time for a quick nap before doing some exercise and then wake up again at 8pm—it's far too late to start exercising now but another cocktail...
Knowing your going to be away for the week you spend a couple of hours on Sunday cleaning your house and think about how those cleaning products make you cough, if you had more time you'd do some research on what awful chemicals they have but time is something you're always short on so it will have to wait for another day. The flights were cheaper then the train this time so you quickly pack some sandwiches before running out the door and forgetting your BPA free water bottle, that's ok, you can just buy a bottle of water in the airport.
EMMA AND PEOPLE LIKE HER
You've pack up all you food, cooking equipment and gas for the next 3 days because you're about to cross the salt flats and later the Atacama desert from Bolivia over into chile on your motorcycle. On around the 5th bite of your lunchtime sandwich you notice a distinctly gas-like taste to all your food and realize that your knot tying / packing skills aren't up to par and gas must have leaked over 3 days supplies — when you reach Chile you'll need to do a serious detox.
Can you see the patterns here (maybe not in the gas-y-sandwich story but the rest of them)?
Common toxins you maybe exposed to as a frequent traveler include:
- Polluted air
- Overuse of plastic (bottles, straws, containers)
- Personal care products
- Pesticides in food
- Cleaning products
- Gas in the Atacama desert (maybe that's just me)...
WHY IS REDUCING YOUR TOXIC LOAD IMPORTANT?
On basic level, if toxins build up you can get sick and fat.
In a healthy body, the process of detoxification runs smoothly. When you become toxic, the mechanism for detoxification in the liver gets sluggish, and certain toxins can remain active longer than we want or than our systems can handle. This makes us sick and impedes normal metabolism. It also causes fluid retention, bloating, and puffiness.
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR TOXIC LOAD IN 5 DAYS WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE WORLD
MONDAY: ELIMINATE THE PLASIC
Have a good sort through everything you use and replace plastic containers with glass, order yourself a set of steel travel straws and get a BPA free collapsable water bottle which is perfect for airports and means you'll never have to buy a plastic water bottle again and get a reusable silicone bag to use for travel snacks and sandwiches.
You don't have to do this all at once, just make a start.
TUESDAY: INCORPORATE DETOX FOODS
Whether you're cooking at home or eating out, keep an eye out for any of the following:
- Citrus fruits
- Green Tea
- Raw veg
- Cilantro (corriander)
- Flax seeds
WEDNESDAY: PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS CHECK
Toxic ingredients in cosmetics and other beauty products can be absorbed through skin and end up in the bloodstream. Some contain carcinogenic ingredients. What we put on our skin should be just as important as what we put in our mouths. If possible, choose natural, organic products.
THURSDAY: DETOX YOUR MIND
This is just as important as detoxing your body, and it’s an area few of us ever think about as a source of toxins. Whether it involves a high intensity workout, a yoga class or a full body massage, find something that works for you and do it regularly.
FRIDAY: RAISE YOUR HEART RATE
There's controversial evidence as to whether toxins are actually released through sweating, however, moving will help your circulatory system do its job.
Your heart and circulatory system are affected by frequent travel, the good news is that any type of exercise that increases heart rate improves circulation. When the heart muscle contracts at a higher rate, the increased volume of blood moves more rapidly through the arteries and veins of the body, boosting circulation. Whether it's a brisk walk or a high intensity workout, chose what works for you and get moving.
I would love to know how you aim to reduce your toxic load as a frequent traveler and what challenges you face, let me know in the comments below.
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