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Twelve Natural Health Tips for Smart Travel

Traveling can be hard on your health. Increased stress, changing time zones and difficulty finding healthy food can all negatively impact your health. And if you travel by air, you have the added problems of exposure to airborne pathogens, fragrance chemicals, and other pollutants brought into your air space by unhealthy people. On top of that, there's the additional difficulty of bringing all your health supplements, superfoods and appliances with you (a Vita-Mix is heavy!).

So how can you protect yourself from sickness and environmental stress when traveling while still providing yourself with your most important health supplements and superfoods? Being an experienced traveler myself, I'll share with you my best tips for maximizing your health when traveling on planes, trains or automobiles.

Tip #1: Boost your immune system before you go

Don't dare walk into an airport, train station or other public place without protecting your immune system first. How do you accomplish that? It's simple: For at least three days before your trip, start drinking lots of vegetable juice and taking immune-boosting herbal supplements. It's even better if you're drinking fresh juices every day as a regular habit, but if you're not, at least kick in the healthful juices before you travel.

On the supplements side, I like to take Kyolic garlic supplements (www.Kyolic.com), medicinal mushrooms (www.MushroomScience.com), Echinacea, goldenseal, ginger and other similar immune herbs (www.BaselineNutritionals.com). It's also important to get plenty of zinc in your diet by eating pumpkin seeds or taking high-quality zinc supplements. Taking lots of vitamin C and vitamin D3 is also helpful, but be sure to get them from high-quality supplements (I don't recommend cheap multivitamins like the Centrum brand). The best sources for high-end individual supplements are www.WellnessResources.com and www.LivingFuel.com (check out their Super Essentials fish oils with astaxanthin.

Tip #2: Bring superfood powders for instant meals

Having superfood powders with you at all times is a great travel strategy, even if you're just traveling to a relative's house for a few days (your relatives probably aren't as health conscious as you are, right?). Don't clobber your immune system by eating the junk in their refrigerator; bring your own superfoods and amaze (or annoy) your friends and relatives with your own astonishing commitment to a truly healthful diet!

Which superfood products should you bring? There are a lot of them I recommend, including Living Fuel (www.LivingFuel.com), Boku Superfood (www.BokuSuperfood.com), Healthforce Nutritionals (www.HealthForce.com), HempShake (www.Nutiva.com), Emerald Balance (www.SGNnutrition.com) and Delicious Greens (www.Greens8000.com). There's even a new product I just saw at Whole Foods called Amazing Meal (www.AmazingGrass.com). I haven't tried it yet, but I know their Amazing Grass product is high quality, and I intend on reviewing their Amazing Meal product soon.

The point is to bring a lot of nutritious foods with you in a highly concentrated form. There's no form more concentrated than dried superfood powders. Just add water, shake it up, and you've got a meal!

Tip #3: Bring a Blender Bottle to make instant superfood drinks

Speaking of shaking up your superfoods, you'll need a clever way to accomplish that unless you've managed to bring a Vita-Mix (which I've been known to do, even on airplane trips). Far lighter than a Vita-Mix, the Blender Bottle (www.BlenderBottle.com) uses a stainless steel coil inside a plastic shaker bottle to deliver superfood smoothies that are almost as good as those you'd make in a blender.

The blender bottle is incredibly light, durable and easy to pack. I have one with me right now, and I shake up 3-4 superfood drinks each day with it. While it won't blend up fruits and vegetables, it easily blends superfood powders (including protein powder). Don't leave home without this cool device! (And by the way, I don't mind the fact that it's made out of plastic. I only use it when traveling. A little exposure to plastic from time to time is harmless, especially if you're loading up with superfoods.)

Tip #4: Carefully choose your supplements, and bring them in plastic bottles, not glass

Speaking of glass, while I prefer to store nutritional products in glass bottles at home, when I'm on the road, I carry them in either plastic bottles or plastic bags. Yes, I don't like plastic, either, but for traveling there's simply no replacement. They're light and virtually unbreakable. You don't want to find glass shards in your suitcase after you claim it at baggage check do you?

Tip #5: Bring a gravity-fed countertop water filter (Brita, Pur, etc.)

A gravity-fed countertop water filter will let you "make" clean water just about anywhere. Just fill it up with your hotel's tap water and wait for filtered water to appear in the container. This is the water you'll use to make your superfoods.

Yes, I know: It's not the best water in the world. If you want the best water, build a log cabin near an artesian well somewhere and drink your artesian water out of glass jars. But for those who need to travel, a countertop Brita filter will remove chlorine and other pollutants, giving you safe water to drink without forcing you to buy the hotel's water (which is at least triple the cost of gasoline, by the way).

Brita water filters are incredibly light, too. You can even pack other gear inside them, such as your toothbrush, Dr. Bronner's soap, and other personal care products.

Tip #6: Bring some Organic Food Bars or other healthy, portable foods

As you've no doubt noticed, airplane food is mostly junk food filled with chemicals (unless you sit in first class, in which case it will be gourmet food filled with chemicals). So unless you want to destroy your health before you arrive at your destination, bring your own food and avoid the toxic food items handed out to all the other clueless passengers (who will apparently eat anything handed to them in a pretty wrapper...)

What to bring? Healthy food bars, of course! My favorites are the Organic Food Bar (www.OrganicFoodBar.com) and the Greens+ High Protein Food Bar (www.GreensPlus.com). I've also found some truly awesome raw food snacks from a new company called RawPhoriaLIVE (www.RawPhoriaLive.com). Their RawNola (raw granola) products are absolutely perfect for traveling. And they're outrageously delicious. (Their website isn't ready to take orders yet, but they do list phone numbers if you want to order from them by phone.)

Some other things to bring are raw nuts from www.TransitionNutrition.com and a great new product I've discovered called Barney Butter (www.BarneyButter.com), which is a super delicious almond butter in a convenient travel pack. Just squeeze it onto raw cashews and you'll enjoy a super healthy snack while the passengers next to you lick the salt crumbs out of their pitiful peanut baggies...

Tip #7: Seek out the healthiest food you can find

Once you arrive at your destination, don't leap to the local all-you-can-eat processed food bar; get to a Whole Foods or even just a regular grocery store where you can buy some fresh produce. Even if you can't find organic, just get something fresh. Non-organic produce is still better than any processed food.

Even if you don't have a small refrigerator in your hotel room, you can still load up on oranges, melons and a few fresh items that will last a day or two without refrigeration. For those times when I'm completely out of fresh produce options, I like to buy almond milk and puffed kamut cereal, then I stir some SunWarrior protein into a bowl of kamut to make a high-protein cereal snack. It isn't raw, and it's not fresh, but it's not bad for food on the road. It certainly beats the $15 scrambled eggs offered by your hotel's room service menu (which are probably scrambled on Teflon pans, by the way...)

Tip #8: Bring a jump rope, yoga mat, or swimsuit to stay active

Staying active is key to staying healthy on any trip -- and perhaps not for the reasons you suspect. I think one of the best advantages of exercise while traveling is that your body sweats out toxins as you work your cardio. This will eliminate toxic chemicals through your sweat glands (sweating is one of the best detox strategies of all!)

So the key here is not necessarily to work you heart or muscles, but to sweat as much as possible while replenishing your body with healthy fluids (the superfood drinks you made, above).

Of course, exercise also reduces stress and enhances your mood, and that tends to make your travel a lot more enjoyable in the first place.

Tip #9: Get into nature

Wherever you go, find a park, beach, lake or forest where you can chill out and soak up some nature. Just getting outside and breathing some fresh air can make a huge difference in your stress levels, so make a point to get into nature wherever you go. Even New York has parks!

Also, be sure to open your hotel room window shades before going to sleep so that the morning light comes through and resets your circadian rhythm to be in sync with the local time. This therapeutic use of light is key to getting your body in sync with reality. If your hotel room is pitch dark because you've closed the heavy blinds, your brain will never get the signal that it's time to produce "wake me up hormones!"

Tip #10: Have emergency first-aid herbs on hand

I recommend traveling with a 1 oz. tincture bottle of cayenne pepper, plus some other herbs such as:

• Peppermint (for digestion)
• Ginger (for motion sickness and immune boosting)
• Aloe vera gel (for digestion and anti-viral uses) (www.GoodCauseWellness.com)
• Yun Nan Bai Yao - This is an amazing Traditional Chinese Medicine remedy that stops bleeding! It's a formula that was developed in 1902, and it has an astounding ability to stop bleeding from cuts, scrapes and other wounds.

All emergency rooms should use Yun Nan Bai Yao, but of course western medical people are clueless about any systems of medicine they didn't invent themselves, so they remain ignorant of Yun Nan Bai Yao. You'll have to visit a Chinese medicine store to find this. Ask for it by name. Learn more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yunnan_Baiyao

Tip #11: Bring your own personal care products

Don't rely on the shampoo and soap in the hotel. Those products are loaded with toxic fragrance chemicals (even in "green" hotels, which aren't really green, by the way). Instead, bring you own personal care products.

Here are some of the ones I bring:

*Dr. Bronner's soap (www.DrBronner.com) - For washing your hands, face and body. I even use it as a shampoo.

*Toothsoap (www.Toothsoap.com) - Better than toothpaste. Simple, natural and portable. I like the "Plain Jane" variety.

*Dental Miracle (www.DentalMiracle.com) - Herbal tooth powder. Great for traveling. Fights gum disease and other oral health problems.

*Peri-Gum (www.Peri-Gum.com) - A cayenne-based herbal mouthwash with multiple medicinal herbs. Fantastic for rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth.

*Natural Sunscreen - I don't use sunscreen, but if you want to, bring a natural brand. It's virtually impossible to find natural sunscreen products on the road (even from health food stores!). The most natural brand I've seen yet is called Caribbean Blue (www.GoCaribbeanBlue.com)

Tip #12: Bring your own natural laundry detergent

If you're going to do laundry at your destination and you don't want to use the toxic chemically-contaminated detergents offered for sale at retail, you'll need your own laundry detergent. Naturally, I hope you choose my own brand -- Bodhi Soap Nuts, which you'll find at www.BetterLifeGoods.com -- but there are other great brands out there, too, including Seventh Generation, Maggie's Soap Nuts and other eco-conscious laundry soaps.

The important thing here is to avoid toxic, brand-name laundry products. Nearly all conventional laundry products contain cancer-causing chemicals that are not only terrible for your own health; they're also disastrous for the environment when flushed downstream!

 What about the "Airborne" supplement? Is the "Airborne" supplement any good? It's the one that claims to be "created by a schoolteacher."

To answer this question, just read the ingredients yourself. You'll find that Airborne contains aspartame. Any "health" product made with aspartame is, in my opinion, a complete joke. Don't waste your time (or money) on Airborne.

Mike's travel journal

I'm on the road right now, visiting nutritional supplement companies to conduct audio and video interviews. I just interviewed KC Craichy from LivingFuel today, in fact. We filmed a NaturalNews segment in a TV studio, and actually had a really cool kitchen studio where we blended up our favorite smoothies on camera! (Watch for those videos in a few weeks on NaturalNews...)

While packing for my trip, I discovered a yellow and black poisonous snake crawling down the hallway of my home. This was a bit shocking, but not out of the realm of possibility (I live in the desert, after all). Trapping and removing a poisonous snake is tricky. I learned they get pretty annoyed when you try to move them. Fortunately, I was ultra careful and managed to release the snake in a gulch behind my house. (My neighbors kill every creature they find in their yard, but I prefer to set them free.)

The next bit of excitement came during takeoff on a Delta flight. Just before pitching skyward and leaping off the runway, our pilot slammed on the brakes and halted the plane in an "aborted takeoff" maneuver. Turns out an indicator light came on in the cockpit, telling the pilot a cargo door was open. There was a bit of excitement there as all the passengers imagined their belongings being strewn across the runway.

I've discovered that airline passengers get really angry if their flights are delayed for no apparent reason, but if you scare the crap out of them first with an aborted takeoff brake-slamming maneuver, they don't complain at all -- they're just happy to be alive! I've never seen a crowd so happy to be delayed for two hours at the airport.

The Paper Bag Nazi at Whole Foods

In Florida, where I'm currently staying, I found a Whole Foods and picked up some fresh produce. It turns out the cashier was a NaturalNews reader (hi, Linda!), so we chatted a bit about the website, and she was really glad to meet me in person.

The person bagging my purchases, however, had no idea who I was, and when I asked if I could buy three extra paper bags, she morphed into a Paper Bag Nazi and declared that her job in the world was to protect the environment from too many paper bags, and no, I couldn't buy any extra bags.

When I pointed out that they actually GIVE paper bags to people who buy things, she said she could give me more paper bags only if I bought more stuff to put in them. I then pointed out that buying more stuff was probably worse for the environment that just getting more paper bags. She did not seem amused by this inescapable logic, and she defended the paper bags issue as if she were a Whole Foods shareholder or something.

When I took my purchases to my car, I couldn't find the herbal tinctures I had purchased there, so I went back to the checkout lane to see if they had been left behind. They weren't there either, and a Whole Foods customer service rep asked me what I was doing, so I explained to her that I had just bought these three herbal tinctures and I couldn't find them in my bags. Just then, the Paper Bag Nazi appeared again, and with an accusatory scowl, she insisted that she had personally packed those tinctures in my bags, and that I already had them. (She was now convinced that not only was I a paper bag thief, I was also an herbal tincture thief!)

In a final attempt to conclude the issue, I went back to my car, rummaged through the paper bags, and sure enough, I did find the herbal tinctures. Guess where they were? The Paper Bag Nazi had wrapped them inside another paper bag!

Somehow I think this girl will soon end up working for the TSA (those are the people who run the security screenings at U.S. airports). One of those people, by the way, was running the X-ray conveyer belt back and forth as I waited for my luggage to be irradiated at the airport security checkpoint. After about a minute of jockeying this belt forwards and backwards, accompanied by frustrating scowls, he looked right at me and declared, "I hate these new X-ray machines. The buttons don't work."

I replied to him, "That's called an upgrade, sir."

He laughed, paused for a moment, and then said back to me, "No, that's called a GOVERNMENT upgrade!"

Well said. 

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