The movie was “Dream Girls.” There was turbulence. I don’t remember what I had eaten. But I do remember that I got to see it once again. It was coming back up. I will not describe more (because for all I know you might be eating right now). You get the picture. And it wasn’t pretty.
This was the scenario on a flight to Arizona a few years ago that my kids won’t let me live down. It stands out because it was unusual. I’m not prone to motion sickness while traveling, I promise.
To be honest, though, I’ve always felt a little bit “off” as I disembarked from planes. It could be anything from a slight headache to general malaise to a strong desire to get the ground under my feet once again. I just never felt 100% upon landing.
Flying messes with everybody, even if they’re not tossing their cookies into a coated white bag.
Now that I’m a health coach, I’ve figured out that flying messes with everybody, even if they’re not tossing their cookies into a coated white bag. There’s wifi all around. Re-circulated toxic air. Seats with electricity running through them. Atmospheric radiation. The miracle of flight is awesome…but the cost can be significantly more than the ticket you pay for.
Short of resorting to Laura Ingalls Wilder-esque transportation, what can we do? Here are my top 10 tips for flying healthier, from the lowest hanging fruit (easiest to adopt) to the fruit on the highest branch (only for squirrels or nuts or hard core biohackers and frequent fliers). Some may surprise you. Some will definitely surprise your fellow passengers.
1. Light massage. Don’t go for the full body scan. The TSA agents say that the amount of radiation in the scan is equivalent to a short amount of time on a cell phone. None of us needs any more of a radiation burden to bear, so just opt out. A pat down is really just a light massage.
2. Conga line. It’s important to avoid inflammation and blood pooling from lack of activity and cabin pressure. Keep the blood circulating by moving around. Get creative and you just might start your own Canada Air conga line in the aisle.
3. Sock hop. Wear compression socks. These help address the problems mentioned in point 2. Plus, as you age, you can start wearing them with sandals. Terrific fashion statement.
4. Go incognito. Blue blocking glasses block the blue light that interferes with your melatonin production & blue light is EVERYWHERE in the plane (screens, cabin lights, devices, even through the small windows that cannot be opened). Two reasons wearing these is a good idea? 1) Everyone will think you’re a movie star and traveling incognito, and 2) it’s easier to wear the blueblockers than it is to start taping little pieces of red plastic over all of the lights within a six-foot radius.
5. Shiver, shiver. The a.c. is cranked so high on planes eyeballs freeze. (Most airlines hope to make a significant profit selling blankets, because snack sales are down.) Buck the system. Don’t buy the blanket. Embrace the low temps as free cryotherapy. Remember that fifteen minutes of shivering is worth an hour of working out. So, go ahead and fly in shorts, sandals, and if possible, even shirtless. That way, the minute you land, you can head straight to the beach. And you’ll have more of a buff beach body to show off, too!
6. Go hungry. Digestion gets sluggish in the air. Fasting gives your system a break. Plus, when you fly fasted, it helps combat jet lag. The only drawback? It makes the dense sugar cookies they sell actually look appetizing by hour three.
7. Get bullet-proof. Wear EMF-free clothing. Yup, it’s a thing! Metal is woven into the hoodie or cap and it is said to prevent the radiation from reaching you. Hacker bonus hint: wear tinfoil under the hat and if anyone asks tell them that it’s to prevent the aliens from hacking your brain. This will help you bond with the people in your row.
8. Lone ranger. “Bleed air” and “fume events” can make the air that you breathe in flight toxic.. Wear a coconut carbon filtered mask. You will get side glances of pity, as people will assume you’re deathly ill, but the upside is that no one will bore you with stories of their grandchildren. And sometimes the flight attendants will, in a sudden gesture of compassion, toss an extra bag of pretzels your way, which you will have to eat after landing since you are flying fasted (see point 7). You will be more of a masked Lone Ranger than even the Lone Ranger was (because he at least had Tonto.)
9. Bring bubbly. Flying causes oxidative stress. Counteract this by adding hydrogen tablets to your water. Cackle wildly as you do this and your seatmates will be impressed, especially if you can appear to transform into a werewolf shortly after imbibing it.
10. Rotten egg. Choose a seat in the very last row of the plane. Yes, the one right next to the lavatory. You will be the last one to get off the plane, making you the rotten egg., Or so they will think! But, shhhh. It’s a secret—these seats propel you into an elite category. Only the flight attendants and the pilots sit in seats like these! They are not wired to show movies to the people seated behind you. Because there is no one behind you. This means that they are not electric chairs, giving you extra doses of EMFs. The drawback? You can’t lean back an inch like everyone else on the plane. The bennie? People don’t know this secret advantage, so it’s quite likely you’ll be able to stretch out across all three seats in your row.
There you have it. All extroverts can enjoy these hacks as a way to walk in an introvert’s shoes for a while. Trust me, I speak from experience. These hacks will certainly set you apart.
On my flight to Australia this September, you can bet I’ll be doing every single one of these. And I will certainly step off the plane feeling 100% and raring to go. Unless, of course, they happen to be showing the movie “Dream Girls” and we encounter unexpected turbulence.
Hilda Labrada Gore is a biohacker, certified health coach, and fitness professional. She is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast, on behalf of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She is a podcast coach, too, and the author of “Podcasting Made Simple.” She is also the DC Metro Regional Director for Body & Soul Fitness. She and her husband live in DC with their children and cat and dog. Hilda has energy to spare thanks to her ancestral health practices and her love for sunshine and liverwurst.