23 Oct

I have been most remiss about posting this week – but part of it is because I have flown back home to Malaysia. Leaving was really sad and traumatic. I miss baby Z and M and B and J and family a lot … but am trying hard to readjust and plan for the next time!

The flight from the US to Malaysia is also pretty brutal – total traveling time (from house to house) is about 27 hours. I have done it enough times to have certain tips and tricks to make the flight and the transition easier. Most of them have to do with food, so here they are!

Start preparing your body about a week in advance

Your body goes through immense stress when you take it 39,000 feet above ground – no matter the pressurised, canned air environment. Your organs get squished, pressure is put on your heart and lungs, and your extremities swell. You are also at much higher risk for a deep vein thrombosis. You can minimise your risks and increase your comfort levels on board by preparing your body for flight.

  • Drink water – at least 8 – 12 glasses per day – for at least a week before flying. This will ensure your body is very hydrated and will help it battle the dehydrating effects of being up in the air.
  • Take 2 aspirins every day for a week before flying (and 3 days upon landing). This will thin your blood and help prevent thrombosis.
  • For a few days before flying, eat carefully. For me this means no spicy food, no rich or milky food, and a few dates. The dates ensure I flush everything out of my system before I fly… and this is a good thing, believe me! I also try and eat an apple or some fruit every day.
  • The day I fly, I rarely eat anything. May be a piece of toast or some fruit or yogurt for breakfast, but after that, nothing but juice and water. I find it really helps to fly on an empty stomache! Seriously – much more comfortable all around.
  • Even if you dont regularly, try and take some vitamins for at least 2 – 3 days before you fly, and 2 – 3 days once you have landed. A good multi-vitamin is fine.

Drink, drink, drink when flying

When I fly, I mostly consume water. No coffee, tea, carbonated drinks or alcohol. These just wreak havoc on the system when it is under such intense pressure. Qatar (my new favourite airlines) has a wonderful lime and mint drink – but I ask the stewardesses to mix it 1/4 lime and mint, 3/4 water. And I drink glass upon glass upon glass. Its a good idea to ask for a bottle of water, but I also try and walk to the galley at least once every 2 – 3 hours for a refill on my drink. This enables me to get up and walk, and also ensures Im drinking loads!

To veg or not to veg?

When I fly, I used to pre-order a vegetarian meal. I once made the mistake of ordering an Asian vegetarian meal, and got beans – bean salad, bean curry, bean cutlet. I am here to tell you, beans and flying in an enclosed space are not a good match! So I used to order western vegetarian meals, and mostly, they were okay. But then I realised that when you order a vegetarian meal, you get a lot of food. And I believe that its not a good idea to eat a lot while flying.

So I now dont pre-order, and rather see whats available on the flight. Most airlines offer a vegetarian main course. The starter will usually have fish or meat in it, and thats great because then I wont eat it! I have nuts – great protein, and energy source, bread, and vegetarian main course if possible. I usually skip dessert unless its fruit (or chocolate!).

I find I dont miss eating a lot on flights, and when I land, my system thanks me for it.

Coming Home…

The first day I landed, I made a terrible mistake. I ate nasi lemak with sambal. Basically, rich Malaysian food with fried chili sauce condiments! Not a good idea at all. In my greed and pleasure at being home, I forgot the cardinal rule – tread lightly and gently for a few days.

Fruit, water, toast, oatmeal and some yogurt are all wonderful bites for home coming. Remember to keep your water consumption up as you will have been really dehydrated from the flight. Also, be vigilant about taking vitamins and dont forget the aspirin for a few days. I was in the air for a total of 22 hours – I really needed to be careful with myself.

Flying is a means to an end – it allows us to have amazing adventures in far flung places, and more importantly for me, it brings me home to my family, which is stretched half way around the world. But flying takes a toll on the body, and the single most important thing to do when flying is to be conscious and aware of how you are treating yourself. Being a healthy flier means that once you land, you can get up and go quickly and happily!

2 Responses to “Flying”

  1. goddessmoments October 23, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Welcome home ♥

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