Managing an autoimmune condition can be challenging enough but adding travel and holiday schedules into the mix can make it feel downright daunting. There are constant challenges that come with life on the road and in airports, preparing meals in a hotel room, staying with relatives, and constantly being offered foods that will trigger autoimmune symptoms. Those who adhere to an autoimmune protocol and diet as much as possible will prevent flares and relapses during the holidays and stay out of bed recovering from a crash.
The best way to manage your autoimmune condition during the holidays is to manage your stress as it is one of the most potent triggers for flare-ups. Check in with yourself frequently and commit to a no-stress, can-do mindset. I cannot emphasize enough how important managing stress levels is.
It is also very helpful to do a little advance planning. Try these tips to sticking to your autoimmune protocol and diet while traveling:
Don’t let yourself get too hungry! This can be the biggest saboteur of even the best laid plans. When your energy is already low and you’re starving, you are far more likely to eat trigger foods, such as gluten, dairy or other inflammatory items.
Determine what options are available at your destination before you arrive. Check to see if there is a health food market in the area or if your hotel room has a fridge.
You can also travel with frozen food in an insulated container and then heat it up at your destination. Some people even bring their own hot plate and cookware.
Be sure to bring plenty to eat on long flights, such as beef jerky, celery, sardines, olives, coconut meat, and other filling snacks.
Pack plenty of anti-inflammatory support. Traveling is stressful on its own when you’re dealing with challenges like early morning flights, long travel days, overstuffed flights, uncomfortable guest beds, and so on. As much as we love them, spending time with family members can also cause some stress. Packing anti-inflammatory supplements, such as liposomal glutathione, resveratrol, and turmeric can help your body respond to these stresses by maintaining healthy glutathione levels and reducing inflammation.
Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and essential for preventing and taming autoimmune flares. Effective anti-inflammatory supplements include glutathione precursors such as N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, cordyceps, and milk thistle. You can also take s-acetyl-glutathione, or an oral liposomal glutathione. Note that taking straight glutathione is not effective.
Search ahead for unscented hotel rooms. Some hotel rooms can either have an overpowering perfume stench or they are dusty and stale. Look for hotels that offer scent-free allergy-friendly rooms with hypoallergenic bedding, air purifiers, and windows that open. At the very least, you can ask them to air out the room before you arrive.
Carry a mask to avoid inhaling triggers. Sometimes you simply can’t escape an environment that is overly scented, smoky, or potentially triggering in some other way. In case you find yourself seated next to a woman who reeks of perfume for example, carry a face mask so you can breathe safely. Invest in a quality face mask that allows you to breathe comfortably and won’t fog up your glasses if you wear them. Some companies also make face masks for children.
Schedule time to get away for some solitude and rest to avoid feeling like your vacation is an overbearing job. Try taking naps, reading, meditating, or going for peaceful walks. Creating and enforcing boundaries will lower your stress and reduce inflammatory toxins.
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