Happy Thanksgiving Week, readers! If you don’t know already, you will soon learn that I am simply over the moon about the holiday season. I may, in my day to day, be a radical queer feminist academic devoted to the revolution, but when it comes down to it, I am also a big old softie and a sucker for anything that makes me feel “warm n’ fuzzy.” The holidays do just that. From a little before Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas, I am neck deep in warm fuzzies, and I love every moment of it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t realize that Thanksgiving represents genocide, and that it was and continues to be a horrific part of American history. We should never forget that, and we should do work to fight racism and imperialism in the present. And, yes, a lot of turkeys die, and a lot of over-consumption occurs. We shouldn’t gloss over this either, and we should try to set an example by thriving as vegans who maintain more sustainable diets.
But Thanksgiving also means family. And practicing an intentional focus on gratitude. And delicious vegan food made thoughtfully and with care. And sharing our tables, and sharing our love…….
Oh, and traveling. Yeah, for many of us, the holidays also mean traveling. Talk about a buzz kill. All that warm fuzzy goodness being wrecked by busy airports, dry airplane skin, packing, not having all your shit that you’re used to having at your disposal, and maybe family-induced stress (which can happen even if you love your family to pieces, as I do; it’s still not always smooth to have between 10 and 20 people in a small space, ya know?). Not to mention, food issues: getting enough with a (check all that apply:) vegan [ ] gluten-free [ ] sugar-free [ ] soy-free [ ] nut-free[ ] diet. Eating too much of stuff you don’t usually like to eat. (Not having your juicer :( ).
So how can you prepare to survive a few days of stress and inconvenience? Here are some things I’ve learned after several poorly executed trips home. If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments!
- BYOS (Bring Yr Own Snacks/Supplements)
When in doubt, pack things you can eat. No sides that weren’t cooked in meat stock? Dig in to your stash of almonds! Were you okay on Thanksgiving, but now you’re surrounded by vegan-unfriendly suburban restaurants? Power bar it up (I like: Kind Bars, Perfect Food, and Organic Food Active Green Bar; all are sugar free, soy free, and vegan)! If you’ll have access to a blender, bring some live/raw protein powder and make your own smoothies in the morning. Can’t get nutrients from a smoothie? Pop your supplements! Currently, my cocktail consists of: kelp, probiotics, magnesium, Ovega-3, and a multivitamin.
- BYOW (Bring Yr Own Workouts)
Don’t stop moving your body just because you’re not near your gym or with your stash of home equipment. Tons of fitness gurus have made portable versions of great workouts, so you can sweat no matter where you are. As I’ve mentioned a million times, I love my workout dvds and Bodyrock.tv. I currently stay with my uncle when I go home for a visit, since mom is with the grandparents and there’s no place for Mike and I to sleep, and he has a treadmill, so that helps too. But if you don’t have a healthy uncle with a treadmill, bundle up for a run outside!
- BYOM (Bring Yr Own Meditation)
I’m not good at meditation, but when I do it (which, if i’m being honest, is really only at yoga), I can tell it works. Consider repeating a positive affirmation first thing in the morning, or focusing on your breath during a stressful situation. Or, in honor of Thanksgiving, practice a guided meditation on gratitude. Here are a few that might work.
- BYOBB (Bring Yr Own Body Brush)
Dry skin while traveling is basically inevitable. The air in the plane, mixed with the changes in climate you’re experiencing from one state to another turns skin into a desert. In addition, planes can mess up your circulation. As luck would have it, one handy, packable tool can take care of both: the dry body brush!!!!! Pack it in your suitcase and brush your skin (motion towards your heart) every morning.
- BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)
Along with drying out your skin, airplanes dry out your entire body. It is imperative to hydrate in general, but especially during travel. I strongly recommend bringing your own water bottle–down the whole thing before going through security, since you can’t take liquid through, then refill it at the water fountain outside the bathrooms so you don’t have to pay for a wasteful plastic bottle. I’m sure it’s not the best, most purified water to be drinking, but it’ll do the job. And saving every penny possible while traveling is a good thing!
-avoid all the snacks offered on the plane: peanuts and pretzels are salty and will dehydrate and bloat you even more than the plane ride already is, and cookies are full of unrefined sugar. plus, peanuts from the airline will be susceptible to the fungus that grows on non-organic peanuts. munch on one of your healthier snacks instead.
-ask for hot water with lemon from the drink cart. lemons are a wonderful addition to water (esp. hot water) because it has an alkaline effect. alkalinity balances out acidity, which means adding more lemon juice to your diet during cold and flu season is a good move. read more about the benefits here.
-smile. be grateful. be patient. spread love……(OR: laugh. at me. for being a nerdy warm n’ fuzzy dork ;) ).
happy holiday season and safe travels!