From antioxidant drinks to boost alertness and immunity to roadside squats to beat inflammation – here are a few simple and highly effective things to keep you healthier and happier on the road.
I know American roads. I’ve driven from all four corners of North America numerous times for work as I built my companies and for pleasure with friends and family over the years. Travel can do wonders for the soul but also do a number on the body. I can tell you from experience why the word “TRAVEL” originates in ancient times from words like torture, torment, labor, work & strive. Travel, in this case the ever popular “road trip”, can be absolute hell. What you do and don’t do to your body along the way has a massive impact on how you will look back on your trip – with either happiness or contempt.
Most recently, for two years I drove back and forth every week between Carmel and Los Angeles – that’s about 700 miles a week. It’s a spectacular drive through California’s finest countryside but often brutal and unforgiving. Starting early 2015, my wife Courtney and our 6-month-old daughter were rooted in Carmel when I secured a job managing an organic food business in Los Angeles. I left Carmel every Sunday late afternoon and returned from Los Angeles Friday midafternoon – making the 7-hour trip twice per week (sometimes a 10 hour drive thanks to LA traffic on Friday). I’ve driven through dust storms, fires, earthquakes and amazingly snowstorms in California. I also have many speeding tickets. I mastered the art of the road trip and quickly learned tips like drinking antioxidant rich plant-based extracts for sustainable energy. It works.
I also learned that there is nothing worse than dirty highway food loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients to slow you down and dampen the mood. I learned that there are far too few rest rooms on the road particularly when you desperately need one the most after having one too many coffees. I know sleeping in the car without a pillow is a drag. I also learned that road trips can bring experiences that you will remember for a lifetime that you simply can’t get from a plane or sitting at home – like seeing a spectacular sunrise over the Bonneville Salt Flats just outside of Salt Lake City on an early August summer morning…this is where the world turns pink above the rising sun atop of a mirrored lake reflecting the distant mountains – hard not to find religion during these moments.
Here are 10 tips that are tried and true from a natural food industry road warrior to make a road trip… well…awesomer:
- Plan & Bring Good Food & Drinks. Make a list that considers everyone’s diet and each meal and snack on the road. Hit the grocery store and buy in advance. A sure-fire way to eat badly and feel terrible is to try and buy food along the way from gas stations and fast-food restaurants. Look for nutrient dense food rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant-based ingredients. You put high octane gas in cars to perform better – the same applies to you and clean food.
- Hydrate: Water is the best and easiest way to maintain your health along the way. Water helps with digestion, fights fatigue and can prevent headaches caused by dehydration. In warm climates, it’s also a safety feature if the car breaks down and you’re stranded for a period of time! Avoid soda. Natural plant extract juice has essential phytonutrients (plant nutrients) like vitamin C, quercetin and polyphenols that boost your immune system and give sustainable energy. Less is more when it comes to juice because of naturally occurring sugar – dilute in water for flavor and functional benefits.
- Protein: Snacks and meals with protein can keep you feeling full and less likely to crave road junk food. Plan for one protein source at every meal and choose protein-rich snacks like nuts, hummus, premium all-natural beef or turkey jerky, hard-boiled eggs or convenient cheese sticks. Certain plant-based juices have protein, or you can reach for organic milk or dairy alternatives. Be careful with protein drinks because many have artificial ingredients or too much sugar which isn’t optimal.
- Limit Caffeine with Polyphenol Intake: We really need to stop pouring so much caffeine into our bodies! Don’t get me wrong, we love coffee in my house. However honestly, less really is more with caffeine because it’s a drug which in excess always works against you – it’s like a law of the universe. The abundance of coffee shops along the way make excessive caffeine intake easy. Too much caffeine fires up your adrenal glands, pulls ahead and burns most of your day’s energy supply and leaves you burnt out later in the day. The solution…swap out one or two coffee drinking occasions in the day for a beverage high in plant polyphenols that support your mitochondrial function to help produce sustainable energy. Look for quercetin which gives a nice sustainable boost to endurance which is desperately needed later in the day on those long hauls.
- Eating & Cleaning Tools: Bring disposable table wear (napkins, cups, bowls, plates and of course cutlery). A couple garbage bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels and an all-purpose cleaner spray bottle. At the end of every day clean out the car. Nothing worse than getting into the car the next morning to a mess.
- Road Gym: Stretch and do squats! We have all heard about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which are blood clots brought on by sitting when traveling. Stiffness, soreness and exacerbating preexisting conditions like inflammation are common with travel. Stop every couple of hours for rest but also to move your body. I highly recommend some basic stretching – anything you might do before a workout. I also highly recommend doing squats as often as possible. Squats in my opinion are the most important part of all exercise routines and even with just your bodyweight can deliver massive impact on the road.
- More about Food: Plan your restaurant stops in advance. The best way to eat amazing food is research what unique local spots you can visit along the way. No plan can lead to bad choices. Check out in advance an online list of restaurants visited by your favorite celebrity (or non-celebrity) chef and plan to visit them along the way. On several trips my wife and I visited every restaurant we could find that Anthony Bourdin featured on Parts Unknown and it added a whole new dimension for us.
- Less but More?: Try eating smaller and healthier meals more frequently. This will keep your energy level up and promote regular stops along the way for rest. Obviously, we want to promote the benefits of haskap juice (aka honeyberry, honeysuckle, sweetberry) to boost immunity and reduce inflammation to name a few benefits. But there are so many other great healthy whole food options to choose from that can be enjoyed along the way. What you want to avoid is eating big meals far apart…this is a sure way to bring on fatigue.
- The Peppermint Shower: I marketed flavored rubber for years having worked for Wrigley. I can tell you chewing gum (flavored rubber) with artificial sweeteners and flavors may not be your best solution for fresh breath. I highly recommend brushing your teeth during the day. All you need is a toothbrush, Desert Essence Cool Mint toothpaste and water. I use a Radius toothbrush brand because they are awesome, and I strongly recommend Desert Essence Cool Mint flavor because it is a super powerful mint toothpaste that blasts bad breath away and seems to wake you up at the same time. Note – this is super strong peppermint toothpaste that may be too much for your kids, or it could be fun watching them blow their heads off with peppermint power.
- Coolers are King: Lastly, having a cooler takes up space but it expands your healthy food options. Plus, when you stop for breaks and the car gets warm it eliminated issues like melted cheese and warm juice. Remember to buy ice every morning – not a big deal and worth the effort. Or, if you have the space and the power you can buy plug in coolers that leverage the cars energy.
In March 2021 we posted the below post on social media. If you have read this far and happened to come to us by clicking through our post, we thank you for joining us despite the goofy post. We also hope that you have picked up some tips on how to make a road trip awesome. Of course, it goes without saying that we also hope you discover the many benefits of Sweet Prairie Haskap juice by visiting us at drinkhaskap.com to learn more. Regardless, thanks for stopping in and we hope your next road trip is a success. As of writing this, it appears we are just starting to come out of the COVID pandemic and I for one will be sprinting for the car when we can get out of here safely!