I tried fasting to prevent jet lag and sleep better while traveling—here’s what I learned

Wellness influencers have all sorts of travel hacks for warding off jet lag: Elle Macpherson swears by supplements, Dave Asprey’s all about earthing, and Nutrition Stripped founder McKel Hill, RDN, opts not to eat in flight. Yep, you read that right. The Nashville-based dietitian with a healthy food obsession chooses to leave her travel snacks at home. Here, the Well+Good Council member explains why and how fasting helps her body stay in sync on the road. 

I’ve done some form of intermittent fasting for almost 10 years, but I hadn’t tried it during the day until I took a trip to Thailand in 2015. Not only was it a long haul (30-plus hours with connecting flights, ride shares, etc.), but I was slipping into a completely different time zone—12 hours ahead—and needed to adjust to my new schedule for the next two weeks.

Plus, I believed it could help with what I call “travel digestion”—AKA when your gut gets out of its normal routine; this can look like constipation, bloating, or diarrhea. (We need more research to confirm these findings, but some studies have shown that fasting has metabolic benefits, can decrease inflammation (especially in the digestive tract), and extend life and longevity, in female mice, at least.)

My flight was in the early morning, so rather than break my fast (i.e. eat breakfast) when I woke up, I had some MCT-boosted coffee before I boarded the plane. But once the cabin door closed, all I consumed was water. But I had some freeze-dried green juice powders I could add to it and nut butter, a healthy fat, on hand in case I got very hungry, to keep my energy humming along without dramatically spiking blood sugars.

Since I’m used to fasting for seven to nine hours a day when I’m sleeping (even more if I eat an early dinner and late breakfast), it felt manageable.

Instead of eating, I stayed up most of the flight working or reading with the occasional nap when my body needed it. When I landed in Thailand, I was able to easily get on the new “meal” time and my digestion felt normal. I realize this is an extreme example with the travel time, but since I’m used to fasting for seven to nine hours a day when I’m sleeping (even more if I eat an early dinner and late breakfast), it felt manageable. And I personally find it’s most beneficial, in terms of curing my jet lag, when I also spend the days before a flight getting in sync with my new sleep schedule.

But every body’s different. Which is why fasting might not be for everyone—especially those with impaired glycemic control, as it’s been shown to causes poorer glucose response—as well as anyone who is pregnant, underweight, younger than 18, or has a history of disordered eating. And if you’ve never done it before, do it under the guidance of a nutritionist or physician you trust.

Opting to leave my healthy snacks at home can be hard, but in some ways, it reduces my travel anxiety by simplifying the process and decreases my decision fatigue around figuring out what foods I needed to bring or find at the airport—which gives me more time to relax and think about the awesome adventure I have ahead of me.

McKel Hill, RDN, is a registered dietician nutritionist and the founder of Nutrition Stripped, which treats healthy food as more than just fuel—and gives expert advice on using its nutrients and flavors to make you feel amazing.

What should McKel write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to experts@wellandgood.com

The super-fresh staples an in-demand NYC chef keeps in his fridge

Most busy Manhattanites don’t have the luxury to take a leisurely lunch break at Eleven Madison Park—AKA the “world’s best restaurant.” The next best thing just might be the restaurant group’s new fast-casual eatery, Made Nice.

A sampling of the delish menu options: salmon rosti—which is a frisée salad made with smoked salmon, a soft-boiled egg, dill-caper relish, cucumbers, and potato croutons—and cauliflower stew, made with tofu, couscous, coconut, lemongrass, watercress, almonds, and grapes. Hungry yet?

Clearly the refrigerators at Made Nice are stocked full of veggie and protein options. And it turns out the eatery’s chef, Danny DiStefano—also known as Chef Danny—has a similar inventory at home. Freshly caught fish, vegetables straight from the garden, and plenty of wine take center shelf in his well-stocked fridge.

Want to get a closer look? Scroll down for a peek into Chef Danny’s fridge.

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How baby food is (finally) getting a much-needed upgrade

If you’ve been to a baby shower at some point in your life, you’re probably familiar with the baby food game: A Gerber jar is passed around and partygoers have to guess the flavor. Without fail, it’s accompanied by lots of giggling and comments about how gross it tastes. Hilarious, until you stop and think about what’s really going on: Why would you feed your baby something you wouldn’t touch yourself?

Baby food has widely been unchanged since the 1940s, when shelf-stabilized options were introduced. The only major advancement since then was the advent of organic products—over 50 years ago. Needless to say, the baby food industry is eons behind the rest of the healthy food world. But in the past two years, a few key startups have begun to turn the tide.

“When I had my daughter, I was able to find healthier food for my dog than I could my baby.”

“When I had my daughter, I was able to find healthier food for my dog than I could my baby,” says Alyson Eberle, who went on to found Pure Spoon, a line of organic purees now available at grocery stores across the country that can also be delivered straight to your door. And she wasn’t the only frustrated parent making her own baby food at home, wishing there were more—or at least any—options out there.

For the first time, parents are now able to get organic, nutritionally-balanced baby food without spending hours blending it themselves. And that’s major.

What does the baby food revolution look like? Keep reading to find out.

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11 products for your bedroom to help you sleep blissfully

There are few words in the English language more beautiful than “sleep.” It restores you (and your relationship), keeps your brain in good shape—basically, it’s the most delicious eight-hour chunk of each day.

But getting good rest isn’t always as simple as finding a place to lie down. Sometimes, you need a little help to enhance the quality of your shut-eye. A silk pillowcase, a soft eye mask, and a sound machine are just a few of the products that can help you swap the tossing and turning for dreaming intensely during uninterrupted REM sleep. Here’s a list of products to help you reach bedroom bliss.

Get serenity while you sleep with these dreamy bedroom accessories.

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