Fasting and Travelling

The fake looking, runny, scrambled eggs supported structurally by a bit of cheese clung to the foil cover as I peeled it back to reveal the ridiculously child-like portions for my breakfast aboard my Turkish Airlines flight back to China. At this point, I began to regret my decision not to fast during travel. The fake looking, runny, mashed potatoes that accompanied the dry chicken fillets from the dinner eight hours earlier had clearly caused a certain amount of bloating, gas, and discomfort in my bowels. I expected no less from the eggs at which I stared in disbelief for this “morning” meal and which sat beside perhaps the smallest turkey sandwich I have ever seen. I only knew that the sandwich contained turkey from the menu handed out at the beginning of the flight, apparently so one has an easier time identifying which dishes one consumes.

Experts suggest abstaining from fasting while travelling. Since I have started fasting, I have followed this advice. However, since I have started fasting, I have begun to notice the effects of airline food on my system. Before I started fasting the only thing I noticed about airline food was its less-than-desirable taste. Now the pain and discomfort that I derive, along with the less-than-desirable taste, lasts for days afterwards. They serve fairly Western fare with lots of sugar, salt, and oil: sugary blueberry yogurt, jam and bread, pudding, a smidgen of vegetables and a few fruits, and meat. They tell us to eat this stuff as we travel.

The salad, on this flight, reserves special mention. The cook had placed one single piece of a yellowish colored lettuce (if one can call it such), an extremely small slice of cucumber, and a thin slice of tomato in a bowl appropriately sized to make the mini collection of vegetables look larger-than-life. A sugar-packet sized package of oil (I dared not check what kind of oil, cheap I’m sure), lemon juice, and sugar took the role of flavoring the pitiful salad. It did not work. I ate as fast as I could to avoid tasting too much.

Problems with Fasting and Travel

I have read much about travelling and fasting and I have experienced travelling during the time I have been intermittent fasting. Several problems present themselves if one chooses to travel and fast at the same time.

To hydrate oneself becomes a priority while fasting: water, tea, coffee must be consumed in high enough quantities to keep one’s urine flowing a nice clear, transparent white-ish color. Keeping hydrated relieves any hunger and allows the cells to cleanse themselves and eliminate wastes and toxins and poisons. Carrying enough liquids while travelling gets very difficult. We receive quite a bit of liquid from the foods we eat, so in order to maintain an ideal hydrated state, one should eat during travel and save fasting for another time.

The airline staff makes your tea and coffee onboard the flight with onboard water. So if your only liquid intake comes from the water on the plane, I would think twice. Airline insiders recommend avoiding the water (it’s worse than in Tijuana). Given a choice between the airline food and the airline water, I will choose the food every time. I never drink coffee or tea on a flight.

Especially with intermittent fasting, you could fast while everyone else eats; and if you decide to break the fast, you could want to eat while everyone else fasts. It could prove very difficult to obtain food, and the kind of food, one needs to break a fast. This could cause a person to break the fast in the wrong manner or wait too long or eat too much. The “food” handed to me on the first leg of my flight resembled a cheese and tomato sandwich, not a good choice for breaking a fast. I doubt that they had some good organic fruit for me to choose from in order to break a fast correctly (had I been fasting). If everything goes perfectly, no problems; however, big problems, if the situation takes a turn for the worse. I have never taken a trip that went perfectly. So again, I choose to eat airline feed, instead of fasting while voyaging.

A view from Sharr Mountain in Kosovo.

Fasting can have complications, most easily solved when at home or in our daily lifestyle; however, with nowhere to lie down or no one to take care of us, these dilemmas could get out of control. With no good water, tea, or coffee, one’s headache could spiral into a migraine. Perhaps, you get up to go to use the toilet and you get light headed. A full flight would give you nowhere to sit and get your head cleared. You might faint due to a lack of options. Now, we have a medical emergency on our hands. How would you explain that one? Will anyone understand?

This blog post does not afford me the space to enumerate every possible bad scenario. Let’s just suffice to say the unsavory food on a flight beats the aggravation of a bad development brought on by fasting in most ways. Even with disagreeable fodder, infantile portions, a suspect water source, and the eventual troublesome feelings that will plague the intestines, I choose to partake during my wanderings.

A pub in Ireland.

My marathon flight from Eastern Europe to China fades into memory, but the food shall never be forgotten! Do you have experience fasting and travelling? Let me know, good and bad, in the comments below. Feel free to follow my blog. And good luck to you in your expeditions. Until next time, keep fast and fit.