What I eat on planes

Posted on July 24th, 2014

This is another one of those posts I do when the questions on a particular topic roll in too thick and fast for me to respond to on an individual basis. Every time I travel somewhere I cop this one: but what do you eat in the air?

Image via Favim.com

Image via Favim.com

I’ve covered off what I eat when I’m travelling, that is, what I eat in foreign countries when I don’t have access to a kitchen and familiar foods.

I’ve also touched on what I eat on the run, including toting my breakfast and lunch to work. But today we’re going to cover air travel in all its hyper-packaged, processed, over-salted glory.

I mostly don’t eat on domestic routes

On short flights I simply don’t eat. Honestly, all of us can survive 1-2 hours without food. Snacking is a confection of the food industry to get us eating more of their food. Up until the 1990s common wisdom was to eat three square meals a day. This is what our bodies are designed to do. They like to rest a good 4-5 hours between meals. But in the early 90s nutritionists modified this to the “5-6 small meals a day” prescription in response to their client’s crazy blood sugar issues (from eating too many sugars and cheap carbs).

My issue with snacking is also this: snack food is mostly crappy. And always so on planes.

Know this:

Because our sense of taste dilutes at altitude, plane food is jammed with extra flavourings and salt.

On international flights

On long flights, or if my transit and flying time is right on a meal time, I will generally pack my own food and eat it at the airport or mid-flight. This is what I do:

  • I use up veggies that will go off in the fridge while I’m away. I chop up red capsicum, beans, snow peas etc and put in a ziplock bag (these can be rinsed out, dried and rolled up taking up less room in my suitcase than a lunchbox). I tend to always have a wedge of avocado or cheese lying around. I put that in the bag, too (I always eat fat Read more

How to plan a great hike

Posted on July 23rd, 2014

It’s kind of funny being asked to explain something that comes as second nature to you. “Um, you just do it,” comes the reply from the nuclear scientist who splits atoms for a living.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 10.04.09 AMBut given I’m so often hike-bragging (hagging?) all over social media under the pretense of encouraging more people to hike on their weekends and vacations (in lieu of shopping), I feel it’s my responsibility to actually break things down for those who are wanting to give it a go, some of you for the first time. Anyone doubting the incredible benefits of hiking it’s worth my flagging:

*Research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

* Just one hour of trekking can burn well over 500 calories (if calorie counting is your caper).

* Hiking can lower blood pressure by four to 10 points, and reduce the danger of heart disease, diabetes and strokes for those at high-risk.

* Another study found that long distance hiking trips may improve antioxidative capacity in cancer patients.

* And this bit of boffinism shows that using hiking as an additional therapy can help people with severe depression feel less hopeless, depressed and suicidal.

In a semblance of order, here’s how I do it:

I make it all about the hike.

Some people travel to a city or region for a museum, or the café scene, or for the wineries. From there they experience other things (great food, sights, smells). When you really want to give hiking a go, go to where the best hike is and build in other experiences from there. It’s not a bad formula to adhere to. Great hiking scenery generally attracts great food and culture and other experiences. And like-minded people.

I use hiking as the raison d’etre of my travelling. That and eating.

Research your hike thus:

Google: “Best hikes in [insert name of area]”. If you’re really happy to travel anywhere in the world for a rippin’ hike, check Read more

Being creative can be a lonely path

Posted on July 18th, 2014

I loved reading about this new study into the connection between creativity and mental illness. It effectively found that creativity has little correlation with genius. While there is a connection with a highish IQ  (the “average” creative has an IQ around 120), the real nexus is with a touch of madness. But more specifically (and interestingly), a particular ability to see things others don’t.

Image via Favim.com

Image via Favim.com

The author’s final conclusion on the Thing that denotes creativity is this:

“Creative people are better at recognising relationships, making associations and connections, and seeing things in an original way—seeing things that others cannot see.”

He goes on to say that this ability to see things differently can be a very lonely experience…which, in turn, he feels, explains the mental illness nexus.

A quote from his own writing on the subject:

“When you work at the cutting edge, you are likely to bleed.”

It would appear mad to go to the cutting edge if it were only painful. But here comes my favourite bit, the bit that made me Read more