Health and Fitness Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Health and Fitness

The Best Way To Unclog Your Ears After A Flight

All of us are familiar with the odd sensation in our ears that occurs during and after a flight. Blocked or “clogged” ears can be a nuisance or even painful but with some preparation plus moderation, nothing that has to ruin your next airplane ride.

Dr. Saba Ghorab has over 14 years of education and specialized surgical training as a board-certified and fellowship-trained in Otolaryngology; Head and Neck Surgery (also known as ENT or ear, nose, and throat). She recently joined an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast and describes how to deal with clogged ears. You can watch a clip here or listen to the full episode below.

Prepare Before You Fly

Having sinuses that are de-congested as much as possible before you fly puts your inner ear in the best condition to deal with pressure changes at altitude. Dr. Ghorab recommends a decongestant spray 15 minutes before your flight, particularly if you’re prone to allergies. Treating any other common sources of congestion or inflammation, like symptoms of a cold, can also help.

Chewing gum and yawning often to physically open the Eustachian tube in your inner ears will help it equalize with the changing pressure as you go up or down in altitude.

Use Moderation

You can (and should) hold your nose and blow to further open your Eustachian tubes but remember not to overdo it. We’ve talked about what can go wrong if you hold your nose and blow as hard as you can so lighter, more frequent attempts are better than one massive attempt. Keep at it, be patient, and don’t force the issue. For most stubborn cases of clogged airplane ears time will usually do its magic eventually, with a little help from you.

Have Travel Influencers Let Us Down During The Pandemic?

tulum mexico

There have been two big groups of travel creators during the Covid-19 pandemic: those who talk about how they can’t travel and those who have kept on traveling. The problem are the content creators who sit right in the middle of what’s said and what they’ve done. Mask-less YouTubers, Instagram models, and bloggers have carved out a niche of continuing to move while ignoring the main travel story of the past 12 months.

In case you need to be reminded: coronavirus.

I Can’t Travel…

Plenty of travel creators have been in Mexico, Portugal, Albania, or Turkey (countries that were generally open during the pandemic) lamenting online that they can’t travel. As far as I know, if you’re visiting a country you don’t live in for the purpose of I feel like it, that’s traveling. The fact that you might not be able to eat indoors at a restaurant or go out on weekends doesn’t mean you’re not currently traveling.

fruit breakfast

Photos on Instagram tell another story of cafe life, aerial yoga classes, and lots of group selfies in some place that also happens to have a high number of Covid related hospitalizations and deaths. It should all be called out for what it is: disregard for the people and places who’ve taken the pandemic seriously.

A Shame

Very few creators want to talk about travel shaming and pointing fingers so let’s not call out any specific people. The travel industry and online community is especially vanilla, avoiding any strong opinions so as to appeal to the masses (and the potential money they might bring).

And the pandemic has become a political issue.

Consequently travel influencers are generally (or at least publicly) liberal leaning. On the topic of the pandemic though, for many, their movement to places where they can get away from the rules tells another story. Not that they’re conservative but that Covid is getting in the way, so let’s go around it.

Unfortunately science doesn’t work that way.

Not That Big A Deal

Away from the public however a lot of travel creators will tell you that coronavirus isn’t that big of a deal. Many will also not tell you they’ve had coronavirus and picked it up most likely at a large social gathering. Just check their Instagram. How many other people, including locals, they’ve infected? You won’t see that on TikTok.

None of this is to say any of us are perfect or that this is every travel blogger-vlogger-creator out there. Only that not many are talking about the disconnect between the posts and the reality. To me, that’s the real travel story of the past 12 months. Being upfront about it is a bit less glamorous but a lot more useful to the people following. So live as you want, just tell it like it is.

Trust me, it’ll be authentic.

Not Wanting To Exercise Is Normal, Here’s Why

There are a lot of myths about fitness, including the notion that our ancestors were hulking super-humans who were always on the go. It turns out according to Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology Daniel Lieberman, hunter gatherers do a lot more sitting than you think.

Dr. Lieberman is the author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding and recently joined me on a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast to discuss common myths above movement. We also talk about the Paleo diet and why eating from a Stone Age menu might not be ideal.

You can watch a clip of my interview with Dr. Lieberman in this video or listen to the full foXnoMad Podcast episode here.

Turkish Vegan Recipe: How To Cook Mercimek Koftesi (Lentil Balls)

There are a lot of traditional Turkish dishes that are vegetarian or vegan in their original form. A popular local dish I‘ve mentioned before is mercimek (mer-ji-mek) koftesi (kouf-te-si), which are spicy lentil balls with onions and a few other ingredients. Last time I had my mom join a live chat here on the site to show you tips on preparing lentil balls.

For this recipe, I figured it even better to make a video with my mom showing you how to make mercimek koftesi so you can cook them for yourself, friends, or family any time you like. You can see the entire process in the video here.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Adjust as needed, just make sure to keep the ratios in proportion.

  • 4 cups red lentils
  • 2 cups thin bulgur rice
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 onions
  • 3 bundles spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper paste (spicy)

Total Cooking Time

With preparation, about 3 hours.

Any Questions?

Overall these lentil balls are a good side dish you can make to go along with any meal. They’re completely vegan in their original recipe so if you’re traveling in Turkey, it’s a good best if you come across mercimek koftesi there will be no animal products in it.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below and if you’d like to see more recipes on YouTube!

New Balance Made A Waist Pack For Runners That Actually Carries Your Stuff

Finding a waist pack that’s comfortable while running is one thing but most are ultra slim, making it hard to pack in a modern smartphone with anything else. The New Balance Performance Waist Pack… uh, balances both concerns surprisingly well as you can see in the video review above.

For those of you looking for a waist pack that can comfortably hold a wallet, keys, and large smartphone, with pockets to separate them to avoid scratching, take a close look at the Performance Waist Pack.

What It’s Like To Travel Through Istanbul Airport Right Now

Traveling is well, weird right now. Sputtering amid a pandemic major international hub Istanbul is open and Turkish Airlines has resumed flights (still no refunds) meaning a larger portion of air traffic is flowing through the world’s largest airport these days. Having recently made such a journey, here’s what you can expect if you’re flying through Istanbul Airport.

Packing

For those of you flying out of Istanbul Airport be aware there are new packing restrictions mainly around carry-on luggage. The weight is restricted to 4 kilograms (8.8lbs) for carry-on luggage; so for those of you who travel with electronics, camera gear, or other heavy equipment, it will have to packed into your checked luggage. Carry-on bags weren’t routinely weighed so you may be able to get away with a heavier backpack but there are no guarantees.

Getting There

For starters, you’ll need to wear a mask during your entire time in the airport. All the airlines operating out of Istanbul Airport recommend arriving 3 hours before international and domestic flights. You’ll notice long lines at check in starting 4 hours before most flights and keep in mind there’s security to get into Istanbul Airport. The domestic terminal was operating at what seemed like normal capacity but there was clearly less activity in international departures.

istanbul airport gate

Passport Control And Security

Going through passport control hasn’t changed due to COVID-19, there was already a plastic barrier between passengers and customs officials. Once past there the security lines enforce (to vary degrees) social distance in the line but take one person through every 10-15 seconds. Tray tables are individually cleaned by staff after each use – nice touch – and overall the process carefully considers sanitary concerns.

In Istanbul Airport

Once you’re past security you’ve got a few options. Since the gates aren’t all full, you can find a quiet place to sit with a bit of searching. Oh, there’s no free wifi but WiFox can help you get online. Every other seat has a sign on it to enforce social distancing and the lounges are open as an alternative. No matter where you sit though, keep your mask on and wear it properly. Staff zip around on Segways to enforce the rules.

bathroom occupancy

Some of the shops and cafes are open, though I wouldn’t hang around them too long as they tend to get crowded.

On The Airplane

Once you’re in the air your flight may be empty or full, depending on sales not enforced distancing. I’ve seen it both ways but in either case you’ll need to wear your mask for the entire flight. Turkish Airlines will supply extras in hygiene kits along with hand sanitizer and wipes.

One thing that is different, is how often the bathrooms are cleaned. Flight attendants were sanitizing the bathrooms and doors, leaving them spotless at least once an hour. Unfortunately, on the flip side, the food was limited to lunch boxes without any beverage service. I’d recommend bringing your own snacks from the airport unless you want to be stuck with stale sandwiches and juice.

Should You Fly Right Now?

Upon arrival, procedures will vary based on the destination. In some ways flying now is more comfortable, with extra sanitation measures reminding you how dirty planes have been in general. Still though given the added hassle, potential for canceled flights, and ever-changing pandemic situation unless you really have to fly somewhere, it’s best to wait for less turbulent times.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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