Staying Healthy on the Road

One time, I was on a sales call and was pouring wine for a chef who also buys wine for his restaurant. I started to pour the first wine and looked down at his hands. His fingernails were absolutely filthy. I mean, brown under each nail and his hands looked even worse. This was during the middle of the day and he had just come in; no cooking of any type had been done yet, so it’s not like his hands were covered in squid ink or something. There was no excuse for it.  And then? He offered to put together a few bites for me and the rep while we tasted. I shrugged and said I wasn’t hungry, but the rep was clearly oblivious and was all about the free noshes. The chef came back with a couple of lovely meat and cheese boards, some bread and some other small bites, but guess what? His fingernails? Even WORSE. I was dying inside. I choked down some prosciutto and tried not to think about what gross things came off his hands and onto my meat.

And then, shortly after my run in with the chef, I happened to be at an event where a well-known winemaker was pouring. He is someone I’d consider fairly well dressed, and yet, again, his fingernails? He might as well have rubbed coal under each nail. Long fingernails too.  And no, he did not have the excuse of working harvest.

These run-ins with folks in the business made me extra-cautious going into the traveling season and so I armed myself with a few things that I wanted to share with you to stay healthy. (If you’ve met me, you probably noticed I already have a fairly healthy dislike of germs. I am that weirdo that opens bathroom stalls with paper towels, uses my sleeve to push revolving doors, and I wash my hands about 100 times a day side note: did you know that men’s bathrooms, although smellier and more disgusting looking are actually cleaner? I am totally that person who will gladly go into the gent’s if the ladies is full. Oh and never put your purse on the floor. Ever. It is a foul and disgusting soup of microbial activity and poop.)

My borderline Hughes-ish behavior.

So without further ado, here are my tips for staying healthy during busy travel season:

1: Sleep.

When I was first starting out in the wine business (ok, actually until about 3 years ago) I was a complete dumbass and lived by the adage, “I can sleep when I’m dead.” I stayed up late, either hanging out with people or working, and ended up feeling exhausted the next day. Plus, it literally ages you. No bueno.

2: Work out.

I hate hotel gyms—the equipment is always broken, they’re dirty (that germ thing again), and I feel like a f*cking caged hamster on a ghetto, mirrored wheel. So instead I book my hotels near yoga studios and I try to go to at least 3 classes a week. For me, it’s a cool way to see a different side to the community I am visiting, and a way to add depth and knowledge to my practice.  Plus it really helps me after sitting on planes and in other people’s cars for hours. And, it’s the only thing I have ever found where for 60-90 minutes, I’m unable to think about anything else except what I am doing in the moment. Pretty much every scientific study shows that exercising relieves stress and helps keep you from getting sick. So get off your ass and go burn some of that Raveneau and foie off your lovehandles.

Yeah, basically this is me at a hotel gym.

3: Don’t drink so much the night before that you can’t get your lazy ass out of bed to work out.

This one sums itself up. JE, this one is for you. You know what I’m talking about.

4: Lysine/amino acids

They are the building blocks of life. And since recent studies have shown that taking fish oil (something I’d done for years) basically does jack-sh*t, and taking a daily multi-vitamin not only does nothing statistically appreciable for you, but they might actually give you cancer, I thought I’d add another potentially worthless pill to my morning cocktail (because it seems to work).

5: Elderberry extract

Ok, now I sound like I am getting all Portlandia on you, but this sh*t works. I heard about it from my hippy-wine friend, Eric, and whenver I feel a tickle in my throat or a little run down, I start taking this for a few days and feel tons better. Sometimes hippies DO know best!

6: Use a neti-pot

Another Portlandia suggestion, but again, scientifically proven to do a lot of good for your sinuses. And Dr. Oz recommends it, so it must be legit, right? Check out this creepy looking video of how to do it. I swear to you, I do this every night before I go to bed (so sexy!) and I have not had a sinus infection in years (I used to get them constantly).

7: Wash your hands, creep!

80% of all illness gets transmitted through our hands. And ditch the anti-bacterial everything. That crap is horrible for you and the environment. Just use good old soap and water!

BONUS TIPS:

Don’t eat sugar. It’s killing you. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Don’t watch tv or flip the main light switch in your hotel room. Those remotes: nasty germ havens covered in fecal bacteria and sperm. Vom!

Sitting is literally taking years off your life. Get off your butt and stand. Or lie down.

What do you do to stay healthy during OND?

2 thoughts on “Staying Healthy on the Road

  1. Good read Merritt!

    I would echo some of your main points & add a few from my experience:
    1) Good sleep is of utmost importance.
    2) Working out everyday keeps your metabolism up, helps burn lots of those ‘wine dinner’ calories & promotes sleep. I would add that I’m not that concerned about cleanliness in hotel gyms, no are really no different than my regular ‘home’ gym. You have to use lots of (provided) sanitizer, never touch hands to face, and obviously shower directly after each workout. I like to workout right after work, when my body is tired & needs a metabolic lift going into the evening hours.
    3) Hand Washing- I try do this after every shake of the hand…and again always avoid touching hands to face.
    4) Water- drinking copious amounts of water improves all facets of human health. I shoot for 2 gallons a day, but sometimes its hard to do. This need increases exponentially when working at higher elevations such as the CO highlands, the body dries out very quickly.
    5) Vitamins & Antioxidants- I would be careful to write these off based on just a few studies. Fish oil is just one of the many ways to increase your body’s ability to fight free radicals, I for one will take them (along with other sources such as flax, Green Vibrance, etc) until the cows come home. The same for Multi-vitamins, if broken into 2 doses & taken with meals, its hard to believe this small dose could hurt in any way. I do think many people overload on vitamins in general & this can prove harmful. Everybody should read some of Stephen Cherniske’s writing, he is the world’s foremost authority on anti-aging & he touches on all of the subjects above. Here’s a peak at his book ‘The Metabolic Plan’: https://univeraoffice.com/files/MetabolicPlan-mini-EN-0409-final.pdf
    6) And lastly, POSITIVE ATTITUDE!! My change in this department has helped me tremendously, a healthy mind has an uncanny ability to promote good health & well-being.

    Cheers!

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