For those of you who already hang in A Fly Guys Cabin Crew Lounge, Jay Rob needs no introduction. Jay has fast become a celebrity among the global cabin crew community and for those of you yet to jump onboard, I encourage you to join me and his 13,000 + other fans, to reconnect with some of the old school glamour associated with our office in the sky.
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing A Fly Guy for his take on holistic health, travel and living ~ both in the U.A.E and abroad.
Introducing Jay Rob…..
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why living a healthy lifestyle is important to you?
Well in the cyber world I’m known as Fly Guy, but on the ground I’m just Jay. I describe myself as an old soul in search of the golden days of aviation and I like to think there’s still some glam left in the skies for me to enjoy. I grew up with the simple life on a farm in a small town in the Mississippi Delta. My father was a farmer and my mother was a flight attendant. I think growing up in the country you learn the value of growing your own food and lean how different fresh produce tastes and makes you feel. That’s something my dad taught me while growing our family garden. My mother taught me how to use my food as medicine. As a child I was ADHD and dyslexic and she refused to jump on the band wagon of medicating children and instead used food to treat my hyperactivity. She kept us pumped up with herbs and vitamins. After loosing my beloved father at the age of 54 it finally clicked how the food we eat can make or break us and I made the changes I felt were needed to enter my golden years healthy.
How long have you lived in the UAE and what path led you here?
I’m going on my 6th year in the UAE. I was working for US Airways in Phoenix, Arizona and was fed up with the rat race that’s very common in America. I wanted out and I wanted to see the world so I came to UAE to work for an airline there. The rent and tax free lifestyle sounded like a good way to rid myself of some stress.
Where is your favorite destination to uplift the mind, body and soul?
Anywhere in Southeast Asia. It just does something to me when I’m there. I feel at home, I feel relaxed, I feel like I found my spot on earth.
What does holistic health mean to you and how do you manage to stay balanced and grounded living without a regular schedule?
It means to me searching and finding what works for your whole being. I’ve learned to listen to my body. It tells me what it wants. Once you do a good cleaning of it and keep it maintained with healthy foods, if you give it something it doesn’t like it will tell you very loud. Just the other day I ate a mint and it must have been full of all types of refined sugars and crap because I had a headache in less than 10 minutes after putting it in my mouth. I think not being stuck to a schedule is good for me because I feel my inner gypsy spirit is happy not having to maintain a 9 to 5 work week and that keeps me from getting stressed. When I get run down I head over to my acupuncturist and ayurvedic doctor to give me the boost I need. These are things I have found that work for me.
What healthy snacks/meals do you prepare at home for onboard dining?
Depends on how much sleep I’ve had. If I’m rested then I really put effort into my food. If I’ve had a killer month and low on energy I will just run to the organic shop and pick up some healthy pre made vegan dinners to take with me. Right now I’m really digging making quinoa dishes on the plane. I just add some spices and fresh veggies to the quinoa add water and heat in the ovens on the plane and the results have been great. I just fed three crew with one cup of quinoa. My go to snack is avocado. There’s always one in my bag. I also uses my slow juicer to prepare fresh juices for my flights. I stress slow juicer because unlike the high speed cheaper juicers that produce juice that you must drink right away, juice from slow juicers can last up to 70 hours. I keep my bag stocked with Lara Bars and fresh nuts to eat as a snack as well.
……and on the return sectors?
Oh that return sector always gets you! If i’m in a wonderful healthy city like New York I will just run to a health food store and pick up a snack to bring back. If I’m outstation I try to keep dried grains and spices in my bag to boil on flights. Again this is where I’m loving the quinoa.
Do you have a recipe that we could transport onboard for a healthy mid-flight meal or snack that you would like to share?
Sure since I’m talking about the quinoa let me give you the dish I just made. I used one cup of organic red quinoa, 2 cups water, a dash of Tabasco, several pinches of pink salt, cut up veggies I found in the crew meals (tomato, onions, celery). I have recently discovered Beyond Meat meatless chicken that’s made of none GMO soy and pea protein and it’s packed full of protein. I add a few strips of that as well to the dish and then mix in a sauce pan and heat for around 35 minutes. After 25 minutes start checking it to see how it’s coming along. You might have to add a bit more hot water if it’s still not cooking right. I find red quinoa takes longer to cook than regular quinoa.
Which movie would you currently recommend for quality inflight entertainment?
There are some great documentaries out right now! It’s not on the plane yet but Blackfish is my must see this year! Last year’s favorite was Searching for Sugarman. That one is still one the planes and it still makes me cry :) I tend to watch documentaries these days.
Where are your favourite places to shop in the UAE for healthy, organic wholefoods and supplements?
Well there’s not many but I always frequent the Organic Food and Cafe located in the Greens. My favorite is the Ripe Shop for farm fresh local organic veggies and I always find some neat stuff at The Change Initiative. They also have organic produce however it’s flown in which I don’t like so I don’t buy it often. Most of my flights to places like New York, Germany, Australia or Canada I have my favorite shops that I buy from and bring back.
How about your favourite local, healthy restaurant/cafe?
My new favorite is Comptoir 102 located on Jumeriah Beach Road in Jumeirah 1. This place is so cozy and the food is AMAZING!!! Only place in Dubai I find organic raw vegan options. They’re not a vegan cafe but there always tends to be a Vegan option on the set menu that’s changed every day.
What tips can you share with us for managing our rest before tiring night flights?
Sleep… Um well let’s just say this is Fly Guy’s area of development. Managing my blog and social media accounts tend to keep me up past my bedtime. I don’t think I’m the right person to give advice on sleep as I’ve not yet mastered how to manage my sleep.
Are there any organic skincare products that you would like to recommend to the glamourset for staying fresh and presentable throughout their journey?
YES! Just the other day a junior crew asked me how my skin looked so good after all these years of flying. This made me feel old and good all at once. During my flight I’m in love with John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil. The only thing I’ve found that really keeps my face hydrated for an entire 14 hour flight. I’ve given this to a lot of people to try and they too swear by it. Recently in Toronto I discovered Seed Earth Elements and I LOVE IT. You can only get it in Toronto and I’ve run out so I need to restock ASAP. Their Light Face + Eye Serum is my favorite on the ground day cream. Also I loved their toner. For my hands I’m using Egyptian Magic. It’s all natural but not organic. There is an Organic alternative called Mama’s Apothecary Sweet Bee Magic. I’m just now giving that its first test. My lips only see Burts Bees Lip Balm as I find that the only thing that keeps my lips from getting chapped in-flight. My new rage is also Uncle Harry’s Natural Products. His range is HUGE and the price point is fantastic. It’s so cheap and all natural and he makes a lot of great liquid free soaps and tooth care products that are great for travel. Another staple in my army of products is Baking Soda (not powder) I use this on my teeth and face. Mixed with my face cleanser it’s the perfect exfoliant and makes the skin glow.
Where is your favourite out-station for nutritious shopping, which vendors do you frequent and what items are a staple in your shopping basket?
Good question. There are so many! In New York I head to Westerly Market and Elm Heath. I try to do most of my shopping there. If I can’t find certain things then at last resort I will go to Wholefoods. Wholefoods has become too corporate for my liking so I try to give my money to the smaller shops to keep them going. In Toronto I LOVE Carrot Common. That place is like a holistic health mecca. Right now the Beyond Meat is my staple. Really if you’ve given up meat but still crave for a bit of chicken this stuff will take care of it. I can only find it in the states right now. Also I love my nut butters. Those are great quick ways of getting my protein on the go. My favorite heath products are coming from Health Force Nutritionals. Their products are superior and beyond organic. I can feel the difference when I take them. Right now I’m taking their Truly Natural Vitamin C, Elite Green Protein, Spirulina Manna, and Maca Force.
Online, where are your favourite crew hangouts?
Thank you Jay Rob!!!
Since I have been lucky enough to have a few New York flights on my roster this month, I have already managed to add a few of your recommendations to my list of shops to haunt and products to try. I think I am going to need a week there to get through all of your suggestions. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a personal shopper, for anyone interested, please apply within ;-)
Until next time, safe travels!