Are there any men here who have experienced profound improvements in mental clarity, libido, and general health when travelling outside the USA?
My husband finds the following to be consistently true:
His bloating disappears, his problem solving skills soar, and his libido goes from 1-2/week to 4-6/day! The change happens within a week of travelling back to his home country. Quite often his trips are emotionally/mentally stressful, so I don't believe there is a psychological component.
One theory is the fluoride that they DON'T put in the water. Fluoride aggravates the thyroid, something he does have problems with and which could explain all the symptoms. Unfortunately filtering out the fluoride in our water, avoiding fluoride toothpastes, and avoiding foods known to be high in fluoride (california wines, deboned chicken, etc) has not yet produced the same profound shift. It is possible we're still getting a source of it from somewhere, though. Damnably pernicious stuff.
Another theory is that the sauna's are just that awesome. :) We haven't been able to test this in the US, due to lack of access to a sauna.
These are the changes to his lifestyle/diet that happened in finland. I've marked with a * those that he's done in the states without a beneficial effect.
No changes in activity level, alcohol, or sleep, other than the usual jet lag.
I think these things just happen when you are traveling- sometimes it invigorates you and makes you feel amazing, other times it is a drag and brings you down. Very female-specific, but recently a friend and I noticed that neither of us have had our period in a different country- it doesn't matter where the country, what the duration was, or anything, it is just enough of a change that I guess our body does not want to get pregnant while all these weird traveling shenanigans are going on. I don't think that's a particularly common thing (when I brought it up with other girlfriends, they had no idea what I was talking about) but it does seem to illustrate how just being in a different place can produce real, physiological changes. It isn't the food, the water, or anything, more the complete change of pace and mental space.
I gained 10 lbs traveling around France, lost 5 lbs driving across Canada (not doing a thing), lost 10 lbs in Hawaii (that might have more been the surfing), and gained 5-10 lbs roadripping around the Canada-US border for 2 months. I think it really depends what your doing, what your mental state is, and how you feel about your situation.
I can't speak to men on this, but I have a dear friend from German who studied abroad in the States for 2 years (separated by the summer) and she said that she immediately gained 15 lbs within the first month of being in the States, even though she ate healthy foods, and then lost the weight super fast when she returned to Germany each time. This has also happened on subsequent long visits. There isn't the same sauna culture (that I know of) but I am curious what the causes are. And she ate whatever she wanted in Germany, she only felt like she had to diet here because of the weight gain.
I have travelled all over the world, and have had symptoms mysteriously go away (heartburn, the spins, queasiness) when outside the US. I have since moved overseas and had symptoms come back and in some cases get worse. I think that when I travel, even if it's a familiar country, my body goes into a survival mode, it knows to hold off on bodily stuff. It's kind of like when you are arriving home from a road trip and all of the sudden you have to pee like crazy when you are three blocks from the home. Your non-executive brain bits are always at work assessing your surroundings and keeping bodily needs at bay (as much as possible) until you have shelter, food, safety, etc taken care of. Once you become comfortable you go back to a mode where you can focus on more subtle things. That's been my experience for the past 10 years or so of heavy duty travel (asia, africa, europe, na).
My heartburn (nexium daily until paleo) went away both times i traveled to india, i was totally convinced it was something in the diet. In fact it took weeks for it to come back after arriving home, but sure enough it did. Then i went to other places with the same pattern, including UK, Ireland, which don't have very different food from the US.
If could also be the opposite (in a way), maybe the US stresses him out and Finland relaxes him. Don't discount the power of stress!
Environmental factors could have something to do with it. Finnish men have one of the highest sperm counts in the world, although it's declining. I'm Finnish wink wink nudge nudge
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