Staying Nourished On Vacation
While Still Relaxing
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I just got back from an amazing week with my family in South Florida. This is the first time I've lived so far apart from my parents (college was just a 6 hour drive), so the visits I get to have never feel quite long enough. I've already started devising a plan to get them to move closer to me...
We all need some time away from the everyday once and a while, especially when that time is spent with the people we love most. It's a time to relax, refocus, and clear our heads for a while. The one thing that's not so great about a vacation is that sluggish feeling that comes upon the return home.
We realize we've completely let go of our nourishing diet (read: sustainable way of eating, not a weight-loss regimen), and replaced it with the easygoing vacation fare that's more convenient. We're doing so well, feeling great, then one week of big meals out and more bread or fried foods than we'd normally eat throws our body way off! This was a big problem for me until I figured out how to balance getting nourishing meals during vacation while still letting go sometimes and enjoying the time off!
First of all, we need to realize that not every single meal can be perfect because we're not perfect! So before setting out on a trip, take a deep breath and remember the 80-20 rule: focus on eating in the best way possible 80% of the time, and the other 20% you can play with! Do your best most of the time, and that one burger won't send you into a downward spiral. (Just don't get carried away...)
For putting that rule into practice, here's some of the things I do when I'm traveling, or visiting family:
- Water, Water, Water
Water is great for you, and hands-down the most important thing we need to pay attention to. Water helps regulate our temperature, transport nutrients, and digest food! Traveling is hectic, from bouncing around airports to cramming in tons of time with loved ones, and that can distract us from fulfilling our daily water intake. If you do get lenient on vacation, water is one of the things that will help your body cushion the blow from too many treats. Bring a reusable water bottle (empty of course) to the airport and then fill it up once you're through security! Then never let that bottle leave your sight while you're out having fun.
Along with water, probiotics do wonders for the digestive system, as well as the immune system, and can even boost energy! Find a good quality supplement (they're available in health food stores and now even the pharmacy section of some regular grocery stores!) Look for a supplement with 15-100 billion CFUs of probiotics, and a lot of diverse strains for maximum effect. Personally, I also buy some kombucha when I arrive, and sip that daily while I'm away.
What usually comes with standard treats like sandwiches, burgers, or wings? Fries. Chips. Onion rings. If you're taking a meal off from the 80%, an easy switch that'll provide more nourishment than a greasy side is a small salad or some steamed veggies. My husband and I usually get a salad to share before we eat something like buffalo wings. It provides some vitamins from the greens that we won't get from the entree, and it fills us up some so we end up eating less of the wings!
- Save the 20% for later
If you know you'll be eating some meals out at restaurants while you're away, keep in mind the kinds of things you'd like to have there when eating the other meals of the day. The burger at dinner will sit a lot better later if you stick to a healthy breakfast and lunch. This is easier if you're visiting family and can make a quick egg and fruit for breakfast and a lunch salad from what's in the fridge, but hotels make it a little trickier. If you can, seek out a room with a fridge where you can keep some greens and fruit, and bring along some hummus, nuts, and good grass-fed meat snacks for protein. I love the Epic brand, which I get from here at a discount from the retail price.
Traveling and visiting family should be joyful and relaxing, so make sure that's your #1 goal. Take some time before the trip to think about how you'll support your body through a time away from the normal routine, and you'll enjoy your time so much more.
What about you? How do you stay healthy while traveling?