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Vacation Healthy

Summer is synonymous with vacation.  This is the time of year when many Americans start their travels.  Where will you go?  Do your travel choices follow destinations, family or friends?  

According to the U.S. Travel Association:

  • Top leisure travel activities for U.S. domestic travelers:
    • (1) visiting relatives;
    • (2) shopping;
    • (3) visiting friends;
    • (4) fine dining; and
    • (5) rural sightseeing.

For those who want to stay healthy during travel, there are a few tips and tricks I like to practice.  As you can see from above, visiting relatives is the number one top leisure travel activity for Americans.  This can be a tricky thing.  Relatives are not always on board with healthy lifestyle choices and the biggest issue I hear about is FOOD.

For my body and lifestyle I choose to eat low carb, high fat and moderate protein with most of my carbs coming from berries and a wide variety of vegetables.  This works for me, but doesn't always work when visiting or socializing with friends and family.  I don't want to be the food police and I don't want to cave and go back to unhealthy habits that took me time and effort to get out of my life.  So, what's a healthy adventurer to do?

  1. Know your triggers: Triggers are not always obvious.  They can include things like celebrations (birthdays, holidays, etc), family recipes, friends, family, and even actual places.  For example, last year I took my daughter on a road trip that included my childhood neighborhood.  As I started pointing landmarks out she remarked that I must of ate a lot of sugar growing up.  True enough, the 7-11 across the street from the library was my go-to sugar-bank.  Across the street from my junior high school was the liquor store my friends and I would go to on lunch and load up on soda and candy.  It seemed everywhere we went I had a memory that was loaded with sugar.  The actual places were a trigger for me.  
  2. Pack healthy snacks:   This is such a lifesaver!  Recently I went on a cruise and although I was in the Mediterranean and the healthy food choices were abundant, there are times when you have to be prepared.  Like arriving in Rome at 9pm when it's morning for you. Some of my favorite snacks are coconut oil packets, cashew butter, xylitol sweetened gum, instant organic decaf coffee, Lakanto packets and Lily's chocolate.  Once I get to a destination I make sure I know where to get organic and fresh foods.  Apps like YELP and/or simply asking the locals is the best way to find healthy food and snacks. 
  3. Choose Water: This sounds so simple, doesn't it? But when you travel, most likely you will stop at a road stop or enjoy eating out.  Instead of saying "What happens on vacation stays on vacation", just make simple choices.  Drinking calories with sugary or alcoholic drinks are some of the pitfalls of vacation.  When I travel I carry a small water bottle (large ones are too heavy) and at restaurants I simply order still or sparkling water with lemon.  Make sure if using a water bottle the water is safe to drink.  Staying hydrated and doing it with water allows you to enjoy more time feeling healthy.  Sometimes I add a drop of peppermint oil in my water. 
  4. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness, or being in the moment, can easily get lost under the load of technical toys we bring on vacation.  Even a camera can be too much of a distraction.  If you have to, use that smartphone to remind you every hour to take a 5 min break to simply absorb the sights and sounds around you (sans camera).  In fact, start by closing your eyes and just listening. What sounds do you hear? Then, take a deep breath or two to see if you can recognize the smells around you.  For example, while touring the Vatican gardens I tried this and now I remember that tour by the sound of birdsong and the smell of jasmine. 

Where ever you choose to go, whatever you choose to do, have a safe and happy summer!  

Remember lifestyle choices are just that - and they should be practice during all parts of your life not just when you feel like it.  If you are having trouble making healthy lifestyle choices, I invite you to take my BE THE HEALER class.  It's six weeks of incorporating and creating your own, individual lifestyle choices.  Sometimes we just need a little coaching to make it to the finish line.

Sandra Stewart


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