It’s been four days of Canadian winter vacation already. So far are having lots of firsts and fun here in Northern Ontario. Wonderful to be with family and hopefully to see some friends. As I am fitting into my host’s routine and balancing what the kid’s needs are, I am reminded of how important it is to find a balance for our diet day to day, especially when on vacation.
Without my juicer, vitamix, pantry of whole foods or weekly CSA share, combined with the constant opportunities to eat out, there are challenges. I am reminded of how important it is to make healthy food choices your first priority.
We know (but a reminder is nice) that its the choices we make every day that make the greatest impact on our life. This impact is far more than the choices we make once in a while. If you chose to save a dollar every day for 35 years you would have almost $13 000 compared to the $3500 if you saved $100 once a year. Simple example I know, but small consistent choices are totally our key, and to some people money talks more than vitality.
I often remind people that our body is the only one we get in this life here on earth. It is the only thing that stays with us on our entire journey from birth to death. How could we think of anything more valuable to maintain then our precious, and incredibly complex body. We can’t do enjoyable things without our health.
So here in Canada, I am having to focus more on our food choices because we are out of our comfort zone. It’s giving me some good insight into what it would be like for others starting out on their whole food journey.
Some people are creatures of habit, others like myself love change. Either way, we all need to find a way that fits for us. One that is focused on food choices. So many people form a fitness routine (which is also very important) but then fuel their bodies with processed and animal based foods. The justification is because they burned X amount of calories at the gym today and they will be back in there tomorrow. The keys are fuel your body with nutrient dense, plant-based foods along with your trips to the gym, quality water consumption, stress-reduction and connection to others.
Even slim people are unhealthy if they are eating trans-fatty, animal based, processed diets. Overall health cannot be achieved with exercise alone.
When on vacation temptation is so great. So many people work to loose weight for a vacation only to gain it all back while enjoying, relaxing and being merry. Finding a way to maintain the majority of your healthy habits along with the extra celebration- food opportuunities is a very important balance. Don’t throw away all your focus and figure you will get back on board when you get home. Chances are you will move further and further away from the progress you made.
Here are some of the things I am doing to try to fit my normal routine into my vacation schedule:
- First thing when you land, go grocery shopping. Buy some fruits, snacks, vegetables, things you can cook if you have a kitchen. Plan on doing a little cooking so that you aren’t tempted to eat out every meal of every day.
- Bring some staples with you from home. I brought with me health food staples that I can eat every day. My chia blend, hemp seeds, coconut oil, and a few bars. As I focus on eating them, it encourages me to continue to make better choices. An environmental cue of sorts.
- Find a way to make smoothies. If not every day at least most days. If you are staying in a hotel, find a juice or smoothie bar close by.
- If you have access to an oven (I am staying with family) make a batch of nutritiously dense muffins or squares so keep on hand for snacks and on the go. (I used oats instead of quinoa flakes, and added frozen berries, hemp seeds, chia and organic sugar).
- Eat a nutritious plant-based breakfast. I am not talking processed, extruded cereal from a box. I mean a calorie dense, nutritious breakfast that will set the tone for each day. Google some simple ideas.
- If you can’t see yourself cooking much, or don’t have access to a kitchen, hit a health food store and set yourself up for success. Spend a little upfront on whole food staples (raw nuts, seeds, fruits, minimally processed bars, organics) having access to these things daily will not only keep you reminded of how much you want to live and feel well, but you will be forced to actually eat them because you spent the money already. You will be pleased with the choice in the long run.
- Pay attention to how you feel after you eat out. The more processed foods you eat, the more down you will feel.
- Focus on eating vegetable dense dishes when you do eat out.
- Pat attention to your water source. I couldn’t believe almost all the bottled water options here had fluoride in them. It was hard to find a fluoride free water, something that is so important to me.
- Choose what is really important to you and don’t stress the rest. I recently was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and so gluten, wheat and dairy need to be completely eliminated from my diet. But while I am on vacation and trying to go with the flow, I am focusing on eating gluten-free and eating less dairy. When I get home to my safe kitchen, I’ll carry on gluten and dairy-free/animal-free.
Above all enjoy the time you have off. We all deserve it. Spend time with loved ones if you can. Make the trip more about caring for others and yourself. Don’t stress about your diet, just keep it a priority.
Remain mindful of how important our health is and how closely this precious health is connected to what food we put into our bodies. Make your food choices one at a time and remember to enjoy each one you make
Thanks for reading. Until next time, enjoy today for the gift we have been given, for He has given it to us.