I love vacation! I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t! When starting, or living a Paleo lifestyle, vacations can often appear to be shaky ground when it comes to staying on track. In our last post we discussed the challenges of travel, and how your Paleo lifestyle need not infringe on the joys of the journey. Today I wanted to discuss the vacation itself.
Living Paleo and loving vacation can totally work together, starting with our top tips!
Upgrade your place.
If at all possible, rent a home or stay in a hotel with a kitchenette. Having the ability to bring, store and cook your own food is a vacation game-changer! While it may initially seem that you are spending more for the stay, you will make up the financial difference by not spending to eat out every single meal, especially for a whole family. You can make breakfast every morning and then spend the rest of the day eating or snacking as you please. Dinner time can continue to be a time of bonding, cooking and eating together. You could take turns between cooking and cleaning so everyone is involved, but no one has to always be in the kitchen. You could choose to go out, or even get meals delivered. This way you do not feel the need to either overeat on mediocre food at an all-inclusive or decide on a different restaurant for every meal.
Take the time to prepare and pack.
Leave enough room in your luggage for your favorite healthy snacks! Make sure to have enough snacks for the plane/car ride in your carry-on and pack the rest in your suitcase. Stock up for the entire trip so you won’t be as tempted to overindulge on processed food that does not taste good and leaves you feeling nasty. Load up on all of your favorites and stuff them into your suitcase. Make sure to get things you would consider ‘treats’ or indulgences at home so you can still feel like you are indulging while on vacation, whilst still being at your best to enjoy your time away. If you are vacationing with non-Paleo folks, you know they will be eating their treats and you will want some of your own too, although taking a little Pete’s Paleo bacon will keep everyone smiling.
If cooking on vacation is unappealing to you but eating out and navigating restaurants for your best Paleo options seems overwhelming, sticking to your Paleo nutrition plan can be as simple as delivery! Pete’s Paleo meals can be delivered in the continental USA, including to hotels. Check out the menu, order in advance and Pete’s will ship them right to your vacation address. Delicious chef made Paleo meals right to your door. No apron (and minimal clean up) required! Menus change weekly and options are available to suit all tastes as well as specific requirements. Check out the selection, and order a few before you go so you can choose your favorites!
Give your body 2-weeks’ notice – at least.
Eat really, really well beginning a few weeks before your trip. You want to be the healthiest you can possibly be when you leave on vacation. Then, when little unhealthy things slip into your vacation life, your body will be strong enough to not be as affected by them. Eat a lot of high-quality animal protein, local, seasonal vegetables, and stay away from the sweet treats and alcohol. By taking out the sweet treats, you will regulate your blood sugar which will decrease your cravings. When confronted with sweets on vacation, you will be more able to have one serving instead of devouring the entire plate! Cook your meals instead of eating out. Get your carbs from sweet potatoes, yams, or squash instead of fruit or sweeteners. Add in extra healing foods like grass-fed butter (if you tolerate it), fermented foods like kombucha or sauerkraut, bone broth or grass-fed gelatin, sardines, and organ meats. If you take probiotics, make sure to take them regularly. Drink plenty of water.
First stop, grocery shop!
Once at your destination, try going straight to the grocery store to load up on meals and snacks (and alcohol) for the week. This is definitely one of the keys to a successful vacation. Being able to cook your own meals on vacation is huge when you have specific food guidelines and sensitivities.
Give yourself some wiggle room.
It’s vacation after all…enjoy yourself! Don’t beat yourself up for not sticking to it 100%. Before you leave, think about which foods you think you will be able to tolerate during the trip and which foods you need to stay away from no matter what. Decide this before you travel. Do so using your self-awareness to set limits that make sense for you. How often will you eat it? How much will you eat? Is there a certain city/restaurant/day or celebration that will be the impetus for your indulgence? Ask yourself these questions and write them down in your vacation plan. This way you are able to fully enjoy vacation and mitigate much of the damage that spontaneously eating food off your Paleo plan can cause for you.
Stick to your rules by adapting your behavior.
Understanding, or really admitting the routines of vacation behaviour will give you the ability to stick to your guidelines and boundaries. Anticipating the threat may mean learning where or when the best happy hour may be located and either making a plan before you go, avoiding it, skirting the periphery or refocusing your attention on the real reason you are on your trip. Be vigilant, notice how you focus on your food, stop yourself, and redirect your thoughts. It can be similar to distracting a child who insists on doing something he shouldn’t.
Keep to your regular routine as much as possible.
Plan, shop, prepare food like you would at home. Make meal plans, shop the local supermarkets (shopping the perimeter, of course) and make the same meals as you normally do. Order some Paleo meals for those days or moments where cooking and cleaning up may be a chore.
Focus on communication not consumption.
This is a great reminder for any occasion but particularly if you are on a trip with family or those you hold dear. Use this time to connect with those people. Stand away from the food, pay attention to your company, put on your listening ears and really communicate.
No, vacation time will probably not be conducive to your regular workout – although you can do that if you really want to: vacation exercise means moving your body, walking, getting out and about in the fresh air and enjoying where you are. Simply build it into your day. Stand instead of sit, take stairs instead of elevators, walk in the countryside, around the sights, the theme park, on the beach. You have plenty of time and probably good weather. No excuses on this one.
Traveling during your time off is a good way to change your routine and discover new places. Whether or not you manage to eat perfectly Paleo during your time away from home, the stress of being away from home and changes in your sleep patterns alone are often enough to warrant some form of recovery once you return. Take care of yourself by eating the most nutrient-dense Paleo foods, supplementing with restorative foods like bone broth, liver, fermented cod liver oil, and fermented foods and making sleep a priority to speed up the process.
Paleo is not just another diet, it’s a lifestyle. Find ways to incorporate it into your life wherever you go to help you be at your best at all times.