Staying healthy, especially eating healthily while travelling can be quite a challenge. Being a vagabond means not having access to cupboards and refrigerators full of fresh healthy ingredients, blenders, juicers and general kitchen areas.
Being settled means having a routine, a kitchen filled with goodness and greater control over what I put into my body, which tends to fall away when I hit the road. At the moment I’m eating bread or other wheat products as well as sugar more often than I’d like to (who can resist a pain au chocolate or French vanilla ice cream when in Paris!).
So I get back to basics: eat vegetables, at every given opportunity, as much as possible. Especially and mostly, greens; dark and leafy greens. This is a tactic called “crowding out”. It’s about filling yourself up as much possible with good stuff, so there’s no more room for bad stuff. After vegetables on the scale of prioritised eating comes healthy proteins. These included nuts and seeds, eggs, fish and occasionally dairy or meat.
Here are 10 great tips to keep you healthy while travelling that I live by:
1. Drink plenty of water. I suggest to stick to bottled water because as you move for country to country the bugs that exist in the water supply vary, and being a traveller your immune system more likely than not hasn’t encountered these. Environmentally, buying plastic bottles continuously isn’t the best however in this case I haven’t found a solution that works better for me. It’s important to drink clean spring water as it moves through your entire system and into your blood stream.
2. Eat your greens. And here’s the magic word: Spirulina. This is a very easy way to make sure you get all the greens and chlorophyll you could need each day, and spirulina also has the added benefit of being extremely high in protein. You can buy spirulina in both powder and tablet form, in health food shops around the world, you just need to figure out which suits you the best. I personally prefer the powder because it is purer, without the binding materials to make the tablets hold together and it’s easy to mix into a bottle of juice if you’re on the go or a smoothie at a cafe or a friends place if you’re lucky. I basically live off this stuff!
3. Be prepared. Sometimes you will get to a place where you’re hungry but the food choices are minimal or not really food (like McDonalds). This is the time where you thank yourself over and over again for being prepared. Make sure you stock up on your favourite nuts and seeds, dried fruit and raw food bars as well as easy to travel with fresh food like, apples, bananas and cucumbers. They will save you in times of need.
4. Make wise food choices. Every time you eat you make an important choice. It’s important because it affects the way you feel about yourself, your life and how you make decisions for the next 24 hours. Ask yourself, how do you want to feel? Do you want to feel light, healthy, happy and full of energy? Or do you want to feel heavy, depleted and exhausted? How you feel has an enormous amount to do with what you put in your body. Choose foods that include plenty of vegetables like salads, stir-frys and soups and healthy proteins like scrambled eggs or local fresh caught fish.
5. Choose thoughts that make you feel good. I just mentioned how important food is in how you feel, but the other important factor in how you feel is the thoughts you choose to think. Think thoughts and create beliefs that support you and resonate with the life you choose and want for yourself. Even when you’re travelling it’s easy to get caught up in old behaviour and thought patterns that no longer serve you, which can be more challenging to recognise when they pop up as everything else around you is so new. We take comfort in the things we know, even when they are not good for us. So be aware of your thoughts and choose to think only the ones that feel good and that take you where you want to be.
6. Eat locally. A good friend of mine who studied macrobiotic eating taught me once that when you feel unsettled (which when travelling you often do) eat something grown locally to ground you. It makes perfect sense to me as the food you consume, energetically tethers you to where it is grown. It’s almost poetic! So go to the local farmers market whenever you can, sample their tasty homemade cheeses, eat the fruit grown nearby and buy some delicious ingredients for your evening meal. If you have allergies, buy the local honey and take a spoonful every day. The antibodies from the honey mixed with the local pollen vanquishes your body’s reaction to foreign atmospheric particles.
7. Move. I don’t know about you but normally when I’m travelling I tend to walk A LOT. Most days consist of exploring my current scenery which includes walking for hours, and it feels good. But it’s important to be aware of it. Be aware that you are moving your body enough but also listen to it and don’t push yourself too far. Stressing your body isn’t ideal either. I’m really missing yoga classes currently and my well-intended plans to start each morning with sun salutes is more along the lines of a wishing tree than reality. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you move on a daily basis, go cycling, swim in the sea, walk around the the city/forest/beach that you’re at, join in on classes, be they yoga, dancing or parkour (French style running in and over walls and other urban obstacles).
8. Listen to your body. Travelling is a completely different kind of stressor on the body as it is continuously dealing with new elements, inconsistent routines and unusual beds. Be gentle and kind to yourself, and listen to what your body is telling you. If you need rest, then rest. If you need exercise you out and explore. If you need good food take the time to seek it out. If you want to lock yourself into a hotel room for 24 hours and just watch ridiculous Hollywood films because all this new sensory input has becomes a little bit too much, then do it! Be good to yourself and you will reap the benefits in having an enormously enjoyable life wherever you are.
9. Talk to strangers. It’s easy to feel shy, especially when you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language. Meeting new people is one of the most beautiful parts of travelling and will keep you healthy and happy. Especially if you’re travelling alone. Be brave, speak to strangers and you never know where it may lead. They could invite you to join them, show you places that otherwise you might never have seen or even turn out to be the love of your life!
10. Don’t eat aeroplane food. This may sound like strange tip but it’s an important one. There are two reasons. Firstly, fasting during a flight and just drinking plenty of water helps you get over jet lag super quickly! Instead, eat a meal that suits your new destination upon arrival, which resets your body clock and makes it easy to glide into your new time zone.
Secondly, aeroplane food is TERRIBLE! Not only the taste but also the contents and how it prepared. mens health. Bear in mind that each meal contains 2000 calories in order to keep passengers full and docile (as well as busy) and is pre-prepared who knows how long before it actually boards the aeroplane and is microwaved with high voltage machines that destroy every last morsel of nutrition that may have remained. If you don’t think you can last an aeroplane ride without a meal, pack one. It’ll do you so much more good than any of the standard meals they serve on economy class flights.
Around here, we do things a little differently...
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Love the tips, Vienda!
I always take powdered greens and chia seeds with me. A spoonful of each of those mixed together in a big glass of water can keep me going in a pinch. The chia makes you feel full too, so it’s great to hold you over until you can find some real food.
Also, when traveling, I’m a big fan of having days where you just sit around relaxing. Sometimes you can feel this insane urge like you *have* to make the most of every minute of the trip – seeing and doing and exploring and being busy. But sometimes the best thing for your soul is to park your butt at a cafe/garden/beach/hotel and do nothing all day, the same as you would do at home if you were exhausted.
I really love hearing about health and wellness whilst traveling. Great post! xo
I love your additions. Unfortunately to my great demise I haven’t been able to find chia seeds ANYWHERE since I left Australia :( What’s going on Europe! I’m pretty sure I’d be able to find them in London but I’m not headings there just yet…. So, pro tip from you: bring them with! x I hope you’re well lovely Jess x