Healthy Travel Tips!

Woo Hoo! It’s time to travel!  Got Spring Break coming up or a summer vacay planned? Here are some tips to stay healthy.

First, don’t derail all your progress just because you’re not at home! Things you eat & do (or don’t do) on vacation definitely count.  You can have fun & be a little more flexible, but don’t go crazy.  If you typically follow 80/20 or 90/10 during the week at home for things like alcohol, sugar or working out, pick another split & stick to it – maybe 60/40 or even 50/50. 

Look at your daily routines & think about what you can easily carry over on vacation. I always have my warm water first thing in the morning before coffee, and my Natural Calm at night before bed to help with sleep & regularity (don’t start taking NC on the road, it can cause issues – start at home first & then stay consistent with it on your trip).

  • Stay hydrated! It helps prevent dehydration (duh!) and helps with digestion & regularity.  Feel free to add Nuun tabs (make sure you don’t get the ones with caffeine) or Ultima powder.  Bring along your reusable water bottle & keep it filled and with you! This is especially true when flying.
  •  You’ll probably be eating things that aren’t in your usual diet. Consider taking digestive enzymes with meals containing foods or ingredients that aren’t your usual. 
  • Get gassy/upset tummy when flying? You’re not alone!  Check out THIS ARTICLE  stating that lower air pressure & a rapid increase in air pressure actually do make you more likely to have issues with gas. Consider consuming lower FODMAP foods the day prior to travel and taking something with simethicone (like Gas-X) just before boarding and maybe a few times mid-flight. Avoid carbonated beverages in flight and move around the cabin as well. You may also want to think about self-massage for digestion before & after your flight – VIDEO HERE.
  • Make sure to have at least one 100% meal per day – oats with fruit for breakfast, a big salad with light dressing for lunch, grilled protein (whether it’s seafood or tofu) and steamed veg are some suggestions. 
  • Enjoy some indulgences but make sure they’re worth it! Savor the decadent dessert at a restaurant, but skip the Kit Kat at the airport or gas station.
  • Bring along healthy snacks for the trip – I pack raw nuts and fruit (fresh or dried).
  • Stay active – get all of your steps in for the day! I love trying new boutique fitness classes when I travel, but feel free to also hit the hotel gym, see if your gym has reciprocity with a facility near you. Some members-only videos that would be great while traveling are:
    •  Lower Body Mini Band Workout HERE
    • Body weight HIIT with modifications HERE
    • 5 grounding yoga poses before bed  HERE 
  • Prioiritize sleep – aim for your usual number of hours per sleep.  It likely won’t be a problem to catch up on a little extra sleep, but don’t sleep in too much, stay up too late, or do anything that you know will throw you off (like sleeping with the TV on, excessive scrolling, eating too close to bedtime, excessive alcohol close to bedtime.)
  • Schedule your work: try your best to have designated work time & truly be ‘out of office’ the rest of the time. Schedule any calls/meetings and do any other tasks around those times, then disconnect & be present & enjoy your trip!
  • Keep your space somewhat clutter-free. No one loves living out of a suitcase. I’ve recently started unpacking soon after checking in & will never go back! When your environment is cluttered, your mind is cluttered & you are less likely to make good decisions.

What am I missing? Share your favorite travel tips in the comments!

why whole food plant based?

Here are a few resources for the benefits of WFPB eating and comparison to other popular dietary approaches:

  • A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that “A low-fat vegan diet improved body weight, lipid concentrations, and insulin sensitivity, both from baseline and compared with a Mediterranean diet. Blood pressure decreased on both diets, more on the Mediterranean diet” SOURCE
  • A plant-based diet has been shown to help improve risk factors for heart disease, including hypertension, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and inflammation.
  • And check out this article comparing the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet to a Low-Fat Vegan diet which showed: “an average weight loss of 13 pounds (lb), whereas the Mediterranean diet produced no mean change; greater loss of visceral fat than the Mediterranean diet; greater loss of fat mass (about 7.5 lb more; reduction of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels, while the Mediterranean diet produced no significant changes, reduced insulin resistance and increased insulin sensitivity, while the Mediterranean diet caused no significant changes. Both diets led to a drop in blood pressure, but the Mediterranean diet reduced it by about 6.0 mm Hg and the vegan diet decreased it by 3.2mmHg.”

Recommended watching:

Recommended reading:

  • Ornish Living – Dr. Dean Ornish’s lifestyle approach to reclaim your health & undo disease
  • NutritionFacts.org from Michael Greger, M.D. offers over 2,000 articles and videos – just search the specific topics that interest you to read/watch evidence based information to help you make healthy choices
  • The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine offers a ton of research as well on a variety of topics – click HERE to search
  • Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and was one of the first researchers to promote a whole foods plant based approach to disease prevention and treatment.
  • Dr. Michael Klaper has served thousands of people on their journey to reclaim health through proper nutrition and a balanced lifestyle for over 40 years.
  • Veganuary has a ton of information & recipes
  • Plant Strong is also full of great info & recipes
  • No Meat Athlete covers all the bases regarding plant based eating as it relates to athletic performance

Personally, I can say that I have eaten fully plant-based (“vegan”) for 5 years. I have had two body scans that show that my body composition (muscle mass, fat mass) are ideal and my lab values are now all normal whereas they weren’t before eating a WHOLE FOODS plant based diet (you *can* be a junk food vegan and live on Oreos & french fries, but that doesn’t yield the same results as when eating whole unprocessed foods). I also used this approach to lose 65 pounds and keep it off for nearly 5 years. Some may call a whole foods plant based approach “extreme”, but that’s fine – I want to be extremely healthy, not moderately healthy, and it’s easier than ever to follow this way of eating!

*always speak with your healthcare provider before changing your diet or exercise routine – this is not medical advice*

Meditation and Loss (not what you think)

A student once asked his spiritual teacher what he has personally gained from meditating over the years.

“To be honest, I haven’t gained that much,” his wise teacher answered with a smile. “But I’ll tell you what I’ve lost.”

“I’ve lost my anger, my depression, many of my insecurities, and most importantly, I’ve lost my concern about what others think of me.“

If you can’t easily determine what you’ve gained from your inner work, it can be reassuring to consider all that you may have lost
.”  -Light Watkins from his daily email, Light’s daily dose – HERE

3 blocks & 3 upgrades to improve your daily wellbeing

We all know that it’s important to eat our veggies, get moving, prioritize restful sleep, etc – but I wanted to share some common blocks to living as the best version of ourselves as well as some easy yet impactful habits to upgrade our wellbeing!

Watch out for these pitfalls:

  • Distraction: It can be easy to become bored & always looking for the next shiny object instead of staying the course, remaining focused & continuing the work you started
  • Unrealistic expectations: We all want the quick-fix, but trust me – there’s no such thing.  Again, gotta stay the course & put in the work!
  • Bad Habits: A history of poor choices – food, alcohol, negative thinking, mindless behaviors (hello, scrolling) are big obstacles that require mindful work to overcome. 

Try these UPGRADES to improve your wellbeing:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner! Having someone you trust that you can turn to – whether it’s  for encouragement or commiseration is a powerful tool! You may enlist a pal who is on the same place in the journey that you are – OR- ask someone who has been where you are now but is now further down the path to act as a mentor. 
  • Meditation and breath work – I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – the benefits of even 5 rounds of box breathing are a potent way to decrease cortisol and re-focus on your goals when distraction (see above) starts to rear its ugly head. 
  • Get moving! ANY movement – if you have time for a full workout – go for it! – but even a 5 minute walk or quick stretch can raise your energy level (remember – oxygen is our primary fuel!)

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