30 Jul How NOT to deprive yourself on vacation, keep healthy and still have fun!
Whether you’re a student, have school-aged kids yourself, working full-time, or an entrepreneur, there’s nothing like that feeling of freedom that summer brings. Summer is often a time for a much needed vacation. Travel is great for the mind and body, providing a break and a chance to get away from the fast-paced city life. And while I’m all for a little healthy indulgence, who wants to go away only to come back bloated, fatigued and in need of another vacation?
I absolutely love traveling and I try to take an annual vacay. My travels have included places like New Mexico, Europe, Costa Rica, India, Thailand, and the beautiful Maritimes in my own country of Canada. What I have learned is that it is always possible to stay in a holistic state of mind and have your healthiest and most enjoyable vacation yet. It is indeed possible NOT to deprive yourself on vacation, keep healthy and still have fun!
Some of my tips and tricks come from my own experience. You may have your own. But, whether it’s an international holiday, a weekend getaway, or a visit to a nearby beach, you’ll want to spend the time enjoying yourself, and not dealing with health problems.
Tip #1 Plan Ahead – This can not be emphasized enough. Before you leave for that weekend getaway or dream vacation with or without the family, remember to plan ahead and get organized. Have all documents in order, and enough medications and supplements for the duration of your holiday. Be sure to travel with Vitamin C as you would not want to catch a cold en route. Increase your dosage about a week before you leave and continue the entire time you’re travelling. Bringing your own energy bars will make a perfect snack and prevent you from making choices that are not as healthy and nutritious. I also like to take some of my favorite nuts and seeds and cut up veggies like carrots, celery sticks, and bell peppers with a bit of hummus. This keeps me full and satisfied in between meals. Worst-case scenario? Restaurants always have salad. I also plan my reset for when I return from vacations to get me back in the groove of my clean eating routine, and to give my immune system a boost.
Your vacation begins at the airport, so kick-start your trip by packing a healthy, filling meal or snack for the plane ride. Avoid airplane food if at all possible.
Perhaps the most important in-flight health tip, though, is to drink tons of water. Traveling at 30,000 feet is dehydrating, and by consuming more water you can fight jet lag and grogginess on landing. So bring your own water bottle, and plan on drinking at least 8 oz water per 1 hour of flight time.
Tip #2 Travel Light – This has always been a challenge for me and perhaps it is for you, too. However, I am discouraged by the extra fees many airlines are charging these days for checked baggage, so it makes perfectly good sense to pack only the essentials. I try to think of it as an opportunity to take a holiday from all my stuff. I now leave those worldly possessions behind and enjoy the simplicity and freedom that comes with travelling light. As a general rule, any traveling wardrobe should be comfortable, versatile, mixable and washable.
Tip #3 Ease Jet Lag – Crossing a time zone disrupts your sleep-wake cycle; the more zones you traverse, the more off-kilter you’ll probably feel. You can always take melatonin to help you sleep, but I suggest starting to acclimatize to a new time zone before you depart. Try going to bed 1 to 2 hours later (if you’re traveling west) and 1 to 2 hours earlier (if you’re traveling east) each day for a week.
Tip #4 Flex Those Legs – I remember my 29 hour flight from Montreal to Thailand very well as it was the longest journey away from home that I have ever taken. After a few hours, I needed to get up and walk around. Sitting for too long can increase your risk potentially life-threatening blood clots.
If you can’t walk around for a few minutes once an hour, do calf raises while seated: With feet flat, raise your heels for a few seconds, then raise your toes, making sure to keep your heels down; repeat each 10 times per hour.
Tip #5 Be Sun Smart – Damage from the sun is cumulative over a lifetime, so even if you haven’t used sunscreen regularly, it’s not too late to start. Apply it generously 15 minutes after staying outdoors, and reapply every 2 hours. Also remember to wear sunglasses, a broad-brimmed hat, and to stay in the shade whenever possible. Stay hydrated too, since being away on vacation takes you away from your normal routine it’s important to be mindful of how much water you are drinking.
Tip #6 Don’t Skip Breakfast – It is important to fuel your body by starting each day with breakfast. This is especially true when on vacation and you have a jammed-pack day of sight-seeing ahead of you. I usually opt for fresh fruit, a yogourt, or a filling egg-white omelet with whole-wheat toast. Do try to skip the bacon and sweet pastries.
Traveling is an experience, and you don’t want to miss out. But order your splurge at lunch, especially if you have an active afternoon ahead. At dinner, switch to a light meal of lean protein and veggies that won’t fill you up too much before bed. The bonus is a better night’s sleep.
Tip #7 Avoid weight gain and bloat – Possibly the best part of vacation is experiencing the most delicious meals your destination has to offer. Keeping your digestive system active and healthy, however, is key to avoiding weight gain and bloating. I suggest drinking a large glass of water 15-30 minutes before a meal to turn on your digestive fire (thermogenesis) and increase stomach acids to aid digestion. Remember to pack your digestive enzymes ( I recommend Digestase 2.0 by AOR) when travelling abroad to help you break down gluten, dairy and other hard-to-digest ingredients. I also take a daily probiotic like Probaclac, and eat fermented foods. If you’re feeling constipated, take AOR Advanced Magnesium Complex to deliver water to your colon and keep things moving along.
Vacation is for kicking back and forgetting the rules for a brief period of time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be strategic in your fun. Following these tips on vacation will help you enjoy your time away even more, giving you the nutrition and energy to properly relax, enjoy, and savor every moment. Now get out there and have some fun, with an extra dose of Vitamin D!
Author: Irene Andrejczuk, ND
I am a Certified Naturopath who specializes in hormonal care for women. My effective, precise, and heart-centered approach to healing transforms frustrated women who’ve tried everything and nothing has worked to saying “ I haven’t felt this good in years.”
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