Summer love has been on full speed over here.
If you follow me on instagram, you know that these past 2 1/2 weeks, we’ve been popping around the wine regions of France, and both cities and the coasts of Spain and Portugal.
It’s been a dream. Like, one I’ve wanted to do for a looooong time.
And #1) I just wanted to say thank you. Because not ONE of you said a thing when I decided to really take a break, and not even send my Thursday email last week.
Truth? I felt a little guilty just going rogue without warning, but it was such a good thing to totally disconnect, and be exactly where I was instead, soaking it all in.
But with my favorite love language (instagram stories), I started getting A LOT of direct messages. About how the heck do you stay feeling good and healthy while traveling for that long?
How do you eat the cheese and drink the rose and have the daily foamy cappuccinos and get to have gelato, GFT’s (gluten-free treats) and samples from the in-town chocolate shop?
How do you live in the moment and fully enjoy where you are, without guilt (or feeling physically bad, bloated, hung over, etc)?
It made me think for a second.
But, “hmmm….it’s just what I do everyday, no matter where I am” didn’t really feel like a great or non-annoying answer (although, it’s true).
So, it got me thinking. About the things that I do, ingrained or with a little extra intention, that make traveling, vacationing, and living life to most JOYFUL and FULLEST, possible.
A little peek inside my brain, about what to do, pack, eat, drink, and how to create easy little rituals while your travel, so that you can live your best life (#LOBL), no matter where you are in the world.
Healthier & Happier Travel: The SIMPLY REAL HEALTH Official Guide
BEFORE YOU GO:
- Pick destinations/places/vacations that encourage being active as part of their normal culture (aka, they’re walking, biking, hiking, yoga or workout class friendly).
2. Do some quick research ahead of time: I always yelp, google “best things to do in (city/destination), Thrillist” or search in YouTube for “(city/destination” travel guide” to get a good and more modern lay of that land.
Love ya, Rick Steves, and Lonely Planet, but I’m not really that into all the classic touristy stuff with millions of people hot and sweaty in line and menus with pictures of the food instead of words. So this tells me more about what people actually do and love who live there. I also sometimes use instagram, and try to search though “places” and sift through hashtags, but honestly– I haven’t nailed that one yet.
3. When you get there, each morning before you go out for the day, use your yelp and Trip Advisor apps. They are literally my besties when I travel. I always do a quick search for “gluten free” restaurants and bakeries, “juice and smoothie bars”, and “best hipster coffee shops”. Sometimes “salad” too. Between those three I’m literally never led wrong, and we always have a first destination on where to go, or what area of town we might want to pop into mid-morning.
Planning even this tiny thing means no ending up hungry/hangry and/or disappointed when I can’t find a restaurant with options that excite me. Plus, it gives me great ideas on things I can riff on at home. Inspiration AND fuel. Done and done.
Plus, on both apps you can save your finds: in Yelp, bookmark them. In Trip Advisor, you can create separate trips in your account. I filter for gluten-free friendly dinner restaurants this way, and love reading all the reviews and seeing pics first. It helps me be the ambi-police (a ambiance queen, no shame).
4. The mandatory snack bag: both for plane and for the trip. Yes, like you’re 5. This requires some thought, the week before you go to grab some extra things at the store so you’re ready. Counting on healthy snacks at airports/planes/trains/on roadtrips is a literal recipe for disaster. BUT, this is sort of a tricky one. Ya ready?
This adult snack bag of yours only contains things that sound appealing when you’re actually really hungry, in weird moments on the trip where it’s meal time and you’re not getting one, or to bridge the gap between time zones.
What it’s not: a grab-bag of your favorite treats, just because you’re traveling. I keep mine simple with sea salt macadamia nuts, brazil nuts and wild smoked salmon bites, like these maple-dill ones from Epic Bar (note these are way different than their “bars”- the bites are waaaay better in my opinion, but I’ve only had the salmon ones so far). Maybe some organic kale chips or broccoli bites, like these and these. Also, now even Starbucks now carries olive oil kale chips, so no excuses.
Me, personally? I stay away from fruit/larabars/all things too tempting for me to eat out of boredom/tiredness/to entertain myself like chocolate. Save that for your meals and for things with more joy and experience where you are going (like gelato on the beach with your toes in the sand while the waves crash in front of you, duh).
5. Don’t snack. I know, I know, wait, am I serious? YES. I know that most people/experts/everything you hear in the mainstream media always tells you to eat more often, eat smaller meals throughout the day, have 2-3 healthy snacks a day, etc. But I think the opposite.
Truthfully? In our culture, we give ourselves way too much permission to snack and eat at all hours of the day. If you’re eating real food as your normal lifestyle though, you know this is NOT NECESSARY. Your blood sugar is stable and calm and happy, and you end up just needing less food, less often when it’s all real stuff. So, bennies to living a healthy lifestyle more consistently, for sure.
So, my best advice?…
6. Keep to your normal meal schedule when you travel— just like any other day– and make them good. For me it’s 2 meals, most days. So if it’s a travel day, I either take ingredients for one with me, know the spots I can buy at the airport, or I plan my day around my meals and into my travel schedule.
So, for example: eat a good lunch at 2pm, plane is at 4pm, arrive at 8pm then get dinner. Instead of snacking alllllll through it plus dinner. You’ll let your body get hungry, give your digestive system a needed break (a good thing), and end up enjoying your food way more because of it.
7. Ready to take it up a notch? Use your travel days to get hungry (in a good healthy way, not a punishing/depriving way that makes you binge or go cray later). Focus mostly on drinking water and herbal teas throughout the day as you bop around, with your day planned about 1 bigger and delicious meal (usually at your destination). And if needed, the adult snack bag can come to the rescue 🙂
While You Are There:
8. Drink 2 liters of water everyday. Make it happen, however you have to. This usually means traveling with a reusable water bottle, or making a twice a day stop to buy it. It will be the best $2-3 you spend all, day for how it affects everything else (your hunger, mood, skin, energy, etc). No excuses.
9. Define and create your 1, 2 or 3 non-negotiables: the ladies in my #simplyreallife program know this one so well.
Non-negotiables are the things you do and commit to, no matter what, or where or how, that help you take care of yourself no matter where you are in the world and what the day entails.
They are the basics, usually 2-3 things that are the dominoes for better much better decisions throughout the day. And, YES, you should have these for daily normal life too. Mine? Eat a (substantial and great) serving of vegetables every single day, drink my water, and get fresh air or movement of some kind.
10. Eat vegetables every single day. I don’t care how. Or when. Or if you find it annoying and inconvenient. Just do it. Plan for it. Make it part of your normal routine. A fresh green juice or smoothie or salad at lunch? Yes. It’s totally doable when you have that as your one goal of the day.
You’ll keep your body getting the nutrients it needs, help it naturally detox from all the other fun stuff/strange sleep patterns, etc if you do this. Make it a point, daily, even if it’s a bag of kale chips/TJ’s broccoli bites from your adult snack bag. No excuses, because this changes so much, I promise.
11. Vacation isn’t an excuse to eat all the things, all the time. Get clear on what you love vs what is clutter food for you, and have naturally ingrained guidelines for yourself. A little structure for yourself around this actually means way more joy and freedom when you DO have little joys and things you love.
Example? My hubs loves baked goods. In the morning. I don’t like either (eating in the morning or baked goods, even they are GF). So, I don’t. But later in the afternoon when I want rose with lunch or a a piece of chocolate after dinner? I’m all in. And so intentional and happy about it. And I don’t feel like crap from eating stuff I don’t care about. Get clear.
12. Bring a travel yoga/workout mat that easily folds into your bag. I love this one. And workout clothes/shoes. Even if it’s every third day, and there is no gym in site, do 10 mins of some strength basics (pushups, crunches, squats and lunges), you won’t backslide and have to start at zero when you get home, and your body can handle all the weirdness of travel in stride.
And, again, pick places that are active and encourage movement throughout the day anyways (hey, walks on the beach, to get coffee and lunch can totally count). Bonus points for booking hotels/airbnb’s with gyms, or close to ones that do daily passes. Little things and actions daily totally add up.
13. Don’t eat crap just because it’s around or easy. Find the best gelato/coffee/lunch/dinner/chocolate shops, not just the one that happens to be on the corner. Make it part of your adventure. Quality matters, and everything that you love can be made or done in a real food way. See tip #2 above.
14. Nail your healthy cocktail order, and keep it simple. Blended syrupy milkshake looking ones? Leave it. My fav go-to orders? Gin and soda with lime, and a splash of tonic. Aperol spritzes. Campari/aperol and soda with orange. Skinny or scratch margaritas (or tequila, lime juice and club soda). Or vodka and soda with a splash of grapefruit. Or, #roseallday, baby. But the dry kind, not sweet. Your blood sugar, hunger and body will thank you later. And you’ll have room to try and enjoy other things too.
15. Bring a backpack. Or something to carry your water, a snack if you think you might need it, a hat, and natural sunscreen, while you bop around town. We used this one ALL TRIP LONG (literally, the best last minute amazon purchase of my life for $30), but something like this or this is fun too. Don’t make it dorky or you won’t use it!
16. Pack your essential oils. So, truth: essential oils are new to me, mostly because I was a giant eye rolling skeptic about them, until a few months ago. I was sure it was snake oil, and so doubtful that they actually did anything. But now, after actually trying the high quality versions? SO DIFFERENT. Night and day. They’re a part of my daily rituals, and give me a little joyful moment of calmness, groundedness, and bringing me back to good. Like a 5 second spa day that I can pull out anytime and anywhere.
So, when I travel, I bring my peppermint and eucalyptus drops to rub on my neck and shoulders while I travel (or for headaches/stomachaches from unknown food), or for a few drops on my tongue instead of gross- ingredient gum. I bring lavender to rub on my wrists and feet before bed (ahh, so amazing). And a citrus like lemon or wild orange for a little wake me up, or in my millions of gallons of sparkling water consumed on any give trip.
If you’re curious about this stuff too, I’m happy to share more about where I get them and why, so let me know. I can do a post on it, so let me know. Like food, there is a huge difference in quality and effectiveness with oils, so you wanna get the good, food grade stuff- and there are a few places and brands to pick from.
17. Get some activated charcoal. I love and live by this kind, and always pack it when I travel. It absorbs anything toxic in your body, so if you eat something weird (unclaimed gluten in a dish for me), feel food poisoning coming on, or had one too many glasses of rose under the twinkly lights (uh, hi), this stuff can be your best friend.
Start with 1 capsule first, or two-three if it’s a more serious matter. Drink lots of water, otherwise it can stop you up, but in general is a pretty gentle and totally safe option when the unknown happens.
Oh weird. Are you thinking that some of these might even help you at home, in the midst of your normal daily life? Weird how that works.
My point is this: being truly healthy isn’t about extremes.
It’s not about being totally perfect and like a robot with your food and workouts. It’s about being consistent with a few big things, that actually matter and that add up like crazy over time. And those things can often be done in tiny ways, no matter where you are.
It’s nothing magic.
But true- it won’t just happen on it’s own, this healthy lifestyle thing.
It does take a little intention. Some planning. Some love, and some care to make it possible.
And not just on vacation.
But none of those things are bad things, in my book. In fact, they’re just little reminders to me that my health and life and body and energy and mind are important to me. Because without them, I can’t and don’t show up fully.
Whether that’s bopping around a new city or relaxing on the beach, or in my daily work life with clients and in my programs, or with the people that I love the most. The location doesn’t matter.
It’s an inside job.
And one that I happily do and honor all of my days, the best I can. Because when I do it, there is more freedom, more joy, more grace, and more juiciness. Not less. And I for one, want a life full of those things and moments.
That is healthy.
That is a beautiful and inspired life.
At least, in my humble opinion.
Love this post? You’d love the cookbook then too. My second book, Simply Real Eating also just came out, so make sure you grab your copy here. And be sure to check out the seasonal meal plans (or the new Easiest DINNER ONLY Plan)! It’s what we literally eat for dinner every week.