Hola! This week's column is coming to you from the Baja, Mexico.
My husband and I love to travel and have been blessed over the years to visit several different countries. We enjoy exploring the areas we are in, meeting the locals and trying the local fare. In fact, the one thing my hubby always does before we arrive is to search out the best-reviewed places to buy fresh, local produce as well as where to go out for a great meal.
This trip is our second time to this part of Mexico. And as we are staying with friends, and helping them move down here, we are doing some cooking and enjoying some new restaurant finds that we missed the first time around.
This time of year is often a big travel time for families with spring break as well as Easter holidays. And as we are emerging from winter, I do think that many are just so eager to soak up some summer sun, that when it's slow to come they snap up the first good flight deal to somewhere warm that pops up on their screen. And who can blame them?
The shorter days, lack of sunlight and therefore shortage of vitamin D—most of the population that lives above the 39th parallel is deficient in vitamin D unless supplementing— has your body craving the sun. And while I've yet to meet someone who will say they really don't want to leave the last dregs of winter for some sun, sand, surf and a little R&R, the excitement of a trip can also be a source of stress for a good many folks.
If isn't you, you're probably wondering what, aside from planning and the logistics to get you to your destination, could be so stressful. If you can relate, for you it's that four-letter 'F' word.
Yep, that's right, “Food.” For those who struggle with health and/or weight, leaving the security of home where you have complete control over what food you buy, how you prepare it and how much you're eating is huge. Going to a place you've never been, where you seemingly have little or no control over what, when and how you're going to eat, can be terrifying. And that's never how food should feel.
Food is used in every culture around the world not just for nourishment, but also to celebrate, to mourn, to surprise, and to generally bring people together. It's a huge part of our culture and in almost everything we do. Food should be something you savour, something you enjoy and something that helps create those warm fuzzy moments you'll look back on and smile about. Especially on vacation.
The problem comes when dieting is also a big part of your relationship with food. Diet culture has you locked in to believing the only way to that vacation and eat all the things is to starve yourself for months leading up to departure day, eat everything in sight while away, then psych yourself up to jump back on that diet the first Monday after arriving home. Sound familiar?
There is a way to enjoy both your vacation and the food that comes with it without bringing back that holiday 10 pounds around the middle and it's all based around using food to create hormonal balance and stabilizing blood sugar.
Here are five tips to make sure on your next trip you bring home souvenirs and memories, but not the weight around the middle.
1. Always take food with you. We travel with my favourite PFC protein powder, protein bars, nuts, a few pieces of fruit and a large water bottle to fill after we clear security. This makes sure we have what we need while in transit and don't have to resort to airplane food.
2. Eat breakfast every day and be sure to include a protein. This sets the tone for your body for the day and starts you off with your metabolism burning fat instead of muscle. Which is what happens when you skip breakfast. Or any meal.
3. Take a small day pack to carry water and snacks as you're out and about visiting, sightseeing, or on tours. The “eat a huge breakfast so you don't have to eat anything again until dinner” philosophy will have your body storing fat before you leave the hotel in the morning, burning muscle before lunch and a drop in energy come 2 p.m to 3 pm.
4. Enjoy treat foods guilt free. When you're eating a balance of a protein, fat and carb (PFC) together frequently throughout the day, having that handmade gelato or pretzel hot from the oven becomes a small blip in the radar, not a gigantic blood sugar spike and crash. The more consistent you are ahead of time, the smaller the impact will be. (Tip: Pair treats with a protein to stay balanced and burn fat, rather than store it.)
5. Alcohol is a carb. Think of it like a piece of white bread. Just like treats, pairing it with a protein and a fat will help your blood sugar remain stable and burning fat.
When I turned 50, hubby and I travelled throughout the U.K. and Europe for five weeks and we used these five principles. Not only did we enjoy the croissants, wines and cheeses in Paris, the gelato in Italy and experienced a chocolate tasting at the Lindt factory in Zurich guilt-free, we didn't bring home any extra weight. In fact I came back a pound lighter.
If you're ready to stop dieting and live with food freedom, watch Tania's free 15 min training here.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.