What we consume while traveling can often be the best part. New foods, interesting combinations, different ways of cooking, and cool settings can add an important layer to our experiences. It can be tricky to find balance when too much rich food doesn’t do well for the ol’ stomach or there are too many temptations that make us feel crummy.
Finding the balance between fully enjoying the culinary experience of our travels by not being excessively restrictive but also not going too far to feel like junk the next day is one of the biggest challenges while traveling. How can we enjoy the foods of new places and still feel clear, energized, and focused?
By keeping in mind a couple key principles, I believe, that we can each find our own balance with feeling good and indulging so we can still be satisfied with our travel experience.
1.Nutrient density. Nutrient density is basically just aiming to get as many nutrients in your meals as possible. Many of us live in a society where the main diet is full of empty calories, the opposite of nutrient density. Empty calories are foods that have a lot of calories but no nutrients. Think of packaged foods, baked goods, fast food. Anything that has been processed. These foods seem to satisfy us with their unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt, but we feel only temporarily satiated. These foods lack substance. Because they are low in necessary nutrients, we end up craving more food as we are not getting what we need. Then we end up eating more calories than we need and still not getting enough nutrients. This leaves us in a really unfortunate place. A place where disease is prevalent. Where we carry unneeded weight. Where our brain is foggy and our body sluggish. So what is the solution? The opposite. The more nutrients we eat, the less food our body needs. If we start looking for food that is nutrient dense like vegetables, super-foods, fruits, whole grains and beans, fermented foods, healthy fats and proteins, sprouted foods, etc… then we crave less, naturally. We end up eating less. We are energized, fresh, clear, and probably happier. Start practicing now, at your next meal ask yourself, “how can I get more nutrients into this meal?” Add ground flax to your salad, throw some leafy greens into your soup, put some sauerkraut into your sandwich, or dump a bit of spirulina into your smoothie.
2.Listening to your body. This is such an important thing to learn when working on our health and to know what to eat and not eat. So often we look outside ourselves for answers. We look to this diet, or that doctor, or an article we read. This is all ok, but this works best when combined with having your own inner awareness about what works for you. Some ‘healthy’ foods are really good for some people and not good for others. People can tell my mom all day long about how good lettuce is for her, but she gets major headaches when she eats it. And it took her along time to realize that (as it would for anybody) because we only hear about how good lettuce is. So understanding and observing how different foods work for you is important and will help you make the right choices and learn from the not-so-great choices so that your next vacation will be even better than the last. Start practicing now, at your next meal observe how you feel while eating certain foods and how they make you feel. A great way to do this is to eat something different for breakfast for 5-7 days. Notice the difference in mental focus, energy, satiation, and mood. How do you feel right after and 2 hours later?
Want more? Here are some tangible tips to support you with nutrient density to stay healthy and energized on your travels.
How do you add nutrients to your meals at home or on-the-go?
What have you noticed from observing your own body? What works for you and what doesn’t?
Please share! We all can learn from each other!
Other blogs that might interest you…