Eating Healthy and Traveling: How I Have My Cake and Eat It Too
When I’m at home, in a routine, with access to a gym and a well-stocked kitchen, staying in shape is achievable. In fact, it’s a lot easier to stay healthy now that I have travelled extensively and realize just how hard it is to stay away from the crepes, waffles, aioli and gelato on the road.
Like everybody else, I go through phases. Phases where my jeans are loose and others when there is no getting them up without a friend armed with a wire coat-hanger, and lying on the ground without breathing. Then there are the times when it’s easy to say no to the bread the Italians serve before the first plate and those when it’s not possible to have fewer than three Nutella waffles in Amsterdam.
There are the times when it’s easy to say no to the bread the Italians serve before the first plate and those when it’s not possible to have fewer than three Nutella waffles in Amsterdam.
Like most young women, my relationship with food has changed drastically over the years. I was given a good head start in life and fed the best of the best. My mother is a fantastic cook and ensured that I had a very healthy and balanced diet with the most luxurious cuts of meats and organic vegetables. I was the kid that at the age of six was trained to turn down sugary drinks at parties. In fact I had a little rhyme to recite.
It went something like this: “I like lots of water, some milk, a little bit of juice, no fizzy and especially no Coke.” I was that kid, I had that parent. I was healthy. I became super fit as a competitive swimmer and surf-lifesaver, burning off every kilojoule that passed my lips.
Like most young women, my relationship with food has changed drastically over the years.
Boarding school and access to money sent all of my mother’s best intentions out the window. The food snob in me didn’t want the stodge served up, so I retreated to the dairy and there found a range of high sugar treats that were better than bulk cooked food and all new to me. It didn’t take long until I ballooned. Enter the unhealthy stage.
Somewhere in there I entered the: “Uh oh, I do care what people think about me and, more importantly, how I feel about myself” stage. I scaled back the junk food, started running and playing around with press ups. My body was changing and I was fit and healthy again.
Then there was the young adult, independent living stage. I ate pasta more nights than not, I drank too much most weekends and then sulked in my hung-over, tired state on Sundays, craving stodgy, fatty mop-up foods. I gained the much-hated university roll.
When I went traveling, I actually lost weight. I was so absorbed and overwhelmed with the world, that food was no longer a priority. Hold on, food’s always a priority but a different priority. Now I try to eat what the locals eat.
Finally I’ve found a balance in eating healthy and traveling. Some days I over-indulge and then for the next few days I ensure I enjoy my 5+ vegetables.
Hold on, food’s always a priority but a different priority. Now I try to eat what the locals eat.
Last week, in Greece, I sat at a beautiful restaurant with some friends. They all ordered sophisticated, Greek-inspired dishes, while I ordered a starter of tzatziki and a main of chocolate crepes. I won’t tell you what I ordered to drink. I felt like crepes, crepes were on the menu, I ordered crepes. I am travelling – I won’t deny myself the experience.
Now I am in Naples, Italy. The first night I had pizza because that’s just what you do in Naples. However, just now I knocked back a large feast of red meat for iron and protein and vegetables for everything else. I feel great, but I didn’t do it to become skinny. Traveling makes me happy and happy makes me healthy. I’ll be eating crepes again in no time.
Saying that, I would never let myself spin out of healthy control, so I do draw a line somewhere in the sand with chocolate crepes.
While staying fit and healthy on the road is important, trying all the local foods is just as much the focus. I run around the local area in the morning, out)of pleasure and the desire to ensure my heart continues beating into the 100s. Then I forget about it – I don’t diet, I don’t obsess, I allow myself the freedom to eat all the beautiful, colourful, delicious local delicacies. Saying that, I would never let myself spin out of healthy control, so I do draw a line somewhere in the sand with chocolate crepes.
This definitely has to be the healthiest relationship I have had with food for as long as I can remember. In a dream world, I may be five or so kilograms lighter but, travelling the world, one step, one experience and one big, delicious mouthful at a time is where it is really at.
So, bon appétit, guten appetit, bon profit, buon appetito, and smakelijk eten!