Before I get started here, I wanted to thank every one of my clients and friends - if it weren't for you guys, I wouldn't have been able to do this trip and this wedding. The whole thing was beyond what I could have imagined. We had an absolute blast. Thanks so much for supporting me and allowing me to take the next step. We did it our way and it was amazing. :)
AND, I want to point out that yes, I still had a ton of fun and I wasn't insanely strict about nutrition to the point that I ruined the fun. That's part of the point of this post - you can enjoy yourself but at the same time have a high quanitity of healthy and delicious foods all at the same time! Travel/fun and decent nutrition aren't totally exclusive! Photographic Evidence of fun enjoying some Guinness and some Irish and Scotch Whiskey :)
But aside from that, I wanted to share some examples of the strategies I used for my nutrition on the trip. I know traveling really throws a wrench in the nutrition works for a lot of people, and I certainly didn't keep up with my exact nutrition strategy at home, but I did do pretty well and I used some simple tools that can help anyone.
So when I'm on a trip, the way I frame it is this: When you're traveling for 2+ weeks, can your health and fitness really afford to eat out for 3 meals a day for like 16 days?? The obvious answer for me is no, even if I'm being careful with my ordering. So the answer:
1. Keep healthy snacks!
I'd keep these with me to prevent myself from getting to the point where I'm starving, which is when I always make the worst decisions. Examples: Clif Builder Bar's - Nuts and Seeds - Water - Fruits - Jerky - Peanut Butter
2. Go to the local market and buy some fresh meats, veggies, and fruits!
Make some of your own meals. I'd typically cook a healthy breakfast when I was staying at an Airbnb, which was the majority of the time. Example: Chicken - Grass Fed Beef - Spinach - Salads - Sausage - Apples
These are simple but they were indispensable tools for keeping some control over what was going on.
A couple examples of meals I made:
1. Grass Fed Beef with local Cheddar Cheese + fresh greens, carrots, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers - this was delicious by the way - at our AirBnB in Edinburgh, this one was a late lunch before going out in Edinburgh
2. Red and Green Grapes and Blueberries + Fresh no nitrite/nitrate pork sausage and tea - this was also surprisingly good! This was a breakfast before going out as well.
As far as goes eating out: It's lucky because in Ireland and Scotland, when you eat at a pub, all the veggies and meats are locally sourced, and I mean very locally sourced. The beef is grass fed from a cow down the way, and the veggies were grown and picked very close as well. All allergen information is listed on the menu's, and often the exact source of the food is listed on the menu. Everything is extremely fresh. It's actually fantastic, and you can do a great job. It can be tough to avoid an overload of potatoes, but it could be a lot worse. You can see all the grass fed beef, greens, slaw, and potatoes in the photos. They are more than willing to do lettuce wraps for you, and if you don't eat the fries, you've done extremely well. You've also got a ton of options at a nice restaurant or steakhouse - Fresh seafood and Risotto, or a T - Bone to share, Scallops Bacon and Veggies :)
In France, it was harder to do as good a job eating out. Everything is bread and grain based, so it's tough not to over do it on the carbs. It was especially important for me to cook at least 1 meal each day while I was there and to have snacks while out exploring. Although I did manage to find chicken and veggies and lots of Mussels :)
If you're at a hotel in Ireland, they'll most likely offer a full Irish breakfast, which can include sausage, eggs, bacon, fruit, tomatoes, beans, and toast. If you stick with the proteins, fruit, and tomatoes, and skip the beans and toast, I'd say that's pretty good for a breakfast. I never stayed in a hotel while in France, so I couldn't say what the breakfast there would have been like.
Just think to yourself about how you're going to get some good quality protein and veggies during a meal, and then try to figure out a way to not go totally overboard with the carbs, like going with the lettuce wrap or not eating all the fries, and not ordering all the breaded fried foods. And easy on the desserts and no Soda's.
If you follow some of these tips, you'll still love traveling and you'll get to enjoy the local food, but it'll also be healthy, and you'll have a lot less catching up to do when you finally get back home. It'll be much faster getting back into a healthy routine than it would be if you were starting from a place of total self indulgence. Don't be the person that puts on 5 - 10 lbs on a trip and then says they'll lose it when they get back and never does!!
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