As travel restrictions are being lifted, many of us are starting to think about summer holidays. This year, it’s more important than ever to prioritise our health while travelling. In addition to wearing masks and taking the recommended Covid-related precautions, here are a few ways that I stay healthy on holiday that you can consider.
HOW I STAY HEALTHY ON HOLIDAY
AVOID PLANE FOOD
As a general rule, I normally avoid plane food. Taking my own food onboard means that I can avoid the bloating, starchy carbohydrate based stodge and enjoy fresh, satisfying, nutritious meals instead. I usually find healthy food options at the airport to take on board with me. Sashimi from Itsu or salads from Pret make for good main meals. Pret’s boiled eggs and pots of berries from are ideal breakfast choices. Their dark chocolate dusted almonds or coconut bites make for a healthier sweet treat.
Green tea and protein powder sachets are always on my packing list. I love green tea, so Teapigs Mao Feng tea bags always come away with me. I take my little Pukka tea tin packed with tea bags on board with me. Not only do I really enjoy a good cup of green tea, the antioxidants they provide are of benefit when flying. I also pack sachets of protein powder and often protein bars too. They make for handy snacks if I’m out and about and don’t know whether there will be access to healthy food.
Supplements are important when travelling for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we often have less control over our diet that we would do at home. Secondly, various things we do on holiday can increase our nutrient requirements. Exposure to the sun, drinking alcohol and being more relaxed about our diet can all increase our nutrient requirements.
If you’re likely to be drinking more than usual on holiday, pack milk thistle which has been shown to help protect against the negative effects of alcohol.
Many of my clients report that their bowel movements suffer when travelling. As well as staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially when flying, I advise them to supplement magnesium which help here.
On trips longer than a couple of days, I always ensure I build in some exercise. When I visit our family holiday home in Italy I have my dumbbells and a skipping rope for home workouts as well as my favourite running route. In South Africa, I have my personal trainer Barney. In LA, I’ve worked out on the beach and attended various work out classes, from spin to functional training. When I can, I get in exercise first thing in the morning to make sure it gets done. Exercise not only helps me maintain my weight, it also has a hugely positive impact on my mood and general wellbeing. However, truth be told, the only exercise I get in Ibiza is dancing.
HUNT OUT HEALTHY FOODS
For many of us, holidays are a time to relax and this can extend to a more relaxed attitude towards food too. Most of the clients that I work with are like me, they can’t just eat what they want and not see the consequences show up on their thighs. Therefore, on holiday I aim to strike a balance between enjoying myself and not returning home having gained several pounds. I advise my clients to do what I do myself: stick to two healthy, balanced meals a day like you would have at home and allow yourself one flexible meal a day. Don’t forget that some of the most delicious local cuisine can also be healthy. Seafood is a great example if you’re visiting somewhere near the coast. You might also like to check out my tips for healthier restaurant dining.
GO WITH A PLAN
We’ve all heard the old saying: fail to plan, plan to fail. Planning really is key in optimising health in any situation. I often encourage my clients to consider their holiday ahead of time and make a plan for how they’d like to balance their enjoyment of their holiday with minimal impact on their health, weight or wellbeing. I do the same myself. Consider the following:
If you drink alcohol, how many days do you want to drink? How many days will you have off? How many drinks will you have on drinking days? What will you drink?
Will you exercise? As a minimum, can you build in some good walks?
What will the food situation look like? If staying at a hotel, are there healthy choices at breakfast? Are there shops near where you’re staying that offer healthy options? How about the restaurants? Can you check out menus at the hotel / restaurants in advance? If you have control over the accommodation you’ll be staying in, consider an AirBnB with a kitchen so that you have the choice to prepare some of your own meals if you wish. You may not stick to your plan 100%, but having a goal to work towards can certainly help.
READDRESS THE BALANCE
As much as I do to keep healthy while I am away, there’s no denying I am not as healthy as I am at home, so I make sure I have a plan in place to readdress the balance when I get back. Typically, I’ll do a five day ProLon fast which helps refocus me on a healthy routine, as well as addressing any bloating, water retention or weight gain my holiday and the associated travel might have caused. ProLon has numerous proven health benefits, from reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels, to stimulating stem cell production and triggering autophagy (the natural destruction of old or damaged cells). By the end of the five day fast mimicking diet, I’m full of energy and ready to get back on track with my usual healthy routine.