The whole reason we have a page named “Namaste, or Whatever” is because as much as we try to live clean and healthy lives, neither Audrey or I would ever sacrifice fully enjoying life for the sake of being the healthiest person on the planet. Have I mentioned that we don’t take ourselves too seriously? If you haven’t already figured that out about us, it won’t take you much longer. We try to be healthy, but we try to be real. I love Whole Foods as much as the next person (and probably more than I should), but if you don’t have access to a fancy, expensive grocery store that makes you want to drop everything and start doing sun salutations immediately, you can still eat just as healthily as those of us who are lucky enough to be able to spend twice as much on our produce. Namaste…or whatever. Translation: Health is just as much about making sustainable healthy choices that you feel good about as it about what you eat or don’t eat. Stressing over the perfect diet, exercise regimen, calorie intake, etc. does nothing to improve your well-being.
Let me start this by saying, in no way am I anywhere near perfect with sticking to clean eating when I’m on the road and traveling. I do my best, but when you’re traveling to new places all the time, you get lots of “You have to go here…they have the best pizza/cupcakes/fries/margaritas ever”. And I am never one to turn down the best pizza, cupcake, fries, or margarita. So some weeks I do better than others. (More on all of these places with the best “fill in the blank here” coming soon, so you’ll see how much splurging I really do on a regular basis.) Obviously, travel in the spring and summer when all the vegetables are fresh and there’s tons of good fruit around is easier…but so is eating healthily at home. I try not to splurge too often when I travel because travel is more of a way of life than a vacation for me, but if you travel a lot and are looking for a way to keep from packing on the pounds, I’m here to tell you it can be done! I am anywhere from 10-15 pounds lighter after my first year of traveling for work. Even if you don’t travel all the time but want to stay healthy on your vacation, more power to you, but remember to allow yourself to indulge and enjoy things outside of your normal routine…not every meal, but whenever you want to. And then when vacation is over…get right back to it. If you get yourself a good base of eating clean and healthy before your trip, you’ll probably find that you have less desire or appetite for those splurges, but when you do, indulge them. You only live once. (I’ll spare you the sarcastic hashtag remark here.)
Here are some great ways to keep eating clean on the road, or if you are just learning what “eating clean” means, try implementing one or two of these into your lifestyle and see how great you feel!
- Drink water…a lot. When I am dehydrated, I feel like crap. And when I feel like crap, I eat like crap.
- Find a clean, healthy on-the-go option for when time is short. Lara Bars are the most amazing thing ever. Well, probably not really, but they are pretty tasty and come in a variety of flavors and are great to grab and take with you to eat when you get hungry. They are vegan and gluten free and have only natural ingredients.
- Find an alternative to dairy. Almond and coconut milk are awesome. More and more coffee places and delis are keeping these for lattes and such, so I always ask. If they don’t, I’ll ask for soy or non-fat milk. I try to stay away from too much dairy, but a little non-fat milk in your latte probably won’t wreck your whole day. But, then again, I like my coffee black.
- Opt for healthy sweet treats. Dark chocolate or fruit are great for when you are really craving something sweet. It may not be exactly what you want, but most of the time it does the trick. You can grab these on the go just about anywhere. I try to stick to greater than 70% dark chocolate if possible.
- Gorge on veggies. A salad makes a great, filling, but usually clean and low-calorie meal, and salads are available at most restaurants, so, yes, you can go out to eat…just watch the croutons and the cheese. And high calorie salad dressing. If you have to have these, try picking one and asking them to leave the others off.
- Be a cheese snob. If you must have cheese, make it a strong cheese with really rich flavors. I’m not a big fan of blue cheese, but I do like feta and goat cheeses. If I’m going to have cheese on a salad, I make it one of those. You can get bigger flavor and usually less calories. Trust me…try leaving your cheddar/Monterey jack off your salad. They don’t add much flavor, and I bet you won’t even notice.
- Go NUTS!! If you really need to munch on something crunchy, nuts make a great snack. Almonds are the best, just because they are the most nutrient dense, but I like cashews and pecans also. I try to eat mostly raw or lightly salted/roasted almonds, but if you’re really hankering for a flavor, I still think eating flavored almonds is better than a bag of chips. Try roasting them at home tossed with some coconut oil. Most airport shops or gas stations have some form of almonds you can grab if you’re on the go and can’t get to a grocery store for supplies.
- Cheat Wisely. If you really want some chips (and trust me, sometimes I do), there are some great gluten free options out there. Garden of Eatin’ for one and Way Better for another. They are made from mostly corn or beans. I wouldn’t get in the habit of eating these all the time, but on occasion with some fresh salsa or guacamole they are perfect. I have seen Way Better chips in more and more airport shops lately.
- Go Local. Local restaurants tend to have more fresh, less processed foods than chains. Don’t get me wrong, chains are all well and good, but they order things in bulk and they serve the same thing across the country, so how fresh can it be? Local restaurants usually source local meats and produce and are much more likely to cook things that are in season and easily obtainable, thereby reducing the amount of processing and preserving that has to be done. Besides, you can eat at Olive Garden anywhere…try somewhere local…be a part of the culture you’re in.
- Give Yourself A Break. When you eat like crap, own it and move on. We all do it. Sometimes, that greasy slice of the best pizza ever and 2 (okay 5) margaritas just happens. You’ve done it, and you can’t undo it (and please don’t go throw it up, and if you do, please seek help), so just own it, enjoy how delicious it was, and go back to being awesome. Don’t let it send you spiraling into more unhealthy eating just because you did it once, and don’t let it take away your enjoyment of the rest of your meals. You are not going to get fat from one unhealthy meal. And no vacation (or day at work, for that matter) is worth ruining over feeling bad about yourself.
Do you have any tips you think are worth sharing? We’d love to hear and I’m always up for trying new things. Keep being your awesome self, and we’ll keep loving you!
Namaste, or whatever…