Being healthy while traveling is something that can be challenging, but I promise it is completely rewarding! This year I made the decision to be as healthy as possible, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It was the best decision I have ever made for myself. I want to stay true to making this change a lifestyle, and not something temporary. I eat a plant-based diet with occasional eggs, lean meats, and fish. Food is so much apart of learning about a culture, so I wanted to make sure I had the perfect balance of being healthy, but also absorbing some of the food culture in Greece and Italy. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always eat perfect meals. Having that balance is key to me. Sometimes it’s about nurturing other parts of ourselves, instead of just focusing on the physical. If I could nurture myself emotionally by being present while laughing over a carb loaded/butter drenched meal with my best friend, staring at an amazing view, then that was more than okay with me! I was lucky enough to travel with my “Gabs” who has been a lifelong friend and eats a similar plant-based diet like I do. We have the same outlook about health, so this was extremely helpful. My first tip would definitely be to travel with someone who views the world similar to what you do! Traveling with someone on the same page as me made this experience so much better.
Looking back on my previous vacations, I regret stuffing my face at buffets and then lying down due to a food coma. To me, traveling is about having the energy and mindset to explore and truly be engaged in the culture. Not feeling well because of the food you’re eating can take away from the overall experience. On this vacation, Gabs and I would eat, and then be ready to go explore! As I write this on the plane home, we both feel that this was one of the best trips we have ever taken in our entire lives. We enjoyed every bit, the company, the food, the scenery, and the adventures.
European diet is pretty awesome. Most things are fresh, organic, and made with passion. There are tons of healthy options but there are also tons of unhealthy options too. There are many fruits and veggies available, but there are also delicious chocolates, ice cream, and fried foods as well. We started our journey in Greece. It was pretty easy to eat healthy because the Mediterranean diet is full of fresh produce. Olive oil is drenched on basically every single food group! Olive oil is a great healthy fat and we both took full advantage of slathering it on everything… even for breakfast. In Europe the portion sizes are a lot smaller. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, fresh bread, and black coffee. Everything looks beautiful and tastes beautiful, so it’s important to not get carried away. While reflecting on this trip, I have put together some tips to help friends who are traveling anywhere. I hope this inspires them to have the best trip ever! Enjoy….
Walk, don’t ride
Europeans walk everywhere. We found a restaurant at the top of Positano when exploring Italy. We looked at the map and realized it would take us over an hour to walk uphill to the restaurant. At first we hesitated because we didn’t know if we wanted to walk that far, and then finally we both said, “Mama didn’t raise no quitters… “ and off we went. We arrived at the restaurant drenched in sweat, but it was completely worth it. Our phone app told us we walked up a 100 story building. But… who’s counting?
Travel with people who support you
As I stated earlier, travel with people who are on the same team as you! The whole trip Gab and I motivated each other to have the best and healthiest time. We woke up each morning, stretched, watched the sunrise, and planned how we wanted to spend our day exploring.
Eat less, drink more water
Water is my favorite drink. I don’t think it’s appreciated nearly enough. We carried water with us at all times, or as much as we could. This helped us stay hydrated and helped to keep us energized while it was hot, because we were traveling from sunrise to sunset. We also shared every meal. This was nice because it saved money, and it also allowed us to not waste any food. We ate light appetizers, and instead of ordering two plates of pasta, we would order one and split it.
Eat slow, enjoy the view
Catch up with old friends, enjoy, and BE in the moment. We stayed at our restaurants way longer than anticipated because we enjoyed our view and conversations so much. We even accidentally stayed so long at one restaurant that we took a family’s reservation. Because the waiter liked us so much, they ended up seating the family right behind us. The mother gave us death stares for the rest of our meal, but it was totally worth it because the view rocked! (It also pays to be friendly). Enjoying your time while traveling is so important. We tried to spark up as many conversations with locals as we could. The interesting thing is that we were so excited to learn about their culture, but they were just as excited to learn about ours! Everyone thought it was so cool that we were from a small town in Pennsylvania and said it was “just like the movies.” This taught me to appreciate where you come from and what makes you unique. The grass always looks greener on the other side.
Red wine all the time
I recently also made the decision to stick mostly to red wine. I truly dislike the taste of all alcoholic drinks except for wine. A lot of mixed drinks contain sugar and can make you feel awful after drinking them. I’ve been reading a book called “Woman Code,” and it talks about the effects alcohol has on our bodies. This was a personal decision, but ever since cutting out other alcohols i’ve felt great! Europe was perfect for my taste because they have some of the best wines in the world.