Beach holidays are relaxing, but choosing what to eat on them sometimes isn't..
Apr 05, 2012
||Even though summer is just around the corner, it seems to be the season for sunny getaways. Everyone I know seems to have decided to get out of the city for a sunny & wonderful beach getaway recently. And although the prospect of a relaxing holiday away can be one of the most exciting things to look forward to in our busy and complicated lives, eating on holiday (or should I say what to eat on holiday) can be anxiety-creating for even the most enthusiastic travelers. And having JUST got back from a glorious vacay myself, I felt it an opportune time to share some of the tips that I’ve acquired over the years that allow me to stay healthy on vacay, even when the daunting all-inclusive buffet comes your way.
When it comes to vacation, as many of us know, consuming food and beverages from far away places can really wreak havoc on our digestive system – as well as our enjoyment of the holiday itself. So, what should you do to protect your tummy (and even your hips) on your next vacay?
Probiotics: These are the healthy bacteria that keep our gut & immune system healthy – and when it comes to fighting foreign invaders that can cause digestive distress (like in water & fresh foods abroad), probiotics are a fantastic defense to keep your tummy happy and your bowel movements in check. However, most good quality probiotics need to be refrigerated (and therefore do not travel well), so if you’re prone to a sensitive tummy when you’re away I would suggest taking probiotics daily 10 days to 2 weeks before leaving for your holiday. This will boost your system and lessen your chances of digestive disruption when you’re away.
Now, in terms of actual food choices, all-inclusive resorts can be an overwhelming place for many trying to be food & health conscious. With their massive buffets and endless options, it doesn’t always make eating healthy easy. So, here are a few tips for avoiding the all-inclusive gut-rot:
Water: So, we all know that water is important, but very few of us get enough water in our daily lives. And when it comes to a sunny vacation, you want to make sure to keep your intake nice and high, especially if you have a sensitive tummy. As Canadians when we’re in the hot, tropical dry sun much more than our bodies are used to, you need to make sure to take extra care. And water is also super important to keep your digestive system working properly, so if you’re treating yourself to things you don’t normally, keep the water flowing to help keep your digestion efficient. And at all-inclusive resorts, with a tendency to drink too much alcohol instead it's healthy couterpart, it’s even more important to drink and drink and drink that water. Why? Because alcohol acts to further dehydrate the body, so watch out - it’ll make you more prone to sun stroke and feeling sick & tired. You should really be drinking water all day long when you’re in the sun. And if you get a chance, crack open a fresh coconut (like I did last week in Jamaica)and drink it’s water – it’s the most naturally hydrating drink this beautiful earth has to offer! And if you’re worried about the quality of water at your resort, they should always be able to offer you bottled water. And although I don’t like to create bottle waste, when on vacation, hydration really is crucial!
Fresh & Local Produce: Always make sure that your plate is full of at least half fresh veggies (and fruits). Most all-inclusive destinations will be serving local & fresh produce, and making sure you get enough brightly coloured plant-based foods will ensure that you’re getting lots of vitamins, minerals and especially fiber to keep your digestion in check during your stay away!
The Dreaded Buffet: Because of the endless selection of foods to choose from, it can be very tempting to go for foods that you know don’t agree with you just because they are there. And don’t get me wrong, this does NOT mean that you shouldn’t treat yourself to some things you don’t normally indulge in, but it Does mean that just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean your body is going to respond differently to the offending foods. So, if your body doesn’t like dairy in the city, it probably won’t like dairy on the beach. And if wheat makes you bloated, don’t expect the effect to be any different in the tropics (or wherever else you might find yourself). Because at the end of the day, you want to enjoy yourself, but you don’t want to feel like crap on holiday! So don’t let the buffet ruin your it..
Moderation: Now, I would like to be very clear that when I use the word moderation I’m not implying dieting, or restricting food in any way. But what I am saying is that you can enjoy all different types of foods on your vacation, even the one’s you normally wouldn’t that you consider 'bad' - but here’s the catch. Have a taste, a reasonable portion to enjoy and splurge, but make sure not to go over board. This advise may seem to be in contradiction to the above point, but in fact it’s not. Whether we’re talking about that baguette, that decadent chocolate dessert or that irresistible pina colada, being ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean you always have to decline, but it does mean that you should eat highly nutritious foods & beverages most of the time. So, perhaps have one or two fruity cocktails instead of 7 or 8. Being healthy means making great choices most of the time, and endulges in life’s pleasures at other times. Only you know the balance that will work for you before you start the feel the wrath of refined carbs, sugar, alcohol and the like. And whether your brain function or your bum shows it first, it’s better to moderate your intake so you don’t have to feel like s**t for weeks when you get back.
So, relax, enjoy, drink & eat – but be kind to your body and don’t go crazy! That way you’ll enjoy your trip and come back relaxed, rejuvented, and with a happy tummy..