Take a step back and think about what an authentic Paleo approach is really all about. It’s eating foods which grow locally, seasonally, and in balance (leafy green plants and wild animals), which are easily and readily available to us in our farmer’s markets, health food stores, and even in our own back yards.
Consider, for a moment, if we lived in an environment where this was the only type of food we had access to – no packaged items, no prepared frozen foods, no restaurants.
Would we still need to use a label on what we were eating?
This doesn’t pertain solely to Paleo; even if one follows a gluten-free approach or a vegan approach, often the core message of what any given eating approach is all about gets lost in translation.
So, regardless of whether we’re at home or abroad, rather than seeking out packaged items or restaurant options, if we peel away the labels and get back to basics, we make our search a whole heck of a lot easier! Simply look for food (per the Oxford dictionary1 any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.)
Below are my top five tips to keep on point with your healthy, Paleo-inspired routine while traveling:
1. Keep hydrated – A flight will leave you dehydrated; that, plus lack of sleep can be a recipe for a skewed perception of whether you really are hungry or not. First things first; make sure thirst and sleepiness/jet lag aren’t masquerading as hunger.
2. Focus on fat – Finding fat, a necessary macronutrient which should make up 42% or even more of one’s diet2, is relatively easy. Traveling somewhere tropical? Go nuts for fresh coconut or avocado. Traveling in Europe? Olive oil is a no-brainer. In addition, bringing fat with you is a no-brainer: from single serve packets of nut butter (but not peanut butter,) coconut oil, and olive oil to sprouted walnuts or travel sized jars of MCT oil.
3. Seek out protein – Scour the menu or the carts at the shop or at the market outside your hotel for what looks like locally-sourced and/or wild protein options and ask for the simplest prep possible.
4. Take advantage of veggies when you can find them – It’s easy to suggest eating veggies with both of your meals (if you’re following an intermittent feeding protocol, or three if three meals per day suits you better,) but the fact is, there are some places in the world where leafy greens are just not to be found at certain times of the year. If you’re on business in Stockholm in January, good luck finding anything fresh and local besides starchy root veggies! While it’s not ideal to have any day without veggies, if there are simply none available, do your best to add a bit more fat to steer clear of the chance of eating too much protein, which can cause constipation.3 Better to have a little more fat than a ton of protein and its certainly better than resorting to sugar, including in the form of fruit!
5. Keep moving – You may not be able to get your usual run on the beach or spin class that leaves you feeling like you’ve been thrashed (in a good way,) but just a 30 minute easy jog first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can perpetuate your body’s shift to burning fat as its primary fuel. That shift will keep you more focused for your business meeting or providing better balanced blood sugar levels to keep your energy up to enjoy your trip without crashing!
With all said and done, there are still going to be grey areas when you’re traveling, just like there are when we’re at home. Know what you can and cannot tolerate and then make the best choice possible based on what is available.
A non-organic salad with chicken which may or may not be organic and olive oil eaten in a pinch may still well be the better choice than the fast-food nachos and tacos you could have chosen.
Think big picture!
- Cordain, Loren. The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011. Print.
- “Does Eating a Lot of Protein Cause Constipation?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.