As tempting as it might be to also take a vacation from your paleo lifestyle, one week of relaxed eating can morph into a slippery slope of less-than-ideal choices over the course of the summer. The paleo diet is a sustainable eating pattern for the long haul, whether you are at home or on the road. We have a few tips to help you stay on track while traveling this summer.
Follow the 85:15 Rule
Routines go out the window when traveling, and it is best for your sanity and maximum enjoyment to be adaptable on vacation. Following the paleo diet 85 percent of the time will still allow your body to experience the metabolic and physiologic benefits it offers. 1 This rule permits you flexibility to eat differently 15 percent of the time, or roughly three meals over the course of a week.
Traveling is the perfect time to follow this rule, as it can be more challenging, depending on where you are traveling, to be 100 percent paleo-compliant. For example, if you decide you must have a muffuletta sandwich in New Orleans for your trip to be complete, then it might help if you eat the beignets on a different day.
The last thing you might think of doing on vacation is restricting your calories. However, it could be the perfect time to experiment with this strategy. You can experience intermittent fasting by skipping or delaying breakfast or abstaining from eating while flying. Although it is common in modern times to eat up to three times a day (or more), our hunter-gatherer ancestors were more likely to fast when food was scarce. 2 Intermittent fasting has been shown to have several health benefits, such as increased insulin sensitivity, stress resistance, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. 3 If you eat regular sized meals the rest of the day after skipping breakfast, you will naturally be restricting your calories. 4
Create a plan for where you are going to eat in advance. Search the internet, use the hotel concierge, or take to social media to uncover the best spots at your destination. Most restaurants have their complete menus online, so you can get an idea of what paleo options might be available. Deciding where to eat at the last minute can leave you with less control over what to eat and may lead you to make a less-than-ideal choice. It’s still okay to be spontaneous if you find something better or your plans change, but you will have a backup plan in place to keep you on target.
Save the Splurge!
One of the best parts about traveling is being able to explore other cuisines and regional specialties. Delay your gratification until the last day. If you lead off with deep dish Chicago pizza on day one, you may be likely to throw in the towel and surrender to other delicacies along the way. However, if you hold off until the end of your trip, it can be a motivating incentive to stay on track through the duration of your trip.
Enjoy the Ride
No matter where your vacation or vacation choices take you, don’t let it derail you when you are back at home. Jump back into your normal routine of paleo eating and your regular exercise program.
What happens on vacation can stay on vacation!
1 Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. “Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63.8 (2009): 947.
2 Mattson, Mark P., Valter D. Longo, and Michelle Harvie. “Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes.” Ageing research reviews 39 (2017): 46-58.
3 Anson, R. Michael, et al. “Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100.10 (2003): 6216-6220.
4 Carlson, Olga, et al. “Impact of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction on glucose regulation in healthy, normal-weight middle-aged men and women.” Metabolism56.12 (2007): 1729-1734.