When we visit a new place, a new state or a country, there are usually a few experiences we want to collect along our journey:
■ 1. To learn, comprehend and enjoy the culture and the character of the place.
■ 2. To interact with the local people, know their daily life, derive a sense of belonging, exchange ideas and see parallels.
■ 3. To enjoy the food, understand tastes, grow our palettes and increase our knowledge about how people different from us think when they cook their food.
■ 4. To enjoy the rituals, their ideals, their history and the thought process behind them.
■ Food plays a major role in identifying a location, their people, the culture and defining how people live their day to day life. It's not just a necessity to live, it is also a form of recreation.
It is something people enjoy in their relationships with each other. The action of serving food shows your respect towards your guest in many countries. There are so many cultures around the world, but one common thing explicitly stands out in all of the societies - Food or cuisine.
In general, people have become more aware of their health and have incorporated healthy habits in their daily life. But, it is still a struggle for a lot of people. Imagine how much of that struggle gets multiplied when you are traveling. There is a strong desire to experience foods in that region, and sometimes, people make conscious decisions to not worry about health when traveling. We are here today, to tell you that it is still very much possible to enjoy different cuisines and still, keep your health goals in check.
First, let's understand the negative connotations to healthy eating.
■ 1. You have to keep away from all the tasty delights that are available.
■ 2. You have to curb your appetite.
■ 3. You have to go on a diet.
■ 4. Healthy food is generally not tasty or enjoyable.
None of this is true. The world is not Black or White, it is colorful with many colors in the middle. You do not always have to think extremes of the spectrum, that is not healthy for either your mind or your body.
So, let's look at a different take to healthy eating. There are two ways to analyze good health.
■ 1. Know your body. What this means is - know your numbers. Your BMR (resting metabolism) and your TDEE ( Total daily energy expenditure). Do not go beyond these two numbers. Do not consume less calories than your BMR, and do not consume more than your TDEE.
■ 2. Stay hydrated. Drink at least four 24oz of water throughout the day, carry a refillable water bottle everywhere you go.
■ 3. Try everything, just do not gobble up everything that comes your way. That way, you experience all the food and still, keep the calories in check. Stop early. Keep some space in your stomach all the time. Don't fill yourself up. You never know when you might need to try something new.
■ 4. Everytime you order something, get some form of colorful salad.
■ 5. If there is a buffet, don't just start piling food into your plate. Take a walk around the available options, choose the food you MUST take, choose the food you can SKIP eating, and choose the foods you want to TRY. Then, grab a plate and fill accordingly.
■ 6. Keep a rough score of calories in your mind, and STOP when you have reached your total count.
■ 1. Know what you're eating and how you're eating it.
■ 2. Look at it, understand it. Is it fried stuff or heavy in fat, then, take smaller bites. Share portions with others.
■ 3. Choose foods that are boiled, steamed, baked, grilled or broiled instead of fried or sauteed.
■ 4. Whatever is the special at the restaurant, if the information is available, look at the content - Proteins Vs Carbs/ sugars Vs Fats.
■ 5. Focus on high protein foods - good meats, legumes, seafood etc. Understand you may need either some carbs or some fat to burn as fuel if you're doing a lot of activities. So, choose what you like best. Would you like to try their bread or their ice cream? If you want both, eat smaller portions.
■ 6. Carry your daily supplements and do not forget to take them every day. Since you're traveling, it is very important to keep your immune system strong. Make sure to add Vitamin C in your supplements, this will keep you from catching any infections or illnesses from the area.
■ 7. Sometimes, we do not necessarily eat local delicacies when traveling. We are just hungry for a snack while on a hike, go grab some nuts or dry fruits. Carry some trail mix, pretzels, dark chocolate, protein bars, yoghurt, fruits like apples, oranges or bananas to snack on.
■ 8. Skip the street vendors. Some people think that true culture of a place can be gleaned from the foods at the roadside food stands. No thanks! Not at the cost of your health. Draw the line there.
■ 9. At your hotel, maybe book a room with a refrigerator. You could store some healthy breakfast snacks, maybe some milk and cheese to have with instant oatmeal or coffee.
■ 10. Maybe for three days out of a week long travel, look for restaurants with some healthy choices in the area beforehand. They could be your defaults.
■ Quality will always matter, will always take precedence in healthy food selections. Quality food within a controlled quantity is key to optimal nutrition. But when comes time to compromise, DO NOT compromise on the quantity. Keep your numbers in check.
Again, one day if your numbers went beyond what you expected, correct the course the next day. Our bodies give us that much tolerance. It is all about maintaining a good balance.
For many people, traveling long distances leads to stomach problems, and so, it is even more important to figure out what works best for your digestive system.
Going grocery shopping locally for small little things like a vegetable platter or fruits, will keep you healthy throughout the day. It will also have the added benefit of getting to know the native population, understand where they come from, what their traditions are, scope out some interesting shopping and dining locations and much more. It can actually turn out to be a very satisfying experience.
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