I am currently in the UK, exploring this amazing planet of ours and catching up with old friends and family. One thing I was concerned about going on this trip was food. I am one of those 'special' people- I avoid wheat, eggs, dairy and sugar. Unfortunately everyone we stayed with are 'normal' people, meaning they eat normal food like wheat, dairy and many deep fried products. This got me thinking about healthy tips for travelling within your dietary bounds. I thought about all the tips and tricks I have picked up over the years regarding healthy eating, drinking and enjoying yourself while away from home and thought I might share.
Eating without Pressure
People who don’t suffer from any allergies, intolerances or specific dietary requirements often don’t know what to feed people who do, and nor should they. It can be a source of great stress for your host/hostess, and you might not even know about it. I never expect other people to know what I eat or how I eat, or change their eating habits for me if I am visiting. As a result I often BYO if possible, or make sure I can hit the shops when I arrive, so I can stock up on food I can eat. If it is a serious allergy, it is best to make sure you warn your guests before arriving.
If your host/hostess wants to feed you, try to keep as simple as possible such as a home made vegetable soup, salad, baked veggies or stir fry. If you have to start telling them to watch out for gluten in stock, or MSG in stir fry sauce mix try to be specific, for example brand A is the one I can have. Or if you're overseas, go with the basics like olive oil and lemon juice on salads, salt and pepper on steak etc. Personally, I think that is there are more than 2 clauses in your dinner request, it’s too much trouble for your host and you should politely offer to help out once you arrive, or cook them one of your delicious meals to celebrate your arrival.
If you do have dietary requirements, make sure you investigate the area before arriving and Google places you will be able to eat. Again, if your host is not following your diet, they probably have no idea where you will be able to eat. When looking for places to eat also keep in mind that your host may not want to eat your way. Your vegetarian host may not appreciate going to the latest paleo café, or your wheat bread loving friend may not like you dragging them to a gluten free bakery. It’s best to check. Sometimes you may introduce your friend to a whole new eating style, but I guess introduce is the key, not shove it down their throats!
Relax the rules a bit! This is unless you have a crazy allergy or autoimmune condition like Coeliac Disease. If you usually avoid certain items because of intolerances or for general health, then feel free to let your hair down and enjoy yourself while away! You might just be surprised how well your body tolerates the ‘naughty’ food!
And here's a good one- don’t underestimate the awesomeness of rice thins and avocado for breakfast, lunch or dinner! This is my go to when I can't find Rhianna-friendly food. You can always remove the rubbish from the mini-bar in the hotel and stash your food in there if it needs refrigeration. Make sure to pick up some paper plates and cutlery from the supermarket (or food court!) so you don’t have to use the notepad as a plate.
The Subject of Water
One thing I struggle with while travelling is most definitely drinking water. Sometimes it’s too cold to enjoy water. In this case I always say yes to herbal tea/hot water when possible. I am not usually the biggest herbal tea person, but knowing I won’t drink cold water encourages me to have a herbal tea whenever possible. Make sure you avoid caffeine though, that will just further dehydrate you.
Sometimes the local water tastes nasty and you freak out about the chemicals, or if you're in a third world country, tap water may be off limits. In this case I would suggest buying bottled water- a couple of big ones and a small one. This way you can stash your water at your accommodation and take the little water out with you when you explore.
At other times you might scared of not finding a bathroom so avoid drinking where possible. If this is the case, I would suggest stocking up on water when you are home for the night. If you have been out all day and head back to your accommodation for the night, try to drink at least 1-1.5 litres then. That way you know you’re not dehydrated, and you have a lovely bathroom close at hand. Yes you might need to wake up and tinkle during the night, but it is better than getting a urinary tract infection from dehydration!
It’s Flight Time
If you’re taking a long flight and need to be fed (or if you’re like me and enjoy having snacks available cause you never know when hunger strikes) avoid the plane food cardboard trash and BYO. It’s the great thing about domestic travel, although International might be a little more restrictive- best to check! For domestic travel you can BYO food and water on the plane and if you can do this, your guts will thank you for it!
While on flights I often have little episodes of dancing feet- you all know the tips about preventing deep vein thrombosis. What I do is make sure I keep my feet dancing while I’m listening to music. I also make sure I drink water, while avoiding alcohol and coffee. If there is one thing that will make you feel terrible, it’s alcohol and/or coffee at high altitudes. Keep hydrated with water or coconut water if you want a pick me up (BYO), but keep away from these bad guys.
Many people are nervous flyers. Rescue Remedy or Emergency Essence can be a fantastic pocket remedy to use when needed on a flight. These flower essences can help calm and reassure you.
I hope that has given you a few new tips to try out the next time you go adventuring throughout this amazing planet of ours! There is so much to see, and I am never going to let food restrictions or minor health issues hold me back for exploring it!