“Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle…eat healthy, feel happy”
I am a lover of travel and delicious food. I am always eager to go somewhere different and open-minded to trying anything new. While on the road and exploring an unknown destination, I look forward to tasting the must try foods from different cultures. But over the years I have found it difficult to find a healthy balance while on the road, and most likely end up abandoning my usual health conscious lifestyle.
Most of the time, thinking about what I am going to eat never crosses my mind. While on the road, I always know that I will go back to eating my usual foods and continue with my workout routines once I return home.
Then one trip everything changed.
I was packing my bags, excited for my next destination. I could hardly wait to be on the road for three weeks, riding down one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the US, along California’s famous road: Highway one.
I was yearning to get there and constantly daydreaming about the new places I would soon see, people I would meet, things I would learn, and new foods I would try for the first time. But something slipped my mind.
This would be my first major trip as a health-conscious vegetarian. I had no idea what I was going to eat..!
As a former healthy living animal protein eater, I used to ask the following well-known questions to other vegetarians, such as:
“How do you get your protein?”
“Don’t you get bored of only eating salad?”
“Aren’t you hungry?”
“Come on, you must miss meat don’t you?”
“WHY?? WHY are you a vegetarian?”
Yes, I am guilty. I did that more times than I can count. I now apologize from the bottom of my heart to all the vegetarians I offended. I never understood. I was unable to comprehend the vegetarian lifestyle until the day I became one.
Becoming a vegetarian changed everything I knew about healthy eating and nutrition. I learned that many vegetables have more protein than animal protein.
I also found that I became more satisfied with my vegetarian options.
Even though I knew all this, I was unsure how I would survive three weeks on the road with possibly NO vegetarian or healthy options available to me. I questioned how I could do this while my road partner would be eating his way through highly recommended notable Californian fast food chains.
This experience tested my new lifestyle and proved that eating as a vegetarian or sticking to your health-conscious lifestyle while traveling can be done.
If you are a vegetarian and about to travel, if you are trying to keep up with your usual eating habits while exploring somewhere new, or don’t want to give up on your healthy lifestyle while on the road, here are my 4 secret traveling tips for staying healthy while on the road:
1. Always have almond butter in hand.
Almond butter is known for having good fats and high protein. It keeps you satisfied longer and can be purchased worldwide. I usually buy a jar before I leave and pack it in my checked luggage or easily take it in my bag while on the road.
In my usual routine, I have it with a banana but if there isn’t anywhere nearby to get fruit or if you’re worried about your fruit going bad, you can always pick up a multigrain high-fiber bread wherever you go and have this sometime during your journey. This as a snack or meal will keep your metabolism working and will dissolve any cravings you may be having.
2. Explore nearby outdoor food markets.
If you are lucky enough to be close to an outdoor food market, (or if there’s one not far out of the way) I highly recommend you pick up different fresh fruits and nuts that you enjoy.
This combination will boost your energy and hold you over until you get to your next destination. You also may find some local food options that have healthy choices and are easy to eat on the go.
3. Find a Wholefoods (or similar type grocery store) and take a box to go!
Wholefoods is a very popular grocery store in California (and can be found in destinations worldwide). What I loved about going here is that each store has it’s own unique items depending on the location and the season, and many healthy options.
There was one close by a few times during my three-week journey and I always found something different that I fancied. Wholefoods has a buffet as well as sections of selectable seeds, nuts, and snacks (with nutritional facts listed) that can be placed in a box to be weighed and purchased. If there is one nearby, make yourself a box with your favorite healthy food choices and enjoy this healthy treat while on the road.
4. Drink coconut water.
Coconut water is known for being a naturally refreshing thirst quencher. It’s rich nutrients and high fiber content keep you feeling full longer, while aid weight loss and digestion.
The benefits of coconut water are massive. While it hydrates your skin and body, it restores energy and fights fatigue. It’s cooling effect on the body is perfect for keeping you awake and alert during a long road trip drive. Some athletes swear by it, as they feel coconut water is extremely hydrating and helps prevent cramping during training and extremely hot conditions.
5. Trust the locals.
Wherever the road may take you next, ask around for healthy food recommendations. You may make a new friend while find an excellent nearby delicious and healthy restaurant in the process. During this trip, I asked a non-vegetarian Californian group of locals. They HIGHLY recommended a vegan restaurant nearby—one that was known for being so astounding, that most meat-eaters they knew preferred it to other restaurants. It ending up being one of the best meals I have had while on the road.
Be open to discussing your eating habits with others. It may end up taking you to a nourishing restaurant with someone new!
I wish you healthy and happy travels, with lots of great food!