Eating healthy and maintaining your weight while traveling can feel as foreign as the country you’re visiting…
I’m writing to you from sunny Greece, after visiting Rome and Brindisi for the first time since I was 4 years old. Italy was amazing and the people just as beautiful, but as you can imagine, staying gluten-free was quite a challenge. My entire eating routine had to be thrown out the window and I really had to get creative with how I ate to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet and keep my weight under control.
Many of you are traveling or will be traveling, so I want to share with you my tips on how I continued to eat a gluten-free diet even in a country where pasta and grains were served three times a day! It’s a lot easier than you think; just look at the options around you and start creating a menu in your mind. Below are my tips on how I did it…
- Bring travel size packets of hemp seeds, spirulina tablets and chia seeds (I put mine in a small jar) for added protein, iron, and omega 3’s.
- Bring packets of travel size green powders you can add to your water or juice as a green juice alternative (fresh green juices were not always easy to come by in Europe even though they have an abundance of greens).
- Bring your supplements, especially vitamin C, zinc, selenium (for thyroid health), and magnesium citrate (in case you get a bit constipated).
- Be ready to change it up a bit and be open to eating fruit or an egg for dinner, for example.
- Continue to try and make lunch your largest meal of the day and dinner your lightest meal of the day.
- Plan on exercising daily. While in Rome, I walked for miles up and down the small streets window shopping and looking at the sites. While in Brindisi and Greece, I was able to practice yoga daily and swim at the beach.
- Improvise with what is available – for example, in Italy I was always offered a variety of cakes, bread, fruit, yogurt, and eggs for breakfast. I followed my food combining rules and ate some fruit with hemp and chia seeds first, then included an egg if I was especially hungry or needed the extra protein.
- For lunch I avoided all gluten and took advantage of the abundant vegetable and salad options that were available and in season. For healthy fats, I added olive oil and I sometimes indulged in a piece of cheese.
- Dinner options were similar to lunch but occasionally, gluten-free pasta was available. Another option was fish with salad.
- While in Greece, breakfast usually included yogurt made from sheep’s milk (much easier on the digestive system than cow’s milk), some cut up peaches, and chia seeds.
- Lunch in Greece was a bit of an indulgence – lots of fish, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado salad. Another lunch option was a souvlaki (gyro) with a side of cooked dandelion or zucchini and a fresh tomato salad topped with olive oil and fresh Greek herbs.
- For dinner I would have to improvise by either eating a variety of melons, a salad, cooked greens, or stuffed zucchini, peppers, or eggplants.
Even though my diet sounds a bit boring, it was actually the most delicious and exciting food I have eaten in a long time because the fruits and vegetables were so fresh in Europe. They have a completely different taste and life force than what we get in the U.S., and everything is local and in season.
As long as you stay away from foods that you know can wreck havoc on your digestive system, such as gluten and dairy, you will find plenty to eat. Even if you occasionally indulge in a local delicacy, such as an Italian gelato, your digestive system will bounce right back and the scales won’t budge much.
Once you’re back in your own kitchen, try these recipes I’ve included to help you detox, de-bloat, and re-energize this summer:
Raw Cucumber Soup (Serves 2)
- 2 large cucumbers
- 1 avocado
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Handful of cilantro
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Blend the cucumbers, avocado, fresh cilantro, lemon juice and sea salt.
Zucchini Soup (Serves 2)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock (buy organic & yeast-free)
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bunch watercress, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sun butter (optional for creamy soup)
Place a medium size pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes, and then add the chopped zucchini and cook another 3 minutes. Add broth and thyme sprigs to pot and let simmer 10 minutes. Remove thyme and add watercress and cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat.
This soup can be enjoyed as a chunky soup or can be blended. If blending, add in sun butter for added creaminess.
I hope I have inspired you to continue to eat healthy even while on vacation and traveling…it will make transitioning back to your daily routine at home so much easier and your gut will thank you!
Enjoy the rest of your summer –