Back in Jax....for the next 24 hours. Then back on the road again. Karel and I love to work hard/play hard so as tiring as it is to be on the road so much in between races (rather than just taking long vacations), we certainly don't complain when we travel. As you know, one of my philosophy's for healthy eating is; "If you eat well most of the time you don't have to worry about the rest of the time"
I think traveling for "vacation" is a perfect example of "the rest of the time" when you may deviate from your normal training and eating routine. However, if you aren't sticking to your normal training schedule and you are doing more eating-out than normal while on vacation, one would think that "most of the time" you stick to a consistent training routine and you understand your personal nutrition requirements to support your lifestyle.
Over the past few days, I have tried my best to bring as much food as I can with us, so that we don't go long hours without eating and that we have some of our staple foods/snacks with us when we get a craving. However, as for meals, I look forward to going to new places and trying new foods. One thing I don't like is paying money for meals which are not as appetizing as they claim to be (although on the menu they sound appetizing and healthy). Secondly, I don't like paying for healthy meals (ex. salads) which leave me hungry an hour after I spent $8-12 for the meal. Just like with my training, I am all about quality over quantity and if I am paying money for a vegetarian-friendly meal I want to feel good about what I put in my body.
One thing I DO NOT do when I travel is give myself the opportunity to have a free-for-all and eat everything and anything that I don't eat on a daily basis. More so, I try to eat on a somewhat normal schedule so that I can feel in control of what I put in my body (and not order something on impulse because I'm starving). I make sure I start my morning with a slow digesting breakfast, I try to eat fruits and veggies as much as I can and I try to balance out my meals with healthy fats, low fat protein and complex carbs.
One thing that I DO when I travel is make sure that I enjoy myself and not feel guilty, restricted or unhappy when I eat. As I continue to improve on my healthy relationship with food on a daily basis when I am at home, I am well aware that a cookie or ice cream cone once or twice while on vacation is not going to make me "fat". I avoid negative self-talk while on vacation and I make sure that I enjoy every bite of food that I put in my mouth.
Throughout the last few days, Karel and I have enjoyed a few sweet treats that we normally don't eat on a daily basis. Considering that Karel has a huge sweet tooth when we are at home, when we are on vacation it is nice to try local favorites and share deserts like a homemade cookie or ice cream. Because Karel has different calorie and macronutrient requirements than me (especially this week since he is doing 7 criterium races in 9 days) he has the opportunity to enjoy more food and more food options than myself. However, that doesn't mean that we can't share a yummy treat. Furthermore, knowing that most of the time we strive to eat to support our athletic lifestyle, all while keeping our immune system, heart, brain and muscles healthy, it would absolutely ridiculous if I told myself I couldn't enjoy a whole cookie (rather than sharing some with Karel).
I hope that everyone reading this blog understands that there is no perfect diet and there are many opportunities in the year to enjoy foods that you normally wouldn't eat....without feeling guilty or out-of-control when eating them. Your daily habits should support those special eating opportunities and with your daily nutrition habits in mind, you should find yourself feeling in control of what you put in your body, even if it isn't part of your eating routine. I would hope that if you eat well most of the time, you recognize how to make educated healthy choices and still enjoy a few sweet treats.
Karel and I couldn't wait to get back home to have some color in our life. I honestly don't know how people can eat a variety of fruits and veggies while eating out. I always stress the importance of preparing meals at home and avoiding eating out. Thinking back on the last few days, it was really hard for me to eat my normal favorite foods (fruits, veggies and low fat protein) while on the road. In my opinion, a veggie sub (w/ a veggie burger) at Subway is not my idea of meeting my vegetable recommendations. Furthermore, I don't want to spend the money on a salad, in an effort to get more veggies into my body, only to be hungry an hour later. I add a little more fat to my diet (mostly through PB, cheese and nuts) when I travel because I just hate being hungry all of the time. To me, traveling is a great opportunity for me to stay active, enjoy new things and enjoy new places. If I have food on my mind 24/7 I am not going to make the most of my vacation. I bring as much fruit and vegetables (mostly carrots since they are easy for traveling), as well as yogurt, hardboiled eggs and whole grain bread, in our cooler but I don't want to spend my whole vacation eating in my room.
As you continue your quest to build a healthy relationship with food, I can't stress enough of the importance of building your diet off a plant-based diet in order to feel good about what you put in your body. Don't be afraid of healthy fats and be sure to balance out your carbs with lean/low fat protein. The more I experiment with my own eating routine to support my training routine, the more I am convinced that eating is very much controlled by chemicals and hormones in our body. While I can not explain all of these processes, I have learned enough through my graduate education (MS in Exercise Physiology) that our body is a very amazing thing. Therefore, if we "train" it to do certain things on a daily basis, the body begins to become much more efficient at metabolizing fuels and because of that, when you have an "off" day of eating (planned or unplanned) your body does not react negatively to the change in food.
What's your favorite "rest of the time" food/snack? When we travel, if I can find one around, I love the Close Talker at Moe's (w/ Tofu) and the Egg white bagel sandwich (stuffed with veggies) at Einstein Bagels. I also LOVE local thin-crust pizza. For a treat I love taking bites of whatever Karel eats (typically brownies, banana bread and cookies). How about some new healthy recipes to inspire you to eat more at home.... Non-vegetarian Coconut almond chicken
1 chicken breast 2 tsp olive oil 2 tbsp shredded coconut 2 tbsp chopped or sliced almonds
1. On medium heat, cook defrosted chicken breast in 1 tsp oil. 2. Before flipping chicken to cook other side, spread olive oil over top of chicken and top with coconut and almond. 3. After a few minutes of cooking chicken, flip to cook other side.
Tuna Salad Wrap 1 can tuna (in water) 1 clove garlic (chopped) Onion (chopped), roma tomato (chopped), peas, radish (sliced), celery (chopped) 1 hardboiled egg (optional)
1. Mix all ingredients (add as much of the veggies as you like..the more the better!) 2. Stuff a few big spoonfuls in pita. *you can use more than 1 can tuna if you want to make more servings.
Vegetarian Potato, Spinach and Egg bake
2 potatoes (cooked until semi-soft/mashable) 2 cloves garlic (chopped) 1/4 cup skim milk Eggs (1 per person) 1/3 cup chopped onion 2 big handfulls spinach (chopped finely) pepper, no salt seasonings Optional: Spoonful panko bread crumbs
*preheat oven to 325 degrees 1. Mash potatoes and add milk. 2. Add other ingredients (except eggs). 3. Spoon mixture in casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and additional spices. 4. Bake for 15 minutes. 5. Carefully crack eggs on corners of the casserole. 6. Bake until egg is cooked and edges of casserole turn light brown. (I put my eggs on the casserole the first time I baked it so I am thinking if you cook the dish first and then add the eggs, the eggs won't be as hard. However, the dish was SUPER yummy)
Leftover tofu soup *Want to finish up your leftovers before you travel? This is a perfect recipe that you can really play around with, depending on what you have in your fridge. Here's what I used Carrots Tofu (firm, cubed) Garlic Onions Red potatoes (cooked in microwave for 2-3 minutes to make it easier to cube) Mushrooms Broccoli stalk Low sodium vegetarian vegetable stock (1 cup) - your stock doesn't have to be expensive, just compare food labels and look for the lowest sodium option 2-3 cups water
1. In a large pot on medium/high heat, add water and stock. 2. When water starts to bubble, add other ingredients and any additional no-salt seasonings (ex. basil, Italian, chili pepper, etc.). 3. Turn down heat to medium and cover until vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes).
Carrot Ginger Slaw *Makes a lot. Perfect for get-togethers or functions 2 cups carrots (shredded) 1 gala apple (shredded) 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tbsp fresh ginger (shredded) 2-3 tbsp lime juice (taste after you add 2 tbsp. May need more to meet your liking) 1/4 cup chopped raisins 1/4 sunflower seeds
1. Mix together ingredients. Stir well. 2. Refrigerate.