Traveling can be tricky for people sticking to a certain diet. Airline food alone can already break all the rules of their lifestyle. So it is possible for them to enjoy traveling while restricting their food intake?
First of all, going on a diet doesn’t necessarily mean restricting yourself. You can still eat everything you want and achieve all your health goals. Rather than restricting yourself, you’re just consuming the healthier alternatives or substitutes to unhealthy food, like sugar to honey, meat to chickpeas, etc. These healthier foods, in fact, don’t feel restrictive at all, because they reward you with a leaner body and a reduced risk for diseases.
Going back to the question: Is it possible to enjoy traveling while on a diet? A hundred percent yes! As long as you are dedicated to your diet, you can always find ways to enjoy your meals outside your home.
If you have a paleo diet, a life of travel may even be more exciting for you. Since you’re sticking to real food only, which is widely available anywhere, you won’t have a hard time buying or making food. But on certain occasions, you may also find yourself asking, “Should I eat that?”
What is a Paleo Diet?
For those of you wondering, a paleo diet is inspired by the paleolithic humans who thrived on various diets, such as low-carb but protein-heavy, or high-carb but abundant on vegetables. Basically, whatever food was available during ancient times. While the term “paleo” relates to the early phases of the Stone Age, having a paleo diet doesn’t mean you have to live as if it’s the Stone Age too. Instead, you just have to stick to “real” food, which excludes processed food, vegetable oils, trans fat, artificial sweeteners, legumes, soy, grains, and most dairy products. As you may have figured out by now, those foods were invented post-paleolithic period.
Foods to Avoid in a Paleo Diet
Here’s a more specific breakdown of the foods you should avoid in a paleo diet:
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup — table sugar, soda, fruit juices, candies, pastries, ice cream, and other indulgent sweets
- Grains — bread, pasta, wheat, spelt, barley, rye, etc.
- Legumes — beans, lentils, and more
- Dairy — almost all dairy products especially low-fat ones, except full-fat dairies like butter and cheese
- Vegetable oils — sunflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, and others
- Soy — Soybean oil, tofu, soy sauce, and other soy products
- Trans fats — margarine, processed food
- Artificial sweeteners — Those usually found in “diet sodas”
- Highly processed foods — Everything labeled with “low-fat” or “diet”
Simply put, if a food looks like it was manufactured from a factory, it should not be included in your diet.
Food You Can Eat in a Paleo Diet
- Grass-fed meat
- Chicken raised without antibiotics
- Wild-caught fish and seafood
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Free-range Eggs
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats and oils
- Salt and spices
The list may be shorter, but you’re getting all the benefits of eating clean and fresh. Finding these foods are not at all hard when you’re traveling, but again, certain places may limit your choices.
Sticking to a Paleo Diet While Traveling
Now that you know everything you can and cannot eat, you may begin creating a meal plan days ahead of your departure. Include grocers and paleo-friendly restaurants in your itinerary. If you’re going camping, you can just bring your own meals to avoid any hassle.
Consider traveling to places where you’d feel closer to nature as well. Lakes, rivers, and oceans, for example, will allow you to catch fish instead of simply buying freshly caught ones. If you developed a love for the activity, that’s even better, because you can promote the benefits of fishing and a paleo diet more. You may even go as far as to live in a cottage, with your own fishing boat and fire pit for cooking your catch.
When you’re traveling overseas, bring a paleo-friendly snack bar with you. It’ll keep you from being forced to eat plane food that breaks the rules of your diet. And once you arrive at your destination, explore grocery stores and markets, because you may find paleo-friendly food ingredients that are not available in your country.
Go Easy on Yourself
If you’re stuck in a situation where you’re forced to eat non-paleo food, don’t stress over it or punish yourself. You’re not jeopardizing your diet by eating a cheat meal once. You can always go back to your diet once you get home and be in control again.
If you have a health condition that requires you to strictly stick to the diet, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’ll consume safe foods only during your travels. So always have paleo-friendly snacks to-go, and you won’t ever find yourself in a food dilemma.