As a Health and Wellness Coach, I’ve seen an increasingly alarming amount of people who are feeling run down, lacking energy and fatigued by not eating the right types of foods to support their body and lifestyle, like constant travel for work.
So when it comes to travel, whether it’s for work or leisure, I am often asked what foods to eat, what foods to avoid, and how to keep the consistency of eating well outside of our normal environment and comfort zone.
Having travelled quite extensively (to all continents except Antarctica – which is in the making for 2019!!) I consider myself pretty aware of what foods to avoid whilst travelling but yes – it’s happened to me, where I ate an unassuming salad in an upscale resort in Bali, and had the worst Bali belly.
So, without further ado here are my top 8 foods to avoid when travelling abroad:
TOP 8 FOODS/ DRINKS TO AVOID
1. Tap water (developing countries such as Thailand)
Water in developing countries may be contaminated with bacteria, parasites and certain viruses that your gut flora isn’t used to, leaving you with an aching tummy, cramps, diarrhoea or constipation. Some viruses can even cause hepatitis, cholera or typhoid so make sure to get all your relevant travel vaccinations for the area you’re visiting before you go. You don’t want to bring back any unwanted souvenirs.
2. Fresh salad, salad leaves (Bali)
Salad leaves such as cos, spinach or iceberg are best avoided, even in reputable establishments, as these may have been rinsed in local tap water, which can upset your tummy or result in a severe case of Bali belly. Opt for vegetables that have a protective skin and/or have been cooked well.
3. Imported food, Europe
Ordering locally is the key to getting access to the freshest produce. Ordering seafood when you are days away from a shoreline in Europe is risky. Instead, find out the region’s specialities and eat like a local would. I like to shop at local markets, so I know how fresh the food I am eating is, as well as supporting independent local trade. Shopping at local markets can also help to get some additional local tips or recommendations about the area.
4. Cold meat platters, hotel buffets
It’s easy to get overzealous with multiple trips to the breakfast buffet, but take care with cold meats that have been sitting exposed for hours. These can be a breeding ground of bacteria — and leave you spending the afternoon in the bathroom.
5. Ice, developing countries
It’s easy to forget about this when ordering that round of mojitos, but it’s best to avoid drinks that contain ice, which may have been made from local tap water — exposing you to bacteria, viruses and parasites. Avoid drinks ‘on the rocks’. Instead order your cognac neat. This is one party in your mouth you don’t want.
6. Local cheeses, Andes
When I was travelling through the Andes Mountains, I was extremely tempted to try the local artisan cheeses. I knew though that they used local water to produce the cheese, which might later create problems my tummy wasn’t used to. I didn’t risk it, especially because I had a tight itinerary and being bogged down, pardon the pun, would have made me miss out on the places I wanted to visit.
7. Runny or uncooked eggs, restaurants
They’re a perfect protein-rich breakfast option, but before you order your eggs, be sure they are well cooked. Runny eggs on top of a salad, pasta or steak or uncooked scramble can be a breeding ground for salmonella, which can cause tummy cramping, diarrhoea and/or fever.
8. Undercooked poultry and meat, Tanzania
When I was travelling through Tanzania, I had the opportunity of trying many meat-driven meals and they were some of the best I’ve experienced. I was weary of undercooked meats though, especially at any local restaurants and street vendors which appeared devoid of customers — instead heading for the more popular places I saw locals eating at.
Something I also get asked all the time as a Health and Wellness Coach is, what should I do with my diet when I travel? What foods should I eat when travelling? And how can I maintain my diet when I travel?
Thus, here are my Top 5 Travel Tips:
TOP 5 FOOD TRAVEL TIPS
1. Do your research
When travelling somewhere new, I research a collection of healthy and gastronomical options I can’t miss so that I avoid the tourist traps, or I ask a local for their recommendations. I’ve found many inconspicuous places this way that have served some of the most surprisingly tasty and memorable dishes I’ve eaten.
2. Prioritise protein and vegetables
Protein will give you the energy you need while travelling, as well as keeping you fuller for longer than carbohydrates, and aid in your muscle recovery after a long day. Eating a balanced nutritious diet is easier when you plan ahead, scouting out local markets or supermarkets and eating regularly so you don’t get so hungry you eat all the creamed potatoes from the dinner buffet.
3. Stay hydrated
This seems pretty obvious, but sometimes when travelling, when you’re outside of your regular routine or comfort zone, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals. Staying hydrated is key to many bodily functions — from your mood and energy levels, to your digestion and sleep. Keeping a bottle of water, natural coconut water or a magnesium-enriched hydrating water as a constant travel companion is essential.
4. Prepare your own meals
Obviously you want to experience the local food options, but alternating that with making your own meals saves a bit of money while also allowing you to have control of what you are eating. It means you can avoid any hidden oils, additives or sauces that you may otherwise have consumed with a store-bought version.
5. Keep your energy levels up
When travelling it’s common to be moving a lot more than we would otherwise at home. That’s why I try to eat something every two to three hours to keep my blood sugar and energy levels up. I always travel with some snacks, such as nuts or homemade trail mix.
Having the opportunity to work with hundreds of women who are chronically stressed, overwhelmed and fatigued through my Wellness Coaching Programs and workshops, I’ve seen firsthand how the correct nutrition for their body – by not only increasing the nutrients in their diet, but also by eating the correct macronutrients at the right times and developing the consistency to eat healthily gives them instant results in energy and quality of sleep, a decrease in stress and more clarity and control.
Do you agree with my Top 8 Foods to Avoid? Would you add anything else to my list? I would love to hear from you! Please comment below!
To see this article as it appeared in news.com.au please visit bit.ly/blockfittraveltips
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About the Author
Anna’s mission is to connect, support and empower people who are stressed, overwhelmed and fatigued to start taking control.”
Anna does this through her Fatigue to Flourish Wellness Coaching program, workshops and online challenges by working together with you to create your powerful vision, in her four key pillars: unlocking your hidden mental triggers to stress, increasing your energy naturally, wholefood nutrition – energy eating like a BOSS and positive emotions – optimising your emotions for deeper engagement, connection and life satisfaction.
Anna’s Fatigue to Flourish Wellness Coaching Program look at your current approach and develop strategies, habits and behaviour change for instant relief from fatigue, overwhelm and frustration whilst regaining energy, vitality and your zest for life.
For more info please visit fatiguetoflourish.com.au