A question I get asked a lot recently is: how can you stay healthy while you travel especially if you have food intolerances?
There is really nothing worse than being hungry and tired and not being able to find anything suitable to eat. The answer to this question of staying healthy while you’re travelling is to be super organised. I have a number of essentials that I take absolutely everywhere with me to stay energised and happy!
Before I go:
Make trail mix – I combine my favourite nuts, seeds, sultanas, goji berries, coconut flakes or cacao nibs and dried cranberries together and then take it with me in little sealable bags. I also leave some in my car. Happy snacking!
Homemade energy balls are also wonderful, but if I don’t have time to make my own I love Bounce Balls (healthfood stores) and they travel really well. Protein rich snacks such as these are the best for sustained energy levels and avoiding cravings.
The next thing I always take with me on holiday is a couple of packets of healthy, ‘free from’ bread so that I can buy some avocados and enjoy mashed avocado or banana on toast when I arrive. Biona do a really good millet bread that comes sliced and travels really well as it is small and compact. You’ll get this in the ‘Free From’ aisle in the supermarket or healthfood store.
On the plane, train or automobile:
I make sure I drink plenty water throughout the day and avoid drinks which dehydrate such as coffee, tea and alcohol.
Don’t rely on the tiny cups of water you get inflight. It’s never enough. I buy bottled mineral water once I’m through security to take with me on the plane. One 750ml bottle for short haul flights and two 1 Litre bottles for long haul flights.
I always bring some snacks for the journey. Everyone loves a freebie but the complementary snacks available on board are never healthy: high salt and totally refined. Instead reach for really portable and handbag friendly Nakd bars (supermarkets), oatcakes or Trek bars (Boots). Again these are protein rich, wholefood snacks to keep my blood sugar levels and energy balanced.
When I arrive:
When I arrive at my destination I buy some nuts, bananas and a selection of seasonal fruit from a local market or supermarket, natural plain yoghurt and where possible oat flakes. This combo makes a quick and delicious breakfast muesli or mid afternoon snack.
If you are dairy intolerant skip the muesli and just have the nuts and fruit.
This is when avocados, bananas and the millet bread come in really handy!
I love knowing I have something tasty to eat back in the hotel or apartment if I can’t find anything that works for me while I’m out.
Avoid sunburn and tummy troubles this summer holiday with my summer essentials here>>
These tiny flaxseeds (AKA linseed) appear rather unassuming but these powerful little seeds provide 3 incredible benefits to your diet.
Buy them ground or ideally grind them yourself before serving (unground will pass straight through you and you'll miss out on the benefits).
How to serve flaxseeds:
Sprinkle on muesli, porridge, yoghurt, soups, casseroles (once cooked) or bake them in your bread. Try adding them to your smoothie. You’ll love their nutty flavour! Start slowly with 1 teaspoon and build up to 1-2 tablespoons a day.
Organic, cold pressed flaxseed oil is a good source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 but to benefit from the fibre and the lignans you need to eat the ground seeds.
It's definitely worthwhile making flaxseed part of your Stellar eating plan.
Before I started eating real foods, things like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir were definitely not on my radar. I preferred my bland carbohydrates thanks very much! Fast forward a couple years and as I studied more about their health benefits, I was eventually brave enough to try them out.
Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years, like sauerkraut in Germany, kimchi in Korea and kefir in Turkey. The average UK diet is definitely lacking in fermented food – unless you count cheap beer, of course. Even when we do eat foods that are traditionally fermented, like sauerkraut they’re often mass produced, processed versions from the supermarkets and preserved in vinegar instead of the traditional (and naturally occurring) fermentation juices.
What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, produces B vitamins, beneficial digestive enzymes and various strains of probiotics to support digestion and immune health. The lactic acid does the same in a jar of sauerkraut as it does in your large intestine - it keeps the bad yeast and parasites at bay while providing the right environment for healthy bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus to thrive. Lactic acid is why real sauerkraut is sour - it is not because of vinegar.
Why eat fermented foods?
How to incorporate fermented foods into your diet
Most sauerkraut on the market is pasteurised (contains no bacteria or enzymes) - If it doesn't say unpasteurised, it's not the real thing. Ask for unpasteurised sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of your health food store. The key to using unpasteurised sauerkraut for digestive health is to take small amounts on a regular basis. Eat it raw with meals to get the benefits of the digestive enzymes. Start with a forkful or two depending on the health of your digestion. At most, consume 5-6 forkfuls at a time with 2-3 of your daily meals.
Kefir can be drank as a drink or used the same way as you would use plain yoghurt – over fruit, with your breakfast muesli, as a snack with nuts and seeds. Look for an organic version in your local health food store.
What’s the difference between kefir and plain yoghurt?
Like yoghurt, kefir contains beneficial bacteria but unlike yoghurt, which contains transient bacteria (passing through your gut) kefir contains bacteria that will reside in your gut and actually help colonise your intestinal tract. Some of the well-researched strains of bacteria (aka probiotics) are found in kefir such as Lactobacillus Caucasus, Acetobacter species and Streptococcus. Unlike yoghurt, kefir also contains beneficial yeasts such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir which help control and eliminate disruptive pathogenic yeasts from your body. You can drink it or use it as you would use yoghurt. It can also be very useful during acute diarrhoea, traveller’s diarrhoea and antibiotic associated diarrhoea.
Studies have shown that kefir intake enhances lactose digestion in people with low intestinal levels of lactase (the enzyme needed to digest lactose).The effect may be explained by the ability of the starter cultures used in the manufacture of kefir with live cultures to produce the enzyme lactase, which digests the lactose.
What’s your verdict? Are you a fan of fermented foods or are you still unsure? If you already eat fermented foods, please share your favourites in the comments below!
Thanks to savvy marketing and nutritional buzzwords, most of us think we are automatically doing a good thing for ourselves when we choose soy foods. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Make the right selections to ensure you’re getting the best and purest forms of nutrition from soy foods and soy products.
A sensible approach is to avoid heavily processed, refined or GM soy products and to choose only organic soy in its most natural state. Your best bet: edamame beans, tofu and other fermented soy foods such as tempeh, miso and natto
Read more: Is Soy Safe?
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