Greetings, Plant-Powered Peeps! Guess what? I had the pleasure of going on my first vacation in July! I can almost hear you saying, “Really? She’s never been on a vacation?” Okay, so obviously, at 32 years of age, I’ve been on a vacation before. So, why am I calling this amazing voyage to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico my “first” vacation? Answer: it was my first healthy, plant-based vacation!
It was the first vacation wherein I felt good EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
It was the first vacation wherein I slept soundly each night, and woke early with ample energy.
It was my first vacation wherein I felt truly confident in a bathing suit, without the use of cover-ups.
A far, far cry from the old me.
When you have made a healthy change in your diet, traveling may evoke a bit of fear. Many folks therefore decide to leave all their healthy, plant-based habits at home. For those of you who are new to the plant-based lifestyle, this decision could be the beginning of a slippery slope back into the Standard American Diet. For me, that would mean going back to excess fat on my body, a slew of medical problems, and an overall poor quality of life. I am here to tell you it is not necessary to leave your new, healthy habits at home, especially if you want to actually enjoy your vacation with good energy, good digestion and good feelings.
So pack your favorite book and let’s get going!
Let’s start at the airport. In my (unhealthy) past, I would walk through airports, excitedly seeking out my next heart attack-friendly meal from TGI Fridays or McDonalds. I used to be the one standing in this line… and then boarding my plane, feeling like crap. What a great way to start a vacation! (insert sarcasm here)
My new choices have quite the opposite effect. I haven’t had to embark upon the old “walk of shame” to the little lavatory (BEFORE the plane takes off) in quite some time.
In my old days of denial, I would use the excuse, “Well, there’s nothing healthy in airports, I have to eat this way.” Oh, really, Rebecca? Then what’s this nice lady ordering here at Nature’s Kitchen? Those greasy, artificially-flavored BBQ potato chips may be waiting awhile…
If there’s not a Nature’s Kitchen in your airport, I guarantee one of the little eateries will offer salad or fruit.
In fact, all airports now carry some type of health food, from raw fruits to salads, veggie burritos and smoothies. I even found a delicious fruit cup!
New York’s La Guardia airport impressed me the most. During a separate trip this summer, I found some fantastic plant-based options.
New York is very Plant-based friendly, and their airport reflects it!
Organic and gluten-free Quinoa salad? Um, yes please!
Let’s say you won’t have time to stop in the airport for a snack, or perhaps you won’t be using air travel at all. I highly recommend traveling (any kind of traveling…plane, car, train) with some nutritious snacks that are easy to take along in your bag. My top choice is always nature’s “fast food.” FRUIT! Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, carrots, celery and grapes are very travel-friendly.
I also love goji berries. Goji berries are one of the most nutritionally-rich fruits on the planet! They are considered a complete source of protein and possess lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also cleansing to the blood. Just one little goji berry can contain up to 21 trace minerals including zinc, iron, copper, calcium as well as 18 different amino acids. Goji is my favorite travel buddy! And of course, VegNews is my favorite travel magazine!
Back to my Cabo, Mexico trip! SVH (Sexy Vegan Hubby, aka Chris) and I got very excited as we neared our destination.
We couldn’t wait to see if Cabo was as beautiful as the photos we found on the Internet. We were staring out of the windows like happy dogs, sans the tongues hanging out…I think.
To say the least, we were not disappointed!
Once we arrived, I unpacked my Healthy Suitcase. Yes, I now carry a “Healthy Suitcase” when I travel! This way, I never have an excuse not to eat healthy while traveling. Here’s a bit of what I packed in my Healthy Suitcase…
1. Chia Seeds
2. Spirulina Tablets
3. Chlorella Tablets
4. Rainbow Vibrance (www.vibranthealth.us)
5. Pure bars (many varieties are Raw!)
6. Green Vibrance or Field of Greens from Vibrant Health (www.vibranthealth.us) The “Field of Greens” version is 100% Raw Vegan, and great for traveling into areas where you may not be able to get as many greens into your diet.
7. Vega Energizing Smoothie and All-in-One Nutritional Shake packets (www.myvega.com)
8. Raw Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) by Raw Harvest
9. Vega Sport for my workouts (www.myvega.com)
10. My homemade Raw granola (Recipe from “Going Raw” by Judita Wignall)
11. Chipotle Chia Seed Crackers (www.newearthcenter.com)
12. Cacao Nibs
13. Veg News Magazine
14. An Itsy-Bitsy-Teeny-Weeny-Yellow-Polka-Dot Bikini!
Vacations don’t have to be a time for poisoning our bodies, my friends. It’s all about planning ahead and making wise choices. Sure, go ahead and splurge once or twice on an old favorite meal, if you must (SVH enjoyed some french fries), but I don’t recommend eating yourself silly (with the wrong foods) for every breakfast, lunch and dinner while on vacation, like most folks do (especially on cruise ships). That’s certainly what I used to do. I can recall several vacations in my unhealthy past, wherein I ate tons of bad foods and drank ridiculous amounts of alcohol. I remember vomiting on several occasions, a few hours after gorging myself on rich foods. Forget romantic time with my husband and long walks on the beach, I was too busy sweating out excess sodium and feeling like I wanted to die.
I certainly did not feel anywhere near as good as my current self…
Now, instead of laying around feeling lazy and sick, I feel amazing and even have the energy for daily workouts, like running and yoga.
Those rich dinners and sugary drinks were fun for that very short time while consuming them, but then I felt nauseous, sick, tired and bloated with an “upset tummy.” Tell me, how we are supposed to enjoy a vacation when we feel nauseous, sick, tired and bloated? We can’t. Not to our fullest potential, anyway. My vacation this time around was unlike any I’ve ever had, and it’s all thanks to my whole-foods, high-raw, plant-based diet.
Let’s go back to something I mentioned in the last paragraph. The part about being “bloated.” Constipation while vacationing is NO bueno, y’all. I always had this problem on past trips. I blamed it on the travel itself. I’d even blame it on a 2-hour time change! (insert eye roll here) But now, I know it was the food, because on my first plant-based vacation, I did not have this problem. Not once. I pooped EVERY SINGLE DAY (yep, I went there), at least twice a day. Sometimes three times. Think that’s a lot? I used to go once per every 2-3 days. Our bowels are supposed to move, and move often. If they’re not, there’s a problem. A diet lacking in plant foods is often to blame.
Onto our first lunch in Cabo!
When vacationing, look for healthy options on the menu. Since people are getting sick and tired of being sick and tired (and overweight), many eateries now offer low-fat, nutrient-dense options. Upon opening the menu at our hotel’s pool-side cafe, I was shocked to see a Vegan Sandwich. And yes, they used the word, “Vegan.”
(pricing is in Mexican pesos – see conversion chart)
Even the bread was Vegan. This proved to me that the health revolution is indeed spreading! SVH and I enjoyed splitting this sandwich and a huge Greek salad. Afterward, we had plenty of energy to explore the beautiful beaches.
Another good tip for getaways: get a hotel room with a kitchen. Of course this is not always possible, but if you can, I highly recommend it. If you’re on a budget, just remember that you can make up the difference by preparing your own meals. SVH and I hopped a taxi to the local grocery store and stocked up on some nutritious plant-based foods to last us the entire trip. I was not overly impressed with the looks of some of the produce, namely the leafy greens, so we did purchase some whole wheat pasta and ingredients to make tacos. SVH makes the best veggie tacos!
My green smoothies would have to wait until I got home. (insert sad face here) However, the kitchen did have a blender, so I made a thick, delicious Vega One smoothie for breakfast and snacks.
1 cup plant-based milk, like almond
1/2 cup water
1 large scoop of Vega One Nutritional All-in-One Chocolate shake
Scoop of Raw Cacao nibs (optional, or nibble on the side)
If you don’t know about Vega, check it out. Clean, plant-based and chuck full of vitamins and minerals, it is formulated by Brendan Brazier, Vegan Ironman Triathlete and author of some seriously amazing books, like Thrive and the fabulous recipe book, Thrive Foods. The recipes in this book will blow you away!
Here’s more of the snacks I packed in my “Healthy Suitcase.” Many Pure bars are Raw!
Now let’s talk again about nature’s “fast food,” fruit! Oh, so plentiful in beautiful Mexico!
And more fruit!
And even MORE fruit!
Eat it here…
Eat it there…
Eat it everywhere!
Eating well on a vacation will give you incredible energy so you can do more fun things, too!
Like goofing off…
…and going on adventures!
Eating clean and plant-strong on a vacation will, quite literally, give you the best seat in the house!
The most surprising part of my vacation was finding Green Juice in the hotel cafe.
I ran back to my room and slipped on my “Fully Juiced” t-shirt, from Joe Cross’ Reboot site, to truly celebrate this discovery and take a special photo for Joe himself. Want one? Purchase HERE. Follow Joe on Facebook HERE.
Cheers to you, Mr. Cross! Your inspiring documentary played a huge part in my current good health and super-easy weight management! Can you believe I found a “Mean Green” in Mexico?
So, after that, my very first healthy vacation was complete! And if I can go from eating high trans-fat, salty, sugary foods with excess meat and dairy for every breakfast, lunch and dinner, to healthy, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods for every meal (even on my vacation), so can you. Just try it. The difference is night and day. Once you experience that incredible feeling of good health and the energetic benefits it provides, you won’t want to go back. Even on “special occasions” like a vacation.
We will miss you, Cabo San Lucas! Until next time!
To Your Good Health,