Saturday, June 20, 2015

Holiday Notes

Recently we were on holidays for six weeks in Europe and it made me realise how difficult it can be when you're in "holiday mode" to keep track with healthy eating.

Exercise on the other hand is a cinch! We were walking anywhere between six and 14 kilometres per day and, according to the health app on my phone, climbing from 10 to 50 floors worth of stairs per day. This is the joy of being a tourist in wonderful cities and towns in Europe, you can eat quite a bit and exercise most of it off. "Most" being the key word here. We still came home with some excess baggage around the waist.

I really feel for people with coeliac disease who like to travel because that would be the most difficult to manage. Gluten-free choices aren't thick on the ground. While you can usually order a protein food with veggies / salad, you can't be 100 percent sure the chef or cook has avoided all gluten containing products. And, some people with this disease can be bedridden after consuming even a hint of gluten.

As a matter of preference I avoid gluten food about 80 to 90 percent of the time and the only dairy food I eat is some grated parmesan or a little butter unless we are dining out or at friend's places for meals. During the holiday I noticed my digestion changed gradually over that six weeks from functioning very well to decidedly unhappy by the time we returned. It was an interesting experiment or one-person study to conduct and then consider in relation to the patients I see at the practice.

Over that holiday time I was mindful quite often and ordered foods like grilled vegetables and octopus salad for lunches to try and rest the digestion somewhat. At other times we were on small boat cruises where the food was provided and plentiful. While you can give dietary preference information, there's something about being relaxed and on holidays where you get complacent about food choices and dig in with gusto regardless.

If anything, aside from having the most wonderful trip to reminisce with my beloved over the years to come, it made me very aware of what everyone else, including my patients, experience while travelling or in their day-to-day busy and social lives.

Some simple tips for travelling:

  • Exercise a lot and wear very comfortable shoes
  • Go starchy carbohydrate free for one meal per day as many days as possible
  • Minimise alcohol at least 3 days a week and be moderate the remainder
  • If food is provided on an organised trip, ask to have smaller portions
  • You don't have to eat everything on the plate
  • As soon as you return follow a healthy balanced low carb detox diet to help return your body to its former good health (that's exactly what we are doing now). 

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