Travel Yourself Healthy
Earlier this year, my bearded better half and I decided to escape real, responsible adult life in the city for a travel adventure which is taking us from Costa Rica to Argentina, via all of the snowy peaks, sandy beaches, yoga classes, jungle treks and waterfall dips possible. The main motivation for our adventure was to give our sun-starved, tired out selves a year off the daily grind and be let loose without curfew deep amidst the great outdoors.
Perhaps I'd been a little too vocal about being addicted to a plant-based, superfood packed diet prior to our departure, causing friends and loved ones concern as they envisioned me passed out on a grubby floor somewhere - unable to cope with the distress of having to survive on buckets of hostel cooked pasta and nondescript fried street-meat.
Here's my top five tips for staying healthy when you're living out of a backpack...
1. TRUSTY TUPPERWARE
2. OBEY THE POWER BREAKFAST
The trick is to prep a decent stock of 'the power mix' to take with you ahead of your trip. For me this consisted of: chia seeds, maca powder and baobab, ground flax, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.
Then, all you need to seek out at your destination is a humble bag of oats, some fresh fruit for the topping and either almond milk (it's been astonishingly easy to find), coconut milk or just plain old H2O to make the magic happen. Mix it together in the afore mentioned tupperware before you hit your bunk bed and in the morning you'll have the healthiest brekkie ready to eat while everyone else in the hostel is queuing up to cook pancakes from a dodgy looking bag of pre-mix.
3. THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND
Having arrived at over 60 towns so far on our travels, I've been amazed by how many wonderful, health obsessed people have set up shop in the far corners of this planet. I've met many of them through a phone app (have a search on your app store) which lists vegan/veggie cafes and restaurants and specialist/organic food stores. It was through this that I found a green juicery in a small town in Ecuador, a superfood-lovers paradise in Colombia and countless Hare Krishna centres offering bargain 'menu del dias' (super cheap veggie 3 course set lunches) in almost every major city. Having a quick search online and asking friendly hostel dwellers about where the nearest fruit and veggie markets are will save your tummy as well as your wallet too.
4. LEARN THE LINGO
Learning some of the local language is a given for most conscientious travelers, but don't
restrict yourself to friendly basics if you want to eat healthy when treating yourself to meals out. You'll have to do the leg work for your own destination - but below are a couple of the most useful Spanish phrases I've come to rely on so far:
Yo soy vegetariano - I am vegetarian
Sin carne o pollo, por favor - Without meat or chicken, please (in some countries 'vegetarian' is simply not a thing)
Sin azucar, por favor - Without sugar, please
Tiene aguacate? - Do you have avocado? (curveball: some South American countries call it 'palta' instead of 'aguacate')
5. BECOME A HOSTEL SEARCHING NINJA
Bid farewell to that adrenaline rush you used to get when browsing hotels for your summer holidays as searching for hostels is the least glamorous part of a traveler's job description. If you're trying to salvage your healthy glow then save your sanity and prioritize finding a decent hostel kitchen, preferably one equipped with more than just a sieve and a saucer... although the challenge of trying to make a meal using only the most random and obscure of utensils will really revitalize your creativity in the kitchen.
Suzie is a 200 hour qualified yoga instructor, travelling Central & South America with her partner whilst blogging about teaching yoga, keeping fit and eating healthy. See her adventures at lifeinfullcolour.co.uk and on Instagram @life.in.full.colour