If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I just got back from an AMAZING European summer vacation. I traveled through the south of France, Italy and spent two weeks sailing in Greece. Definitely a peak experience of my life, hands down. I love to travel, but I also love to eat nourishing foods and keep my hormones in balance—and this can be super tricky when I’m away from home for an extended period of time. Over the years (and through lots of trial and error), I’ve developed some tricks to help myself AND my clients keep hormones balanced while exploring the world. I definitely used many of my go-to strategies on this past trip, and because they’re fresh in my mind, I thought it would be a great time to share them with you.
Remember that getting, and keeping, your hormones in balance is the KEY to optimizing your fertility (if this is a new concept for you and has you feeling overwhelmed, you definitely want to check out my 12 week fertility protocol, The Fertility Code).
Finding nourishing foods in unfamiliar locations can be tricky, but it’s certainly not impossible. With just a little bit of forethought and planning, I promise you’ll be able to travel with ease.
Take advantage of travel review sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp. Read reviews ahead of time and search for popular terms like gluten-free, organic, grass-fed, and even farm-to-table. This takes the stress out of deciding where to eat while you’re on the road.
At hotels, resorts, and on cruise ships, the staff is there to make your stay enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be specific about how you want them to customize your experience. So, for example, if you’re avoiding gluten or dairy, be sure to tell them ahead of time. In my experience, you can even let them know your preferences right before your meal, and they’ll usually be happy to accommodate you.
Prior to your departure date, search online to locate local health food stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or other organic grocers/natural food co-ops at your destination. Stock up on groceries when you arrive. Exploring new grocery stores and farmers markets is one of my favorite ways to get acquainted with a new city, and (BONUS) add steps to my pedometer!
You never know when you’ll get stuck somewhere and be hungry. Your flight might get delayed, your Uber/Lyft might hit traffic, or you may just be too tired to go grab something to eat once you’ve finally made it to the big, comfy bed in your hotel room. So while you’re packing your swimsuit, sunglasses and beach hat, make sure to pack snack-sized servings of your favorite on-the-go foods. My personal favorites are: avocados, fruit, raw nuts & seeds, coconut jerky, boiled eggs, baby carrots, dark chocolate (organic, and at least 80% cacao content), single serving packets of almond butter or coconut butter, organic jerky/meat sticks (organic, without MSG or added sugar), packs of wild caught salmon, coconut oil (you can add to any tea you get at the airport), and GoRaw bars or homemade energy bars.
You’ll never be sorry you carried some extra snacks, but an unexpected, extended time without food handy will leave you hungry and scavenging for less healthy choices. Alway err on the side of packing a bit more food than you think you’ll need.
Also: Don’t eat the airplane food. Ever. Drink plenty of filtered water while you’re on the plane, and only eat the food you bring with you. Also make sure to eat a nourishing meal that includes plenty of protein, vegetables and healthy fats before you head to the airport. This will keep you feeling satiated during the next several hours of travel.
Request a mini-fridge in your hotel room. If necessary, explain that you have food allergies. Every hotel has them for medical purposes, so calling or making the request ahead of time is your best bet. You can also book a room in a suites/extended-stay venue that has a kitchenette. Even better—stay in an Airbnb that gives you access to a full kitchen. If you’re stuck staying in a place with no refrigeration, use a cooler bag with a reliable/leak-proof ice pack to keep food fresh in your hotel room. Pack your ice pack in your checked luggage, and wrap it in extra zip-top bags so that it doesn’t leak. Having access to refrigeration means you can load up on fresh veggies, organic eggs, and meat when you hit your local grocers and farmers markets.
Here what I recommend for travel:
The pressurized air in airplanes has an extremely low humidity point, so drink lots of filtered water during your fight. Aim to drink one quart of water for every two hours you’re in the air. Be sure to bring a refillable water bottle, so you can easily fill it once you’re through airport security. Airports all have water fountains, and many even offer filtered water.
Also remember to pack your mini blender and shake powder (Whole Body Collagen Powder, maca, cacao, PaleoGreens) packed in individual serving sizes. Starting each day with a shake stabilizes your blood sugar all day, helps you make wise food choices, and keeps you hydrated.
Whether you’re defeating jet lag or staying sharp for a high-level meeting, sleep is a crucial element in everything from mental acuity to metabolism. Not getting enough sleep lowers your insulin sensitivity (cue the sugar cravings), raises your cortisol levels, and slows down your thyroid. That means sluggishness and brain fog during the day, but over time a pattern of poor sleep can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. I suggest melatonin or magnesium—not sleeping pills—as a natural sleep aid that helps with jet lag and ease falling/staying asleep.
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Looking to have a more in-depth conversation about how your lifestyle affects your fertility? Schedule a consultation with me!