Healthy Travel Cheat List
One of the top challenges people have while traveling, for business or pleasure, is how to stay eating healthy and how to stay in shape.
Believe me, a month in foreign territory meant being having to be creative!
I started in New Orleans and went on to Atlanta, two places like much of the U.S. South that relishes in “comfort food”- typically fried, white floured, white sugar, creamy, meaty meals. Billboard signs were plastered with “2 for $2 Chips” and “Only $3.99 for Double Bacon Burger with Large Fries” and “$1.99 Slushies 2kms Away!”. Locals would laugh or roll their eyes at the word “vegan” and several others asked what the word even meant.
That was what I was greeted with Day 1 of 30. I was up for the challenge.
Puerto Rico was a challenge as well. California (especially), Oregon, and Washington States were much easier to find healthy options although it was still a task at times.
So listen, I made a Healthy Travel Cheat List for you here so you can enjoy your business meeting or vacation rather than having to worry about where to eat and how to work out…and without breaking the bank.
- Gyms typically offer a free pass, ranging from one to seven days. I hooked up with LA Fitness while in Atlanta and got three consecutive days for free and had unlimited use of equipment during that timeframe.
- Outdoors has a host of workout resources to tap into. Lifting heavy rocks, for instance, can be used to work shoulders by pressing them over your head. I found a bike rack with a long bar in Portland, Oregon that I did back pull ups, push ups, and stretches on. I challenge you to look around and see what you can find! Remember, you can get a great workout by only using your body weight for exercises!
- Find a bike rental place and explore the city. This will be feasible in some areas and not others but San Francisco (Blazing Saddles) and Venice Beach (Jay’s Bike Rentals), California were awesomeness!
- Speaking of California, more places ought to be like Muscle Beach- simple equipment on the beach that people actually utilize to get into and maintain shape. In the meantime, look for a kiddie park and make use of the monkey bars, sliding poles, and benches.
- Ask the server! Several times I’ve been surprised at the healthy meals restaurants can put together when you inform them of your healthy preferences. One of the best vegan meals I’ve had was at Stock Restaurant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. After scanning the menu and not seeing anything appealing, I explained to the server I was vegan and he said he’d speak to the chef to “see what he can do”. And voila! Out came this absolutely delicious meal that was so good I wanted to order a second round!
- Google. If I want to look for a place to eat, I’ll Google “brown rice restaurant (location)”, so for example “brown rice restaurant San Francisco”. Simple and fast. You may want to take the extra step of calling that place too since some establishments may have run out brown rice for the day or not have it offered that day (I’ve come across both scenarios).
- Costco. Costco is great for stocking up for a road trip and surprisingly has several organic options now in the States. It’s too bad Canada is behind in this area- a shame, really. Forgot your Costco card? Just go to membership desk to get a temporary one. Just want to shop at Costco once or twice? Buy a gift card (anyone can walk in and buy one) and use it (don’t have to be a member.
- Go local. Look for farmer’s markets and local farms where you can get great fruits and veg for a decent price. Note that farmer’s markets do not necessarily carry all organic goods.
- Health shops. It may not make the most economical sense but grabbing a bunch of protein bars for the road is super handy. You never know when hunger will hit and there’s no good place in sight for a couple hours. Be careful though- read the ingredients carefully! Avoid agave, brown sugar, sugar, glucose-fructose, high fructose corn syrup, non-organic soy anything, non-organic corn anything, carageenan, acesulfame-K, Sucralose, aspartame.
- If doing a road trip keep your eyes wide open. Some of the best wheatgrass shots (roadside shop in between Jenner and Bodega, California) and vegan sandwiches (Aquatica Cafe in Jenner, California) have been found in the most unexpected places, including roadside turn-offs and even a town with a population of 106.
- Try to stay in a place with a fridge at minimum (even hostels are great) so you can buy from local places and buy things like fruit, nut milks, juice, coconut water, and to also store meal leftovers for the next day.
While staying healthy on the road for business or pleasure can be tricky, it’s not hard. Be creative and try to enjoy the present more. I broke my vegan diet in New Orleans (Ignatius Eatery) and Puerto Rico (on the islands of Vieques and Culebra). Eating food that’s unhealthy but unique to a region is not going to kill you for a day or two.
Remember why you want to be healthy. Health starts and stops in the gut! Being healthy means the ability to have more clarity so that you can be the best leader and creator you are. Being healthy means you’ll be around longer for the people who love and care about you. Being healthy means feeling excited and motivated about life. Being healthy parallels to having more income as well! Cheers to that so you can help other people in bigger ways as days go on!
To your ongoing health, wealth, and happiness!
Eat better. Move More. Love Deeper.
~Jessica Louise Li