I’ve just returned from a two day visit to Penticton for a talk at Whole Foods Market, about Performance Nutrition for Ironman competitors and endurance athletes. Great audience, quite a few gearing up for this weekend’s Ironman event.
My road trip involved 14 hours commuting by bus and barely enough time to blink! So therefore, in the second instalment to “Being a Healthy Road Warrior”, this post is all about Dining Out.
The often unavoidable culprit, dining out is not only common while on the road, but often also often out of your control, especially if you are a guest.
As food traditionally brings us together, unites us and bonds us, there’s no need to shy away from these powerful opportunities to make deeper connections, have genuine conversations and enjoy regional cuisine.
In fact, I encourage taking advantage of local food & independent restaurants, yet try and make a selection with these principles in mind:
- Start with a glass of lemon water, and/or finish with an herbal tea: Not only are you probably dehydrated from a day ful of travels, speaking, or meetings, but you may likely be adding in a cocktail, glass or wine or beer (or two). Stay well hydrated to mitigate the effect on your liver (by supporting the removal of toxins), but also lemon can stimulate digestion and help you to better assimilate any rich choices that may follow. Be mindful not to chug too much liquid too close to the meal, diluting your digestive enzymes, but the sour/bitter properties can stimulate hydrochloric acid production, a key factor in proper digestion. Herbal teas such as those containing peppermint or liquorice following a meal can also help calm & soothe indigestion, and assist with any digestive inflammation the unfamiliar ingredients may have caused. An overloaded belly can massively impact your quality of sleep.
- Choose gluten free where possible: For many of us, gluten is a sensitivity aggravating ingredient, which causes a drain on our energy reserves to digest, leaving us sluggish, with brain fog, lowered immune function, and often bloating and/or gas. If any of these sound ideal while on the road, have at it! If not, try minimizing high gluten grains (wheat being the most obvious), and instead for your carbohydrate based energy choose fruits & vegetables (including root vegetables), whole grains such as brown or wild rice, and pseudograins (a seed, not actually a grain) such as buckwheat or quinoa. Low gluten, or gluten free oats are quite easy to find as well, and can make a great hotel breakfast. Choose a starter salad instead of dipping into the bread basket; and if it’s a breakfast buffet? Skip over the rolls and toast in favor of extra eggs, or fruit salad & yogurt (full fat if possible), or mix a peanut butter pack into your oatmeal.
- Order the menu options with the most vegetables. This will ensure you get additional fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and enzymes necessary for both digestion and energy production, but also will help “crowd out” room in your belly for poor food choices, seconds or dessert. Vegetable based soups aren’t a bad idea either, but tend to come laden with sodium or heavy creams. If it’s a salad, I always ask for a vinaigrette where possible, and on the side, so I can portion control.
If you are a road warrior and missed the first post about staying fit while on the road, check it out here: http://www.theheartyheart.com/2012/08/being-a-healthy-road-warrior-part-13/
Coming next, “Eat Clean: Meals and Snacks for on-the-go”…My favorite!