Happy Healthy Holidays

Its vacation time!!! And if you’re one of the lucky ones who is taking off for that much anticipated holiday, are these kinds of thoughts running through your mind ?

How will I manage my diet and exercise routine? Everything will go for a toss, it’ll take me months to get back.. I can’t do it all, so let me do nothing at all. Just let go.. and I’ll deal with it later…

Stop right there. Before I share my big tips on how to make your vacation healthy, let me share something that will be music to your ears!!!

Your Holiday already is really Healthy!

Yes, its true. Think about it.. Have you seen anyone coming back from a good vacation looking dull and sick? On Facebook and Instagram pictures, every one returning from a vacation has these glowing cheeks, twinkling eyes and they look like in the pink of health!

Here’s why.

Holidays fulfil our needs for primary foods. Down time with ourselves, deep conversations and bonding with loved ones, laughter, mindless chatter that switches us off from all the serious stuff we’ve been focussing too much on. All this is extremely important for good health – physical and mental!

Laughter has been shown to reduce our stress hormones such as cortisol, reduce pain and boost the release of endomorphins (hormones that relieve pain) and other happy hormones. All these changes lead to improved hormonal balance, boosted immunity and stress reduction. The body releases weight a lot easily when hormonally balanced and stress free. And this creates a great environment within our body for any kind of healing or weight loss to happen.

Secondly, we also relax and sleep more on vacation. Unless you are on a hectic tour, your year end vacation promises to be that ‘me’ time when you let go of routine and just follow the rhythms dictated by your body’s current needs. Relaxing, doing ‘nothing’, sleeping as you please are a healing therapy in this day and age of wake up alarms and everything done by the clock! So make sure you do more of this, guilt free.

I know a lot of people just end up swimming, strolling on the beach, hiking up the hill top or just walking all day if sightseeing on their holiday. I even got my whole family on a trampoline once on a holiday. So much fun! And all these count as exercise right? So you see, how much potential your holiday has to be fun and healthy, anyway!

So you see a holiday is such a healthy time 😉 provided you are doing all the above.

In the pictures below, one is taken after walking down over a 100 steps of an amphi-theatre in South U.K. and another after hours of walking the streets in Japan. Walking is my preferred way to commute locally, when on vacation.

Now the thing most of us struggle most with on a vacation is eating healthy. That is where all the conflicts and stress comes in. As an avid traveller myself, I do too. But over the years, I have learnt how to strike the right balance between feeling free on a vacation as well as eating healthy enough to not feel regretful later.

So here are some best practices I swear by!

  1. When it comes to food, Balance is the key. Let’s face it. Unless you are on a retreat, you will not get the cleanest possible foods around. So focus on what is easily accessible – Fresh fruit and Salads. As a thumb rule, I always make at least one meal a day with just fruit and always include salads in the other meals. If I am able to do this much, I pat myself on the back and peck on other foods that I may not fancy so much. I often ask chefs to customise sauted vegetables for me, and they are mostly happy to oblige with something special.
Below are pictures of some delicious healthy meals and breakfasts from some of my vacations in Thailand, Bali, Goa, Auroville, London and Japan!
  1. Keep Healthy munchies handy. Those in between meals are the times we end up indulging in stuff, which as some would say ‘a minute on the lips, forever on the hips’. Those chips and candies, that street food that calls out to us when the hunger pangs suddenly strike and you’re still not ready for a sit down meal. So in order to not slip up, keep healthy munchies in your bag, always. I have a small box which fits my day bag, and I pack some healthy munchies in every morning before heading out. Here are some ideas for the munchies to carry  –
  • trail mix
  • seeds
  • dry fruit
  • khakhras
  • granola
  • makhana

Although, this cannot be relied upon, you might actually be surprised to find some really healthy and fun snack options on the road while travelling.

I found cool cucumber sticks in Japan, cut and whole fruit at airports, fresh juice at bars and markets in Thailand, London, Goa, Zurich and Japan! _MG_9092
  1. When you indulge, do it guilt free and do it mindfully. I have seen my friends, load up on that pizza or ice cream and then swallow guilt down with every bite. Know that the guilt weighs the heaviest (more than the food even) and it’s so not worth it. So here’s another thumb rule – Give yourself the permission to indulge in one meal every day on vacation. Think about what is it that you would really like to have, find the best place to have it, build a good appetite before that meal and then go right ahead and enjoy, guilt free, savouring each bite mindfully.
  2. Ease on Alcohol. Contrary common belief, more alcohol is not at all equivalent to having a better time. If you must have some alcohol, do it responsibly. Your body will thank you for it; you yourself will feel empowered for not having gone overboard. Create your own reasonable intake limit, and stick to it. Do not mix it with an aerated beverage and definitely never start on an empty stomach. And remember to stay well hydrated.

So here’s wishing you and your families all the happiest and healthiest holidays ahead. I am off for a vacation myself, so catch you all, bright and new from your holidays in 2019!

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