Ep. 45: Fed+Fit Travel Tips

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The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Ep. 45: Fed+Fit Travel Tips

Today we’re going to talk about how to stay Fed, Fit, and Healthy while you’re traveling for work, for fun, or for visiting family this holiday season.

1. Traveling tips to staying healthy [2:38]
2. What to pack; luggage and carry-on [8:48]
3. What to buy when you get there [15:49]
4. Staying fit on the road [22:30]
5. Recommendations for jet lag [26:48]

Cassy Joy: Good morning everybody! I hope this finds you well and warm on this lovely December morning that we’re having. Today’s podcast is a little bit unique, because instead of cozying myself up in my home office/studio to make sure we’ve got really great sound quality, I am working in my kitchen, trying to make sure that I’m staying on top of a deadline that I’m working towards for a big project. So I apologize if you hear all kinds of background noises or anything like that; or maybe Gus barking in the background or knocking on the door to come in. That’s what’s going on today, so thank you for bearing with me.

If you do follow me on Instagram, and you keep up with my blog, you have heard these ramblings of this project that I’ve been working on, and I really cannot wait to tell you guys about it. I’m writing it for you, and my love language, one of them at least and the way I give love is to give gifts. And this is really playing to that part of my personality. I’m viewing this huge project that I’m working on as, I don’t know, it’s like a great big awesome thing, gift that I’m working towards. I just hope and know at the same time that you’re going to love it.

So a proper announcement about what that actually is, if you haven’t already guessed it, will be coming soon so keep your eyes peeled. But what it’s got me doing is pretty much cooking day in and day out in my kitchen, and I absolutely love it. I love and live for really full days, so it works out great. Here we go, here’s Gus, speak of the devil. Hi puppy! Come on in. He doesn’t want to come in. He wants me to stand here with the door open. {laughs}

Ok. So it’s been great though, so thank you for bearing with me. My team has been awesome to get stuff out. We’ve got recipes written for the blog, so it will come up, we’ll be publishing at least one a week throughout this holiday season while I’m working, so keep your eyes peeled for that. I’m going to make this podcast work; I promised you a podcast every week and that’s what we’re going to do.

1. Traveling tips to staying healthy [2:38]

So, ok let’s get to it! As you guys know, I got married in October, and then my husband and I went on our honeymoon to New Zealand. We were there for 2 weeks, and it was an awesome trip. And if you have been there before, you know what I’m talking about. The entire countryside is just enchanting. It’s really, really beautiful. Austin and I aren’t exactly beachy people; we’re pretty restless. If you can’t tell, I like to work and be doing things {laughs}. As does Austin, my husband. So, trying to relax on a beach we could probably do it for half a day and then we’re ready to get up and go do something.

So New Zealand was perfect for us because we were able to really schedule a bunch of adventures. We went skydiving, we swam with dolphins in really, really cold water. And that was actually my idea, swimming with the dolphins {laughs} and I needed some pep talking to actually get in the water at that point. I’ll tell you this really quick story; we get to this dolphin swim place, it’s on the south island in a small town called Kaikoura, and there are these wild dolphins. They’re totally not trained, not encouraged, not fed to hang out with humans, it’s just this wild pack of dolphins that live in this really special habitat right off the coast there, and we get there and it was rainy. It was our first full day in New Zealand, and we get there and the weather was pretty bad but we thought it might be ok if we show up, and they say that the swells on the water are; they were 3 meter high swells, which is the absolute highest they could take the boat out at. They gave everybody the options to cancel, and I think a little over half the folks did cancel, and we decided we were going to go for it. It was cold, it was like 40 degrees outside, but we said, let’s do it. If there’s other people that want to go; because they said they needed at least 6 to make the trip happen. We said if other people wanted to do it, then we’re game too.

So we got lucky, and exactly 6 folks wanted to go out. And they said if you don’t get seasick on this trip, then you don’t get seasick. So it was bumpy ride, and we got out to the water and we put on our really tight but supposedly very warm wet suits. We found the dolphins and they were prepping us this whole time, telling us all about the environment and everything. And they said that sometimes they have to cancel these tours because occasional killer whales will show up in the area. {laughs} Orcas. So, anyways. I don’t know if it was the cold, or the bumpy water, or what it was, but all of a sudden, fear struck deep in my hearts before it was time to jump into this water. We had ridden out about 20-30 minutes to find the pack of dolphins, and we were supposed to pop off the end of the boat into the water and start swimming around with our snorkels on, and I just have visions of a killer whale popping up out of the depths. So, it was a fun time, but I jumped in and I claw-doggy-paddled my way over to Austin and grabbed onto his hand, and I was like a vice the whole time we were in the water. But it was absolutely wonderful.

They had prepped us and told us it was more about you entertaining the dolphins, not the dolphins entertaining you. So they really take an interest in you if you make funny noises, or you wave at them, or you try to dive down and swim with them. So we did that, it was so fun seeing them. They really got curious and got really close. So it was really a magical trip all in all. I could do an entire series just on New Zealand, but I won’t.

Anyway, I tell that story and it came to mind because it was this really long trip, and we really had to prepare in advance and we really had to get on our game for how we wanted to tackle this and stay healthy. Because if we’re there for 2 weeks, it’s not like you could take a 2 week break out of your normal healthy life, and then everything be fine. Whereas a couple of days, let’s say you go visit your family back home, you can take a couple of days out of your normal lifestyle and recover pretty easily. But 2 weeks is a long time, so we wanted to make sure we brought our real life, our real healthy life with us to New Zealand.

So we got some nice tried and true methods. And I do actually travel a lot in the states for shorter trips, usually 3-4 days, sometimes longer. And these are methods that I like to enroll there, too, so don’t think that these are tips you only need to use when you’re going on a really long trip. There’s no reason why we need to look at travel as a burden. It’s really all about perspective. Having a lot to do right now for example in December when most folks are starting to slow down and enjoy this month filled with family and friends and gift shopping and things like that. I’m able to squeeze all that in, as well, but it’s also an awesome opportunity to work on something that really, really means a lot to me, and I think can mean a lot to a lot of other people. So, it’s all about perspective, really, and travel is the exact same way. You don’t have to look at travel as a weekend away with dread. You don’t have to fear it, you don’t have to think; oh gosh, I’m going to be so unhealthy, and I’m going to come back and I’m going to start all over again.

So prepare; as with all things, the more you prepare, not only your mind but also physically make preparations, the more success you’ll have.

2. What to pack; luggage and carry-on [8:48]

So let’s go ahead and jump into it. So I’ve broken it up; some ideas, let’s say you’re hopping on an airplane, I’m going to start there, and you can mentally apply this if you’re taking a road trip. Pick what applies to you. We’ll talk about what to pack, what to carry on, what to buy when you get there; and then I want to talk about how to stay fit on the road, and then also throw in a couple thoughts on jet lag.

Ok, so what to pack. This is a really good one. This is, what are you going to put into that suitcase that you’re going to hand to the nice man at the curbside, you know, luggage check in {laughs} place, I don’t know what it’s called. That’s the best way to go in an airport, FYI. You can skip the lines inside and just check in on the outside curb. The people are always so nice, and it’s always so fast.

But anyway, what are some of the things that you’re going to put in that bag that you’re not going to get until you arrive? I recommend that you carry most of your snacky foods on with you as you’ll hear in a second. I do like to put into my bag, my checked bag, a larger stash of things. For example, beef jerky is one of my go to’s. That’s a really great one. Canned sardines; if you are in this paleo community, and you follow a bunch of other folks, you see that a lot of people do travel in airports with cans of sardines. Sardines are, wild caught especially, Wild Planet Foods is the brand that I prefer, and you can find them at Whole Foods for sure. You can also find them online. But it is an excellent super healthy protein, there’s a lot of really great reasons why it’s a good one to integrate into your daily routine, but that’s a good protein to throw into your bag.

And these are just in case of emergency; if you need an extra meal. Or, let’s say you went out for a client lunch and you had a grilled chicken salad, and they brought you the equivalent of half a chicken breast on that salad and you’re starving an hour later. This is a good opportunity to grab that can of sardines and eat that, that really healthy fat and protein instead of running to the vending machine. So little safety nets, for example. So that’s a good thing to put into your carry on; sardines are a good one. A big bag of jerky is one of my favorites, because that’s an easy one, I can just keep replenishing the stash that I’ve got in my purse {laughs}. If you guys every see me out and about or if I’m traveling, there’s a really, really good chance I’ve got beef jerky in my purse. It’s also a way that I like to make friends with puppy dogs {laughs}. They always sniff me out.

Another thing that I encourage you to pack, non-food related, is pack some fitness apparel. Just do it. You may not believe in your heart that you’re actually going to go to the gym, but if you at least pack it, you are essentially giving yourself a shot. If you don’t bring it, you’re definitely not going to work out. So pack it. If you’re going to be gone for 4 days, I would pack 3 workout outfits, just in case. Go wild. Bring a pair of tennis shoes; whatever you’re favorite cross trainers are or lifting shoes, whatever it is. We’ll talk about how those might be used on the road in a second. Some workout gear, some nice warm jackets just in case so you’re prepared for the elements, but just go ahead and bring them, and you’ll get halfway there. So that’s what to pack in your checked bag.
What to carry on; so as you know, beef jerky is one of my favorites. You can make your own or you can buy it at the store. There are now several brands, such as Steve’s Paleo Goods, that have pretty healthy options so you can order some. And I really like beef jerky on an airplane because I found it to be the least offensive protein, and I really like to respect my neighbors on an airplane. I know a lot of people will unabashedly crack open that can of sardines on an airplane, but I’ve thought about it, I just, you know, I know every head would turn and I’ll just eat the beef jerky {laughs}.

So, that’s an option. Second least offensive protein would be like a cooked meat. Let’s say you grilled up some chicken breast the night before; go ahead and throw an extra one on the grill, chop it up, put it in a bag, and just eat that on the plane. And that way you’re not having to navigate the airport for a salad, because that’s always a whirlwind, trying to find the right food station in an airport. And we’ve got some tips, actually, coming to you soon on that. But that’s a good thing to do. You can also bring hardboiled eggs, are pretty easy. I would pre-peel them before you get on the plane, but that’s a pretty easy one. And if you don’t cook them too long, they won’t be smelly. Just about; just so you know, the best way to cook a hardboiled egg, throw them in a pot, cover them with water, turn on the heat, and when it starts to simmer, cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let them sit for exactly 12 minutes. Then you take them out, and you put them in an ice bath, and that will give you a really nice egg, and not too smelly. If you overcook them, you’ll start to get some of those sulfurous odors.

Other things I like to bring on the plane include coconut chips. Oh my gosh, you guys have to try these chips, they’re by a company called Dang. They’re super delicious. Nice and crunchy; a little addictive, so if you know that it’s kind of a no-brakes food, a food that you have a hard time putting the brakes on, I encourage you to pre-portion them out into little baggies, and put the other baggies in your checked bag, and just carry one for the plane. But that’s a really great, healthy fat that you can take on the airplane with you, really delicious, and makes it easier to pass up those pretzels. Plantain chips are another great option. Kale chips are a great option, and then; yeah, that’s pretty much it.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, the thing that I brought to New Zealand that was a huge lifesaver to me, I love those, you can find them at Trader Joe’s. They’re called chocolate honey mints, I think. I think there are three ingredients on the bag; it’s literally just cocoa, honey, and peppermint. And they are so good. Its’ kind of like; oh, how would you describe it; a peppermint patty. It’s like a healthier peppermint patty made out of honey. Super delicious. So I threw a couple of those in my bag, and they were just really great, made it easy. Especially on those super long flights when you’re having several full meals on the airplane, it’s nice to kind of have that dessert in your back pocket, so you can pass up the chocolate cake that everybody else is noshing on around you, that looks really delicious, but probably in the long run isn’t a great idea.

3. What to buy when you get there [15:49]

Ok, next topic. What to buy when you get there. So we’re going to talk about things you can stock up on, say at a grocery store, and what to buy when you’re out and about. How to really prepare yourself when you’re traveling for your food game plan. And let me throw in one quick pre-note; if you’re going to visit family, this is a little bit different. If you’re going to visit, let’s say your in-laws, and you’re bringing the kids, and they kind of have, maybe you all have your own dietary restrictions. Maybe you try to go gluten-free, grain free, and you know that your in-laws aren’t necessarily supportive or aware or believe that it’s really that big of a deal. Ok, so before you go, just have that conversation with those people. They care about you, and I promise if you broach the subject as; hey, we’re coming in, and it would really mean a lot if we could have some grain-free dinner options for the kids at dinner, or for myself and my husband at dinner. Those are ok conversations to have.

I’m exceptionally blessed, because this is my job, and the word has gotten out so my entire family, new and old, are all very supportive. But I can see that being an obstacle and a hurdle, so don’t feel defeated before you’ve even given it a chance to talk it through with those folks. So I encourage you to pick up the phone, call them up, say “Hey, for Christmas dinner, is it ok if maybe…” and volunteer to make a dish. “If I go ahead and make sweet potato casserole for the kids, because they really love sweet potato casserole, but I don’t want them to have the marshmallows and the bread crumbs on it.” So just be really open, and honest, and loving, and don’t say that the whole table needs to be gluten free unless there are very specific reasons why; celiacs, for example. Don’t be overbearing, but offer up those alternatives.

Ok, so what to buy when you get into town. Whether you are visiting family or whether you’re on a work trip. These are some of my favorite things to do; I will, maybe even before I get to the hotel, sometimes. On the way, I will pull over at the nearest grocery store, because that’s where you’re going to find the best deals in town. Don’t want for the gift shop at the hotel you’re staying at. Pull over at a grocery store, and I like to stock up on a case of water or a bunch of big bottles of water or whatever it is; you don’t know the water bottle situation wherever you’re at. Maybe the sink water/tap water is fine, but just in case, I like to grab some water. I’ll also grab sparkling water, because I like to keep things fun and bubbly; unflavored, as always. I will also stock up on things like crunchy vegetables. You know, peppers, and carrots, and celery, and things like that. Little munchy things that I can throw into my purse if I know that I’m going to, let’s say a work luncheon kind of thing, and lunch is being provided and I’m probably not going to be able to eat much of anything, I’ll just have that in my purse to supplement.

Other things I will shop for at the grocery store; prebaked potatoes are a great one to just grab and keep in your hotel refrigerator, in your mini-fridge. And on that note, even a rotisserie chicken, most stores will sell those. And then you’ve got potatoes and chicken and some vegetables that if you need to skip dinner out, or you really just want to stay in and work one night, you’ve kind of got that prepared and ready for you at home. You know it’s going to be at least a healthier option and a little bit less of a guessing game if you do go out to eat.

If you do go out to eat, I recommend you do you research. I love Yelp; that’s my favorite go-to place to read about different restaurants. I’ll look up a city, I’ll pull up the map where I’m going to be, and I’ll start searching for health foods first. I’ll actually look for paleo and gluten free, but if I don’t see anything; oh, my kitchen timer is going off! {laughs} Thanks guys. If I don’t find anything directly, then I’ll just start clicking on restaurants that I think look great, and then I’ll do a word search for gluten free and paleo, and every once in a while you’ll find something.

I do encourage you, as far as staying healthy; sometimes when you go on trips, let’s say you’re on a work trip, you’re kind of at the mercy of where everybody else wants to go. It’s a good opportunity to volunteer to coordinate that. I have become known in my family as the girl who chooses the restaurants, and if anybody needs a reservation, I have become my family’s personal reservation concierge, which is fun, I enjoy it, but the reason for that is I started volunteering to choosing restaurants years ago because I really wanted to give myself the best fighting chance to have something healthy to order.

At a restaurant, other folks can get whatever the heck they want and I’m not going to sit there and dictate it. I keep my eyes on my own plate, but that way I’m giving myself the best fighting chance. So that’s a good one. Really standard go-to’s as far as eating out could include sushi restaurants are always really great, you could just get some sushi, some sashimi, some seaweed salad, which usually has a little bit of soy in it, so decide how you tolerate that. I’m usually pretty good with it. Steak houses are always great; you can grab a steak, a potato, and some steamed vegetables. That sounds like a delicious dinner. Let’s see, steak houses, barbecue restaurants are usually great. Try to grab some meat that does not have sauce on it, and some cooked up vegetables that will go next to it. Green beans are one of my favorite. There are options everywhere, and sometimes you just have to be a little strategic in narrowing it down for the folks that you’re with.

And if you’re curious about what to order off of other menus, stay tuned. I know I’ve been teasing about this for a little while, but we do have a huge resource coming for you that will be helpful in navigating some restaurant choices, hopefully before the end of the year.

4. Staying fit on the road [22:30]

Ok, staying fit on the road. Let’s quickly go through this. You’ve got two options; you can work out in the hotel or in your in-law’s house, or you can go to a gym. I like both of these options, so whichever one you feel most comfortable with, you do that. For working out at the hotel, in your hotel room or in your in-law’s house, I recommend, if you don’t already have a workout in mind, I recommend this app, it’s called Fitstar. Someone recommended it to me years ago, I think it was, and it’s really stinking cool. What you do is you log in, and program, it’s an iPhone app so you can get it in the app store. You tell them you’ve got; let’s say you’ve got 10 minutes in the morning for a workout. You plug in the amount of time, I’m pretty sure you can plug in how much space you’ve got, and boom. It gives you a workout; it is so cool, I really, really love it. So that’s a great option.

If you’re working out in your hotel gym, just strap on those tennis shoes that you brought, because you were going to give yourself that best fighting chance and go down, hop on the treadmill. Sometimes that’s just what you need to do. If you can’t think of any other workouts and you just really want to stay active because you know it really helps keep your mind right, it keeps your body right. Working out helps you make other really healthy choices, so sometimes just hopping on the treadmill is totally fine.

And lastly, I really, really encourage you, and this is actually my preferred method of working out on the road, it’s a drop in at other fitness studios. As y’all know, I really like to Crossfit. I say I’m a mixed fitness kind of aspiring athlete, but I like to Crossfit, I like to yoga, I like to go do kickboxing and all these fun things. And before I go on a trip, I will do some Googling and some research and figure out if there’s a gym in town nearby that I want to drop in at. And I’ll do that; so the best way to go about it is to pick a gym before you go, and if you’re already there, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world, you can just look them up and shoot them an email. But I will get a hold of that gym, ask them if it’s ok that I drop in so they’re not totally surprised, and everyone has always been really gracious about it. And most gyms have a drop in fee; it’s usually $10 to $20 depending on the place, and 99% of the time that I’ve dropped in at Crossfit gyms across the nation they always say, oh forget the drop in fee, but if you want to buy a T-shirt that would be awesome.

So it’s just a really cool way to connect with people, and if you’re traveling for a long work trip; let’s say you’re going to be on site somewhere for 2 weeks, dropping in at a gym for 2 weeks is a really great way to kind of develop your own little mini healthy community. You might make some friends, it kind of brings your; you bring your like-minded friend group with you. You really start to expand your network; it’s a pretty cool way. So Crossfit is a good option.

Yoga is another really easy one to drop in at; you probably need less preparation than Crossfit. I encourage you, of course, as with Crossfit to call the studio and ask them if you can drop in, and then just show up, as with Crossfit, or at any new studio, at least 15 minutes early so you can kind of get the lay of the land. But yeah, it’s really not intimidating so please don’t be intimidated about showing up somewhere new by yourself. People love it; it’s a really great way to connect and get to know a city outside of the airport and some of the main tourist attractions.

So that’s my recommendation there. Another reason, really quickly before I move on, to get in touch with them early; I’ve only seen this happen twice and it was a few years ago, but just in case a couple of gyms that I worked with wanted a note from my coach, my full time coach here in San Antonio, so he was able to write a letter and let them know that, yes, I am proficient in the movements and I’m not going to hurt myself. So that’s a good reason to kind of reach out in advance. Ok, awesome I hope that encourages you! Please go drop in, it’s so much fun.

5. Recommendations for jet lag [26:48]

Ok, and the last thing I want to touch on before I sign off, you guys, today is jet lag. This is a good note; it really applies if you are traveling somewhere and you are, of course, going over time zones. When we were in New Zealand, there was a 6 hour discrepancy, I think it was. It was technically 18 hours, but in reality, the days were shifted by just 6. So, a couple of folks had asked me online what were my jet lag healing tricks. And they’re pretty boring, to be honest. I don’t have any magic pills or potions to tell you about that I recommend, because if you have followed me for a long time, you know that I err on the side of, the simple intuitive stuff is the stuff that works. So, for jet lag, I kind of break it out for you this way.

Number one; get as much sunlight in your new location as possible. Sun actually helps, and exposure to sunlight actually helps to set and determine our biological circadian rhythm. So those day and night hormones with sync up with day and night based on where you are. But if you keep yourself hidden in a building all day long, your body will have no idea what time of the day it is. So it really does need the sunlight. It’s pretty cool that we work that way, but that’s number one. Get sunlight.

And on the flip side, when it’s nighttime wherever you are, try to make it as dark as possible. So don’t confuse your body into thinking maybe it’s still day by looking at a computer screen or a TV or your cell phone. So try to keep it dark. And really, these are good practices to use at home, but if you’re really trying to get over jet lag as quickly as possible, try to be this strict for at least a couple of days until your body settles in your new time zone.

Next for jet lag, and this is not super fun to talk about, but I would encourage you to avoid drinking alcohol before going to sleep, because it will; alcohol disrupts your sleep and will kind of make it more restless, so that’s one reason to avoid it. I also encourage you to avoid caffeine, even though you feel like you might need it. Try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon hours. And if you’re really looking for something else that you can add into your routine that will help, lavender oils, essential oil, and peppermint essential oil, mix those together with a carrier like coconut or olive or whatever it is you like to use, rub it on your neck and shoulders just to kind of help relax you when you’re going to sleep at night. These are all things to really help induce sleep and relaxation and settling in. and before you know it, you will be synced up with your new location and ready to take advantage of everything there for you.

Ok folks, well that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ll probably come back and update this topic in the future, but for now I hope that’s helpful. Wishing you all another wonderful week, and I will be back soon.

Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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  1. Katie says

    Katie —  10/10/2017 At 12:14

    Hi Cassy! I loved this episode and especially loved hearing about your adventures in New Zealand! My fiance and I are planning our wedding for next year and also want to honeymoon in New Zealand! Do you have any recommendations for booking this trip, places to see and travel agencies to look in to? Thank you in advance! 🙂

    • Cassy says

      Cassy —  10/13/2017 At 19:23

      Hi Katie! We didn’t use an agency but relied heavily on website recommendations! I need to do a recap post of that trip soon 🙂 Hope you have a great time! Wish I could be more helpful right now.