sugar

How To Stay Well While Traveling

For those of you who don’t know me and/or follow my twitter or instagram accounts (cough, you should), my creative outlet is burlesque.  It’s been an amazing 6 years of costuming, choreography and crazy dancing, and I can’t get enough of it!

This week, I’m heading out to Seattle for my first time at Burlycon, and I’m so stupid excited.  As me and my fellow showgirls (and boys) navigate being healthy while traveling, I thought I’d share my top 5 travel tips with you.  And check back in with my instagram to see how I’m keeping myself well every day of the con.

Here’s what I’m doing:

Call the hotel ahead of time.  Is there a fridge in your room? Microwave? Some hotels don’t provide these things up front, but will if you ask (sometimes for a fee, which may be worth it depending on how long you are staying).  Are there restaurants that will deliver or are within walking distance? How about grocery stores?  Think easy ways to stock up on good eats once you arrive, especially if you are flying.

Pack whatever food you can. Think snack bars (Kind bars are my fav, try for the options with low sugar), almond butter, apples, maybe a protein powder or green powder.  Be careful with the sugar content on all “healthy” on the go foods.  Some granola bars and trail mixes are full of it…sometimes with 18-20 grams of it! 

Get some movement in.  Lucky for me I’m planning to take a ton of dance classes at Burlycon, but that’s not always the case with travel.  Try to take a break to go for a walk, or check out the hotel gym. 

Don’t overdo it on food you’re not used to.  If you don’t normally eat something, this isn’t the time to go crazy with it.  Having a stomachache on the road blows.  Have a taste and move on.

Immune boosters are your best friends.  Echinacea and Emergen-C are my go-to’s when I’m on the road, especially in the cooler months.  With all the shared spaces of airports, planes, cars, hotels etc it’s often easier to catch whatever’s going around, especially if you are already compromising your immune system with too much sugar (see tip above). 

How do you stay well while traveling? Let me know in the comments below!

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4 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Halloween is probably my second favorite holiday (4th of July is my first, duh )What’s not to love? Horror movie marathons, an excuse (that isn’t a burlesque show) to wear a totally insane costume, parties all weekend, trick-or-treating, and a reason to scare the shit out of the people you love most.

In my hometown, we actually got an extra day of Halloween fun times.  Toms River, New Jersey is home to one of the longest running Halloween parades in the country, so kids trick-or-treat on the 30th, since everyone is at the parade on the 31st.  That means we get mischief night on the 29th, trick-or-treating on the 30th, and parade madness on the 31st.

So fucking amazing.

But let’s be honest, it’s suuuuuper easy to go overboard with the candy, even if you only celebrate one day of Halloween.   The huge influx of sugar (ehem, and booze) can leave you feeling lethargic, exhausted, nauseous or even sick with a cold in the days after the parties (yup, excess sugar can weaken your immune system). 

Don’t get me wrong, I think you should enjoy yourself so here are a few tips to make the holiday a little healthier.

Go easy on the candy.  Pace yourself. Take 5 minutes in between your fun sized snicker bars to let your body register that it’s actually satisfied.

Get some fun movement in. Halloween is actually an awesome holiday for fun movement.  Have kids?  Walk with them through the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating! Don’t have kids? Borrow some from your friends!  Or, head to a spooky corn maze with your buds and make it a point to hide in the stalks and scare each other.  That will get you running, guaranteed.

Pre-Game.  Drink lots of water all day and have a healthy snack before heading out for your fun (whatever kind it may be). If you show up starving to a party you’re gonna go hard on those Kit-Kats.

Non-Food treats.  If you get trick or treaters I know it’s wildly tempting to snack on the candy between kids.  Consider giving out a non-food treat if the leftovers haunt you in your sleep.  Like this adorable lego pumpkin gift bag!

Plus, bonus, you’ll be the star house for kids with food allergies! Check out the Teal Pumpkin Project website for ways to mark your house as allergy friendly, and for more non-food ideas.

Your turn.  What are your Halloween plans this year?  Let me know how you're planning to stay healthy in the comments below!

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Getting Real About Sugar

 

Sugar, wtf.

So I’m in the middle of my first Whole 30, which I didn’t think would be terribly difficult for me.  30 days of no grains (I already don’t eat gluten), no dairy (already there), no legumes (eh, I can take them or leave them), and no added sugar – natural or otherwise (small amounts of fruit are ok).  I thought, no problem, I don’t eat THAT much sugar.  I’m generally a pretty healthy eater, right?

I was so wrong.

I AM generally a healthy eater, but what I didn’t realize is just how much hidden sugar there is in the everyday foods I was eating.  I definitely noticed some withdrawal type symptoms, similar to when trying to get off caffeine. I was feeling sort of angry, headachy, tired, and annoyed.  I think it really hit me when I was starving, walking around the grocery store trying to find a quick option for dinner and figured I’d pick up a rotisserie chicken.  Every single one had a form of sugar.  On chicken?  Really?

Everything from pickled peppers, to ketchup, to Emergen-C, to deli meat.  Everything my partner picked up and asked frantically “CAN I HAVE THIS” was a solid no, due to some form of sugar. 

It’s terrifying.  And it’s been a huge eye opener.

Food companies say they add sugar to their products to “enhance taste” but really, they do it to get you hooked.  Sugar lights up the same pleasure centers of our brain that a drug would, and once you have one hit you always want more.  Our bodies are hardwired to crave sugar in particular, because in the days of hunting and gathering, something sweet was a quick form of energy (Keep in mind, fruit was the sweetest thing you could typically find.  Not nearly as much sugar as that gluten-free donut).  It makes it extremely difficult to say no when that food comes up again.  And yet, we’re often told it’s a “lack of will power” that causes us to cave into food cravings.

No, asshole.  It’s you and all your added sugar. 

The other thing that’s been really striking to me is the way that I tend to use sugar, or food in general, in response to my emotions.  I knew I was sort of doing that, but this is the first time I’ve really had to challenge that, instead of giving in.  Generally, my idea of giving into a sweet tooth was a banana with almond butter, or some dark chocolate, but the point is that I’m reaching for those things for comfort, instead of dealing with whatever is going on. It’s been difficult, but I’m grateful for the chance to ask myself “what am I really craving here?”  I really noticed it when I had a few big projects due at the same time and was getting stressed out, and my first thought was “I just need a treat.”

No. I just need to sit down and do my work.  And maybe drink some extra water, write in my journal and take a nap.

To anyone considering a Whole 30, I can say wholeheartedly to give it a go.  Planning and prepping makes it a lot easier (so you don’t end up frantic and starving in the grocery store, like me), and it’s so SO worth it to be forced to take a good hard look at your current diet.  My body is super grateful for the break from sugar, and I’ll be sure to report more from the other side.

How about you?  Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Let me know in the comments below!

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