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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    July 2004    Page 4       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Too Much on Your Plate
 Cookout Time!
 Notes From The Field
 Low Carb Vacation
 Here's What's New!
 We All Scream for Ice Cream
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Exercise: No Excuses!
 Binge Eating: Why?
 Makeup Tips: Part One
 Make It Low Carb!
 Collecting Baseball Carbs
 Y'all Come Back!
 Summer Berries




        Low Carb Vacation by Christine Witt-Trzcinski

Suitcase As we move into these hazy, hot and humid days of summer, many of us will set out by car or airplane for destinations that promise endless excitement, hours of unadulterated relaxation and, of course, delicious food.

These vacations can induce stress in the minds of those eating a diet low in carbohydrates. You may be among those who believe it is impossible to enjoy a low carb vacation — that the trip will not be as enjoyable if it does not include bread, potatoes and sugary desserts.

I am here to say that it is possible to continue your meal plan while traveling. In fact, with the popularity of low carb convenience foods and more restaurants catering to our needs, it has never been easier or more delectable!

Before Leaving Home

Just one hour of planning before leaving home can save hours of time (more time at the beach!) and lots of stress. Here's how:
  • Take snacks in the car or in a carry-on bag if flying. For that matter, pack some snacks extra with luggage to munch on while in the hotel, too. Nuts, string cheese and low carb bars are just a few suggestions. Expensive airport shops do not have much to offer in the way of low carb snacks. Remember to bring along bottled water, too.

  • If driving, pack a cooler full of your favorite foods. Tuna salad, hard boiled eggs and delicious strawberries are all easy to bring along.

  • Ask the hotel to fax or e-mail a copy of their room service and restaurant menus. Larger hotels now feature at least a few low carb items on the menu with the best among them devoting entire sections to low carb fare. If there are little or no options, ask if the chef will prepare special meals — most are happy to accommodate the dietary needs of their guests. Knowing what to expect before leaving home will make hotel living more relaxing.

  • Consider staying at a hotel with a kitchenette in the room. These kitchens have all of the cookware, dishes and utensils needed for meal preparation — some even include a few staple items such as salt, pepper and spices.

  • Request that the hotel have a small empty refrigerator in the room when checking in. Most hotels do not widely advertise that this amenity is available.

  • Locate the nearest grocery store. Having the option to purchase familiar foods in an unfamiliar place can be comforting.

  • Research local restaurants. Many restaurants have their menus online or available by fax. Call to ask about any items in question and find out if lower carbohydrate vegetables can be substituted for potatoes, corn and other starches. Pack these menus to refer to when planning daily events.

Beating Temptation

Vacationing or not, our resolve to a healthy lifestyle is put to the test every day. We decide each morning that we will resist these temptations and follow our meal plan. Why then do so many of us give in to temptation while vacationing? Some think it is simply more convenient to go off plan while traveling. Others are lured by the attraction of new and exciting foods to try in their temporary surroundings. While we cannot eliminate temptation, we can learn to beat it — even away from home.

  • The hotel mini-bar is a treasure trove of carbohydrate-filled snacks and beverages. There are a couple of ways around this trouble spot. Most of these cabinets and refrigerators have locks with the key given to the guest while checking in. Not accepting the key is a good way to avoid temptation. Another option is to remove all of the non-perishable items from the fridge and replace them with lower carb foods purchased from the local grocery. Be sure to replace what has been removed before checking out in order to avoid possible charges from the hotel.

  • Mother was right: breakfast is important. In addition to helping maintain energy levels for those long hikes in the forest, eating a healthy low carb breakfast will also help with feeling more satisfied during the day and improve your concentration level and mood. Fortunately, ordering a low carb breakfast is a breeze in most any restaurant. Stick with high protein foods such as eggs and steak or turkey sausage.

  • Skipping meals can lead to overwhelming hunger, making it more difficult to resist the temptation of less-than-healthy foods. However, some people find that they are not as hungry during the hottest of summer days and keeping to a usual schedule of meals during vacation activities can be a challenge. During these times, keep non-perishable snacks on hand.
  • Eating a heavy (even if low carb) meal may create a bloated feeling. More frequent smaller meals will help keep blood glucose and energy levels more consistent all day.

  • Carry a water bottle and stay hydrated. Some studies have shown that water is a natural appetite suppressant. Most people should drink 64 ounces of water each day, more for larger people and still more on especially hot days in the sun.

One of the most important ways to beat temptation is to completely avoid "trigger" foods. These are the foods that cause cravings. You'll want to avoid that Italian restaurant altogether if you know that resisting pasta and bread will be difficult.

Why a Low Carb Vacation is Better

But why should you avoid temptation and stick with your low carb way of eating while on vacation?

Many people experience "carb crashes" following meals higher in carbohydrate after having been on plan for awhile. This means that instead of enjoying all of the local attractions, you may find yourself back at the hotel fast asleep. Other problems with a sudden increase in carbohydrates include headaches, diarrhea, feeling bloated and water retention. If you are diabetic, you may have difficulty controlling your blood glucose levels, putting you at risk for a variety of complications.

Carbohydrates can have an addictive quality to them. One carb-filled meal leads to another and then another. Seeing the number on the scale increase can be discouraging, getting back on plan can be a struggle.

On the other hand, staying on plan while vacationing can be very powerful! Think for a moment about what it means to maintain your way of eating even in the face of temptation. You are in control of food, not the other way around. Your commitment to a low carb lifestyle is a serious one and you are sticking with it. You are making healthy choices for you.

Final Notes...
I hope all of you have wonderful vacations. Remember that vacations are about friends, family and new places to discover. Ask for support and encouragement from your traveling companions when you need it.

As for me, I am heading to Denver, Colorado in a couple of weeks. I will let you know how that goes. Travel healthy!

Christine Witt is a mother and gift store owner in upstate New York. She enjoys photography and, of course, travel.

Copyright © July 2004  Christine Witt and Low Carb Luxury


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