Usually around this time of year we go on a vacation – whether that’s a short weekend trip or a full week so I thought that I’d share some nutrition tips when you’re on vacation.
I don’t know about ya’ll but I want to feel rested, restored, and rejuvenated after vacation. But when we go on vacation, we eat out more, our eating patterns change, and that can effect how we feel. So I thought I’d share some tips with ya’ll.
When I’m getting ready for the day before having my breakfast and coffee, I sip on water. I try to do this regularly, but especially on vacation.
When you are eating differently and, if you’re like me, eating foods that I love but my body has a hard time digesting, it’s important for you to stay hydrated for your digestive health so it can break down food properly and move things along. When eating differently it can cause constipation, and a simple thing to do to help prevent that is staying hydrated.
Another reason why this is important is because water helps with your energy. When dehydrated, one of the first signs you can have is fatigue. When cells are not properly hydrated, your ability to produce energy is reduce.
Fruits and Veggies
You might not want to think about what you are and are not eating, but keeping in mind having some sort of fruit or vegetable with every meal helps.
When eating out and eating heavier meals, having fruits and vegetables throughout the day helps because of fiber but also with keeping things lighter. When I have heavier meals back to back I feel more sluggish, so keeping it fresh and light, even with one of the meals, keeps me going.
You don’t have to keep up with your normal workout routine when on vacation, but staying physically active during that time does help when you are back home and needing to get back to your usual grind.
Physical activity does help with energy level by increasing oxygen in the blood and endorphins. It also helps you sleep better at the end of the day for a deeper nights sleep.
Which brings us to my last point.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Everyone reacts to caffeine and alcohol differently, so you know your own beat, but I thought I’d share a few things to keep in mind.
For people who have too much caffeine it can result in insomnia, feeling anxious, or digestive issues, especially when drinking coffee. Those are things you don’t want in your usual routine, and definitely not on vacation.
One thing to consider with alcohol is it’s effect on sleep. Alcohol does have a sedative effect and make people feel drowsy and can help someone fall asleep, but it reduces and interrupts our REM or deep sleep. Many that have an alcoholic drink a few hours before bed will find their sleep interrupted and wake up in the middle of the night.
Sleep is always an important factor to me, but especially on vacation, I want to feel rested and not exhausted and mentally foggy that can result from a lack of sleep.
Video Coming Tomorrow
Tomorrow I’ll have a video that talks about these points and a recipe for a pizza I made last year for our anniversary while sheltering in place!
Keep finding your beet and I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow!
It started with Gatorade, then a whole list of sports drinks came out. Just because it’s a “sports” drink is it healthy? Just like anything else there is a balance.
Why are they needed? Are they a healthy alternative to something else? When should I drink them? Let’s first talk about if they are healthy and then why sports drinks were created.
Are Sports Drinks Healthy?
Let’s think about what makes something healthy. Something is “healthy” when it provides something we truly need. Sports drinks usually consist of water, sugar, and electrolytes at the bare minimum, which in someway shape or form, we do “need” those things. Water is something we need everyday, electrolytes are responsible for getting water into and out of cells, and sugar (although preferable with fiber) is your cells number 1 source of energy and what is burned the quickest for energy.
Why Were They Created?
They are used for athletes or those that will be exerting a high amount of energy or are in a position to where they can become dehydrated easily. Why do sports drinks help with this? Sports drinks were meant to be quick and easy way to hydrate, maintain electrolyte balance, and have a quick digestible source of sugars for energy and endurance. All of those things would be used right away for athletes or anyone exerting high amounts of energy.
When Should I Drink Them?
Unless you are in a race, sport, training, or needing to exert high amounts of energy for hours on a job, water is the better option. (Or water with electrolytes without the sugar) The other reason you might want a sports drink is if you will be somewhere where dehydration might be a reality. For instance, if you are going to an outdoor concert in the middle of summer and it’s going to be 90+ degrees F. More than likely you will be sweating a lot. When we sweat we loose electrolytes and water. So to help keep us from becoming dehydrated in those instances something like a sports drink could be good to consume. If you can find a water + electrolyte drink without sugar, it would be the better way to go if you are going to be sweating but not exerting energy.
You still have to be aware of the amount of sugar. Natural sugars come from sources that have water and fiber with the sugar that will be consumed like fruits, vegetables, and grains. Drinking sugar without having a need to replace any glucose or glycogen (body’s storage of sugar) because of exerting energy will be excess sugar, and thus can raise your blood sugar to quickly and you can crash. The other thing is that since it will be excess sugar, it can be stored as fat to be used later.
Sports drinks have a purpose, however if you are not going to be exerting energy it can be just as good for you as a soda. Know why they are used and use them in the right way and they can be a good option. The other thing is that even if you are training, in a race, or on a hot job that requires energy, energy drinks should not be the only thing you consume. Still drink water and have a sports drink here and there. Your body uses water the most out of any other substance so make sure you still drink plain water.
We like to complicate things when it comes to our overall health, but it’s usually the simplest things we overlook that are the most important. Water is definitely one of them. The hardest part of drinking a glass or two of water first thing, was remembering to do it right after waking up. I do get out of the habit in the winter because I want something warm in the morning, and the fact that I’m usually more groggy than usual in the winter time and can’t wait for my cup of joe. Anytime I get off of this habit, it doesn’t take long before I want to get back to it.
Why Is It Important?
When you are sleeping your metabolism slows, your body detoxes from the day and repairs. Those processes need water. Since you are sleeping and not drinking water, when you wake up your body is looking for water, whether you are thirsty or not. It hasn’t had anything to drink in 8-ish hours. Knowing that we are on average 60% water and all body functions need water to work properly, it makes sense that we need to hydrate ourselves first things in the morning if we expect our bodies to work properly.
How Does it Help Your Digestive System and Health?
Water helps to jump start your metabolism. While you sleep your metabolism slows because you are not using as much energy. When you wake up, hydrating yourself with water helps to kick start it. Not only that, but water helps deliver nutrients to the rest of your body and helps get rid of toxins and free radicals that we are exposed to each day.
It also allows you body time and the water needed to make enough digestive juices for the day so breaking down and digesting is easier.
For your liver and kidneys to do their job in detoxing, it needs adequate amounts of water to flush out your system. While you sleep your liver and other organs work on detoxing your body from the day. First thing when you wake up, you want to make sure to have a glass of water before anything else reaches your digestive system to ensure that the toxins your body was trying to get rid of during the night are being flushed out and taken care of.
Along with helping your metabolism start, and help your body with flushing out toxins another part of this would include stimulating the colon for regularity. Your colon HAS to have water to pass waste along. Drinking water after being dehydrated helps to stimulate the bowels to get things moving again.
Hot or Cold Water?
I’ve heard both that hot or cold is better. “Use hot lemon water to detox.” “Use cold water to rev up your metabolism.” “Best digestion is with room temperature water.” And it continues to go back and forth. If you want it to do one thing more than the others then it determines on if you drink it hot, cold, or room temperature. Not saying that there is not something behind those statements, but what’s important is making sure you are hydrated. If you don’t like warm water, drink cold. If you can’t drink something cold in the morning, have room temperature or warm water. Whatever will make you drink water to hydrate yourself from the “drought” sleep causes, do it.
Don’t Like Drinking Water?
Reward yourself with tea or coffee after you are done drinking your 16-24 ounces of water.
Can’t start with that much? Build up to it.
Add lemon slices or a squeeze of lemon juice
I was a person who started the coffee pot the second I woke up and sipped on it while getting ready. Now when I wake up, 9 times out of 10, I’m thirsty and can’t wait to get to my glass of water. When your body gets into a routine, especially taking in something so highly used like water, it will start to expect it. The longer you keep with the routine, the easier it will be and you won’t see it as something you’re doing, you’ll just start doing it.
Changes I Noticed
I woke up better. I didn’t feel so groggy by the time I left the house. Not that that doesn’t still happen.
I was hungry for breakfast. I normally ate breakfast but at some point it was more out of habit than hunger. After having my glass of water, about an hour later my stomach was actually growling.
I went to the bathroom in the morning before leaving. It’s different for everyone, but when I started this, about a few days into it, I HAD to go to the bathroom before I even left the house.
Your digestive system will thank you. It wakes up your whole body and digestive system and gets things going for the day. It’s like an internal shower for your digestive system. Your metabolism is awake and ready to start burning fuel, your digestive juices are there and can be made, the leftover toxins from the night are getting a second chance of flushing out of your system, and your bowels are back to moving. What better way to start the day?
Sometimes hearing so much about other foods and drinks that are healthy, we forget the basics. We know that drinking water is healthy, but why?
We are made of 60% water
Helps to maintain the balance of bodily fluids
Aids Digestion, Absorption of Nutrients, and Eliminating Waste
Maintains Body Temperature
Detoxes the Body
Balances our pH in our Bodies
Vital for Blood, Saliva, and Digestive Fluids
Helps Lubricate Your Eyes & Joints
And the List Goes On…
Hard Health Habit
Pretty much any function in your body uses water. So it’s definitely vital to our health. Drinking water regularly can be a healthy habit that is hard to start. Juice, tea, carbonated water, etc. makes you think you’ve had enough and the “water” contained in them is enough. But it doesn’t do the same as just drinking plain water. Having infused waters can be a great way to get your started. It adds just enough flavor to break up the “blandness” of water that most people have a problem with when trying to drink more water throughout the day. Or you might be like me and need to break up the flavors here and there and get a different flavor in the afternoon. Throughout this post I’ll have pictures of 7 different infused waters that I’ve made, plus at the end I’ll give you a few tips for making your own.
How much water is enough?
There has been some controversy about this. We know the average “8 Glasses a Day” motto. But what do they mean? Since the average drinking glass has increased from being an 8-12 ounce glass to it being 16-24 ounces, what do they mean? And then you have different climates, different seasons, and people who do different jobs.
Are you on your feet all day?
Are you doing physical work or sitting at a desk?
Are you outside or are you inside with climate control?
Do you have dry skin?
Do you have other health factors or medications that play into how much water you should be drinking?
Do you work out regularly?
How much water is enough? Here are the averages to have as a starting goal.
Women Average: 2.7 liters
Male Average: 3.7 liters
Or you can do what I do and follow a few guidelines. Once you get use to drinking a few liters a day, it becomes second nature.
My Water Guidelines
NOTE: Raw food does count to some degree. You do get water from the foods you eat, especially raw fruits and vegetables. So if you have a good amount of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you might not have to drink as much water by itself.
Start your day with an average glass of water or two while getting ready for the day before eating.
If you drink coffee, make sure to drink the same amount if not double the amount of coffee you’ve had.
Drink water with Lunch
If you are in a hot climate or going to be working outside, always have water on hand ready to go and sip constantly.
Drink at least a few glasses of water after working out.
If you have wine or an alcoholic drink with dinner or at night, drink at least 8 ounces of water an hour before going to bed.
And the best guide – always make sure your urine stays a light yellow. It doesn’t have to be clear all the time, but it shouldn’t be dark unless it’s because of medication or a multi vitamin. Even then, because of those factors you might be required to drink more than the average amount.
If you want a goal amount, check out this hydration calculator by ReHydratePro. The results tab will break down how many glasses or ounces for morning, afternoon, evening and night.
If you are wondering how much water to drink for ultimate performance during or after your workout, check out this calculator from Camelbak.
An Experience: From Soda to Water
There are a lot of reasons why people have a hard time getting enough water throughout the day, but one of them is because they are soda drinkers and water is bland and flat. That was James’ (my husband’s) problem. He grew up drinking soda after soda. Only drinking water if he had to or it was after doing something in the heat or physical like mowing the lawn. But even then, it was most likely iced sweet tea he would have. Other than that – soda. Once he started working out he learned about why water is so important especially with trying to loose weight and build muscle. James never gained much weight but the weight he was gaining was all around his mid-section which is very unhealthy. He learned that a lot of that can be due to processed sugar. So he cut out processed sugars which meant he went to only drinking water cold turkey.
An Experience: From Soda to Water
James did okay at first. He started to think about soda all day, every day, and by the end of the day would start to get a headache. He had to “choke” down the water and sometimes only had 20 oz. of water throughout the day, but still resisted drinking sodas. This went on for about 2 weeks.
This was something I never fully understood, but now see the addiction behind sugar, especially processed sugar, foods and drinks. Sugar was one of those things that triggered my IBS symptoms so I associated it with pain and cramping. But for someone that doesn’t get any adverse effects right away from it, I can understand how and why it’s hard to break the habit and start having something “bland”.
An Experience: From Soda to Water
Once the headaches went away and James kept with his routine, by the 3rd week he started to want water in the morning. Things started tasting different to him. He noticed that with drinking sugary drinks he wasn’t able to taste properly. Now fruits, vegetables, and some savory things now have a better and sweeter taste to him. After workouts he has no problem drinking 20+ ounces of water. He sweats a lot more now that his body has the water to do so. Soda still comes into his mind and there are some days that are worse than others. I have to hand it to him, I thought he was going to crack at least once in the first few weeks, but he never did. Even going out to eat when he would have 3-4 glasses of soda, he ordered water and continues to do so. Along with healthier foods tasting better, his headaches he would get randomly or when it would get cold are now almost completely gone, and his workouts have improved. Definitely worth the switch!
As a Recap
Water is vital for all functions of the body and can help with healthy goals like – a healthy digestive system, weight loss, etc.
Follow the water guidelines and try to drink a few liters throughout the day
Drinking water can be a hard habit to start, but worth the benefits
When grabbing your glass of water, add the herbs or fruit to it that you’d like. Wait for about 10 minutes and enjoy!
For citrus fruits – lemon, lime, oranges – you can squeeze a little into the glass before putting the slices inside.
For other fruits – if they are sliced, some of the juice is able to get into the water
Herbs – I like to rub the leaves a little before putting them inside the water. It releases the essential oils in them so that you get more flavor in the water.