Diets are often and very easily distracted during vacations. Many times, experiencing a new culture is not only about visiting places of interests or watching cultural performances, it is also about trying its local food and delicacies. If travel is not for leisure and for the purpose of visiting loved ones, family meals often consist of comfort foods that are carbs and sugar laden. This August, Pau and I will be visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia to celebrate my birthday and our 1st wedding anniversary. I've been thinking about how we're going to keep to our regular eating routine as much as possible. Here are a few tips I thought of:
1. Read up on potentially paleo-friendly restaurants in the city from tripadvisor.com.
Besides hotel rankings and reviews, there is also a section for restaurants. Closer to date, Pau and I will read up on restaurants we can dine at in Siem Reap and take down notes. With the help of photos and reviews from travelers, we can get a glimpse of what the type of food served, its cleanliness, service and affordability. Food blogs are also another good source of information but tripadvisor is still my go-to website.
2. Find a hotel that serves breakfast international-buffet style or american breakfast.
With the international buffet selection, there are pros and cons. The good part is, there are often a good selection of paleo-friendly food, all the eggs and bacon you can eat. The bad part is that you can get tempted by non-paleo selection, such as the assorted breads and jams and cereals. So stay focus and think about how you will be better off without a bloated or upset stomach while enjoying the sights. Our hotel in Siem Reap serves the American-styled breakfast, which is likely to include baked beans, toasts, bacon, sausages and eggs. My plan is to skip the beans and toasts and keep the rest. Even if the sausages are not entirely paleo, and the bacon is probably pan-fried in canola oil, a little of non-paleo ingredients is not going to kill. It's worst to be ultra-picky and end up being hungry the entire trip and more likelihood of eating something junky.
3. Pack your own snacks.
I'm sure we're going to get itchy-mouth/hungry while touring the Angkor Wat, so I intend to make Pau roast us some almonds before the trip and pack them in ziplocks for us to snack on. I may throw in some dried cranberries for variety and to satiate my sweet tooth, but not too much! I'm sure we can get almonds from the supermarkets in Siem Reap, I just thought it'll be nice that we're in control of the type of oil used for roasting. Oh, don't forget to stay hydrated!
4. Get exercise
I'm not too sure if our hotel has a gym but it does have a pool. So I intend to bring my bikini and swim a few laps. If not, I do foresee us doing abit of walking, so I will definitely pack in a pair of comfortable walking shoes/runners.
5. Bring a paleo-read to keep motivated.
Everyday, I surf a bunch of paleo websites to stay informed, motivated and for new recipes. In case the hotel has no wifi, bring a book, or download the ebook version onto the ipad/Kindle. Also, in case someone questions you about the diet, the book will come handy.
Last but not least, don't be too hard on yourself if you eat something non-paleo. Let's face it, vacations are not part of our daily routine, it is difficult to stay on course and we are not perfect. If you have to eat something non-paleo, don't feel bad and let it slide. If eating that apple pie Grand-aunt Mary specially baked for your visit is going please her, eat a small piece, enough not to be rude and make you guilty. Like what Pau always reminds me: 100% paleo 80% of the time, is good enough. For me, it is currently 100% paleo 60% of the time. Baby steps, people!