How to eat well while overseas
Q: I’m going on holiday to the US for a few months later this year and I’m really worried about the food. I’ve heard it’s very difficult to eat well, what are your suggestions for eating well when overseas? Thanks, Chrissie.
A: I think this is a concern shared by many people when they travel. The holiday mindset for many often means consuming more alcohol and eating out more often. But, there are a certainly a number of strategies you can use to make sure you are still able to find and choose nourishing options.
With the US specifically and the use of high fructose corn syrup, I would certainly encourage you to avoid or at least limit your consumption of packet foods. Opt for nuts, fruit, vegetable snacks and hummus (checking the label of course), should you need food on the go.
Eating well is obviously a priority for me, so much so that I will often choose my accommodation (when overseas) based on how close I will be to nourishing food options. If it’s an option you may like to choose accommodation that has cooking facilities to give yourself the option of preparing your own food. Even having breakfast in can ensure you start the day with a nourishing meal (not to mention the cost saving benefits.)
Certainly ensuring you get enough vegetables when dining out can be an issue, so having a couple of nights in may be welcomed. The other point I think is relevant is to eat when you’re hungry, not just because it’s ‘‘something to do’’ – eating can become in part a cultural exploration which is part of travelling but not when you’re eating purely as an activity.
When you’re eating out you can also do simple things like order an entre´e sized meal (the US tend to have larger serving sizes), order additional vegetables on the side and ask for any dressing or sauces on the side. It can also be helpful to order a green juice/or smoothie when available and look for the local wholefoods store to pick up supplies, or consider packing a good quality greens powder for those days where you just aren’t able to get the vegetables in.
Q: Should we be soaking our grains, sprouting our seeds and activating our nuts? Thanks, Judith.
A: To enhance their digestibility and maximise nourishment then yes! If it means you won’t eat nuts because you feel like it is too much admin to soak them, then of course it is fine to have a handful for afternoon tea as they are.
All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can interfere with the absorption of calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc and iron and alter their absorption. Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors, which protect them while they are trying to grow.
They are effectively kept in a ‘‘hibernation’’ state until they are in the optimal conditions to grow. The enzyme inhibitors are there to protect but in some instances they can cause discomfort and digestive issues upon consumption.
By soaking and/or sprouting nuts and seeds, you eliminate the enzyme inhibitors and increase your absorption of the nutrients contained within them.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional. Visit drlibby.com.
US portion sizes tend to be on the large size