Posts in Travel
Tips for Staying Healthy While Eating Out (and Still Enjoy Yourself!)

Going out to eat is a great way to socialize and spend time with friends and family. It can be a bit anxiety-producing if you're working hard to clean up your diet and reach your health goals because you never know what's really in your food (was it sauteed in canola oil? was flour added to a sauce? was corn syrup in the salad dressing? etc.)! So how do you find balance and freedom while eating out without totally derailing your health and weight loss goals? Check out my newest blog post to learn how to navigate menus and eat healthfully when dining out...while still enjoying yourself!

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15 Best Travel Snacks

JERF. Just Eat Real Food. That's my motto and I hope it is yours too! Travelling can make JERFing pretty challenging. I've put together a list of my top 15 snacks that are as minimally processed as packaged food gets. Before your next trip, I recommend packing your bags with some of these so you’re never caught hangry and forced to resort to airplane fare!

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Blissful Bali

When we were planning our Everest Base Camp trek, mum and I knew we also needed to schedule in at least a week of R&R somewhere warm after that kind of strenuous adventure in Nepal. Neither of us are lay-on-the-beach-all-day type of holidayers, but we basically wanted somewhere with cheap massages and healthy food. We decided on Ubud as mum had never been to Bali and always wanted to and I’d heard it was a healthy hippie haven in the jungle, which sounded right up our alley! It turned out to be exactly what we were after plus a lot more. We absolutely loved almost everything about this cultural mecca of Bali so I wanted to share with you all of our faves in case you want to put Ubud on your travel list! 

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Everest Base Camp Trek + Sherpa Nutritional Wisdom

My mum is a keen world traveller and a beyond anal organiser. She hasn’t finished one adventure before she’s got the next already in the pipeline. In the days (sometimes weeks!) leading up to any trip, whether she’s going for 6 weeks or 2 days, she has over-run the guest room in our home with all of her lists, piles, ziplock baggies, and travel-sized bottles, laid out over both beds and covering the floor. Admittedly, the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree, so when we are teaming up for a mother-daughter junket, I’d be damned if we weren’t well-equipt! Especially in the healthy snacks department. I rarely, if ever, leave home (even for an afternoon!) without some form of healthy food in my bag. I am definitely a victim of low-blood-sugar hangry (hungry-angry) episodes. Even more than that, I hate being out and about and having to stop what I am doing to go in search of something healthy to eat, which can often, especially when traveling in unknown places, be hard to come by. Hence, I always make sure to have a small bag of almonds, a bliss ball, a piece of fruit or something of the like to keep me going. 

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Day in the Life of a Yoga Teacher-in-Training

In case any of you guys are interested in getting your 200-hour yoga teacher certification, I thought I would give you a little run-down of what our daily schedule was like during the teacher training course I did on Koh Phangan in Thailand. Our course was 23 days and included two days off for relaxing and/or exploring the island. Because the timing for these courses is usually pretty tight, they cram a lot in each day so we were very busy! 

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Forget Modesty - My First Ayurvedic Oil Massage

To remove toxins from the system and balance the body’s three fundamental energies (called doshas), Ayurveda employs many internal cleansing programs, one of which is panchakarma.  There are a vast array of treatments used in panchakarma, so it is up to the doctor to decide which of the body’s doshas are aggravated and prescribe a course of treatments to flush the accumulated toxins and restore balance.  At Vaidyagrama, the Ayurvedic retreat I visited in India, some people have very intense treatments and others have quite an easy go of it. For example, my friend Netti had to drink increasing amounts of ghee (up to 200 ml) over the course of 7 days while having no other food except for a little bit of rice water. This week of ghee was followed by a series of purgatives to expel the accumulated toxins from the body. She was basically chained to the bathroom during those days. Meanwhile, I was chilling out eating all the food I wanted and receiving warm oil massages and other luxurious treatments. One of the things I love about Ayurveda is how personalised it is. (Easy for me to say considering I wasn’t the one drinking butter!) But it is true. Not one person at Vaidyagrama (there were about 30+ patients) was doing the same course of treatments, taking the same medicines or eating the same food. Everything that is prescribed for each person is completely tailored to his/her individual nature and to the root of what is causing his/her own bodily imbalance. 

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A day at Vaidyagrama, an Ayurvedic Detox Retreat

As you may know, I was studying Ayurveda in Sydney over the past 9 or so months before I left on my traveling adventure.  Ayurveda is the wisdom of life and longevity and perhaps the oldest existing body of knowledge on the healing process. It is not just a medical knowledge system, but an art of living in harmony with the laws of nature. When Ayurveda talks about wellness, it includes physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social and environmental wellbeing - as holistic as it gets! It encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, rest, relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, medicinal herbs, and cleansing and rejuvenation programs for healing body, mind and spirit. 

As I had been studying the principles of Ayurveda, as well as learning the various treatments to bring the health of a person back into balance, I wanted to see Ayurveda is action in India, where it originated.  My teacher in Sydney suggested that, if I wanted to experience the real deal panchakarma process (body, mind, spirit cleansing/detox treatment), I should go to a place called Vaidyagrama near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, southern India.  Vaidyagrama is an experimental green Ayurveda healing community born out of the desire to “live simple, live well, live healthy and live happy!” How cute is that? It is a small, but lovely, eco-retreat in the middle of nowhere….which helps with pacifying temptations to sneak out and get myself some chocolate and a cappuccino! I stayed at Vaidyagrama for the month of January.  Sounds like a really long time, but it went by so quickly - I could have easily stayed another few weeks! 

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5 Ways to Avoid Vacation Weight Gain

On this quest to be healthy, sometimes we can get wrapped up in all the the foods to avoid and forget to just live a little! I was certainly "living a little" (or a lot) on my trip to Sri Lanka. One of the best things about traveling is trying all the local foods. I usually follow a plant-based diet, focusing on lots of veggies, fruit, a bit of clean animal protein, and nuts/seeds while minimising gluten and dairy. In Sri Lanka, I was (loosely) adhering to my food philosophy but also experimenting a lot with the local fare. For example, I didn't hoe into the bread basket at dinner but I did eat the beautiful piece of coconut cake with cream served for dessert. Know what I mean? I'm not encouraging fully letting go of the reins on vacation and eating everything milky, gluten-y and sugary that comes your way, I'm merely opining that giving yourself more freedom (without the guilt!) is part of a healthy lifestyle. 

That said, no one wants to float home like a blimp after time away so here are some tips for weight maintenance while on holidays:

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Sri Lanka - Where to Stay and What to Do

Following from my last post relating to some logistical things to know about traveling in Sri Lanka, I'd like to share with you some info on nice places to stay / visit and stuff to do on the South Coast and in the Hill Country which is where I spent a week. 

I'm regards to our itinerary, we a started in Colombo as it's the capital and major city closest to the international airport. I only allocated about 12 hours (overnight) here as I'd heard from several sources it's a bit of a non-event kind of place. If you're in to exploring markets and Buddhist temples, it might be worth giving yourself more time. After a touch-and-go mission in Colombo, we hit the new Southern Expressway south to the beaches. We made a short stop in Galle, a 17th-century Dutch city-within-a-fort, and continued on to Mirissa, one of the South Coast's most popular beaches. Many people go to Mirissa for the surfing, as well as the opportunity to see whales and dolphins on organised boat cruises. From Mirissa, we had only a short drive to Talalla Retreat, a surf and yoga haven near the beach.

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Ins and Outs of Traveling in Sri Lanka

I recently had a week in Sri Lanka and had the most fabulous time! Smiling friendly people, endless beaches, majestic mountains, famous tea, cheap prices, yummy healthy food, and plentiful coconuts - what more could a girl want! 

Before visiting, when I pictured what the landscape would be like in Sri Lanka, I imagined gorgeous palm tree-fringed and golden-sand beaches and vibrant blue water. In reality, it was this plus much more! What I didn't know about was how stunning the centre of the country would be with all its waterfalls, mountains and tea plantations. When you can get uncrowded, picturesque beaches, misty mountain tops and lush greenery as far as the eye can see all I'm one short week, I'd say that's a holiday win! 

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Healthy Living in Sydney - Part 3

Any healthy lifestyle is not complete without a movement routine. I say movement instead of exercise because sometimes exercise conjures up ideas of strenuous exertion and/or pumping iron in sweaty revolting gyms. It's all good if that is your thing but for many people that's not enjoyable or necessary.  Instead, if you think of it as a movement routine, it translates to just doing something you enjoy that makes you move your body (i.e. walking, running, yoga, dance, bike, SUP, etc).  Bonus if you do it outside and break a sweat. Here are my favorite ways to get out there and move. 

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Healthy Living in Sydney - Part 2

Following from last week's post which gave you the run down of all my favorite whole foods cafes in Sydney, this week gives you all the info on local farmers markets and health food stores.  

If you live in Sydney, or plan on setting up shop for a little while, it's essential that you know where to get the freshest produce, as well as where the nearest bulk bins are so you can get your daily dose of organic dark chocolate macadamia nuts.  Or maybe that's just me... 

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Healthy Living in Sydney - Part 1

As my time living in Sydney has come to a close, the nostalgia has already set in for my last four years there. Sydney really is a one-of-a-kind city and I will miss it, along with all my gorgeous family and friends, immensely.  I could easily launch into a full tribute to Sydney giving it a massive plug for anyone who hasn't yet been here, but instead my intention for this three-part series is to highlight how this stunning harbour city makes it so easy to live healthfully.  

Sydney's comfortable, temperate climate (warm summers and mild winters) makes it very conducive to spending a lot of time outside. There are tons of outdoor cafes/restaurants/bars, endless beaches and parks, and a plethora of farmers markets to provide fresh, local produce all year round.  In general, Sydney is a pretty progressive and health-conscious city...particularly in my neck of the woods.  While there is no doubt most everyone enjoys a cold beer on a summer's day, usually (s)he earned it in some way, whether it was a morning surf, soft sand run, ocean swim, paddle board, bike ride, the list goes on.  I think the fact that we all have to be in a swim suit three quarters of the year definitely provides a bit of motivation for staying fit and healthy!  

I have absolutely loved calling Sydney my home over the past few years and I hope to share some of that love with you here. I have put together many of the places I would frequent and things I would do that keep me nourished, grounded, happy and well. My lists are not comprehensive for the city as a whole.  I lived in the Eastern Suburbs for the past four years so these lists suggest spots to go and activities to do around that general area. 

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Top 5 Travel Essentials

In one week, I am off on my Asian adventure! I could not be more excited...and frantic. Not only am I packing up my 4-year life here in Australia to move to the U.S., but also I'm preparing to go on a 3 + month excursion around the eastern hemisphere. Yew!!

I will be pin-balling around Asia to 6 different countries before arriving in my final destination of Denver, Colorado.  My itinerary includes a whopping 15 flights and quite a few punishing lay-overs. I give the full run down of my trip here

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I'm Going on a Trip!

....but not just a quick jaunt like the other trips I have done over the past few years.  I'm talking a proper break.  And then I am relocating to another continent.  So really, it's more than just a trip! 

I have lived in Sydney for a little over four years now.  I have absolutely loved getting to know this stunning Harbour City in which I was born and, more importantly, getting so much closer with the amazing family and friends I have here.  

Sydney (and Australia in general) has always been very dear to my heart.  That will never change. I will forever treasure all the incredible experiences and opportunities I had here and all the amazing people I got to spend time with along the way.  But, it's time for me to make a change.

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How to Eat Clean in the Bush

For the long weekend, I went camping with an awesome group of people down the south coast at a place called Bendalong.  When Eb, my gorgeous friend and fellow wellness chick (check out her kick-ass blog - http://everyhealthyday.com/), suggested the idea, I immediately jumped on-board despite the fact that I own absolutely zero camping gear here in Sydney.  This minor snag was quickly pushed out of my head to make room for images of roasting s'mores and sleeping under the stars.  I couldn't wait to get out of Sydney for the weekend and spend three days chilling out in the wilderness.  

Even before beginning to think about how and from where I was going to source a sleeping bag, mattress pad, tent, etc. (you know, the camping essentials), I was making a running list in my head of which foods and snack items I'd need to get me through the weekend without my home fridge and pantry.  Whenever I go on a trip away from home, no matter how long or short, civilized or provincial, I always go prepared with healthy food.  As I had never been camping before in Australia, much less to this particular location, I wasn't sure just how far into the bush we were going to go.  Were we hiking to our campsite or car-camping in a caravan park? Were there refrigeration capabilities or were we bringing eskies? Were there cooking facilities or were we eating from packets?  I had no idea.  I didn't have much time to prepare, so I decided to just organize healthy breakfast foods and snacks and hope for the best for the rest of our meals!  Luckily Eb is a seasoned camper so I knew I wouldn't be the only one steering clear of the hot dogs and going in search of nutritious nibbles. 

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Healthfully Survive Travel and Jet Lag

Ahhh the week leading up to a big trip!  There’s nothing quite like it.  Excited. Restless. Energized. Enthusiastic. Frantic.  And a little bit nervy!  I actually really enjoy basking in the preoccupation and anticipation in the lead up to a vacation.  While traveling to new places around the world is one of my biggest passions, the window of time (which is sometimes days!) between my front door and that of my destination is not often the most pleasant part of the holiday.  Over the years, I have gladly mastered the voyage between Australia and America.  As I am most often travelling between Sydney and the east coast of the U.S., I am in-transit for more than 24 hours!  Whether I am landing in a U.S. city or back in Sydney, I usually have to ‘hit the ground running’ by way of social engagements or straight into the office for a day at work.  Feeling, or looking, ghastly is just not an option.  As the wise woman Sweet Brown once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 

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