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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Health, TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

Traveling is an amazing thing. Seeing the world and experiencing different cultures and landscapes and places can be a good way to shake things up a little. Of course, when we shake things up a little too much, our body sometimes suffers as well. There is nothing worse for me than getting sick on a trip, or right after one. Here are a few things I do to keep myself as healthy as possible, even through the stress of traveling.

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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling | www.maplealps.com
 

Eat As Close to Your Normal Healthy Diet as Possible

Don’t go from eating smoothies and kale salads to cheese fondue for breakfast every day for a week. I mean, you could, but your body might try to rebel and the results may not be pretty. I may or may not be speaking from experience. ;-) It won’t always be possible to eat your exact normal diet, but try.

 

Get Enough Sleep

It is definitely hard to get enough sleep during the holiday season or traveling. Friends and family may be in town, and parties are happening left and right. Do your best to get as much sleep as you can. I find that even a weekend of too little sleep leaves me feeling pretty awful and makes for a very long week. If you are traveling to a different time zone, you can use a small amount melatonin to help get you out of jet lag quicker. Note that melatonin is not a long term fix for sleep problems.

 
 

Choose Healthy Alternatives

While packing your own snacks is a health and money saver, when traveling for longer periods of time, it is often necessary that you stop for sustenance. Try to plan ahead by creating a meal plan for your vacation. The best thing for your wallet is finding a local grocery store to stock up on healthy foods and even meals. Of course, not everyone stays in facilities that allow you to cook your own meals, so thankfully, many fast food places and restaurants (and even grocery stores!) have started offering healthy options on their menus that you can take advantage of as well.

 

Drink Water

Water is so important! Staying hydrated will help keep you healthy! I pack my own water bottle and fill it up whenever there is an opportunity to so that I don’t have to buy giant, heavy, and often expensive, packs of water. Seriously, having to pay $4+ for a bottle of water is not fun when you are thirsty. I have actually experienced not even getting free water on a 6+ hour plane ride, so don’t assume you’ll get some on flights sometimes. If you do take a water bottle on a flight in you carry on, be sure it’s empty before you go through security. Yikes. By the way, you will also want to keep your skin hydrated with all the stress of travel.

 

MOVE!

If you regularly exercise (which you should be!), don’t let your habits go completely out of the window when you travel. If you’re staying in a hotel, there is a chance they have a fitness area where you can set aside some time to exercise. If not, Youtube is full of at home workouts that require no equipment and that cane be done in 20 minutes or less! Phone apps too. Walking will also help keep you active - especially when you have to sit for hours during the traveling process in trains, planes, and other automobiles. Just make sure you pack some good sneakers and gear!

 

Be Prepared

Be prepared for whatever conditions you will be facing. If you’re going to be having fun in the sun, make sure you pack a water bottle and sunscreen and a hat! Pack warm clothing for chilly weather. Borrow from hosts if you need to, by the way. We went to Canada and couldn’t pack our snow gear in our suitcases, so we borrowed from some cousins! Bring some immunity boosting vitamins and stuff to keep you clean. Pack a small first aid kit with some basic needs. You get the idea. Being prepared will help you stay healthy - or help you when you aren’t as successful.

 
 

What are some of the ways you stay healthy while traveling? Any other tips?


 
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How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans

Recipes, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I love the versatility of garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas)! You can put them in a salad, roast them in the oven to make a quick snack, have them in a bowl or even crush them to make a spread or burgers. Beans of any sort are great to keep in the pantry, and if you are trying to save money on groceries, a fantastic way to do that is to buy beans dry! They keep a long time, and they are easy to prepare and freeze if you want to keep them on hand. Plus, if you have concerns about the sodium content in canned beans, dried is the way to go! Canned or not, you definitely need beans in your diet, so I decided to do a quick "how to" post to help you out. 

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans | www.maplealps.com

This how-to really applies to any bean and there are several ways to cook them. 

Step One: Sort
Check your beans for any broken fellows or other debris or stones you may find in a dry bag of beans. You will want to get all of that out.

Step Two: Rinse
Pretty self-explanatory.

Step Three: Soak
Now, soaking is optional actually! The thing about soaking is that it will cut your actual cooking time down (Saving you on gas/electricity - whatever your stove runs on), and it will also make beans less of a "musical fruit," as it helps break down some of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. The easiest way to soak beans is overnight. Just make sure water is about 2-3 inches above them and sleep the night away. Waiting is easier then. You can also do a quick soak by putting them in a pot with water, bringing it to a boil, and then taking them off the heat and let them soak for an hour.

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com
How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Four: Cook
Again, make sure there is 2-3 inches of water covering your beans and bring the pot to a boil - slowly though. Bring the pot to a simmer, and stir occasionally, scraping off any foam that on the surface (you won't get too much with garbanzos). You will know your beans are done when they are tender (you can mash or poke them with a fork - or eat one like I tend to do....hehe)

Those weirdly shrivelled things do come out plump and juicy - as long as you don't overcook them. 

Now, I did mention you could cook them in several different ways. Some other ways I know of (let me know how you cook beans in the comments!) are:

  • in a pot in the oven

  • in a slow cooker (my favourite method - I just turn it on before work and I have cooked beans when I get home for dinner!)

  • in a pressure cooker

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Five: Store
Beans will stay good in the refrigerator for several days, but I like to keep them in the freezer for easy and quick access. They will stay several months in the freezer. I suppose you could can them as well, but I personally like the freedom with how many I want to use with the freezing method. I don't always use an entire jars worth.

Yay! You are now ready to save time (with some planning, of course) and money!

 

How do you cook your beans? What do you cook with them?


 

Easy Ways to Cut Down on Refined Sugar

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I have a definite sweet tooth. I didn’t always have one, and actually, as much of a sweet tooth I have, I prefer savory things. I do, however, go through periods where it seems I can’t get enough sweetness into my mouth. It’s a strange thing. Or is it? After reading up about refined sugar, I found the obvious: that too much can be really detrimental to our health!




I also found that sugar can be found in many of the products we buy in the grocery store. I had no idea about that until I took a no sugar challenge, where not even trace amounts of added sugar were allowed. I was reading every single label on every single product in the grocery store and found that there is a lot of unnecessary sugar out there!




Now, I’m not against a sugary treat every now and again, but I think it is important to limit how much sugar we put into our bodies! Your mother always told you that too much of a good thing is not good. And she was right.

Easy Ways to Cut Down on Refined Sugar | www.maplealps.com




Cut down on sugary drinks

This is pretty straight forward. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Beware of bottled juices though - some hide large amounts of sugar that are not naturally occuring. Try some of the following if you think you absolutely cannot handle plain water:


Infused water

If you can’t stand the taste of water (I personally love it), feel free to infuse it with fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs. Not only does it spice up your water, it makes it look extra pretty too! You can easily do this by adding them to your water pitcher or glass, or even buying a fancy one that is made to infuse (check this one out from Amazon).

Herbal Tea

I love having some herbal tea in the morning or before bed. It’s hot, so it’s more comforting to drink than water, but contains zero sugar when you don’t sweeten it!




Make your own food staples

There is a lot of refined sugar hidden in a lot of staples you buy in the store, like bread and granola and even sauces in a jar. You can even find extra amounts of sugar in canned foods (like canned fruit) that are unnecessary. By making your own, or cutting your own, you can avoid these ingredients and choose exactly what goes into your food.


vegan pantry maple alps




Cut Out Sugary Desserts

Many desserts are just calorie dense and provide few nutrients. If you need something sweet after you eat, try to have a bit of fruit or splurge and have a small piece of dark chocolate.



Eat full, whole-food meals

By eating full, whole-food meals, you can generally reduce the temptation to snack in between. Especially the sweet kind. Personally, my parents never really allowed me to eat between meals growing up, so this isn’t hard for me, but I know it can be a challenge.



Replace Sugary Condiments

Many condiments such as ketchup and BBQ sauce are filled with sugar. One tablespoon of ketchup, for example, may have up to 4 grams of sugar in it! Use some low sugar options to substitute for condiments. There are plenty of options, including different fresh or dried herbs and spices and homemade sauces.



Beware of Processed Snacks

Watch out for foods that are marketed as healthy. Things such as granola bars and protein bars and dried fruit can contain large amounts of sugar - sometimes even more than a chocolate bar. You can make your own trail mixes that don’t contain extra sugar, or make your own crackers to add to soups!



Read Labels

Did you know there are at least 56 names for sugar?! Check your labels for sneaky sugars hiding out in the ingredients list. Watch for anything ending in “-ose.” Here are some common names you should look out for: High-fructose corn syrup, Cane sugar or juice, Maltose, Dextrose, Invert sugar, Rice syrup, and Molasses Caramel.




 

Easy & Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

During the school year, it’s surprisingly a little easier for me to be intentional about making sure I stay hydrated. My water bottle comes with me every day, and kiddos love to be selected to get me a refill - they get a break, and I get fresh water. It’s important that I make routines when it comes to staying hydrated.

Water is so important for our bodies! It makes up over half of our bodies and is necessary for them to function! It’s been told that one should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day - and more if you exercise or sweat a lot (read: HOT WEATHER). A good indicator of if you are drinking enough water is by looking in the toilet. Yup. It shouldn’t be crazy yellow. When you drink enough water, your body will thank you. You will feel less fatigued and stressed and your body systems, like digestion, will work the way they are supposed to.

I’ve had people tell me they don’t ever drink water and instead drink things like sports drinks and orange juice from the grocery store to stay hydrated. Yes, these things contain a percentage of water, however, they also contain ingredients that are not so good for our bodies such as sugars and dyes! There are much better ways to get your water - even if you don’t particularly like drinking it. Let’s look at some creative ways to get more water

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Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated | www.maplealps.com
 

Herbal Tea

Start your day out with some hot herbal tea to get your digestion going. Your body will thank you. Avoid sweetening tea with refined sugars - it’s always best to brew your own and avoid the bottled type that does include those as well as artificial preservatives. I like to brew herbal tea every morning to take to work and I’ll usually have some in the evening as I’m winding down for the night as well.

 

Infused Water

Liven up your water by adding fruits and vegetables to it! Infused water tastes great, looks great, and makes you feel fancy. Everyone could use a little more fancy in their lives. There are so many combinations and flavours you can have. I like a simple plain lemon infusion, but ginger peach is also a favourite!

 
Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated | www.maplealps.com

 

Smoothies

Switch out your nut or soy milk for water or coconut water to get that extra boost of water! If you miss the creamy smoothie feel, add avocado or frozen bananas to it! Nut butters are great to add as well to thicken it up. Think whole foods!

 

Water Tracker or Set a Timer

Keep motivated by tracking your water intake. You could do this in your planner or keep count of how many times you fill your water bottle. If you keep forgetting to drink, try setting a timer to remind yourself!

 

Carry a Water Bottle

Speaking of water bottles, keep one on you! If pretty water bottles motivate you, then by all means, get a pretty one (I like the glass ones best). But just keeping a refillable water bottle with you at all times will remind you to drink! Just try not to get into the trap of buying water bottles that you never use!

 

What are some ways you intentionally enjoy your water?


 

Some of my favourite hydration tools:

 

Going Plant-Based? Here are 15 Things to Think About

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

Different individuals want to go plant-based for different reasons. Some are told by a medical professional to do so, others just want to because they see the benefit (or saw too many documentaries). Whatever your decision, it’s important to note that going plant-based should not be seen as a diet. It is a lifestyle that will greatly improve your wellbeing and life!

Several times this past year I’ve been asked about how I went about going on a plant-based diet, and so I decided to share some tips on the blog. My plant based journey started for health reasons, and as I learned more and saw the benefits, I kept adding to the list. Ethical reasons, for example, were not something I originally thought of, but now is something I strongly advocate for. I feel satisfied with what I eat, because choosing a plant based diet has really forced me to be intentional about what I put in my body.

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Going Plant-Based? Here are 15 Things to Think About | www.maplealps.com

 

Motivation & Commitment

Remember your motivation for wanting to start a plant-based diet. Do you want to make healthier choices? Lose weight? Have more energy to accomplish your daily tasks? Live longer? Save animals? Remember your why!

 

Eat A Lot

Fresh plant-based food has a lot less caloric density than foods filled with empty and fatty [the bad kind] calories. Expect to want to eat a lot. I remember first transitioning and wondering why I was eating double the food, but losing weight.

 


Fill Your Fridge & Pantry with Healthy Food

It’s harder to eat unhealthy foods when your home is stocked with the good stuff! Purge your pantry and refrigerator and don’t feel guilty about tossing the food that is of little to no benefit for your body! If you’re thinking about money, think of it this way: a doctor bill in the USA will cost more than it costed for your junk food! A note: many products out there marketed for those on a plant-based diet are more or less “vegan junk food.” Be sure to read labels to ensure you’re getting nutritious foods - not just unhealthy alternatives to products that normally contain animal products. More on that later in this post.

 

Focus on Vegetables & Fruits - & Don’t Forget: Legumes Are Your friends.

Stock up on vegetables and fruits (bonus points if it’s all mostly in season!). Legumes are filling and so delicious! Best part? No nutrition labels to read! Try to avoid having to read them by getting foods that do not have a nutrition label (ideas: fresh produce, bulk beans and rices, etc.)

 

Make Food Swaps

Avocado on toast instead of butter or cream cheese, tofu instead of chicken, water instead of sugary drinks; there are plenty of easy food swaps to make your new plant-based diet doable

 

Take Food on the Go

We live in a time where we are always on the go. Eliminate the temptation to eat junk food or fast food by making sure to have wholesome snacks with you. Keep almonds in your bag and pack your own lunch - it’s not as hard as you might think! If you’re like me, using pretty, waste-free food storage containers might motivate you more!

 

Start One Meal at a Time

Eating plant-based is more than a diet. It is an entire lifestyle change. Ease into by starting with just one meal a day being completely plant-based. A good one to start with is breakfast. It’s so easy to make vegan pancakes, smoothies, granolas, muffins, and other great breakfast foods. Gradually add a plant-based afternoon meal, and you’ll soon find it is easy to have all of your meals completely free of animal products.

 

 

Get Educated and Get Resourceful

Watch documentaries, read books, talk with nutrition professionals. Just a few of my favorite resources: The Cheese Trap (book - get it here on Amazon), Forks Over Knives (documentary, cookbook, magazine, website), What the Health (documentary), How Not to Die (book - get on Amazon)

 

Get a Support Group/Friend

Everything is easier when you have someone supporting you or keeping you accountable. Enter the journey with a friend, or have your best cheerleader support you along the way. Have someone to report to if you need accountability. Maybe enlist someone to be your guinea pig for all the tasty recipes you’ll be whipping up.

 

But Start Your Change Quietly

Instead of telling everyone you know about your decision, you may want to start quietly. To be frank, you will avoid a lot of scrutiny and questioning as you answer these questions for yourself and figure out how to listen to your own body and deal with your own addictions (mine was cheese!). Focus on yourself and your mission. Remember your why and think about how much better you will feel.

 

Equip your Kitchen

Some plant-based foods require different kitchen tools. For example, you’ll likely scarcely use steak knives, but you’ll definitely need a high powered blender (definitely a kitchen essential)

 

Don’t Worry About the Protein

Those on a plant-based diet get plenty of protein. Unless you have an extreme medical condition, you do not need protein shakes to get it. Great sources of protein include beans, soy products like seitan and tofu, quinoa, hemp seeds and even nuts. Chances are, you’ll get more protein than those who are concerned about you getting that protein.

 

Keep Things Exciting

Try new foods and prepare ingredients in different ways. Blend flavors, experiment, and have fun! Start a dinner club. Buy a cookbook or two. Browse recipes on the web. Test out restaurants. There are also a ton of ethnic foods that are plant based and wholesome! Just have a blast trying out new things.

 

Be Mindful: Read Food Labels

This may shock you at first - especially if you were not in the habit of reading food labels. The first thing to look at is not the nutritional value, but the ingredient list. You may be surprised about what exactly is lurking in your favourite vegan snacks, but you will start feeling good about others! Remember: aim for have to read as few food labels as possible by buying whole foods that don’t require them!


 

Be Kind to Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. You’re human. Just get back up, dust yourself off and try again! And again(!) if need be.

 

 
Meal Planner | www.maplealps.com
 

Some Recipes to Get You Started: