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healthy living

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Health, TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 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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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.


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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:

 

Dealing With Stress

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments
Ask Amanda: Dealing with Stress | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What are your best stress-coping methods?

 

This is a really great question! Sometimes I feel as if I have so much stress that I’m drowning. Other times, I feel like I can conquer the world. I find that dealing with stress is best done by preventing it as much as possible. Of course, this is not always possible - life likes to throw unsuspected curve balls every once in a while. I suppose the easiest way to answer this question is to share some of the things that I utilize to both prevent and manage stress.

 

 

Keep a planner

Writing down my tasks and goals and prioritizing them helps me keep on track. I am able to focus on things that keep me productive and I waste less time when I know what I need to be doing. When I find myself wasting time, I get discouraged and have a hard time picking myself up from it, so this is a nice preventative way of dealing with some stressful things.

 

 

Journal

Oh, the amount of filled journals I have is amazing. I write in them significantly less than I used to, but I do journal regularly. Sometimes I’ll just get my thoughts out till I can think straight again. Other times I’ll write prayers or letters to God. I do have one rule in my journals though: I never write anything bad about anyone. My journals will likely outlive me, and I don’t want a moment of agitation or anger on my part to ruin anyone’s reputation. Besides, I want to get over it, right? I don’t want to have to relive it every time I reread my journal - which I do on occasion.

 

 

Take time for Me

This may sound counter-productive, but when I take time to sit back and recharge, I am able to come back and face all of my tasks head-on, and with a better attitude than before. Taking a bath, or lighting some candles and chilling, taking time to read something for fun. Those are all great ways I can just remove myself temporarily from the situation. Sometimes, I just need a power nap to get my focus back on track as well.

 

 

Sing

This started from a very young age. I’ve sung to myself in so many stressful situations - from pumping myself up for interviews and other difficult situations to singing while driving on icy roads. It somehow calms me. Especially singing hymns and scripture songs that are filled with promises that remind me that God’s got me.

 

 

Give My Burdens to Jesus

How heavy a glass of water is just depends on how long you hold it. The longer you hold it, the heavier it seems. And if you’re carrying that thing for a year, we may have to call the ambulance for you. The same with our stress and burdens. Jesus tells us to come and give Him our burdens (see Matthew 28:11). His rest is a promise to us that I love to cling to.

 

 


How do YOU deal with stress?


 
 

Tips for Starting Your Morning Right + A Slow Morning Playlist

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Confession: I was not always a morning person. In fact, everyone knew me as a night owl. In high school, I don't even remember many nights I went to bed before midnight! It eventually changed when I realized the life-changing habit that is enjoying the morning by going to bed early and waking up early. It turns out that old saying my parents always so annoyingly quoted was right: "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." I always added a "da" so it sounded like my name...

Now that I have a long commute, waking up early is a habit that I am glad that I have cultivated. Sure, I sleep in when I can on a Sunday, but even on a Sunday I like to get up early and start the day as soon as possible. 

Today, I am going to share with you some tips on how to start your morning right- even if you aren't a morning person. Mornings don't have to be dreadful!

Tips for Starting Your Morning Right | www.maplealps.com

Wake Up Earlier than usual

There is nothing like the calm of the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. It's a special peace that isn't found at any other time, and unless you've experienced it, it's hard to understand. But trust me. Nothing will make your day better than a slow morning. Waking up late and rushing creates stress, but setting your alarm earlier will change your day completely. 

Tips for Starting Your Morning Right + a Playlist | www.maplealps.com

Put Your Phone on Hold - Call Jesus Instead

Before reading anyone else's words, read words from Jesus. This is advice I've decided to follow and it has changed my life. When the first words influence the rest of your day, wouldn't you rather hear from your Creator? So instead of checking my texts or Instagram notifications as soon as I wake up, I intentionally choose to pray and read my Bible. I leave my phone in a different room so I don't get tempted or distracted.

 

Take a Refreshing Shower

Taking a shower really gets your day going. Wash off the gunk and tiredness from the night before and feel (and smell) like a new (and clean!) person when you emerge.

 

Drink a Glass of Water

Our bodies need water and studies show that drinking water first thing in the morning is actually good for us! It helps me feel more awake as well, so I'm glad to do it. 

 

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I usually have something quick on hand - whether it's simple like homemade granola or bread, or something a little more involved like homemade biscuit or pancake mix (the latter 2 are reserved for Sunday, usually). The freezer is always stocked with frozen fruit and greens for smoothies. It does take a bit of planning to prep it, but once you get into a flow, it's easy, and you'll always have a good breakfast at hand. The extra minutes from waking up early will serve you very well once you experience the joy of sitting down for breakfast instead of gulping something down, taking it to eat in the car (I'm way too clumsy for this!), or skipping breakfast altogether. Your body will thank you too.

Tips for Starting Your Morning Right | www.maplealps.com

Keep Things Tidy

If I leave my surroundings untidy when I leave, I think about it all day. There is nothing worse for me than coming home at the end of the day to a mess. Use the extra seconds in your morning to pick up last night's pyjamas off the floor (or avoid putting them there in the first place!). Air out and make your bed. Clean up your breakfast dishes. You'll be grateful you did so later.

 

Choose Your Soundtrack

My mornings at home end when I get into the car for my long commute to work. I'll listen to audiobooks or podcasts, or even an uplifting radio station, but if I'm home, I like to make some tea, read a bit and listen to some calming tunes. Sometimes I choose energizing ones - like when I worked selling knives one summer during college, I had my pep music going first thing to get me into the hype of sales. I think it worked. Anyway, music is a big thing for me. It depends on the morning and my upcoming tasks whether I choose my slow morning playlist (find it below!) or my go-getter playlist.

 
Start your morning right - even if you aren’t a morning person!
 
 

Are you a morning person? What kinds of morning routines do you have? Do you have a preferred playlist?