Setting off on a journey, for most carb-eating people, usually means planning snacks for the trip, being sure to have something to munch on hand. When fueled by carbohydrates, every few hours you need to re-fuel. But when will you eat again? Where? When traveling you are never quite sure. Better stock up.
Not so when you are fully keto-adapted. If food is not easily available, you can just tap into your own fat stores! A trip now becomes an externally-imposed way to incorporate intermittent fasting into your life.
I am constantly discovering new things to love about the keto life style. The ease of travel is my latest find. Traveling while keto is a relative breeze – and cheaper, too.
When I first went keto 3.5 years ago, the weight loss and much improved blood sugar, of course, were reasons enough to fall in love with this way of life and to stick with it. Other happy discoveries have come along the way – more energy; clearer brain; a calmer gut; better skin; reduced allergies; faster recovery after a workout; less joint and muscle pain; better sun tolerance (oddly, I no longer burn in the sun, I tan!).
Now I can add ‘easier travel’ to that list.
Traveling on a keto diet
Isn’t it hard to find keto choices on the road? Nope. I find I can just add steak, chicken, prawns or fish to the typical salad fare and I am good. Or I just ask the server to hold the bread or potatoes and add more veggies to many of the entrées.
Better yet, I find, is the freedom from the bind of having to eat to a schedule and the confidence that I may not need to eat at all.I recently did my first big international trip since going keto, coming to Stockholm to spend a week with the Diet Doctor Team. The outbound trip was a 19-hour marathon of three connecting planes over nine time zones. In the past, that would have thrown my body’s rhythms and cues to eat out of whack. In the past, in the departure zone before boarding the plane, like everyone else, I would be loading up on high-carb snacks to get me through.
This time, however, I boarded the first plane with just two supplies: sparkling water and roasted almonds. First leg was a two-hour flight, with no meal service, from a regional airport to one of Canada’s larger international airports. All around me others carried provisions as if setting off for an expedition: soft drinks, bags of potato chips, packages of candies or chocolate bars, to-go meals packaged for flight from the departure-zone vendors. They munched, I read.
A perfect time to fast
I had a two hour lay-over before the international flight. Again, in the past, that would have meant grabbing a meal and drink at one of the over-priced, run-of-the-mill restaurants behind the security lines while waiting. But I’d had a good breakfast of bacon and eggs at home; I was fully confident I could last 24 hours before needing to eat again.
The nine-hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean, which left in early evening and flew through the night, boasted two meal services: a dinner soon after taking off and a breakfast about 90 minutes before landing.
In the past, the food, even if mediocre (and isn’t it always mediocre?), would be a respite from the tedium of long-distance travel and a hedge against hunger pangs while captive in an airline seat. The meal service, however, always cuts into sleep time, amplifying the feelings of jet lag when arriving on European soil. On past trips I had never had the fortitude and confidence to refuse food and sleep instead.This time I declined the meals, requesting that the flight attendants not disturb me. I put on my eyeshade and inserted my earplugs and slept as best I could for almost the entire flight while seat mates consumed either a non-descript vegetarian lasagna or a weird meatball/mashed potato combo. (When I peeked from under the eyeshade, I was doubly happy with my choice.) Refraining from airline food was a first for me. It won’t be the last.
When I arrived in Zurich it was 10 am local time, but 2 am back home. It had been 18 hours since my last meal and 16 hours since leaving home. I had another two-hour layover. Should I pass the time by eating? Nah, I was still good. A cup of coffee with cream was all I needed to give a little wakeup kick. And, extra bonus: I saved the cost and currency exchange of needing to buy food in Swiss Francs.
Eating keto wherever you are
Onwards to Copenhagen, another two-hour flight. I arrived in the center of the city at 3:30 pm local time, 6:30 am back home. It was now more than 22 hours since my last meal. Granted, now I was getting peckish. This was not an ‘I-need –food-this-instant panic’ but just a strong healthy appetite for a good dinner. After check in and freshen up at my bnb, I set out to look for options.
I strolled the pedestrian streets of the city center, reading posted menus, and settled on a lovely outdoor patio with a great people-watching view. A grilled tuna & arugula salad with avocado (hold the cranberries) and a glass of Rosé hit the spot. Food tastes so good when you have waited for it.
That night I slept well. The next day I had virtually no jet lag. I already felt on European time; my stomach most definitely had adapted. For my wallet, it was even better. Prior to dinner I had spent the equivalent of about $10 Cdn en route, another economical first.
Over a weekend in expensive Copenhagen, I easily existed on a cup of coffee for breakfast and one good low carb meal a day, about 5 to 6 pm, with a glass of wine.
This was travel-imposed intermittent fasting and my body — and my budget — thrived on it.
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