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As one who eats a plant based diet, it is crucial for me to adhere to that lifestyle when I travel. For me there’s no eating whatever I want while on vacation or exploring another country. The consequences are almost immediate and dire, if I stray.
I’m okay with following healthy practices away from home. I know my body thanks me for not throwing it off balance and I thrive, no matter where I am. Therefore, I am fine being plant based in Edinburgh…or any other city in the world.
Perhaps you have not adopted a plant based lifestyle…yet…however there are simple health practices that can help you feel your very best while you travel.
Health Tips for Traveling
These are health practices that my sister Debbie and I observed, during our 11 day stay in Edinburgh, to ensure the greatest level of health. Why is that important? To enjoy ourselves the most, it’s important to feel our best. We walked…a lot. We stayed busy throughout the day with explorations, tours and family gatherings. Energy and stamina were crucial.
It was our great joy to be in Scotland. The last thing I wanted was the distraction of not feeling well.
Request Special-Diet Meals
I discovered on my last international trip that vegan and gluten free meals can be requested on flights, as long as they are made prior to the travel dates. My travel agent Ken, with GalaxSea Cruises & Tours, listed our meal preferences when he booked our flights. On our long travel days, going to Scotland and returning home, our primary meals were in airports and on board airplanes. We ate simple vegan snacks like fruit or veggie sushi in the airports and enjoyed plant based meals on the plane.
For six days, Debbie and I explored Edinburgh on our own. The remaining five we joined family members from around the world for the Clan Maitland Gathering. Carolyn, our North American clan officer, arranged all of the meals that we shared as a family. She contacted the restaurants and made sure they prepared vegan meals for us. My food was gluten free as well. From tea houses to cafés to formal restaurants to lunch at Thirlestane Castle, I enjoyed wonderfully prepared meals that supported my health, rather than weakened my body.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to make your dietary needs known. My experience is that the cooks and chefs go above and beyond to prepare healthy and delicious meals that meet those needs. They seem to take great pride in presenting those carefully prepared dishes and appreciate hearing that they are wonderful.
Beautifully prepared plant based meal at New Club in Edinburgh, with gluten free bread.
Traveling makes one thirsty, especially when flying for an extended time. I discovered that it is permissible to carry an empty metal water bottle through airport security. Once through security we filled our bottles and carried them onto the plane.
In Edinburgh, we took those water bottles everywhere. It saved us money, since we didn’t have to purchase bottled water, and it cut our plastic use to virtually zero. And we could easily refill the bottles throughout the day, to help us stay hydrated. Choose foods that help to hydrate the body too.
Tip: Consider carrying a metal or glass water bottle and refilling as needed, to stay hydrated.
Prepare and Cook Your Own Food
Being plant based in Edinburgh, for us, meant purchasing, preparing and cooking many of our own meals. We chose to stay in an apartment in the New Town part of Edinburgh so that we could have a full kitchen. It was very easy to shop for fresh fruit and veggies, hummus, gluten free pasta and no sugar pasta sauce and prepare our own simple meals, when not dining with family. I cooked and my sister cleaned up!
Tip: Consider staying in an apartment or a room with a mini kitchen, and prepare many of your own meals. You’ll know what you are eating.
Preparing a simple meal of boiled new potatoes and stir fried veggies.
Make Healthy Choices
The few times that we ate in a restaurant, on our own, we made healthy choices. I love how easy it is to be plant based in Edinburgh. They have many vegan cafés to choose from and regular restaurants offer plant based options. We found a vegan and gluten free bakery just down the street and a vegan café across from the apartment we stayed in.
I researched vegan restaurants in Edinburgh before the trip. As a blogger, I offered several a blog post and social media shares, in exchange for a healthy meal or afternoon tea. I’m grateful to these restaurants:
Beetroot Sauvage Café – Vegan Afternoon Tea
Seeds for the Soul Café – Plant Based Lunch
Naked Bakery – Vegan and Gluten Free Goodies to take back to the apartment
We also enjoyed plant based meals at The Elephant House and Henderson’s Vegan Restaurant.
Tip: Before a trip, Google restaurants and cafés that meet your dietary needs. If you happen upon a delightful eatery, while wandering around, make wise choices that support your health.
An amazing lunch from Seeds for the Soul.
Pack Supplements and Meds
If you take supplements and prescription meds at home, by all means pack those for the trip. Prescriptions needs to be in bottles with your name and your doctor’s name on them. I carry vitamin B12, Cat’s Claw and MSM with me when I travel, in their original bottles. Most of the time you can carry supplements through security in the plastic daily pill sorters as well.
For this trip, Voke Superfood Supplements sent two boxes of tablets with us to try. These all natural supplements overcome jet lag quickly, support the body and boost energy. We started them as soon as we arrived in Edinburgh and found them to be very helpful.
Tip: Travel with any necessary prescription meds and include supplements that are most crucial to your well being.
Listen to Your Body
I’ve learned to pay close attention to my body’s needs. When traveling, with changed schedules, more activities and different time zones, this becomes very important.
Stretch legs and walk back to the rest room frequently, on the airplane. (If you are staying hydrated, this will be a necessity!) Do yoga poses in the hotel room or apartment. Rest when you are tired. Get enough sleep. We retired earlier than we normally do at home, most evenings, to ensure we were well rested each morning. And we gladly observed the practice of afternoon tea, which provided a welcome break in our busy days.
We walked all over Edinburgh. Proper fitting shoes prevent blisters and sore feet. Pay attention to weather through online apps and pack accordingly to stay cool enough or warm enough. Don’t go too long without a healthy snack or a light meal. The body needs the fuel to keep energy levels up all day. My sister brought along packets of nuts and seeds, which were great for toting.
Tip: Listen to what your body tells you. Stretch. Rest. Eat. Pause. Take a break. Wear comfortable supportive shoes if you are walking or hiking. Begin checking a weather app a couple of weeks before the trip, to get an idea of temperatures and weather conditions, and pack accordingly.
We climbed to the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh, twice!
Enjoy Your Travels
The whole point of following health practices while away from home is so that I can focus on enjoying myself, rather than battling an upset stomach or a flare up of inflammation due to eating foods I shouldn’t. I know what my body needs, to operate at a high level of health and wellness, and I’m happy to support it.
It’s not worth it to me, to abandon a plant based diet and suffer the consequences while I’m traveling. Rather, I’ve found that I do so much better if I eat in a healthy way and listen, really listen, to the feedback I’m continually receiving from my body.
I know I can drink a Thistly Cross hard cider in Scotland, and be okay. And I enjoyed one. I also know that if I indulge in gluten laden foods or allow dairy or meat products into my diet that I will pay a price for that, one I’m not willing to pay.
Tip: Learn what foods best support your body and adhere to that lifestyle, even when traveling. As I often say, NOTHING tastes as good as healthy feels. And when I’m traveling, that is especially so. Nothing taste as good as exploring a country or a city feels to me.
Plant based in Edinburgh? Oh yes, gladly so. And I’ll be plant based anywhere else that I go.
Plant based in Edinburgh.
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