Top 5 tips for staying healthy this summer

It’s summer. Or at least, it’s supposed to be summer. But over here in Alberta, we’ve been trapped in what seems like an ETERNITY of rain season. In the last two months I think I can count on one hand the amount of days it hasn’t rained. Which isn’t just depressing, but also totally unfair.

Fast forward to the last three days- we’ve ACTUALLY had SUNSHINE. Buckets of sunshine. And not a single raindrop. And today? Today is supposed to be a whopping 30 degrees Celsius. Which I am very much looking forward to, despite the fact that it supposed to rain once again tomorrow. *Insert rolling eye emoji here*.

Anywhooo, I am beyond excited to be sharing with you today, my top tips for staying healthy during the summer while traveling, camping, attending festivals, going to BBQ’s, etc. Summer is usually one of the craziest seasons for being overwhelmingly-busy, and generally, our schedules are packed to the brim with activities, outings and more. Especially here in Alberta, our summer is such a short season that we want to make the absolute most of it. Unfortunately, that usually means that routines often get pushed to the side, stress increases to an all-time-high, and self-care becomes non-existent.

I can definitely relate to the hustle and bustle, and years ago I used to refer to the 3-4 months of summer as my ‘off season’… which, looking back on it now, definitely didn’t help my overall health or put me anywhere closer to my goals. It has taken me a few years to get to where I am now- and I am so happy to have the opportunity to share my wisdom with you babes, so that you can skip right to the success and results portion!

Typically, every weekend in the summer is usually jam-packed for us, and this year has been really strange given all the rain that we have had. Instead, we have spent the majority of our weekends on a more relaxed schedule, and have only pulled our trailer out once this year- to Country Thunder in Craven, Saskatchewan. If you are currently following my Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know that we had the time of our lives dancing and catching up with old friends from a few years back. However, what you wouldn’t have seen, is the preparation that I did to ensure that I was still crushing goals while I was away.

I know that it can seem difficult to prioritize your health while traveling and camping… and it can definitely be hard to say no to those junk-food type snacks while everyone else around you is digging in. But guess what? You don’t have to say no to everything. With these simple tips below you will be well-prepared in any circumstance, and it will be extremely easy to stick to your wellness routine.

So here you go, my TOP 5 TIPS for staying healthy during the summer:

  1. PREPARATION IS KEY. Think about your travel plans for the remainder of the summer. Are you going camping? To a festival? On a road trip? Family BBQ? Wherever it is, think ‘will there be lots of healthy options available for me to grab, or do I need to be prepared?’. Guess what? The answer is ALWAYS be prepared. No matter where you are going, it is always best to prepare something yourself to guarantee you will have an option. I can easily think of multiple times when I have thought that there would be lots of options… and I ended up eating something that made me feel like crap because I assumed wrong. Here are some things that I do on a weekly basis, and ESPECIALLY before any travel or outing plans:
    1. PLAN OUT YOUR MEALS. I am a huge fan of lists, and pre-planning. So when it comes to camping, I divide my days gone into meals and figure out what I am likely going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I don’t like to be too restricted- so I will have a list of meals to pick from and if I eat Thursdays breakfast on Wednesday, and Saturday’s dinner on Tuesday- big deal! The point is that my meals are planned out, I know exactly what I need for ingredients so I don’t over buy, AND I can then prep certain things off this list to make assembling those meals quicker while away. Because honestly, who wants to spend an hour cooking in the trailer or over the campfire when everyone else is playing games and having fun?
    2. WASH & CHOP VEGGIES. You know what the biggest default in our human brains is? Nine times out of ten… if our vegetables aren’t prepared for easy grab and go access, we are less likely to eat them. Before I head out for a week of camping, I was all of my vegetables. I peel & chop my carrots, chop celery, cucumbers, broccoli, etc. Since I have all of my meals planned out, I know that I will need some vegetables cut in long slices for snacks with hummus, and I’ll need a handful more sliced small or diced up for scrambles or stir-fry. See how easily that works out? Then, when I am preparing food while I am camping, all I have to do is dump the veggies in the pan and turn on the heat. SO DAM SIMPLE. And not only that, but it cuts down on waste while you are camping so don’t have to worry about stinking up the trailer or your campsite with food waste.
    3. PRE-COOK EVERYTHING YOU CAN. As I mentioned above, I am not a big fan of being stuck cooking while everyone else is having fun (as much as I love to cook). But you can definitely get a little of that fear of missing out and it can seem so tempting to eat something crappy or skip a meal because of that. So, I put in the work before our trips to ensure that the majority of what we will be eating is not only prepped, but cooked. I love brown rice and quinoa, and dried beans- but I hate the work that it takes to prepare these items… and I refuse to do that while camping. So, I instead utilize my Instapot and prep/cook these items before hand. Just recently, while we were in Craven, I planned a vegetable stir-fry with brown rice as one of our meals. The day we were leaving I whipped up the rice in my Instapot, and simply stored it in a container in the fridge. Then, when I was actually cooking the stir-fry a day or two later, I just tossed the rice into the pan when the vegetables were done to warm it back up. Simple, healthy, and so easy!
    4. MAKE HEALTHY SNACKS. Sometimes in the heat (and a few adult pops in) we don’t recognize our hunger as quick, and a big meal can feel like too much. So typically, all-day-long snacking can be expected. Which, isn’t a terrible thing, as long as we are choosing health promoting options instead of the more unhealthy ones. One rule I like to stick by, is not purchasing, making or bringing a bunch of junk food items with me. If it’s not there and available, you won’t be able to eat it and shockingly… you likely won’t even crave it. You know- out of sight, out of mind. My hubby likes to enjoy chips once and a while, so we usually bring a few bags but my craving for these has went significantly downhill, so I don’t really feel tempted by these. I recommend being honest with yourself about where your temptation lies and avoid having those items around to ensure your success. Now, one of the things I do, is always prep healthy muffins and cookies to take along with me (like the recipes on my blog). Not only do I thoroughly enjoy these, but they are also great for those snacking vibes, and are also super healthy! I also love to have vegetables and hummus, vegan yogurt, fresh fruit, organic whole grain tortilla chips with homemade salsa, dark chocolate, or stove-top popped popcorn with coconut oil! The options are endless, and as long as you have a way to keep things cool, you can definitely stick to your goals by choosing these healthier variations. The same applies to family/friend BBQ’s. Bring a healthy salad or side to ensure that there are healthy options to round out your plate. You can still enjoy that burger- just fill up the rest of your plate with the dish you brought!

2. KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED. I will say it time and time again, it is so important for you to make sure that you are getting in the minimum amount of required water intake. To figure out where you should be, simply take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and that is how much water you should be drinking in ounces every day. Keep in mind when we are working out, in the heat outdoors, or have a high-intensity job, we should be drinking more water as well! For me, water is the key to minimizing bloat, aiding digestion, keeping my skin clear and my energy levels high. Now, we have to remember that our bodies are made up of over 60% water content, so it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to our health and how our bodies function. Not only that, but it is an huge factor in weight-loss and muscle building. I personally, stick to this by keeping track of my intake in my journal, carrying a water bottle with me wherever I go, and I choose vodka water as my drink of choice when out (healthy cocktail blog post coming soon!). Staying hydrated is such an important factor that I really recommend you focus on this the most. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy the blandness of water- try adding fresh fruit, cucumber or mint to change up the flavor. However, I do recommend avoiding those powdered or juice-squeeze flavors as they are packed with aspartame and artificial ingredients and cause more harm than good.

3. ELIMINATE BLOATING. We’ve all been there- feeling bloated, puffy, and off. And it can really ruin a day at the beach or a night out with friends. The good news? There are some things that you can do to help significantly decrease and/or eliminate bloating completely! YAY!

    1. REACH FOR PROBIOTICS AND DIGESTIVE ENZYMES. Something that I have recently (the last 1.5 years) have been incorporating into my life is probiotics and digestive enzymes. Both are very different in their nature, so let’s dive in a lil’ deeper.
        1. Probiotics are live microorganisms that improve and/or restore the gut flora. Basically, they are the healthy bacteria that we need in our digestive track to increase our immunity, balance mental disorders/conditions, and improve digestive health. Although we should already have these good bacteria in our digestive track, it is often diminished by modern day threats like anti-biotics and harsh medications. Since I started taking a probiotic on a regular basis, I have noticed clearer skin, less bloating, and better gut health. The thing to remember with probiotics, is that these need to be taken on an empty stomach. Generally, I take mine 30 minutes before bed (3 hours after eating) … but if you typically eat closer to your bedtime, then taking them first thing in the morning on an empty stomach would be best. Also, not all probiotics are created equal- please do your research to find a reputable brand.
        2.  Now, digestive enzymes on the other hand, are a bit different. These are enzymes that are designed to breakdown protein, carbohydrates and fats, and can be found naturally in the body. Taking additional supplementation of digestive enzymes has been found to improve digestion, decrease inflammation and bloating, improve arthritis symptoms, and manage digestive conditions such as IBS. It has also been shown to aid in weight-loss as food is then properly broke down and more nutrients are being utilized. The thing to remember with digestive enzymes is that these need to be taken WITH food, as that is how they are activated. Taking this supplement is best right before a meal, or right after you finish eating (and I recommend with the largest meal, unless your supplement is multiple times per day). As with probiotics, not all digestive enzymes are created equal, so also do your research before purchasing.
        3. Please do note, that although yes, some bloating is a normal digestion response at the end of the day… painful bloating and stomach cramping is not. I highly recommend figuring out what foods are causing that reaction and eliminating them from your diet.
    2. CHOOSE BLOAT-BUSTING FOODS. One thing to recognize is that bloating typically comes with not drinking enough water and consuming too much sodium. Therefore, other than guzzling H2O, one of the best things you can do to eliminate bloating is to eat more foods containing a secret ingredient… potassium! This electrolyte and mineral is great for regulating fluid balance and countering the affects of sodium, and can significantly decrease bloating in a short time frame. One of my biggest secrets is if I am feeling bloated before an event or a night out, I hydrate like crazy and eat a banana. I usually find within a couple of hours I am way less bloated and feel much better! If you are not a banana lover, however, don’t fret. There are lots of potassium containing foods for you to choose from, including but not limited to: swiss chard, baked potato or sweet potato with skin, acorn squash, spinach, salmon, edamame, halibut, cantaloupe, celery, ginger, peppermint, asparagus, pineapple, papaya, etc.!

4. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY. I think we can all agree that when we are exhausted and have low energy, we seem to make the worst decisions for our health. Whether it’s skipping a workout, reaching for those comfort foods, or over-indulging. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not at my best when I am tired… so that is why it is absolutely critical to make it a priority. I’ve heard all the ‘I’ll sleep when I am dead’ and ‘I can survive on a few hours’ excuses before, and I am here to set the record straight. You cannot survive on limited sleep, it is not healthy, and your body will burn out eventually. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing, sleep is always a priority for me. Some of the things that I do to ensure that I am going to feel the most rested while away are the following: pack my own pillow from home, take my heat pack with me, wear an eye mask and ear plugs, stick to my nightly routine, and get a minimum of 7 hours sleep per night while away. So guess what- if I end up being up until 3 am, my booty is not budging from bed until 10 am. Usually, I try to be in bed closer to midnight- but when we are at festivals that doesn’t always happen. The other thing that I do, is take a natural supplement called ‘magnesium glycinate’. It helps to relax me tremendously, and I fall asleep way faster when using it. While at home, I have a routine of reading before bed, avoiding electronics, journaling and stretching. I try to incorporate this as much as possible into travel as well, but it isn’t always the case. Try setting yourself up for success, make several actions non-compromise ones, and be flexible on the rest. As an additional bonus- I take a vitamin B12 supplement in the morning to help increase my energy throughout the day as well!

5. STICK TO YOUR ROUTINES. Remember that old saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit? Well research shows that it actually takes much longer than that- around 66 days to be exact. In addition, it takes longer to form a habit than to fall out of it. So if you are taking time ‘off’ on the weekends and splurging all day every day, that accounts for HALF of your month. See what I am getting at? Taking that much time off of your routine not only makes it difficult to form habits, but it also completely hinders your results. Every single morning I have a basic routine of meditation, stretching/yoga, journaling, and most days, reading and working out. These actions are something that I have worked hard to form habits of, and with that, it means that no matter where I go, I am still following this routine. Yes of course, sometimes it may shorten significantly or get missed all together… but even 5 minutes a day can have a huge impact on the flow and direction of my day. I notice when I do not complete my routine as I feel quite off and my attitude is completely different. The crazy thing? Even my husband notices the change in my behaviour. Given this, and the goals I have with my own personal growth, I make sure that I am making this a priority. Like I said, even if I cannot commit to a full hour of my practice, at the very least I can commit to 5 minutes, and it still feels amazing. On a side note, when traveling, I also make sure to pack my yoga mat and resistance bands so there are no excuses. Yes, that may mean I am the only one around the campfire or at the festival site working out and doing downward dog, but it keeps me aligned with my goals and makes me feel great. If you eliminate all the opportunities to say no or form an excuse, and start implementing small sustainable changes, you will be shocked at how fast your results come.

I hope that helps to give you babes some insight on what I do on a regular basis to stay healthy during the summer (and on a normal day), and that you start implementing some of these tips into your lifestyle soon! As a final note, remember, you don’t have to say no to everything. I am a firm believer in enjoying life and I follow a 90/10 lifestyle myself… where 90% of the time I eat healthy, and 10% of the time I thoroughly enjoy life. You never want to be at a social outing or celebration and be so restricted you hate it. Eat the salad, have that slice of cake and move your booty.

Now, get out there and enjoy the sunshine today (and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!). xo

 

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