15 Tips For A Sunny Vacation To A Tropical Destination

Cuba is one of the top spring break destinations for us Canadians and I rounded out my fourth trip to the tropical island two years ago. Though my vacation is a stay-cation this year, a friend of mine asked for some advice which resulted in nothing shy of a texting novel and it was then that I realized I had plenty to share!
And no, you can’t take a yogi anywhere 😉 …
handstand
Tropics bound? Here are my top 15 tips to know! 

FLIGHT

1) Plane Food Is Plain Food
  • Not only loaded with chemicals and preservatives, the packaged food is bland. Bring your own food for traveling such as quinoa tabouli, pesto wraps and homemade trail mixes.
  • Note: when you land at your destination, fresh foods will often be discarded by customs. This past trip, however, they completely overlooked my grapes, courteously leaving them for me to enjoy on the long, scenic bus ride to the resort.
  • Also note: Not all food travels well. Take my banana, for example, that blackened in my carry on and split open on the plane. Making not only a mess but a very fragrant bag every time I opened it. Next time, I think I’ll stick with apples!
2) Don’t Remove Your Shoes! 
  • Firstly, not on the flight. For someone who is eternally barefoot, I had to learn this the hard way. The pressure causes your extremities to swell and it won’t be a swell time trying to fit back into your shoes.
  • Secondly, not at the hotel. Bring socks and slippers with you. I love to go barefoot as much as the next guy (more so, to be honest) but even I have my limits.
3) Keep Your Bikini In Your Carry-on
  •  In case of missing luggage, pack all your essentials on your carry-on. A book, a bikini, your yoga mat and you’re set!

 DESTINATION

4) Be Sun Safe
  •  Due to the proximity to the equator, the sun is stronger than you think and too many travelers begin their vacation looking like the lobster dished up for dinner.
  • Wear a natural sunscreen (without the use of synthetic chemicals which cause cellular damage and are absorbed into your bloodstream), whether you think you need it or not… You do.

5) ALOE-ha

  • In case you do become dinner… topically apply pure aloe gel which contains glyconutrients and anti-inflammatory agents to increase healing and soothe your sunburn. Apply liberally.
6) Snorkel With Bananas.. 
  • Sneak some bananas from the breakfast buffet. When going snorkeling, this is how to bring the fish out. Do this as an amateur snorkeler along the shore for the pretty little fish, but not in the deep blue where you will likely attract banana loving barracudas (but who could blame them?!).
7) Go On An Excursion
  • Resorts are wonderful, but to experience authentic Cuba, you need to venture off the less-than-beaten path into the rustic cities and towns. Do so with structured bus passes, day trips and local market runs (also the way to the freshest produce!).

trinidada

DINE

 

8) Fresh Coconuts And Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Are MUSTS! 
  • This is no exception. If I was to die tomorrow and I got one last thing to eat, it would be freshly squeezed orange juice from the Cuban oranges.
9) Drink Tons And Tons And Tons Of Water 
  • Tropical climates are incredibly dehydrating, especially if you spend the majority of  your days soaking up the sun on the beach. Ease up on the caffeine and swim-up bars and load up on large mason jars of clean water.
10) BUT DON’T EVER USE THEIR WATER 
  • Not even to brush your teeth. Use bottled water at all times. This is how many travelers fall ill because our body’s microbiome is not used to the foreign strands of bacteria that congregate in the faucets.
  • To protect your delicate gut bacteria, load up on your shelf stable travelers probiotics and avoid any ingestion of tap water.
10) Opt Out Of Ice
  • Though tempting to refresh yourself with an ice-cold beverage, skip this step! As noted above, ice is an easily forgettable source of tap water.
11) Eat The Right Things
  • You know what it’s like to eat at a buffet from the time you’ve spent at all-you-can-eat-shushi. The last thing you want is a food coma when you can be setting sail on the waters, exploring the resort and salsa dancing your way across the stage.
  • Skip excessively heavy foods and navigate to your best ability. Always keep snacks on hand for during the day. This means packing food bars, trail mixes etc. into luggage before you go and sneaking some bananas from the buffet, not just for the fish but for you too!
12) But For When You Accidentally Eat The Wrong Thing…
  • Come prepared for food poisoning, which can be caused by anything from contamination by E.coli to the bacteria from food preparation.
  • The fix? Pack activated charcoal in your holistic arsenal. This chelates toxins in the body to get it out of your system and fast! Do not use it every day as it is non-selective in its chelation meaning that it will remove harmful toxins but also beneficial vitamins and minerals along with it. The key? Use it when it is needed, but not as a preventative.

ENJOY

15) Last But Not Least:
  • Talk to the locals! Socialize to your heart’s content but be sure to do so with your servers, and bartenders and the exceptionally nice man who tends the garden outside your room. The locals are full of interesting stories, will give you a great insight into their culture (the highs and lows) and will offer you an incredibly deep appreciation for the luxury of being there (and yes, even a greater appreciation for the snow you may come home to). But the best part; you may just brighten their day!
While I continue to reminisce over our time spent in the sunshine, I will be relishing in the beautiful weather we have here in Canada this year.
Wishing you safe and sunny travels,
Suzanne Eden

 

 

Into the Wild : A Tent Pitching Food Diary

When I was a child, camping entailed rustic bacon and eggs with toast for breakfast, canned alphagettis, hotdogs and of course; toasted marshmallows! So what does one pack when wanting to eat healthy on a camping trip? This was the question we faced this past weekend when a group of fellow holistic nutritionists and myself decided to celebrate the completion of our diplomas by packing our bags and venturing into the woods. From being rained out, to broken phones, to my car breaking down on the highway (I believe this was my sign that I’m destined to remain in the wilderness), it was no shortage of an adventure and be-it that we are all holistic nutritionists, there was no shortage of good food either! We each pitched in to bring a meal and I documented it all to share. Here is our holistic camping food diary:


Day one – Into the woods:

Beach day snack:

  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple and later:
  • A tray of veggies

Beach day snacks

Dinner:

  • Antibiotic and hormone free organic chicken
  • Grilled asparagus and veggies
  • Light, summer salad

Day 1 dinner

That night we feasted on the flames of our first campfire equipped with the company of our neighbors.

Firefly

Day 2 : Into Muddy Territory:

We awoke to the soothing puttering of rain and (what I would call) the sweet, musty smell of damp earth. Having no picnic table shelter, we piled into the 6 person tent for this breakfast of overnight chia soaked oats, bananas & oranges.

Chia seed breakfast

You wouldn’t think it to be messy, but with all of us crammed into tight sleeping quarters, I came out with chia smeared on my pillow and orange juice across my sleeping bag, making for a rather… tasty sleep that night.

The rain piled half of us into a car and out into town to hunt down a tarp and the other half (including myself) to hold down the site and, naturally, eat some more delicious food! We split healthy, homemade banana muffins and later left trails of egg shells around the site from these soft-boiled eggs.

Soft boiled eggs

 

I’m afraid to say that by the time the tarp was hung and lunch was prepared, my ravishing hunger got the best of me and I forgot to take a photo! Here’s what it consisted of;

  • Crackers & hummus
  • Tortilla chips & guacamole
  • Cabbage salad
  • Quinoa salad

And another delicious snack: raw, unsalted, organic sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds

Dinner:
Homemade pizzas grilled with humus, tomato paste, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, and a little goat cheese as options

The night closed with round two of campfire card games and roasting free range, hormone free, organic, filler free hot dogs over the fire. And what would a camping trip be without a little fire wood stealing scandal? Our prime suspects being: 1) the suspicious girls who sent one to seemingly distract us in conversion as a diversion for the others to steal our firewood or 2) our neighbours befriending us, only for utter betrayal in the end. In either case, we kindly informed the park rangers to be on their best lookout for stolen wood. They seemed to confirm option one with a knowing head nod at the girl’s description signaling recognition. Case closed.

Day 3 – a little bump in the road:

Breakfast:
Banana muffins and chia seed bagels with nut butter and raspberry jam.

Chia bagels

With the weekend over we ended up with a lot of food to take home including my marshmallow substitute: roasted pineapple over the fire!

But the adventure hadn’t ended just yet. Not long onto the highway my steering wheel seised and we made a quick pull over to the shoulder. A nice CAA driver and some sweet mechanics later and I was back on the road! Much to my direction impaired self (and the assistance of directions over the phone) I made it home without getting lost (once I made it out of the small town) and came home to find my beautiful vegetable garden bursting with berries and peas before headed to a BBQ.

Holistic health may be tricky at times and call for you to think out of the box, but it is more than doable and absolutely delicious! Alphagettis over guacamole and humus? Not a chance. Not only delicious but if planned right, it’s easy, involves minimal clean up, and leaves you feeling light, fresh, and ready to take on anything and everything the wilderness has to offer you!

“The more we connect to our true nature, the healthier we’ll be”

To your next holistic venture into the wilderness,

Suzanne Eden

Holistic Travel ~*~ Flight Edition

From the cramped legs, to the dehydration, to the plastic cased “food” with ingredients that look like they’re from a foreign country themselves, to needing a full 2 shoe sizes larger when you land… air travel can get a bit uncomfortable. Luckily, after some trial and error, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to hopefully make it a little more enjoyable.

 

1. Be your own flight attendant

  • Make your own food for the flight. I made an amazing salad with avocado, pea sprouts and grapes for the flight I was on which was not only incredibly delicious but was looked at by the flight attendant who congratulated me on bringing my own food… now that says something. Plus this allows you the freedom to eat whenever you want and not have wait, salivating while the attendant makes their way down the aisle.

2. Go easy, go light & kill two birds with one stone (so to speak)

  • I pack lots of easy snacks as I get hungry waiting for the plane. This trip I took clementines, grapes, bananas and a trail mix of dried coconut, banana, gogi berries and raw cacao nibs. Packing fruit is not only easy but also very hydrating before a flight (hence the two birds with one stone). The trail mix is a good snack as well though I usually keep it for once i’ve arrived as dried fruit is high in sugar and can be dehydrating, but I love it as a little treat and even sprinkled some in my salad.

packing

The smiley face ball? For a pulled muscle in my thigh… and a good laugh, its so darn cute.

 

3. Go coco for electrolytes

  • This is one of my favourite tips! Perhaps because it’s the perfect excuse to load up on coconut water… as if we needed one though right? 😉 electrolytes are hugely important in maintaining hydration and may aid in reducing the foot swelling effect of the plane. I drink a large can of blue monkey (the only one I can drink on its own, and with pulp.. of course!) right before customs and keep another can or two in my  luggage to drink once I’ve arrived.

4. I’ll have an organic rooibos tea please….

  • I travel with my own tea bags in my carry on as you can always ask the stewardess for hot water. Peppermint is particularly good for digestion and relaxation but any herbal tea is great and… hydrating!! Other than that, I only drink water on the plane. Sugary juices, alcohol and caffeine are all very dehydrating.

5. Supplements

  • Of course you can’t take me anywhere without my supplements. In my carry on I keep it simple with digestive enzymes to help digest my food, a good multi vitamin, magnesium (for leg cramping) and melatonin in case I can’t sleep. melatonin helps to regulate sleep cycles and is great for jet leg. It doesn’t work for everyone and if you are one of those people, 5HTP is a precursor for melatonin in the body and may be a better option for you.

6. I C what you did there…

  • Vitamin C is an absolute MUST for so many reasons including the fact that it boosts your immune system and… as you may have guessed… helps your cells stay hydrated among a thousand other benefits.

7. Speaking of seeing

  • ditch the contacts. I decided to do a project this year on contact lenses and eye health and as an avid contact wearer I have no idea why I did that! I still wear them but I’m a lot more conscious of them, especially when it comes to the dry conditions of an airplane. They should never be worn during this time as the extremely dry conditions can cause your contacts to become dry and can damage your eyes, especially over time. When it comes to your sight, you don’t want to mess around. I forgot when I was coming home this week and took them out of my eyes right after lift off, not the prettiest sight for the guy beside me i’m sure, but a girls gotta do what she’s gotta do.

8. Release your inner hippie

  • If you hadn’t already spotted me from my pink plaid luggage (you cant help but know its yours when it comes down the conveyor belt!), or my crazy printed yoga pants (comfy pants are a must), or my layers of jewelry, then you probably will when I take to doing yoga on the airport floor. Whether or not you want to go all out on this, some good, simple stretching before a long flight is crucial! Move your body and stretch your limbs, you don’t even need to stand up, just stretch in whatever way you can before and after. The flight compresses and stiffens your muscles and can restrict blood flow. If you want a more comfortable flight, get moving!

  • I always travel with my etheric weaver but you can take any grounding stones you’d like and some are very inexpensive. It’s important to stay grounded when you’re so high in the air and I never travel without it.

  • The one other essential I am never without is a journal and a good soul read. My favourite? The power of now by Eckhart Tolle.

9. Prepare for take off

  • I don’t normally advise gum chewing but this is an exception. It’s important to ease the air pressure from your middle ear. I like the brand Pur (available at health food stores) for this. Ginger is also a decent option. I like Gin-Gins which are also available at health food stores but very addictive so proceed with caution.

plane

Perhaps it’s the high altitude, or the anticipation of wild adventures and uncharted discoveries, but air travel is a very surreal experience. Here I sit, soaring above the clouds in the company of many souls, all headed the same way and yet to different places entirely. And here, among the sleeping souls and darkness of the skies that have seen their last kiss of the sun you realize how insignificant your worries are in the vast expanse of things. It is as if you are looking down at a doll house and thinking “ill plop down there fore a little while” and you find yourself immersed in another reality. Its simply stunning. This is why my soul yearns to travel.

With much wander-lusting love,

Suzanne Eden