3 Food Favourites You MUST Try When Traveling To The Tropics

March break is upon us, and though tropical trips are usually associated with excessive drinking and dining that will have you dozing in your lounge chair by the end of the week….

When a holistic wellness enthusiasts goes, it’s a whole other basket of coconuts!

Coconuts
From the sandy beaches of sunny Cuba, these are my top 3 must have foods to try on your tropical vacay away;

1) Coco For Coconuts

  • Fresh coconuts!  I spotted these being sold by the beach bar, but as it was my first day on the resort, I reasoned I would wait to grab one. Can’t have too much excitement all in one day, right?! Big mistake as they were never sold there again the rest of the trip. To my luck, however, I ran into a friendly resort worker chopping them down on our last day and he was more than happy to cut one up for me to enjoy! 🙂

Why coconut water is your holistic must have:

  • MEDICINAL : Coconut water is your secret weapon for anything from exhaustion to dehydration to food poisoning. All of these require proper hydration and fresh coconut water is a pure source with added potassium, magnesium (to prevent muscle cramps) and anti-oxidants.
  • REFRESH – When dehydrated, pure water is often insufficient as an imbalance of our electrolytes will make it difficult for water to properly penetrate our cells. It is easy to become dehydrated in the hot and humid climates where you are prone to sweat, and the consumption of alcohol/caffeine or becoming ill will further exasperate this issue. The electrolytes from coconuts, however, allow water to fully hydrate at a cellular level and reduces bloating due to water retention.
  • DIGESTION: Rich in enzymes, coconut water enhances the digestion of our food and contributes to a healthy gut flora to boost our immunity.

2) Road Side Bananas!

  •  I love resorts for convenience and a stress-free trip, but exploration is always my favourite part of any vacation. This particular venture into the city was accompanied by a pit-stop at a roadside fruit stand to pick up these local mini bananas. Not only adorable, they were sweet, flavourful and tasted unlike any conventional store-bought banana (there are, in fact, hundreds of different varieties). With prime seats on the bus behind our tour guide, we ate our weight and snatched a few for our families too.

Why they are your holistic must have:

  • Fresh bananas are high in vitamin C to boost your immunity while traveling, are packed with fibre for good digestion, vitamin B6 for energy, magnesium for increased relaxation and make for the perfect, filling snack food!

mini bananas

3) Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

  • I think this has got to be my favourite thing in the world. The first time I ever indulged in freshly squeezed orange juice was in Cuba (several years before this last trip) and I have never been able to drink organic OJ without the thought. Even though I juice oranges from home, they never taste the same as those picked fresh and ripe right off the tree and squeezed by a hand-crank.  If you get the chance, this is a must!

Why fresh squeezed OJ is your holistic must have:

  • Fresh oranges are packed with vitamin C to boost your immunity along with polyphenols to protect against viral infections, beta-carotene to help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun, and are alkalinizing to the body to reduce internal inflammation.
  • NOTE: Drink juice away from other foods and be active after doing so, as fruit will spike blood sugar when stripped of its fibre. Don’t let this deter you however, it is a much better option than alcohol (pure, liver taxing sugar) and offers you health benefits when savoured in moderation. Though moderation with fresh squeezed, tropical orange juice is not a thing for me!
Fresh, local food is always the most flavourful food, and when savoured on a sunny vacay, so much the better! But no matter where you find yourself this week, “shake” things up this St. Patrick’s day with last years Rock Your Shamrocks Shake!
Soaking up the Canadian sun,
Suzanne Eden

Listen Up Yogis! The Biggest Workout Mistake I See & the Electrolyte Elixir

Prior to moving away this past year, I worked at our local hot yoga studio. Simply stepping into the room, curtains drawn, windows steaming, hot plates lining the walls, was enough to signal the body to start producing glistening beads of detoxifying sweat across your brows. I saw it all, from your basic sweaters to those whose mats resembled slip N slides by the end of practise. Everyone in that room was sweating and that’s where I started cringing. It wasn’t the sweat that had me in a bind but the fact that I watched copious amounts of people come and go without the understanding of how to properly replenish their bodies after such an intense workout. Truth be told, I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of the situation at the time. Simply drinking water is just not enough, not nearly, and regardless of whether you are sweating it out in a hot yoga studio or out on your bike on a blistering summers day, you need to know how to stay safe and protect your body.

elements

Why electrolytes are your new workout companions:

We lose electrolytes when we sweat. Potentially up to 1.5 liters in an intense workout! With the loss of sweat comes the loss of electrolytes, sending our body’s delicate balance out of whack. Have you ever felt dizzy or nauseous during a workout? This could be the culprit of imbalanced electrolytes.

Right now,  your body is sending an incomprehensible number of electrical impulses through your body. Without this, you wouldn’t be functional.  This process is only made possible by way of your cells, tissues and fluids that work in the proper ratio of salts (electrolytes) in your body. This is why it is so critical to keep this environment as it is or you are sure to feel the side effects.

 
How do we properly replenish?

Let’s begin at the bottom, the sweaty, slip N slide floor so to speak and work our way up. We’ll start with the most common energy drinks: Gatorade and Powerade. These drinks are loaded with unnecessary junk to have it both look, and taste appealing. Here are some of these concoctions biggest flaws:

  • … Buy it in every colour…?
    There is nothing natural about its fluorescent rainbow of electric yellows and manufactured green. You sweat to sweat the toxins out of your body, right? Why would you want to fill yourself back up with toxins again?
  • A spoonful of sugar… or two… or three..
    These drinks are loaded with low quality sugars. It is necessary for sugar to be present in your electrolyte balancer but the quality of sugar is key, not the heavily refined sugars found in these drinks.
  • Quality
    We need salts in our electrolyte balancer, yet what you find in these sports drinks is the low quality salts that work against our target for health.

coconut water
We are sweating to detoxify, there is nothing that makes sense in consuming toxins right after to bring them right back in. Onto the next, the buzz of coconut water.  I am a coconut water fanatic! I adore this stuff, especially with pulp! It’s a refreshing and energizing drink through the day and after a sweaty practise but it has its flaws in adequately replenishing electrolytes. It helps but its benefits are a bit… watered down shall we say?

Here’s the thing…

Coconut water is very high in potassium but low in sodium. We need the proper proportion of electrolytes to adequately restore our bodies post workout. So if we aren’t consuming coconut water with the proper ratios of salt, we’re doing better than no electrolytes at all, but we’re not quite there.

Liquid gold: The electrolyte elixir!

The holy grail of workout replenishment! This recipe was provided by my sports nutrition professor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. It offers the proper ratio of post workout components for a quick surge of energy and proper bodily replenishment. Mid workout energy slump? Try a good sip of this and you’ll be good to go. Trust me. When biking in sweet summer’s heat, this was my Savior.

I’ll admit that I was hesitant to try it. Lemon water, salt and maple syrup isn’t as enticing as the water from an exotic coconut but I was encouraged by my courageous peers who tried it first. I have to admit, it’s not bad at all. The maple syrup will tingle on your taste buds with the lemon giving it a tartness that cuts the salt. It’s like a slightly salty lemonade and incredibly refreshing.

RECIPE

500ml Purified water

2 TBSP Maple syrup

1/4-1/2 Tsp Sea salt

1/4C Lemon juice

Simply mix & hydrate!

The coconut oil in my cabinet is a glamorous pool of transparent liquid as we head into a mini heat wave this week to welcome September. Though ACTIVE-ist month is concluding, this step 2 in your holistic journey is one to keep running with. I will be sure to have more posts on this topic at some point as this month whizzed by and I have so much more to share!

Get out there, get sweaty and drink up! I would love for you to leave me a comment letting me know how this drink works for you or how you liked the taste. It’s now my workout staple and a huge impact on my routine. I hope you all have the same results and keep safe during those gloriously sweaty workout sessions!

Bottoms up!
Suzanne Eden