So, how did we get here? Weight has been a constant battle for both of us. We have both tried every diet available and nothing has ever stuck. In July 2016, we decided to try a ketogenic diet together. 18 months on and we have collectively lost over 90kg and it has forever changed our lives. A ketogenic diet involves eating low carb and healthy fats, which puts the body into a state of ketosis. This switches the body from burning glucose for fuel to fat. You can find out more information here if you are interested.
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In December 2017 we began our blogging journey with Have Butter will Travel. We wanted to merge our two passions, travel and a low carb lifestyle. It is a resource for people living a ketogenic lifestyle and wishing to incorporate this into their travels. Since starting our new way of life, we have travelled to Hong Kong and the USA. We had to learn how to incorporate our love for tasting all the delicious food at new destinations and our new way of life. This led us to develop our When in Rome philosophy, which allows us to enjoy and savour special experiences, and still maintain our healthy habits.
Here are a few of the approaches we have implemented to help us maintain our healthy habits when we are travelling.
We have found it is really important to do your research prior to leaving. Choose accommodation with a kitchen or kitchenette, investigate the location of the closest supermarket to your accommodation and check out the local restaurant options for the best healthy choices. We have developed a new love of roaming supermarkets in new places, looking for the best low carb options.
When travelling we often take some of our own food with us. This way we know we at least have those items to rely on as snacks when finding a low carb option is difficult.
Surviving long-haul flights
As most of us know plane food is generally pretty ordinary. We always take plenty of low carb snacks in our carry-on bags. That way we can avoid things like the sugary desserts and have some of our delicious dark chocolate instead.
Being overweight travellers for most of our adult lives, we have become experts at securing the best seats. Our favourite choice is the couple of rows right up the back on most long-haul planes that are just two seats by themselves. We highly recommend paying extra to choose your seats if needed. The big bonus for us now is there is no longer a need for the seat belt extender!
There is nothing worse than arriving in your destination city and losing 1-2 days due to jet lag. Our tips for minimising the jet lag effects are:
- Travel Schedule – If possible, choose a flight that departs in the evening and arrives in the afternoon. That way there is more of a chance you will actually get some sleep on the plane. Also, it can be a real challenge to stay up all day if you arrive early in the morning after a long-haul flight with a big time-zone change.
- Change to your arrival time on the plane – This helps you manage your sleep times whilst travelling and give your body some extra time to adjust to the new time zone.
- Stay up until your normal bedtime – Once we arrive at our destination our goal is to stay awake until a normal bedtime. It can be a very tough task if you haven’t slept for 24-36 hours, but it makes a big difference in your ability to adjust to the new time zone. We make sure we get outside and get some sun exposure. This will help your body adjust.
- Set your alarm for your normal wake up time. If you are normally up at 7 am, make sure you wake up then. It just helps set your body clock as quickly as possible.
We always travel with our own water bottles. Our insulated water bottles help keep the water cold for a long time and it means we save on buying water all the time. It also reduces the number of single-use water bottles we consume along the way – so a win-win! Most major airports have drinking fountains and we always make sure we drink plenty of water when travelling. On the plane, we have found the crew are happy to fill up our bottles too, which we find more effective than the tiny cups they hand out throughout the flight. Of course, this may depend on the quality of the drinking water in the country you are travelling in.
Exploring on foot
One of our favourite things about travelling is discovering a new city. There is no better way to absorb the culture and atmosphere of a city than strolling around the streets. Since losing weight we have started adding a lot more walking into our travels. We did a few self-guided walking tours in Hong Kong, including a fun hike around Lamma Island. In San Francisco, we walked over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, what a bucket list experience. Walking is free and gives you a completely different experience versus sitting on a tour bus.
When travelling you tend to eat out much more than you would when at home. It’s one of the fun experiences about travelling and exploring new places. We have found a few really easy changes to make when eating out that allow us to maintain our healthy habits whilst travelling.
- Easy healthy swaps – We find it much easier to avoid the side of fries if we ask them to be swapped for a side salad or some steamed vegetables. Another really easy swap is to ask for a burger or sandwich to be wrapped in lettuce instead of in the bun. This is our fall-back option if there are no other low carb friendly meals on a menu. When travelling in the US we found they referred to this as protein style. Swapping out the rice for greens when eating Asian or Mexican food is an easy way to lower the carbs.
- Drinks – Sugary soft drinks are so readily available in most places you travel to. We try to avoid these as much as possible and choose sparkling mineral water or soda water where we can.
- Breakfast – This is very dependent on where you are travelling and the type of accommodation you are staying in. Bacon and eggs are our preferred breakfast option when travelling. It fuels us for a day out exploring and keeps us full. Many chain hotels will have a buffet breakfast where you can easily choose bacon and eggs. Try to avoid the bread and pancakes.
We hope these tips give you some ideas about how you can implement healthy habits into your travel experiences. We are currently working on a Keto Travel Essential series that covers in-depth information about Cruising, Road Trips, Flying and Eating Out when following a low carb lifestyle. We would love for you come over and sign up to our email list at havebutterwilltravel.com if you are interested in learning more.
Dan and Erika have travelled the World together since falling in love in 2006. After struggling with their weight for most of their lives they started a new ketogenic/LCHF way of eating in 2016 and have since lost over 90kgs (200lbs) as a couple. Head to their website and Instagram feed to follow their story.
Do you have an inspirational story? We love sharing amazing stories like Erika and Dan’s to inspire others to make a difference while travelling. Get in touch to share yours.