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Living Gluten Free on Vacation

Posted by Cole Millen
Cole Millen
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on Tuesday, June 25, 2013
in Weight Loss

Eating only gluten-free products is an easy part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while at home.  Thanks to the added emphasis on health that is sweeping the nation, grocery stores and markets now provide an abundance of options that eliminate the need to stop eating many of our favorite foods simply because they contain gluten and other unhealthy products.  However, maintaining a gluten-free diet when it is time to go on vacation can present quite a challenge.  In addition to facing the temptations of exotic foods and the mental excuses one makes to break the rules of their diet, you can easily find yourself in situations where gluten-free meals or snacks are not even an option.  If you have pledged to yourself that you will not make sacrifices when it comes to the health of your diet despite the circumstances, then consider some of this advice on how to enjoy your vacation free of gluten.

The first challenge you will potentially face is food and snacks that are being served aboard an airplane.  Most airport restaurants and meals served aboard flights lack gluten-free options.  The vegetarian meals are a healthy alternative, but there is no guarantee that the specific ingredients will be available.  It is wise to eat a healthy snack or meal at home directly before leaving to board your flight.  If you are forced into eating due to flight delays or cancellations, then choose unprocessed food items that can only be served fresh such as fruit or salads.  People flying on a regular basis also find that it’s easier to maintain their diet when they pack healthy snacks that are free of gluten into their carry-on baggage.

The next place that one is likely to face pitfalls, are hotels along the way. Make sure to do your due diligence before hand to determine which hotels can accommodate your needs. I have found travel reviews to be the most honest and unbiased form of information in this regard. I recently took a trip out west and found a great site called Gogobot that offered reviews on every aspect imaginable. I was then able to find a list of reviews for Las Vegas hotels regarding their amenities as well as restaurants in the nearby area that resulted in finding a complete gluten free restaurant. Tools like these make it easier than ever to maintain your lifestyle regardless of your destination. If you are one who easily succumbs to temptations and the whims of the small snack, avoid the temptation altogether by turning down the key to the minibar.  In this instance, we have another situation where packing gluten-free snacks from home can be beneficial.  Bring along instant soups and other food items that can be prepared using nothing more than the hot water from the coffeemaker.  Should you desire to prepare meals on your own in the hotel room in order to know exactly what is going into your body, pack a crock-pot that works with any traditional wall socket.  Stocking up on gluten-free products that can be prepared using this item allows you to take advantage of the healthy choices at the local grocery.

Eating out while on vacation is the kind of situation that provides the greatest amount of danger.  Typically, servers are not even aware whether or not the items on their menu contain gluten.  The first line of defense is to choose restaurants that have a healthy approach to the food they serve in general.  It will be much more difficult to locate an appropriate dish at a restaurant that is geared towards heavy meats and seafood than it will be at a place that is geared towards sandwiches and wraps.  Be discerning before you even walk in the door.  You can also save valuable vacation time by researching restaurants and hotels in the area online before you even depart.  The majority of good restaurants will post their menus on their website.  If you find yourself in a situation where you had to eat an extremely light meal in order to safeguard your diet, then be sure to have multivitamins at your disposal in order to supplement the minerals and vitamins you may have missed during the dinner service.

Cole Millen, is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life's best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate "experiences." Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.

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Week 5: Exercising on Vacation

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Sunday, February 03, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the fifth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.




Week Five Summary and Results:  
Back to Back solid weeks! I think I am finally over my sickness. Last Sunday was the first time I was able to attempt a long run outside and it felt great despite the 15 degree temps at the start. I was able to complete all of my workouts and ran a solid 27.5 miles for the week. I ended up only losing a half pound this week but that was due to an ill-timed, late Mexican dinner last night. All week I have been showing 1-1.5 pounds of loss until of course...weigh-in morning. I will make sure I don't sabotage my weigh-in next week.

On the diet front I also had another good week. I have continued drinking tea to curb my appetite and I am beginning to get used to the smaller portions at meals. Losing 20 pounds takes time and every week just builds on the last. Losing 1-2 pounds a week is about all I can ask for without going crazy like Mike. I am happy to continue plodding along week after week sticking with my strategy. It is pretty clear to me at this point that my sickness and the antibiotics definitely held back my weight loss at the beginning of the month. Not sure if there is a medical reason that prevented me from losing weight or maybe it was my body holding on to the weight to protect itself. Who knows?  I finally have my energy back and that is all I care about.


 Sunday- ran 10.4 miles (longest run this year!)

 Monday- off

 Tuesday- ran 6 miles (tempo workout)

 Wednesday- ran 5.1 miles (60 degrees...Wow!)

 Thursday- off

 Friday- ran 6 miles (30 min of it was track workout)

 Saturday- biked 40 minutes easy on trainer

 Totals: ran 27.5 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer


 Starting weight: 189   Feb 3rd weigh-in: 185    YTD loss (5 weeks): 4 lbs


 Week Five Summary and Results:  
If you can't measure it, you can't improve. It has been said in business and it is true in training.  Sure, when I step up to the start line in a 5k, I am watchless, but as I look to increase my speed, I will measure everything. Carefully keeping track of my progress allows me to see what works and what does not. I am tracking every workout now using time (not distance), as speed and distance will come with a good base.

So here I am on vacation, no scale.  One of the best ways I have found to lose weight and keep focus is weighing myself every day at the same time. I know that when I eat sushi, I gain 1.5 pounds, mostly as my body keeps in water to flush out the salt. I also know that after my long workout on Saturday (my fasting workout), I weigh myself and if I am disciplined, I can reach that weight by the following Saturday. No scale is good and bad. No daily reminder that I am losing weight, but no real penalty if I eat a little too much for enjoyment. So, I take a break from weighing myself, but not from losing weight.

Traveling and eating right is difficult to say the least. Ordering a salad with no cheese, no egg, no dressing, no oil, only to have it come out with salt and pepper..(who salts and peppers a salad?)  I guess people will be people. It is a sign of how terrible our eating habits have become. I am sure the chef felt that the vegetables needed "something" on them to make them taste good. So that "something" gets added to everything we eat, and we really don't need it. Anyway, adding another 60 minutes outside running in California is not bad. Hopefully the added exercise will make up for the eating.

One final note, as I was getting ready for a drop-in yoga class, the instructor said she never thought of visiting a yoga studio while traveling. One of the best parts of vacationing is changing up your workout routine, running in new places, dropping in on a different style of yoga than you are accustomed.  If you stay poolside drinking a tropical drink, you lose out on experiencing what could be the best part of traveling, running on a new road...


 Sunday- 1 hour elliptical

 Monday- 1 hour yoga +75 minutes swimming

 Tuesday- 45 minutes yoga + 1 hour spin

 Wednesday- off

  Thursday- 1 hour run

   Friday- 90 minutes Yoga + 45 minutes run

   Saturday- 1 hour elliptical + 20 minutes bike

 Totals: 3.25 hrs yoga + 1.33 hrs cycling + 2 hrs elliptical + 75 mins swimming + 1.75 hrs running


 Starting weight: 192.5    Feb 3rd weigh-in: vacation  YTD loss (5 weeks): 15.7 lbs

 Week Five Recap:

Even though I didn't have the results to prove it I had a great week. I am feeling stronger and stronger and with Mike on vacation this week I have to think I am gaining ground. Losing weight takes time and hopefully I can build on this week. 

As you have seen both Mike and me approach weight loss and exercise in a completely different way. What works for Mike would not work for me and vice versa. Everyone's body responds to diet and exercise differently. In addition everyone has different personalities and ways of staying motivated. I hope that lesson learned is that you have to do something....If you have been on the sidelines take that first step today to improving your health and fitness. You will be glad you did!

Next Update February 9th!

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