Why is Food Still an Issue? – Healthy Eating and Travel
20 July 2019
While I was in Spain I struggled with food. In case you have not read my previous posts about my dietary issues, I will briefly explain. I have IBS. This means my body does not like certain foods, how tolerant I am of that food is often based on how I am feeling. When I’m anxious or particularly emotional I have to be more careful when I eat. If I’m happy and chilled out I can eat anything and not feel too bad.
The Mood for Food
In Spain, I was happy or thought I was. I was enjoying myself, loving being in the sun but I guess when difficult subjects came up when thinking of home my IBS flared up. I struggled a little with living in someone else’s house and the feeling of being temporary. I managed to batch cook lunches and my dinners ended up being the same thing every day. I was not very adventurous with my home-cooked food. I think this was mostly laziness I didn’t want to use a lot of utensils as it meant clearing it away. I wanted to be in and out of the communal space quickly so as not to be in other peoples way. I started eating a lot of sweet foods.
I can’t even remember now whether my diet got better when I returned home. That month was such as whirlwind. Again I felt very temporary so I think I had a lot of curries because it was quick and easy.
When I arrived in KL I was alright. My appetite was not really there, I think this was mostly down to jet lag and the heat but when I was eating I was having a variety of foods and feeling good. It was in Australia that my relationship with food becomes very difficult and still has not yet recovered.
Healthy Routine is Hard on the Road
From day one of the trip, my morning routine was shot to bits. Breakfast was random and often on the go. Museli bars, fruit and sweet treats. Often healthy options were available, but the most convenient of fruits, the apple, is my biggest nemesis. If I’m going to have an apple I need to be able to visit the bathroom that morning. Often in hostels, I would have a couple of slices of toast and jam, which was ok but not filling enough and I would end up snacking throughout the day.
Lunch I would usually seek out a pie, or sausage roll as I knew it would fill me up. A lot of the days at the start of the trip were overcast or raining so warm filling food was needed. It was often a cheap option. Some days we didn’t know when we would be getting food and if the options would be any good so I was stocking up on snacks to keep me going.
Dinner included a lot of red meat, burgers and steaks were often my choices. Chicken Schnitzels where everywhere and the Aussies attempt to do fish and chips in most places. I have not yet found a fish and chips that match up to the standards of the greasy salt and vinegar clad chips at home.
So the meals I was having were not overly healthy, I tried to get in some fruit where possible. Towards the end of the tour, I was looking forward to setting in one place so I could batch cook and make some healthy meals. This hasn’t quite worked out how I hoped so far. As I have still not yet found work I am living in a hostel.
Cooking in a Hostel
The hostel kitchen is a bit of a challenge to conquer, cooking around multiple other people and finding the space and time to get in and wash up properly is an effort I could do without. I have batch cooked a load of stir fry and veggie pasta and I am having these for my lunches. But for dinner, I have resorted to microwave meals. 5 minutes at the most in the kitchen to make the meal, 2 minutes to eat it and 2 minutes to wash up the plate and fork and I’m outta there.
I have also been emotional eating. When I struggled with making a decision on a sales job I ate almost a whole pack of choc chip shortbread. I seem to be binging on sweet foods. One night I was still hungry after dinner and a Twix so went to a local 7/11 and bought a giant Twix, a milky bar (only a small one) and some Haribo. I realise now some of this is down to it being the week before I was due on and food seems to be all I’m interested in during that week. But I don’t seem to have any will power or any determination to stop eating.
I went for a run one morning as I was fed up with feeling fat. I thought I was going to die, I hit it hard for the first kilometre and then my heart felt like it was going to burst through my chest. I had to stop and lay down on a bench and it took me a good half an hour to recover before I could go for a walk again. I knew I was getting unfit but thought I had been balancing a lot of walking with a lot of sitting down on busses and trains etc. Turns out my heart disagrees and I need to build up to running again.
With finding a job and a place to stay as well as trying to make friends and build up a business in the UK I feel like I have a lot on. But I need to make sure I prioritise my health and fitness otherwise I won’t be able to do any of it. Easier said than done. Does anyone else struggle with getting into a healthy food and excise routine whilst travelling or settling somewhere new? I would welcome any tips to help with this.