How to Eat/Stay Healthy in Europe

Yes, this title sounds ridiculous and almost impossible as a backpacker. Don’t get me wrong, but you get to that point in your travels where you really miss the taste of spinach or a fresh carrot.

Spending two months in the three food capitals of Europe (Italy, Switzerland, and France), you get to know your body and when it’s time to fit in your fruit and vegetable quota. To be honest, when I left home for Europe, food was on the brain. I wanted to consume all the pasta, pizza, wine, beer, gelato, cheese, and meat I could get my hands on. I was in this daze thinking I would be totally alright, when in fact, it takes an effort to eat all those food and feel like I normal human being inside.

VEG & FRUIT-UP

I don’t know about you, but eating a shit load of gluten not only bloats you to a point of food baby pregnancy (I will not post that picture of me…), but it also made me very lethargic at times. Also, if you get to a point (like I did) of having to complete a daily “gelato or crepe quota” …you may have gone too far…

Half way through my trip, I purchased some protein bars which substituted for a bowl of pasta for lunch some days. I also took the time to walk the extra few metres to the nearest produce store to pick up fruit and vegetables. Apples and oranges are a great travel fruit because they don’t bruise easily and you can stuff them in your backpack. Carrots, and cucumber are also great vegetable to stuff in your pack.

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If you book your hostels somewhat in advance, you can get really good ones that offer a fully equipped kitchen. No, I’m not saying you should slave over the stove cooking this beautiful healthy meal, but heating up some soup or cooking with gluten-free/brown rice pasta saved me in times that were rough.

Some days you may not have a kitchen to cook in or a convenient grocery store to pick up some whole foods. Sometimes it’s only cafes and restaurants at your feet. Majority of nice French entrées you’ll find a lack of vegetables (fries don’t count). I found I had to order a side salad if I wanted some greenery. Luckily, times have changed and you can find some quirky, natural food cafes that serves massive salads, fresh soups and nice sandwiches to hold you over. Trip Advisor is great for hunting down these places.

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HYDRATE

Drinking water is something that passes my mind quite frequently when I’m travelling. Yes, my Nalgene was hooked onto my purse, but did I drink enough from it? — probably not. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m home, a cup of tea is in one hand at all times. It’s amazing what dehydration can do to you as a traveller. You’re constantly moving, talking, drinking (alcohol) etc. Being thirsty is one of many symptoms that can make you feel shitty and ruin your day. To solve my problem, I got habit to order water along with every meal. In hostels I would make tea or drink loads of juice in the morning and night.

moi and water

Another stress is finding a public bathroom. In Europe it’s hard to find a free, clean, accessible bathroom. Majority of the time you have to use one in cafes after having to purchase something. ugh.  Just cave, and buy a small treat or whatever.

SLEEP

“Sleep is for the weak” was a phrase that went through my head a few nights. Don’t get me wrong, I had some kick ass nights out in Europe, but running on maybe 8 hours of sleep over 48 hours f*cking sucks.  Also, if you decide to hostel, you’ve got to take into account of your fellow roommates. They might obnoxiously snore, sleep talk (guilty) or who knows what; anything that might keep you up. I really got to know what “down-time” was like as a traveller. Spending time on the farm was a life saver in itself.

The one thing I don’t like doing is sleeping in till 10-11:00 when I’m travelling. Guilt hangs on my shoulders knowing I could have woken earlier to stand in line to that museum, or beat the crowds to the markets. Nonetheless, sleep is important (at least for me), and it’s something that you should keep in mind when you’re on your 3rd night out in a row…I learnt my lesson.

TRY NON-“OVER-THE-COUNTER” PREVENTATIVES

vitamins

Bring multivitamins – or at least a few. I didn’t take them everyday out of simply forgetting. But, god did they save me when I felt a sore throat coming along. I popped one vitamin and an oil of oregano capsule behind it. Voila! All better. Also, flossing does amazing things for your immune system. It sounds stupid and ridiculous, but I reckon it helps prevent colds and other sicknesses significantly. Now, I’m not a flossing nerd, it makes you think of all that bacteria your toothbrush missed – eww.

IT’S OK TO PEE YOUR PANTS

Lastly, and I think this was what kept me going the most: Laughing. This has nothing to do with me, but the people to whom I met along the way. You are the ones that gave me the face cramps, silent laughs, falling on the ground laughs and “I’m going to pee my pants” laughs. Thank god, for all the fantastic hostels and tours, for they are what brought me to all these amazing people.

laughing

Travelling for this long allows you to appreciate many things: the little things, your own health and also the foods that may not work for you (*cough* heaps and heaps of gluten). I learnt more than the Italian language and how many Louis’s of France there were. I grew a greater understanding on how to be more balanced overseas.

Thanks for reading, and keep planning your travels!

Stay gold,

Charlotte xo

Have you ever traveller to Europe? What were your thoughts on keeping healthy abroad? Do you have any tips and/or tricks?

 

All ideas are my own and property of hiatushunnie.wordpress.com

 

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