Observations from a palapa

Yesterday I had many opportunities to observe a thing or two about human nature while sunning myself under a palapa……yes, I know, a hard life 🙂

Now keep in mind, the focus of this blog is about sutainable nutrition, so my obervations are going to be focused in that direction. If you would like to learn more about the social habits of the Americans in general, I suggest you visit the blog “Stuff White People Like”, it is HILARIOUS (bring your sense of humor, please).

One thing I seem to notice is the social permission we give each other to overconsume simply because we are on vacation. Last night I found myself dipping into the chips and salsa for the umteenth time simply becuase “I’m on vacation”. No wonder we come back 5-10 lbs heavier after a vacation. The dialogue in my head went something like this:

“Okay, the food is coming, so I don’t really need chips. I’ve eaten them every day and frankly, I don’t like how I feel afterward”


“Well, maybe just 1 or two. This salsa mexicana is awesome”


“Now, I should really stop. I’m starting to fill up and the food isn’t here. Darn that waiter, why is the food taking so long”


“Okay, no more. I’m done!”


“Almost done……”


“Okay, tomorrow – NO CHIPS”


“Hey Hon (to my husband), do you think I’ve gained weight on this trip? I mean, I feel like we are always eating”. CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH. “I know we are very active, but I just think we are eating too much. We should stop”. CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH

STOP THE INSANITY! Luckily, I walked away feeling okay about my meal. I did stop eating when full, but I did sacrifice eating some of the local flavor for a bunch of chips and salsa – what a cheap thrill!

I’m not suggesting we deny ourselves local flavors when traveling. To me, that is the essence of travel, it is part of getting away to a new place. What I’m suggesting is that we check our motivations for consuming. Do we really taste that extra 3 pieces of whatever, after we are already full? Why is it culturally acceptable to gorge on a meal, keep eating just because it is in front of us and then complain our travel partners that we are unhappy with our weight and wish we would not have eaten so much? And yet we expect the food to be plentiful when we arrive. We are such odd creatures!

Some of my travel conversations with my compadres, as well as looking around at the habits of my fellow tourists brought me to belive that many of us are a real paradox when it comes to travel and food. We go beyond the point of enjoyment and then spend precious energy complaining about our choices, yet the very next day we are first in line at the buffet for breakfast. Hmm……

I’ve even had serveral people tease me about not eating enough or being “too healthy” because I won’t partake in over-indulgence. I know what is behind that feeling – we don’t want to over-indulge alone. It makes us feel bad. I know, I’ve been there. Sometimes I feel the need to eat just because others around me are doing the same. Like when I’m sunning myself and suddenly I see the table next to me order a second round of nachos and guacalmole….suddenly I feel hungry.

I’d love to know what others think or experience when they travel. I don’t always feel this way. Truthfully, it is just when I spend a lot of time with my fellow American travelers in an American-style resort where food rules. I know we expect it to be this way, but why? Why is it all about the food?

Now, I must get going. They’re serving free guacamole and chips…I’ve got to get in line to be first 🙂 (Just kidding…)

Ole – Mexico, here I come!!!

My husband, Matt and I are off, for a week in Mexico starting tomorrow.

Some interesting observations I have realized about myself while on vacation:

  • It is actually EASIER for me to make good food choices when I’m away than when at home, despite being limited to the situation I am in when traveling.
  • I tend to make WORSE foods choices the few days before I go. I liken this one to stress or the pressure I put on myself to “look good” on vacation. whenever I put any sort of physical appearance stress on myself, it usually backfires. I suppose I just don’t like pressure 🙂
  • I really savor the flavors of my food and my digestion is better. At home I have a nasty habit of eating while working, or eating while doing something else. This is no good because I don’t connect with my food. IF you want to know more about connecting with your food, check out the mindful eating document in the bottom box of this blog.

Here are a few tips/tricks I do use to help me enjoy my vacation instead of being hung up on food/body image:

  • BYOS: bring your own snacks. Ialways pack an arsenal of raw nuts, flax chips, gluten-free bars, and sometimes fresh fruit (though not this time – I think I’ll find PLENTY in Mexico)
  • Bring a water bottle for the plane. Those dang airlines are really chinsey with doling out the water, so I just bring my own. I also use this bottle when out and about. It saves $$ and I’m guaranteed to have my water.
  • Bring teas. I love good tea, and I’ll feel less deprived if I have what I want.
  • Taste local flavors: spices, veggies or meat dishes that are unique to the region. I can eat bread and stuff like that anywhere – I want the good stuff. So, for this trip, I want good salsas, guacamole, carnitas, fajitas, tropical veggies, etc….YUM!!!

So, that is it! I’ll be back in a week 🙂 If I can write from the beach while I’m away, I will!