Vacation for me means letting go, having fun, experiencing new cultures, being present, and relaxing into enjoying all the beauty that surrounds me. We went to the Azores again a few weeks ago where we got engaged (!!!) and now it has an even more special place in my heart. The Azores have so much to offer - from the beautiful landscapes, to the amazing food, warm people and natural hot springs. See post from last year's trip to learn more.
This year, I fully immersed myself in the culture as if I were a local. I wanted to eat like they did, do what they do, and feel that island lifestyle deep in my bones. But getting out of a normal eating routine was a little jarring, so my body definitely expanded! I'm here to tell you that it's okay to gain a little weight on vaca and to indulge in the things that you don't normally, because that's what vacation is all about - letting go and having fun!
I've come a long way in my 'dieting' practices and don't obsess about weight the way I used to. It's okay to ebb and flow a little - especially as a woman. Gaining a few pounds is really not that big a deal on vacation because in just a few days of being back home in my routine, that puff came right off! No need to stress!
I think it depends on your blood type and Ayurveda dosha constitution in regards to what makes one person gain weight eating something versus another. For me, being a Blood Type O, gluten is a big contributor to weight gain. And being a Pitta-Vata constitution, excess heat in the body from alcohol or dairy would be something that could cause excess puff. So, eating bread and cheese daily definitely added a few lbs. But again, nothing that stayed longer than 3 days after getting back to my normal eating habits.
Another factor that I've learned through my Ayurveda studies is the quality of food. In the Azores, everything is made with love and the highest quality ingredients around. The cows eat the organic grass and live a happy life, so the cheese is processed and assimilated better in our digestive systems. The bread is also locally made with love and delivered to their door steps each morning like the old times, not sitting on shelves where they have been mass produced. These factors really affect the way that our bodies accept food, as well as our mental and emotional state - which while on vacation is very relaxed! When the body is relaxed, the ingredients are clean, and our digestive fire is strong, weight doesn't have to be an issue.
Being active everyday hiking in the mountains, taking triphala each night, drinking hot water with lemon in the morning, and basking in the healing natural hot springs, all balanced out the daily bread and cheese indulgence.
The Azoreans eat fresh bread, butter and cheese for breakfast, and beef stew or fish stew for lunch or dinner, quiejadas or natas (pastries) and chocolate mousse for dessert (my fave!), and they drink wine daily. Why wouldn't I want to experience their lifestyle!? It is so delightful and an important part of their culture! It would be way too restricting to limit myself to those foods because being open and receptive, ebbing and flowing is what life is all about! Anyone can be structured and in control, but then you don't open yourself up to a part of you that might discover something fulfilling or inspiring.
When we got back, I cooked myself a batch of kitchari to strengthen my digestion, drank hot water all day to drain my lymphatic system, and drank detox tea. In just a few days I was feeling back to normal. Having a place that you can always ground yourself and find balance in is essential, but getting out of your normal routine is too.
I hope you can take a vacation from your daily routine, whether it means traveling somewhere or taking a couple days each week to enjoy something that you don't normally, or if it means having a sweet treat each day to bring you a sense of fun. The spice of life is about play, change and newness, otherwise you can become stagnant, isolated or withdrawn. Keep the circulation of life alive by opening yourself up to fun and releasing fear around diet, control, and weight! To schedule a diet assessment, please contact me here.