Traveling and the Ketogenic lifestyle go together like PB&J (perhaps without the J) for many reasons. However, it can be a challenge to travel to a totally foreign place and stay true to a Ketogenic diet at the same time. Just remember when the going gets tough, the perks of a Ketogenic diet will amplify your travel experience in almost every way.
You'll enjoy boundless energy, give jet-lag a swift punch to the gut, tell stress to shove it and sleep like a baby no matter the circumstances. I'd go as far as to argue that there is no better travel experience than that of a holiday while on a strict Ketogenic diet.
So how can you manage to stay true to the Ketogenic lifestyle with all of the unexpected experiences that travel has to throw at you? Here's my top 5 tips to keep that Keto buzz during your trip.
1 - Bring plenty of electrolytes
Why are electrolytes so important during travel, in particularly while in Ketosis? Think about it, some of the biggest depleaters of electrolytes in your body include extraneous activity and stress, both of which you are sure to encounter an excess of during your travels. Long plane rides mean limited access to water and possible dehydration. You need to be constantly replenishing your electrolytes in order to remain within adequate levels.
My favorite brand of Keto-friendly electrolytes at the moment is Ultima Hydrating Electrolyte powder - affiliate link. Ultima is the perfect electrolyte supplement for a Ketogenic diet. It's got 0 sugar and carbs, is vegan, gluten-free, caffeine free, soy/dairy free and non-GMO. It's got healthy servings of all of the most essential electrolytes including potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. That's a mouthfull, but rest assured, it's totally safe to drink on a Ketogenic diet.
I would recommend filling a ziplock baggy or tupperware container full to take with. Another great option is to purchase the travel friendly Ultima packets - affiliate link for easy access on the go throughout the day. Throw 2 or 3 in your pocket for a long day of adventuring and periodically fill up your water bottle with them whenever you feel yourself slowing down for a quick pick-me-up. They are especially great for hiking while on your trip.
This tip is especially important if you plan on going out drinking during your trip...and let's face it, who doesn't? Take one extra dose before your night out..and take it easy on the alcohol! Your Keto brain will take a big hit from it.
2 - Eggs are your best friend
Seriously, you can't eat too many eggs on Keto. Seek out some fresh, local (preferably pasture raised) eggs as soon as you get to your destination. My favorite tip is to just boil a half dozen or so eggs at a time and carry them with you throughout the day.
As soon as you feel yourself having a craving, grab one from your stash!! Sure people might look at you a bit funny, but who's got time to worry about that..? It could even be a great conversation starter with a foreigner ;) You'll get a healthy dose of fats, sodium, potassium, protein and vitamins in a wonderfully compact format.
Don't forget to pack some extra salt to take with you for an extra boost.
3 - Seek out local health food stores
Finding grocery stores while traveling isn't too difficult in it's own right, but finding healthy food stores may prove a bit more challenging. You might have luck using Yelp or Google maps, but sometimes the best advice would be to ask your hotel or hostel staff if they know of any specific stores.
Some of the products you will want to shop that would be most useful for you include the following:
- Avocados (Fats + potassium!!)
- Eggs (Pretty much a super food)
- Coconut milk and coconut oil (Can you say MCT?)
- Peanut butter (sugar and additive free!)
- Spinach (Make sure you get those leafy greens)
- Nuts (preferably pistachios or pecans for their low carb/high nutrition value)
If you manage to find one store with all of the above, you've basically won the lottery, congratulations, you are now a ketone millionaire.
4 - Be prepared for the plane ride
Make sure to start your trip on the right foot! You don't want to forget the plane ride, as it's a critical leg of your trip and can throw you totally off Keto-balance if you aren't prepared. You might be spending upwards of 10 hours on a plane at a time with access to limited or NO Keto-friendly options.
Here is what I recommend bringing with for a standard 8+hr flight:
- Hard-boiled eggs (2-3).
- At least 1 avocado
- Smoked salmon or pre-cooked bacon (get those healthy fats in)
- Plenty of nuts (Try not to go overboard)
- Lots of water!!! Sometimes airlines are stingy here.. You'll need to bring 2-3 empty bottles with you through security and fill them up with tap before you board.
- Salt! Grab a couple packets from some of the take-out restaurants in the airport, sprinkle it on your snacks and mix some in your water during the flight.
- Extra electrolytes! Staying hydrated during the flight is key to enabling your body to get rest and feeling refreshed when you arrive in your destination.
Unfortunately you will find it rather difficult to get any type of peanut butter or coconut milk/oil on-board. However, there is a loophole! If you take a few spoonfuls of peanut butter or coconut oil OUT of the jar and put flatten it into a plastic baggy of some sort, there is a much better chance you can sneak it through security. Just don't bank on it 100% because you never know.
As for the MCT oil, bring a small amount (less than 100ml due to travel restrictions) in a hard container that seals completely, you'll also want to put it in a ziploc baggy in case it leaks by accident (yes I'm speaking from experience). My personal favorite are the LiquiSnugs by TravelSnugs. They'll keep your oil from spilling all over your precious belongings.
5 - Stay in a hostel / Airbnb
You're probably wondering how this is relevant to remaining on Keto while traveling, allow me to elaborate. Hostel's (and Airbnb) nearly always come equipped with awesome kitchen areas. This means you have total access to pots, pans, seasonings, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, ovens and everything else you could possibly need to for Keto-cooking. In contrast, you'll be lucky to have so much as a fridge in most hotels.
These kitchens come standard in most hostels, but double check before booking to ensure you won't be surprised when you get there. Also, don't forget to check the kitchen hours, as you don't want to have any late night cravings that you can't satiate.
Last but not least, some other obvious benefit are that you'll save some extra $$$ to spend on yummy Keto-bites and meet tons of other travelers to share your Keto knowledge with ;)
Enjoy your Ketosis-filled journeys, fellow traveler...