The Principled Life

By Paul Hunter

Summer is coming and for many that includes traveling either by car or plane.  However you choose to travel, being away from home initiates a change in daily habits, even for the very disciplined and best-intentioned.  Sleep, activity and food are typically thrown out of rhythm.  Often when we get away, we attempt to either sleep more or fit in more of the activities we yearn for when we are working or that we want to share with our children.  Packing in all of these activities yields less sleep and focus on food time.  For others, getting away means new sights, and new restaurants.  Yes, you guessed it, more food in our bellies.  More activity, more food and altered sleep in strange beds yield our daily rhythms out of whack.

Planning is one way to overcome or at least minimize the damages of traveling.  It may take thinking outside the box or seeking the assistance of people who have been successful travelers to find success, but it is possible.  Demise occurs when we throw all to the wind because we are already outside the normal patterns; however, success does not equate to no fun or spontaneity.  

These challenges can be approached a couple different ways:  detailed planning or principle-based planning.  The first involves accounting for every moment, activity and meal.  If you have traveled this way it can be an exhausting, event-filled time.  Necessary for some trips but not all.  If there is a list of extremely high priority meetings, etc., this type of planning may be necessary.  When applied to your vacation or other fun-intended trip, the fun may go away.  Attempting to eat in a detailed manner when away can be stressful and unintentionally chaotic because our daily conveniences are no longer convenient away from our homes.

This is where principle-based planning comes in.  I have found that principle-based planning allows for the most success with the least amount of intrusion into your trip, whether it be for fun or business.  Food is often the category that is lost in the schedule, even with the best planning.  

Eating by principle involves some discipline but affords a larger chance of success.  Here are some basic eating/“fueling” principles that can be used while on the road or in the air:

Fresh fruits and vegetables:  Nutrient-dense and packed with vitamins and minerals, this group of fuel typically yields minimal calories and maximum nutrients.  Try eating one big salad a day.   Second best?  Go frozen if you have a cooler or fridge/freezer available.  If you’re saying in a condo, a blender may be available and frozen berries are a great sweetener in smoothies.  

Lean meats:  Heart doctors often tell their patients to focus on animal with two legs or less.  Think… think… yes, chicken and fish fit the bill here.  Why?  These sources are typically leaner (read: less fat, especially saturated), thus less calories and yield greater amount of protein per ounce.  

Water:  I recommend 1 oz per kilogram (2.2 lbs = 1 kilogram) of body weight.  If you weigh 130 pounds, that equates to about 60 ounces of water daily or almost 2 liters (67.6 ounces). Why water?  Check out these facts:

  1. Your body is about 60% water and can get depleted quite easily, especially if you are engaging in activities outside your norm.  

  2. You lose about 8 to 10 cups, or just over 2 liters of water per normal day through breathing, urine, perspiration and bowel movements. 

  3. As little as 2% loss in water content begins to cause the brain to lose alertness and the body to feel fatigued.

Why would you NOT drink water is a better question.

Yes, you can have some snacks or even your favorite foods.  However, just remember, the farther you stray from these “principles,” the harder your body has to work for energy, and the farther you may be from your goals you had prior to leaving.  Sticking to these principles will allow you some freedom whilst traveling and still provide a foundation for proper fueling to have more fun on vacation and more success on business.