South Dakota -- a surprising "must see" place
Despite some financial randomness that has sprung up over the past year, Deek and I were able to squirrel away money specifically for this trip. It's very important to us that all vacations be paid for upfront and never be put on credit (we adhere to Dave Ramsey's Financial Freedom method). After spending years (before me) with a credit card addicted person who nearly drove him into the financial ground, Deek can only enjoy vacations knowing they're not being put on credit. And I'm an uber budgeter, so it's another way we're a perfect match!
We keep getting the question, how did you stay keto and LOSE weight on vacation? So, I thought I'd start this blog series by answering that burning question. First, it required a lot of food planning. Second, we packed exercise clothes and made reservations at hotels with fitness centers. Though no one enjoys exercising on vacation, we made a point to do it on days when we weren't walking/hiking to explore things. But I'll go into more detail on the food part since that's the element most people have asked us about.
Before we went on the trip, we did a ton of planning. As I mentioned before, Deek and I are doing keto, and we're having *major* success. I just did a side-by-side comparison of myself before starting and now, and WHOA! I can't even post it because the before is just too embarrassing. Anyhoo, we knew we didn't want to get off this keto train, not even for an epic vacation. So, we planned and planned.
Our daily snack packs
Here are some of our helpful "staying on keto" tips for traveling cross-country:
1) Get a cargo rack for your food storage. I'm short, so we needed something on the back of the car instead of on the top. We got one like this (used the "trip prep" part of our budget for it)...
2) Get a great storage bin to put on the storage rack. I got this fabulous one at Walmart for only $12, and this sucker kept our food in good condition despite dust and rain storms.
3) Think about where you will be going. For the first leg of the trip, we took a northern route, so we decided to pack cold items in a cooler. On the way back, we took the southern route. We'd been warned of temperatures potentially in the 110-115 range (though it actually never got above 90), so we elected to do shelf stable food only for that leg of the trip.
4) Pre-pack as much food as you can. It saves you money, and you have snacks right at your fingertips. I broke everything up by day. We had breakfast, lunch, and snack bags for each day (we budgeted to eat dinners out). In the morning, we'd pull out that day's worth of food. We'd put the cold stuff in the inside cooler and the shelf stable stuff in the door for easy access.
If you can tear your eyes from the incredibly sexy man in the picture, note his shelf stable collection of food in the door.
5) Measure, measure, measure. We packed a lot of macadamia nuts and pecans since they're high in fat and low in carbs. But we measured out each portion. That made tracking our macros (in My Fitness Pal) super easy.
6) Stay hydrated! We personally love electrolyte water (Whole Food's 365 and Life Water are our favorites) and Bai drinks.
Strawberry Lemonade is my favorite, but Deek likes the blueberry.
7) Research shelf stable foods because they're so much easier than dealing with a cooler. You might not think there are a lot of options for keto, but there are! Here are some we found:
--F Bombs (love the name, and the flavor is exceptional!)
--Duke's Smokies. We found these at New Seasons in the PNW, but we were pleased to find out you can order them online too!
--Heart Healthy Nuts by Planters
--Pistachios by Wonderful (my favorite is the salt and pepper)
--Epic -- There aren't a lot of Epic products I like, but I *did* like this one!
-- Premier Protein Shakes -- I'm allergic to the proteins in milk, but Deek loves these!
7) Know what you can eat if you decide to eat out. Deek and I had pre-planned places we could eat and what we could eat at those place. But we did leave room for spontaneity. For example, in Independence, MO, we ate at a charming little place called The Salty Iguana. Deek is semi-obsessed with iguanas, so we know it was the perfect place to eat! For the record, Iggy's Hot Pot is all that and then some. Mmmmm!! I would consider a trip back to Independence just to stay at the awesome Stoney Creek Hotel and eat at The Salty Iguana again!
Examples of food you can pre-plan to eat out:
--Wendy's -- 2 Jr. Bacon cheeseburgers without the bun and condiments
--Subway-- Italian Hero (meat and cheese only), Italian BMT (meat and cheese only), Subway Philly cheesesteak (meat and cheese only)
--Mexican -- Fajitas without the wrap
8) Have fun. Now, please know, I'm not saying you can't have fun on vacation too! Like I said, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at The Salty Iguana, and it stayed within our keto guidelines. But as I mentioned in another post, I am hypothyroid. Because of that, I have to be careful with keto and have a high carb day once a week to keep my T4s and T3s doing what they're supposed to be doing. Our vacation allotted us two high carb days, so we strategically planned them for the PNW (at Deek's favorite restaurant) and Vegas. We ended up eating at Pinup Pizza in Vegas and getting the largest slices on the strip!
Deek's back home and eating with his family at his favorite place!
Pinup Pizza--biggest slices on the strip!
If you're thinking of traveling while on a specific eating plan, it CAN be done. Deek and I both LOST weight on this trip, and we came home feeling great. Keto gives us tons of energy, so we were able to fully enjoy this vacation. We didn't come back with that vacation bloat and fatigue that so often happens from too much indulgence.
Stay tuned for more about our epic trip!