I’m going to tell you something that maybe nobody else who writes about diets will tell you: When you’re on vacation, go on vacation. Take the opportunity to remind yourself just why eating a low-carb diet is important to you and your lifestyle. Yes, carbohydrates are physically addicting. Yes, addiction is best cured through total abstinence. Yes your body will make you feel sick if you eat those foods you’ve been avoiding. But for those one or two weeks out of the year, I say do it anyway.
Unlike a lot of people who follow and preach a low-carb high-fat diet, I’m one of the folks who advocate doing a carbohydrate reload once a week. I try to limit mine to six hours, usually on Saturday. it gives me the opportunity to set aside foods that I might feel the emotional desire to feel entertained by, and remind myself that I can always have them in less than a week. Unless something is wrong with the way I’m following my diet, that’s usually more than adequate to keep me from straying. knowing that it’s possible to eat anything I want for a few hours every week makes the limitations of the diet feel much more sustainable.
Of course, following a low-carb high-fat diet gives me a naturally low appetite for carbohydrates. after a very short time following a low-carb high-fat lifestyle, your body loses the ability to even tolerate refined carbohydrates. You’ll find even your favorite bread feels gummy in your mouth. You’ll find swallowing it is harder than swallowing healthy meats and vegetables. You’ll find that refined carbohydrates move through your system slower, and make you feel confused. You’ll find sugary treats give you a jumpy nervous feeling within a few minutes of eating them. And all of these effects help keep you from eating the wrong foods.
But there are inconveniences associated with a low-carb high-fat diet. This is particularly true when you’re not in control of your kitchen, and you have to eat on the road. Now it’s not difficult to find low-carb high-fat meals pretty much anywhere in the world. Even popular family restaurants that specialize in pancakes and fried foods will usually have something on the menu that’s perfect for low-carb high-fat eaters, or easily converted. Buy the double cheeseburger with a side salad, and toss out the bun. Get the bacon and eggs and skip the toast. It’s not rocket science.
The challenge with a vacation comes when you’re traveling to a place where the regional food is part of the experience. For example, if you’re going to New York, that street vendor selling slices of pizza as big as your face is part of what you’re going there to see. Paris wouldn’t be Paris without baguettes and croissants. In Tokyo it’s downright rude to ignore the ramen noodles. Sometimes the food is just part of the entertainment.
It comes down to the balance between emotional eating and physical eating. Our commercial society has built a psychological component into the desire to eat food. We’re fortunate (many of us) to be able to look at food as both nutrition and recreation. But not everybody in the world can say that. If you’re reading my blog about low-carb high-fat diets, I think it’s a fair guess that you may have that option. And you’re blessed to have it.
Accept your blessings. Eating carbohydrates for a week will make you feel sick, but it will also give you the opportunity to experience your vacation more fully. Mix the unusual treats with a balance of healthy low-carb high-fat meals as you go. And when you get back, you may be surprised how anxious you are to resume your normal low-carb high-fat eating.