I just got back from Disney World with my family. Let me just say, I love Disney World! I don’t care what anyone says, I know its a place of excess and crap and over-stimulation but they really have it down there. It’s a destination that really services adults, even more than kids, because, let’s face it, if the adults aren’t happy, they’re not going to spend a ridiculous amount of money taking their kids there. And boy does Disney make me happy!
Spaceship Earth, Epcot Center
Prior to departure, I did spend a fair amount of time figuring out what I was going to eat. Disney is famous for many things but healthy, organic food is not one of them. I thought about my options before hand, during the trip and then again upon return and I wanted to share some of these things with you. I hope you’ll find them helpful next time you’re indulging someplace far, far away from home!
Take A Breath: nothing terrible is going to happen if you don’t consume that raw juice every day for the next few. Some of us experience a tremendous amount of anxiety around the food choices we make. Conscious focus and consideration may serve us well in the long term but please, try to enjoy the OTHER important things going on: playtime with friends, family, new sights, sounds and a disconnection from all that typically tethers us to home. Now, I know there are some people out there who are tried and true die hard raw-vegans. Put aside for a moment the food choices these individuals choose to make on a daily basis; these particular foodies WILL actually experience major gastrointestinal discomfort if they stray outside there food “zone.” Their systems are so fine tuned to this type of eating they will suffer the consequences of not eating this way, even for a few days. To these people, I am NOT speaking. They know who they are (and I love them!) and they know what ails them and I respect it all, but I am speaking to the rest of us.
The World of Harry Potter was awesome, of course. Universal Studios
Plan Ahead: I took a look online at the restaurant menus both at our hotel and at restaurants at Epcot and Universal and familiarized myself with what they had. I found this to be really helpful and actually fun! My family is very thoughtful of me and if I can find something on the menu, they’re happy eating where-ever. There’s always something they will enjoy; I am definitely the more challenging one to please! There are many more choices at places like Disney than there used to be, but most restaurants now I find have worked hard to accommodate people’s palates and desires these days. It was really helpful to know in advance which restaurants would be most suitable for all of us before we arrived as this made meal time a no stress affair.
Me and my son, getting rained on and without a care! Universal Studios
In addition, I carried snacks with me, both on the plane and throughout the parks. This was key! I get hungry and hungry like a loon! It comes on fast and furious and there are certain eating principles I have maintained for so long now that I would prefer not forfeit them if I don’t HAVE to. This is important for each of us. Some people do fine with gluten, for example but choose not to eat it most of the time. When they’re in a tough spot, they do ok with airplane pretzels or popcorn or Doritos (yes, these things were what was offered on my flights!). I am NOT one of those people and so, planning ahead was critical for me. I grabbed some Lara Bars and organic dried apples and was put at ease. No panicking about what to do when the inevitable munchies reared up, I was all set! Carry in your carryon anything that will keep you satisfied physically and mentally and get on with the fun stuff!
Ask For What You Want: I get it, many of us don’t like to ruffle feathers or “put anyone out.” Some of us fear the dreaded punishment for being “difficult” in a restaurant. We all know what this may look like and I prefer not to think about it. But seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. I’m certain that most restaurants will be more than happy to adjust most items on a menu to your liking; they want you to come back! Yes, there are some eateries in places like Disney that won’t change what’s on the menu, its just not possible for them to (the crepe stand in France at Epcot’s World Showcase, for example) so you’d have to move on from that; but if you’re not eating crepes in your daily life anyway, why start now? This leads me to my next tip…
Make every attempt to try to stay where you are: Its a vacation, I know, but that doesn’t mean all bets are off. It’s tempting to think this way (I’ve done it thousands of times) but its a habit we’re perfectly capable of breaking and its worth the practice. Try not to think of food choices in terms of “on the wagon, off the wagon,” or “on the diet, off the diet.” Consistency is key to any success and importantly, to how good you feel. Eating raw then fried then fruit then pasta, then raw for three days then too many baked goods the next is really taxing on the tummy and ultimately horrible for digestion, which leads to not only gastrointestinal discomfort but also waste accumulation and weight build up. Try to remember those principles that are foolproof for the gut first and then consider those indulgences, all of which will make for a fluid and fabulous time!
Hubby and son in Morocco, of course! Epcot Center
I knew raw juices were going to be tough to come by at Disney but I also know that starting my day with raw, fresh organic fruit would be my next best bet. Eaten on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, I would have no bloating or discomfort and enjoy nutrient packed raw food to start my day. Lunch always started with a salad, no restaurant dressing, but I could always ask for lemon or lime wedges and extra virgin olive oil. Its tough to find starches that are appropriate (not many avocados or baked sweet potatoes on the menus at Disney…french fries are certainly the starch du jour, every du jour) but I could always find appropriate protein choices that made me and my tummy happy and kept me feeling satisfied. Dinner was often again, a protein/veggie combo (I probably ate mostly this combination over the three days I was away and I still felt great) but I did enjoy a dessert and somehow, most restaurants seem to offer a flour-less chocolate something-or-other that does me just fine! If not, not to worry, I also packed a couple of dark chocolate bars that were waiting for me in my room!
Maintain the Basics: Take your probiotics every morning, just like you do at home and drink lots of water, again, just like you do at home! These two items will keep you “regular” and hydrated and feeling great every day you’re away…no one should experience constipation and bloat when they’re trying to have a good time! Also, try to maintain the same eating schedule you would at home. If you tend to eat dinner early, like I do, try to keep that up. Of course things come up and if they do, you’ll be okay, but try to adhere to the same schedule. Again, remember, consistency is key to a happy tummy. A happy tummy (and by tummy, I do mean colon) is key to a happy you!
Most importably, and as mentioned at the start: enjoy the time you’ve worked hard to enjoy! You’ve set aside time and money to have a good time and make memories that you’re sure to cherish for years to come. Don’t let food, your body’s sustenance stand in the way of that. Food IS your body’s sustenance, so make the best choices for the miraculous machine your body is and get on with the fun stuff!