Although I currently live in the US, I am, in fact, Canadian. For us Canucks, there are a few things that wholly represent our home country: the game of hockey, maple syrup, Nanaimo Bars, Tim Hortons (bleh!), and my personal favourite (no, that wasn’t a typo): poutine (pronounced poo-tin).
Poutine is a Quebecois (kay-beck-kwa) staple. During my studies at Laval University in Quebec City, I used to buy frozen McCain french fries, cans of beef gravy, and bags of cheese curds so that I could make my own poutine in the dorm kitchen (clearly I didn’t have the same health knowledge as I do now — thank God it was just a short program or I’m sure I would have left Quebec with thirty pounds of gravy fat). The best part was that in Quebec, the cheese curds are sold in the “impulse buy” section of the checkout. Where other grocery stores would have chocolate bars and gum, Quebec’ers get tempted to buy a bag of cheese balls. Love it.
For cheese curds to be legit, they need to be eaten within hours of manufacturing so they can be tricky to find in places that don’t have cheese makers. Even though it is possible to find cheese curds here in California, I’ve yet to go out and make my own poutine. It’s just not right. So instead, I saved up all my poutine allowances over the past ten years and cashed in while visiting my sister in the beautiful (and cold!) city of Montreal.
It was love at first sight.
And love at…second sight.
And love at…third sight.
And love at…well…you get it.
By the fourth helping of poutine (in four days), I had heartburn and my liver was actually aching (drat you somewhat still enlarged liver!). I decided that was probably enough. My body was clearly in revolt from the shock of such fatty food and overly generous glasses of wine.
But on the last day, after a great workout with a MyFitnessPal friend who happened to live in Montreal, I decided to have one last poutine hoorah. I headed to the final recommendation I had received from Montreal’ers and had the best poutine yet. I don’t know if it was the sentiment of enjoying my last poutine before heading home or if it was in fact the best but either way, it was glorious.
And just to show that I did more than eat poutine for six days straight, I’ll share a few highlights from the trip. Although I enjoy having these cheat foods once in a while, maintaining some form of balance while I travel helps me get back on track as soon as I’m home. To avoid the awful butt-dragging that most people encounter after a vacation of indulgence, I make sure to:
- incorporate as much exercise as I can (I brought my jump rope, GymBoss, and HRM)
- pack supplies for my own healthy oatmeal-on-the-go breakfasts to get the day started right (Three Sisters Plain Grain organic oatmeal + nuts + Vega Shake & Go Chocolate Smoothie = energy until noon)
- bring superfood powders to help get a dose of nutrients, probiotics and clean energy each day
- pack a clean cooler for each travel day so I avoid airport/airline food
How do you travel lean and clean?