No way was that flan on my "approved foods" list!

Everyone needs a vacation from the day-to-day hustle of life from time to time. However, if you’re the kind of person that thrives in the mundane reality of routines, a vacation can sometimes throw you off course. I know that my recent trip to the Dominican Republic basically laughed in the face of all my paleo ambitions; almost every noonday meal included rice and beans, and the bread and sweets were plentiful. I gave in to them with an “I’m on vacation!” attitude and then found myself feeling lethargic and bloated. I don’t recommend this!

While I’m not going to chastise anyone for the occasional dalliance (we’re human; we err), know that it is definitely possible to follow a paleo diet while on vacation, even in the Dominican Republic where unhealthy carbs and legumes are a huge part of the culture. Instead, here are some tips to help you stay on track:

1- Opt for better sources of carbohydrates to replace “white” starches. Sweet potatoes (batatas), plantains, yucca–I could have had any of these instead of rice and been very satisfied.
2- Take advantage of the local specialties. I was on an island–clearly seafood would have been a great meal choice whenever possible. Some places in the Dominican Republic are also known for their scrumptious goat dishes; definitely get some of that on your plate whenever possible!
3- Fruits and veggies. I can’t tell you how many street vendors passed in front of my family home selling mangoes, grapes, avocados and the like. Had I invested in that instead of the two pounds of dulce de leche I bought in Cruces de Ocoa, my tummy would have never been upset.
4- Go outside! Yes, you’re on vacation. This doesn’t mean sit on your butt all day long–you could have stayed home for that! See the sights, go for hikes and if you’re on an island like I was, go for a swim.
5- Relax. I want to reiterate that straying on one or two occasions won’t kill you. If your host offers you some homemade limeade, and you know they chucked a bunch of sugar into it, have at it. Homemade limeade in the Caribbean is delicious! Just remember to switch back to water soon after.

Switching your lifestyle is daunting, I know, but a little planning and forethought will give you that extra bit of support when you’re away from your daily routine. What tips do you have for staying healthy while away from home? Tell us in the comments!