Look.  If I can do it in a 3rd world country, you can do it anywhere.  Europe and the U.S. are easy.  Not to belittle your efforts.  But when you travel to far-flung off-the-beaten-path places and still make your plant-based diet work AND squeeze in your body-shapers (thank goddess for Fit Quickies) priorities, well, that’s where you know you’ve got a winning system.

It’s the little things – the daily details of food and fitness – that deliver transformation of your body to vibrant health and beautiful shape.  That’s why prioritizing them is important.  Creating simple habits gets you there.  And then it just keeps getting better!  That’s how it works.  More in a minute.

First, the travel videos from my favorite  videographer Greg.  Or you can skip on to the details on fitness and food, my take-aways for you today.

Video #1:  Zip lines, 3-toed sloths, poison dart frogs, monkeys and slogging through tropical mud.  Not a glamour shot to be found.

Video #2:  Dolphins, dog rescue, and Jurassic Park-sized wildlife

The workouts and my body-shaping secrets

When I reported in to you about one of my workouts last week here:  Today’s do-anywhere workout: Fit Quickies & Supersets Mashup I was reporting in to you from the jungles of Panama.  To be honest, ‘staying in shape’ is not a problem for me because I built the habit long ago of being active every day.  Remember, these are just that – habits.  In Boot Camp Mind, I share and teach crucial tools for making these changes: See Lesson #4:  Change your mind, change your body, change your life and Lesson #7, Set priorities and make plans.

Active every day means that my body is now hard-wired to walking and hiking, which are my baseline for staying ‘in shape’.  But you need something more if you also want shape.  Are you with me on this one?  Your muscles will adapt to whatever challenge they have been given.  You can maintain baseline health and fitness with simple cardiovascular activity such as walking and including some hiking and brisk intervals.  Yet overall conditioners may leave some body parts lagging and sagging.  If this matters to you, this is where Fit Quickies come to the rescue.

Remember, I designed Fit Quickies with a very specific goal in mind. They were originated to meet my needs of keeping shape – not just staying ‘in shape’ – while traveling.  I targeted all those spots that are our typical trouble spots because they are least activated with daily activity.  With many workout techniques these muscles are under utilized, and the larger, stronger muscles take over.  This leaves behind those areas we all know to be most problematic:  belly, inner thighs, backs of arms, seat, and back side of waist (muffin top spot #1 for me), for example.   With Fit Quickies you isolate and overload these areas to bring them up to speed with the prime movers – those muscles that we rely on most and get the most action during daily activities.  When they are isolated and overloaded, you rapidly target the muscles of focus. That is why they are so effective in short segments. The setup of each exercise – as you see in the Fit Quickie #1  (7 seconds to a flat belly – is stressed because by positioning the body correctly you provide the right angle of stress and leverage to maximize the muscle shaping return for each exercise.   This is in contrast to just doing 5 minutes of exercise – the difference is in the details of leverage and isolation.

Staying plant-based in Panama

‘Going to market’ on Bastimentos Island in Panama means traveling down the gravel road to the Red Frog Marina, flagging down a boat taxi, and taking a 20 minute ride to Bocas Town.  From there it’s find Oliver’s produce market, and track down small mercado or two for beans, rice and salsa.  If you’re lucky, the bakery will still have some bread left when you get there.

We don’t have any wheels in town here so everything needs to be carried in our backpacks, shoulder bags, and gripped in our hands.   And you’ll need a 3rd hand for the umbrella required by the intermittent rain. So as the shopping excursion nears its end, just count on getting your shower au naturelle.

When you are plant-based folks like us, a market haul is a weighty and sizeable affair.  Non-processed foods don’t come in small packages.  Rest assured that  as we minimize trips to town, we stock up on all we needed for a week.  Because that’s all we can carry.  If we could carry the food for 2 weeks, we would.

This particular shopping trip we came back with:

  • 2 pineapples
  • 2 giant papaya
  • 4 bananas
  • 20 potatoes,  including several of a local variety the kind of which I had never seen before yet scored high on the yummers scale
  • 16 squash (I don’t know what they are called here, an interesting variety I only find south of the border)
  • 12 tomatoes
  • 4 cabbages
  • 5 heads of lettuce
  • 2 onions
  • a dozen carrots
  • bag of rice (actually found brown! I travel with a starter bag yet that was about gone so glad to find this)
  • muesli
  • vindaloo curry paste
  • 2 jars of salsa verde
  • 2 bags of lentils
  • bag of  black beans
  • 3 loaves of bread

With a little creativity, I was able to create some savory sauces for the rice and potatoes with the lentils, salsa, and curry.   Tomato sandwiches are a favorite so we had those every day, along with either chopped lettuce or chopped cabbage as a salad.  We found a fat-free salad dressing that we were able to stretch as another seasoning.  I also brought some dried hummus mix – remember, hummus is the new mayo –  along that served as sandwich spread and dressing or sauce as well.

The rules for remote travel when it comes to keeping your healthy plant-based diet alive are pretty basic:
  1. Bring some staple basics with you that will get you started.  Rolled oats and brown rice are on my standard pack list.
  2. Ask where the nearest best supply of fruits and vegetables can be found.  If you are way off the beaten track, you will be able to find a small bottle of bleach if you need to clean veggies and fruits with skins.  If not, you can peel them.  Pouring boiling water over tomatoes makes the skin slip off like sunburn.
  3. Do some recon work in a couple of markets in addition to the produce locations.  I always go with a list to look for what available supplies there are in terms of beans, rice, salsa, and oats.

You can travel anywhere and stay on your plant-based diet

We’ve traveled to places all over the world the past several years and not once have had to succumb to the only thing on the village restaurant menu of fish, beef, or default to chunks of cheese.  A little planning and a simple menu will get you where you want to go without ditching your glorious plant-based food plan.

We came through our Panamanian adventure plant-strong with only one mishap.  I scorched an entire pot of black beans because I was absorbed in my response to a question on my column at the Dr. McDougall Health and Medical Center.  True story.

Please share YOUR tips for staying in shape, ‘shaped’, and well fed on the road in comments below!

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