Our journey back to being healthy started when we left Spain. We loved our time in Barcelona and consumed our fair share of wonderful food and drink, but it was time to get serious! After 18 months of being nomadic and traveling the globe, our lifestyle had caught up with us. We told ourselves we were going to enjoy our time abroad and experience the local cultures (food and drink included) whenever possible, but the downside was the toll it took on our health.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘Freshman 15.’ Well, that can be applied here as well. I found myself at my heaviest weight ever and Matt lost a large amount of muscle and gained weight…not a great combo.
We decided to spend five weeks in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala (36 days to be exact) because it’s known for its support of healthy living. It would be cheaper and easier to eat fresh fruits and vegetables over anything out of a box or from a restaurant. There would be access to all the hiking and yoga our bodies could handle and we knew our internet access would be limited. Basically, this allowed us to live off the grid, step away from our computers and reset our lives while enjoying the beauty of Lake Atitlán.
We weighed and measured ourselves on our last day in Spain and did not step on a scale until we arrived back in the U.S. I knew I made progress as soon as I put my jeans on the morning we flew home (Yay!). They fit well enough to wear all day, something I would have never considered for the flight from Spain to Guatemala (hello stretchy leggings!).
After 5 weeks our numbers showed:
Alana – lost 10 pounds and trimmed 2 inches from her waist
Matt – lost 19 pounds and trimmed 3 inches from his waist (and apparently gained a beard)
How did we do it?
Cleaned Up Our Diet
We focused on eating clean and cut out alcohol completely. The village and our place were the perfect locations to stay focused and have access to lots of veggies. The property we stayed on included a huge garden, open for us to eat from and we took full advantage!
We also found a great vegetable lady in the village who supplied us with anything we couldn’t find in our garden. She was also our source for local eggs and fresh made corn tortillas when we wanted a treat with some hot sauce or salsa.
Chose Accommodations Away From the Village Center
Our Airbnb rental was located on top of Barrio 2, a 15-20 minute heart-pumping hike from the village center. This benefited us in two ways:
- Built-in cardio workout
- Was not convenient to run into town and buy unnecessary food/drinks or go out to eat if we were feeling lazy. It helped us stick to our meal plan, which was great!
Introduced Fermented Food and Drinks Into Our Diet
We were looking for fun drinks to consume beyond our coffee and water each day and we lucked out in finding a great local company who provided exactly that! We found a variety of fermented drinks (kombucha, tibicos, jun tea and ginger beer) to introduce into our daily routine. In addition to the drinks, we also enjoyed different fermented foods as well.
We purchased most of our fermented food and drinks directly from Love Probiotics and discovered they also offered workshops. So, we signed up and took part in a wild fermentation course, which was helpful in discovering a bunch of benefits of fermented foods. Along with learning the benefits, we also learned how to make some great recipes.
Being active on a consistent basis again was a great feeling. Staying in one location with room to exercise was something we desperately needed and our place was perfect. We had a deck that allowed us to do yoga and other body weight exercises, without feeling restricted by space or worrying about bothering our neighbors (we had none!). We tried to do something physical at least once a day, be it a walk into the village or a quick 30 minute deck workout.
How will we keep it up back in the USA?
It’s January and we now find ourselves back in the freezing land of beer and cheese (AKA: Wisconsin). We refuse to let ourselves fall into poor eating habits, so we’re focusing on eating as many vegetables as possible. We’ve found one of the easiest ways to add extra vegetables into our diet is by drinking them. Enter protein smoothies and Naked Nutrition Protein!
Kale Protein Smoothie
- 1 large ripe banana
- 3 handfuls organic kale
- 1 serving Naked Nutrition Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 6 large ice cubes
- Water as needed
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Pour into a glass and enjoy! You’ll notice the banana nearly covers all traces of any kale taste.
Many people make the mistake of thinking a fruit or flavored protein powder filled smoothie is doing them good when it is actually adding unnecessary artificial ingredients and sugar to their diet. We have been guilty of consuming this in the past, but we recently found Naked Nutrition protein powders and are pumped!
Naked Nutrition protein powders come in different varieties and so far we have not found a bad option. Matt especially likes these proteins for muscle building and the flavors are easily masked by other ingredients in your shake. The Naked Whey is a grass-fed option, which we both are excited about since most powders on the market are of poor quality. If you are searching for a new protein source and want to give protein powder a shot, definitely check these out. Naked Nutrition even offers gluten free, dairy free and vegan protein options!
Making Our Own Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain beneficial probiotics which aid in healthy digestion, among other benefits. Those same probiotics you can buy in pill form, can be gotten from your own kitchen!
We actually love the way fermented foods taste, so the health benefits are simply a plus for us! We’ve started experimenting with fermentation at home and are currently enjoying our first batch of spicy sauerkraut. We look forward to continuing to educate ourselves and experiment in the world of fermentation throughout 2016! We’ve even launched a blog to share our experiments with fermentation. Check us out at The Wild Gut!