Festivals: 3 Essential Factors for a Healthy Happy Festival

Don’t want to feel awful on Monday?

Glastonbury is easily one of my favourite long weekends of the year. It’s not just the headliners that have had me rebooking for the last four years, it wouldn’t be half as much fun if I wasn’t for the great company or the unique atmosphere we all share on Micheal Eavis’ farm once a year. 

However, there is always the impending Monday post-festival dooooom which tends to hit during the field departure debarcle. One my festival of my festival blues was actually spent in hospital… So I can definitely say i’ve learnt (the hard way) how to maximise fun and not get sick. So whether you’re off to Creamfields with ya mates or glamping at V-fest, here’s some advice to feel happy, healthy and awake on that Monday.

 

Step one: be prepared

 

1 Food

Big clue: your gut is where the majority of your serotonin is produced and where the majority of immune system is.

Don’t rely on eating from food trucks at festivals. The choices are often fried, full of sugars and unhealthy fats. What’s more is that they are also pretty pricey. Unfortunately .. they’re not just going to burn a hole in your pocket.. Pounding your stomach with fast food is not a good way to stay friends with your gut. Avoid sugar highs and lows, tiredness and get the most out of your festival. Don’t waste the Monday after.

I recommend packing breakfast so that you can promise yourself you’ll eat at least one healthy meal. It also means you don’t have to leave the tent in the morning.. Double win. I usually bring:

A loaf of gluten free homemade bread (i’m wheat intolerant)

2 nut butter Pip and Nut squeeze packs for each day 

A jar of peanut butter

Apples

Honestly these three together are the dream. They also balance out the fruit sugar with fats.

Don’t get hangry and make bad choices! So easy to do.. Instead stock up on some healthy snacks to keep with you:

Energy balls (Deliciously Ella, Bounce Balls..)

Tangerines

Brown rice cakes (I like Kallo chocolate coated)

For lunches I would recommend Jamie Oliver’s lentil packets but inevitably you’re going to want to try some of the food at the festival. I certainly did! 10/10 burrito by the Pyramid Stage. However when you’re choosing, choose well. For example if you’re wheat and dairy free, don’t choose a pizza. If you suffer from intolerances in anyway like me, you’ll be left with a foggy brain and semi-pregnant belly. Instead of a recipe for intolerance disaster, indulge in a Thai curry or some sweet potato fries.

 

2. Alcohol

Most of us enjoy a few drinks at a festival. I respect those who are t-total for health reasons. I have had periods of up to a year where I haven’t touched alcohol for the benefit of my health. However, as time has gone on, I’ve learnt that drinking alcohol is about balance. Principally the balance of mental and physical health: enjoying a few and feeling included in social situations. Undoubtedly,  I also try to balance frequency and quantity so that essentially, I feel happiest during, and after drinking.

I do often enjoy 24 hours of not drinking at a festival. Try it! You realise that you really don’t need to be under the influence to soak up the atmosphere and it’s important for me to remember every single second of some acts.

When I do choose to drink, I tend to stick to white spirits such as gin and vodka. They contains less tannins than rums, whiskeys and wines. Tannins can exacerbate a hangover. I also choose mixers with less sugar such as slim line tonic. Although alcohol already has sugar in, choosing a low sugar mixer can reduce sugar peaks and falls. 

Water is so important at a festival. Flush out toxins and stay hydrated. Bring a refillable water bottle with you. (A BIG ONE).

 

3. Sleep

I have no shame in taking a nap during the day. The amount of times I heard “sleep when you’re dead” brashed around by campsite neighbours and toilet queues. Been there. Done that. You end up moody, spotty and miserable. Festival nay. Napping allows me to make the most of the evenings.. so you’ll find me cosied up with eye mask and sleeping bag around 4pm with alarm set.

So that was three key elements to bare in mind. Maximise how much you enjoy that festival and minimise the festival Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…) blues.

Get packed and have the best time!

 

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My Famous 3 Step Instagram Pancakes

So a couple of you have asked how I make my pancakes. So in ultimate laziness, I can now send you all this link! Just joking. They are the easiest and fluffiest things to make that they needed to be shared.

Health pros: Intolerance friendly (wheat, dairy and nut free), low sugar and TASTY

Literally takes 5 minutes. Genuinely.

I can even make these before work! Let’s face it, I had to find a solution to being able to still eat pancakes on weekdays and also not cut down on sleep. Sleep is life.

 

 

  1. Heat a frying pan with coconut oil
  2. Mix an egg, a banana, a handful of oats and a dash of (almond) milk. I use a Nutribullet because it is so speedy but you can do by hand
  3. Pour into pan to make 4 fist sized pancake and flip after 2 minutes

 

Then obviously the best bit is adding ALLL the extras. I strongly recommend serving with:

Nut butter

A little maple syrup

Berries

MORE banana

Cacao nibs (great for waking up in the morning!)

Nuts

 

I’ve been experimenting with lots of delicious pancake recipes (including Peruvian maca powder!!) so look out for my next delicious post.

 

 

 

5 healthy breakfasts for backpackers

How to breakfast healthy whilst backpacking around South America

Good news: free hostel breakfast 

Bad news: it’s cake and squash..
..Oh and no blender, juicer, nutribullet, working oven.

Whether you’re going from hostel to hostel like me, or hotel to hotel, breakfast can be be tricky. On one hand you want to take advantage of what’s on offer for FREE, on the other hand, what is actually on offer is often unhealthy, sugar spiking and wheat/dairy filled. 

Travelling across Brazil and Argentina this past month, I have found the most popular morning options to be cake, bread, processed ham and cheese, cereals, milk and, fruit-wise, watermelon, melon, papaya, apples and bananas. Occasionally I have been lazy and tempted but the result is bloating, bad skin and dark circles. It’s just not worth it. AND there is no need.
Here are 5 quick fixes for a healthy gluten and dairy free breakfast:

1. Cheap and quick chia seed pudding

No kitchen needed 


 Chia seeds are a great source of Omega 3 and fibre. The great thing about travelling South America is that they’re so much cheaper to buy here than the U.K or U.S (about £2 for 500g). Health shops are common in city centres and here almond milk is readily available. Failing that coconut, soya and lactose-free milk are stocked in most supermarkets. Altogether you’re looking at about an extra £5 per week for a delicious and nutritious breakfast which will stop you splashing out satisfying sugary cravings later in the day. Prepare this the night before so there’s no need to miss out on socialising with others at breakfast.
Ingredients: 

3 tablespoons of chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

Fruit (take advantage of what’s on offer at breakfast!)

Cinammon (extra) 

Nuts (extra) – brazil nuts are about £1 / 350g
Method:

Mix the chia seeds and almond milk (and cinnamon) in a bowl or glass. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge. In the morning add the fruit (and nuts). Ta-dah. 

2. Great British Porridge

No kitchen needed



I am wheat intolerant I have found that I have no reaction to normal oats. Traditional porridge oats are available in most supermarkets and cost about £2.50 and lasts me about 2 weeks. If you need gluten-free certified porridge, it is stocked in most health food shops which are plentiful in the city centre. Invest in some dairy free milk as described in the above recipe. You can either prepare this in the kitchen (normally next to where breakfast is served in the hostel) or simply take your oats to breakfast and let them soak for about 10 minutes in boiling water (availble at breakfast). 

Ingredients:

Oats

Almond milk

Fruit 
Method: 

Add 50g porridge oats and 350ml almond milk. Put in microwave for 3 mins or on the hob for 6!

3. Versatile eggs

They’re cheap. They’re protein. They’re versatile. Go omelette with tomatoes, scrambled with avocado, poached with spinach or fried with mushrooms. Eating fruit for breakfast is tasty and free. However avoid the morning sugar spike and mix it with protein from eggs (and fats from coconut oil!)
Ingredients:

Eggs.

4. Banana pancakes 


Top your hostel breakfast. Yes everyone may be enjoying the toast but up your game. They’re really easy to make, a good mix of sugar and protein and toppings provide an additional source of nutritionist.

 
Ingredients:

2 bananas

Half an egg

Toppings (see below)
Method:

Mash the bananas till smooth and add a whisked egg. For full on gluttony add toppings. I love walnuts, peanut butter, dark chocolate, berries and more banana.

5. Acai (Brazil exclusive)



I’m afraid this one only really works if you’re travelling around Brazil. There are minimal steps to this one. Leave your hostel. Walk a maximum of 5 minutes until you find a corner shop which sells fresh acai. Spend less than £2. Enjoy. 
Look forward to backpacking breakfasts!

Eating in Rio

 Food in Rio, restaurant recommendations, food tips, fitness suggestions..

Wheat, meat and acai is a good three word summary of my experience of food in Rio!

 

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I’ve been staying in hostels and the free breakfast consists of cake, toast, paquet cheese and ham BUT also fresh watermelon, papaya and melon. In the main areas like Copacabana and Lapa there are cafes on every corner where you can get a traditional chicken, rice and beans for about 20 reales (£5). Acai and coconut water are in abundance in Rio! When I stayed in Copacabana I genuinely couldn’t go more than 3 minutes without walking past a cafe that sold them.

 

Recommendations

Feijoada- one of Brazil’s most famous dishes. A hearty stew made with black beans, sausages, cuts of pork, a side portion of crackling and some orange pieces to finish it off. Really tasty!

Delirio Tropical- came recommended from a friend who used to live in Rio. It’s a small Brazilian chain with a salad buffet and gluten free options! (Maize pasta, quinoa..) Also the best chocolate cake I think I have ever had in my life. (£6) for plateful of three different salads. They also do takeaway! 36 Ria da Assembleia, Centro

Carretao- a local recommended this restaurant in Copacabana for Brazilian BBQ- all you can eat meat and salad! Fill your plate with a variation of roasted vegetables, Israeli salad, beetroot and all other kinds of greenery. Waiters come round with all different kinds of tender meats. My favourite meal in Rio so far. (£25) with wine. 23 Ria Siquiera Campos, Copacabana

Acai and coconut water on every corner. Make the most of the (£2) acai and (£1 )coconut water fresh out of a coconut! ** Watch out for the sugary granola toppings and that the Acai doesn’t come with “xarope” syrup as it will be overly sweet.

O Quintal Zen- EVERYTHING wheat and dairy free. It’s a five minute walk from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and the food is delicious. I had a wheat dairy free pesto pasta with complementary lavender water and a brigadeiro (typical Brazialian dessert). The dessert is normally made with dolce de leche and cocoa but this one was refined sugar free made from the banana root and raw cacao.

A refined sugar free, gluten free and dairy free brigadeiro

 

Food tips

Nutrition? Pimp your meals! Mix up a container of superfoods before you come. You can add extra nutritents to all your meals. Mine is made up of chia seeds, almonds, cocoa nibs (interesting on savoury food), linseeds and sunflower seeds. I sprinkle it on everything, sweet potato omelettes to peanut butter covered bananas!

Avoid refined? White rice comes with most dishes but “arroz integral” (brown rice) is easy to come by in the supermarkets.

No sugar? Watch out for the Caipirinha’s. As delicious (and alcoholic) as they may be, about 5 tablespoons of white sugar goes into them. Vodka and soda is available in most bars but you will pay extra (£7 instead of £4)

Budget? Snack on bananas (20p) with some peanut butter to balance the sugar . I brought Pip and Nut sachets with me but there are plenty of health food shops around which sell a good quality nut butter. Failing this peanuts are (£1) for a bag in the supermarket.

A peanut butter covered banana with my own nutritious toppings

 

Fitness suggestions

1. Hike up to Christ the Redeemer. Expect a tough 2 hour hike up to the top including parts where you climb up using metal handles built into the rock. I felt like I’d done an hours spin class under hot yoga conditions. Incredibly rewarding when you get to the top.

2. Hire bikes to explore the city. We biked down Copacabana beach, to Ipanema beach, then around  Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas stopping off at Parque Lage and the Botanical Garden, back through Leblon (wealthy area of Rio) to Copabacabana. Great work out.

3. There are outdoor gyms at every 50m of Copacabana. Test your press ups, chin ups and sit ups! Most parks around the Copacabana area also have outdoor cross-trainer style machines and arm presses.

My travelling companion Lydia getting in some pull ups on Ipanema beach

***Not all supermarkets take credit card (Revolut/ STA travel card). We found this out the hard way.. Pão de Açúcar takes credit card but others do not!