Mike and I just returned from a tour of Panama and the Panama Canal. Having explored Costa Rica with Caravan Tour last year, we were confident that we would enjoy ten days in Panama, seven days with Caravan. We were not disappointed; neither were the friends who accompanied us.
The problem with travel, of course, is the vast change in daily habits. The food was excellent. On this tour, our activity was limited. And in the company of good friends, lack of responsibility and two days at an all-inclusive resort, we imbibed rather freely. The stress of long flights, jet lag, and climate differences makes me more susceptible to viruses. About halfway through the tour I was blasted by canker sores which plague me when under stress. I felt terrible, but took the positive view that the pain limited my food and drink intake.
One of the joys of travel is experiencing new cuisine, and I refuse to deny myself at this time of life; after all, I may never return to these places. To enjoy and not feel deprived, I sample. Because we were served buffet style at most meals, it was easy to take a little of this and a little of that. I try to avoid foods that I can get at home, other than something like rice to offset a spicy dish. If the food is not delicious, I don’t eat it.
Many of the desserts offered on these buffets were mini, sometimes only 1-2 bites, allowing me to test them without guilt. Most of the time, they weren’t worth the bother. After three days I realized that I was eating too much breakfast, so adopted a more normal diet to assure energy to get to lunch without feeling bloated.
This way of eating requires mindfulness: Is the food exceptional? Do I want another bite of the chicken or should I try the pork? Am I eating as a social activity, from fatigue, or from hunger? Maybe I just need a glass of water and a nap.
Since I don’t weigh myself, I don’t know if I gained weight. However, my jeans still fit, so I’m okay. And I enjoyed some great food!