Recently, my husband and I travelled to faraway lands to celebrate a Big anniversary.  Since we love to travel and explore exotic cultures and cuisine, we settled on Thailand & Hong Kong and enjoyed the trip of a lifetime!

However,…eating how I normally eat was not in the picture.

And I had to face the question, did I make a mistake by calling my business “Wellness Girl?”

After all, at home I pride myself on my 90-10, sometimes 80-20, clean way of eating: organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed, etc.  So, how could I not ponder this question, when each day was filled with new flavors, foods and the freedom to experience these new discoveries, yet from completely unknown origins and composition.  So, truth be told, I strayed from my usual way of eating and drinking. I tried locally brewed Bangkok gin [from a distiller called “Iron Balls”, how could I not?!], sweet mango and sticky white rice [sold by the longboat lady at the floating market], and myriad Thai dishes made with intoxicating ingredients [aka who knows what]… 

It was time to expand our knowledge and learn exactly what Thai food was all about. It was time for a cooking class.  In Chiang Mai, we discovered a lovely cooking school in a popular area where young Thais hang out called Nimman.  Our friendly instructor picked us up at our hotel early morning and off to the market we went to purchase locally grown ingredients.  Back at the school, we slowly learned precisely what is in our beloved Thai food. Spoiler Alert! If you are a Thai foodie and prefer to stay in darkness, don’t read the rest of this paragraph. However, if you’re interested in one more layer of knowledge, be aware that those tasty spring rolls, curry vegetables, and delicious rice noodles are bathed in and accompanied by plenty of less-than-good-for-you dipping sauces and marinades comprised of vegetable oils, sugar and fish sauces of unknown composition.  Thoughts of one of my favorite Chicago Thai restaurants drifted through my mind as I suddenly realized why those meals tasted like they do…

Well, needless to say, after all my experimenting and learning, my digestive system was not pleased with me and was not shy in letting me know.

BUT we had an awesome time!! My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in the way that we love to do best. Traveling to an exotic destination, connecting with other travelers, learning about a culture in a pound the pavement sort of way.  We delight in getting to know a place, how people in other countries live, thrive, cope and survive.  It was a perfect trip.

And it was a price I was willing to pay, and I wouldn’t hesitate again.  I subscribe to a healthy lifestyle certainly and [no buts] my philosophy has been and continues to be one of balance, one that includes travel, exotic foods and a taste for the unknown.  And this philosophy fuels me day in and day out and contributes to the health and wellness of my very being.  

And so I share this tale of diet divergence with you not only to draw back the curtains on the reality of my life, but to share an important idea that I hope will resonate with you.  

A well-balanced life is a good one to aim for.  And wherever you are on the spectrum of eating healthy, I encourage you to consider what else feeds your life, what else nourishes your soul. Whether it’s travel, music, knitting, pole vaulting or [fill in the blank], know that this all important, hopefully, passion-filled activity is feeding your body in a way that food never will.  And if you don’t have such an extension of your being, please consider exploring this piece of the wellness puzzle for your life.

Wellness Girl traveled and returned. The trip did not disappoint and my wellness jar is full from the experience.  And yet, here I am, back home, and back in the saddle where I feel most comfortable, eating my way back to what makes me feel best and what feeds my digestive system best.  

Until my next travels…

I would love to hear what activity fills you up and nourishes your life. Please let me know below.