The Turkey Experience
No, I was not teaching in Turkey. I was on vacation with my wife.
So, in this article, I’m not going to talk about training or classes, but I’ll discuss different strategies to stay healthy and eat right while traveling.
Aliona and I decided to go to Turkey for vacation for one week, visiting Istanbul and Cappadocia.
It was a wonderful trip, and I recommend those two cities for vacation.
The Need for a Break
The first subject I want to discuss is the necessity of taking a break from training.
After a certain time of training hard, your body appreciates a break from lifting weights or any other activity/sport that you perform constantly and frequently – 4-6 times per week.
During this trip, we didn’t train or even look for a gym, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t remain active and perform other activities.
We walked daily, anywhere from 5 to 20 kilometers, and taking into count that Istanbul and Cappadocia are located on hills, all the walks included going up and downhill, which provided work for the posterior chain and quadriceps, respectively, together with calves and tibialis anterior. For the upper body, carrying our backpacks with water and jackets helped with that purpose.
And don’t worry.
Your muscle mass and strength will not disappear when you stop training for one week.
When you return to training, you’ll start experiencing higher levels of strength and energy during the training sessions because that rest will allow your hormones to recover.
The point here is not to stop for one week and turn into a couch potato, only exercising your fingers by changing channels on the remote.
The point is to stop training and remain active doing other types of activities that you enjoy.
The main reason we do Airbnb is to ensure that we have the proper breakfast, which consists of animal protein and good fats, as that will determine the energy levels, neurotransmitter profile, and food preferences for the rest of the day.
Anywhere in the world, finding a place that serves breakfast with high-quality unprocessed protein that doesn’t include eggs is like trying to find a rose flower in the middle of the desert.
For more information about it, read my Power Breakfast Article.
On this occasion, we were fortunate to find a great place the very same day that we arrived in Istanbul; a family-owned restaurant called Karaköy Muhallebicisi.
We were amazed when we learned they sell buffalo and were open for breakfast! The owner explained that they have their buffalo farm and that all the products they sell come from their farm.
As some restaurants publicize, from the farm to the table. He showed us the security cameras of his farm, and the buffalos are fed only with grass.
He also mentioned that the animals are not subject to harmful injections. That is precisely what we’re always looking for.
For obvious reasons, this place became our breakfast choice daily in Istanbul.
With different preparations of the buffalo meat, we enjoyed our breakfast at Karaköy Muhallebicisi every day, together with nuts and healthy fats, like Anatolian Olive Oil.
As a result, the kitchen of the rented apartment was only used for preparing our morning coffee.
As you might already know, I love coffee. You can read my article about the Health Benefits of Coffee and its importance to me.
On top of the health benefits, I enjoy the taste; I don’t like to add anything to it and enjoy its fantastic flavor.
I always travel with a stainless-steel French press and my organic coffee, which I buy from my good friends at Tourist Coffee, and they ship internationally.
I also love to try different coffees and different preparations of it. It would have been a sin not to try Turkish coffee during this trip.
We found a very famous place for the quality of the coffee, called Mandabatmaz, and they sell extraordinary Turkish coffee.
We also found an excellent barista coffee shop called Probador Colectiva Cafe, which offered fabulous coffee from around the world.
Coffee positively affects energy and neurotransmitters and removes any desire to overeat and even cravings, which are very common when traveling due to the higher exposure to new things.
Vegetables can be a very tricky subject when traveling, and this is something I learned from my good friend Dr. Sonja Pettersen.
Once, we went to have lunch, and I ordered a salad with my food.
She taught me that when traveling or eating out, never order raw vegetables, like salads, unless you know the place and their cleaning preparation standards.
Raw vegetables can come with pesticides that will ruin your microbiota, harmful bacteria that can cause diarrhea and negatively affect your microbiota or even parasites that will wreak havoc on your system.
Because of that, I only choose cooked vegetables when traveling or eating out.
During this trip, some restaurants didn’t serve cooked vegetables, so I preferred to eat just the meat with olive oil with a side of olives for that meal.
Nothing wrong will happen, and it will keep me safe from the bad stuff mentioned before.
Choosing a Good Restaurant
Choosing a restaurant that serves high-quality and proper food is not easy, and guiding yourself based on the different reviews you can find online is not necessarily a good indicator of the quality of the raw materials used and the cooking processes.
The people who can give a good review to a restaurant probably don’t appreciate what I just mentioned because most people are used to processed foods and additives that make food more palatable.
The recommendation here is to read the reviews but also ask around.
In the Strength Community Membership and the Facebook private groups, you can always post those questions, as we have members and students from around the world that can help you with that challenging endeavor.
A good restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be expensive.
It just means that the restaurant does things right, starting with the raw materials, passing through the preparation, and finishing with the cooking process.
We enjoyed the food and good service at the following restaurants:
- Karaköy Muhallebicisi
- Tomtom Kebap
- Lokanta Mimi
- Probador Colectiva Café
- Warehouse Ecological and Natural Products
Traveling is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life, at least for us, and ensuring a proper breakfast, choosing good restaurants that serve high-quality food, and avoiding things that can have the potential of making you sick, will make those trips more enjoyable and rewarding.
Coach Carlos Castro