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How To Incorporate Your Pillars Of Health During A Weekend Away {Charleston, SC}

Healthy travel

Travel always resets me. I often resist it, but never regret it. As a creature of habit, I feel very comfortable cozied in the grooves of my routine. Given that I am almost six months pregnant with also a toddler to take care of, travel is few and far between these days. Adhering to a schedule in this season has been a necessary reality of life. I know I need the regularity, but as soon as the day’s unfolding starts to feel like Groundhog’s Day, I find myself wanting to break free from the rigidity. So when a friend asked me to come visit her in Charleston, SC after a recent move from Richmond, I knew I needed to seize the opportunity to take one last girl’s trip before baby number two. It ended up being such a relaxing 48 hours away, peppered with some of my favorite wellness things. Here are some highlights from the trip.

Lunch at Vintage Coffee Cafe

I got into Charleston on Friday around lunchtime, so we previously made plans to grab lunch with another friend of mine at Vintage Coffee Cafe. Nestled in the heart of Mt. Pleasant, this quaint cottage turned coffee shop and cafe is authentically charming. With a playground and pizza bar in the back, its atmosphere is welcoming for kids, adults and dogs alike.

After an already seven-hour travel day, I was hungry for some whole food fuel. The menu offers many healthy options, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on an acai bowl. Knowing that I needed something more substantial, I also ordered the avocado toast, which came with some house-made tomato marmalade on sourdough, which was delicious.

Sullivan’s Island

Although the weather was overcast, I will never turn down a trip to the beach. After lunch, we headed to Sullivan’s Island (which is only a few minutes from her apartment) for a couple of hours to sit by the ocean and catch up.

Tavern and Table at Shem Creek Waterfront

If you ever find yourself in the Mt. Pleasant area, Shem Creek Waterfront is the perfect place to dine, drink, and watch what’s happening on the water (I saw more than one bachelorette party boat, which always makes for good people-watching). Reservations for Charleston restaurants fill up pretty fast, so we were happy when Tavern and Table could seat us outside without a wait.

We ordered a few small plates to share: the shrimp louie salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, and crab and artichoke dip.

Saturday morning workout and juice bar breakfast

Whenever I travel, I love to scope out local fitness studios and juice bars. Heading to an exercise class followed by a post-workout meal is one of my favorite ways to start the day. I am a pretty early riser, so even before our 10am class, I was able to ease into the day with my usual mindful morning routine of coffee, journaling, and reading.

A couple of hours later, I had a pre-Pilates yogurt bowl with full-fat Greek yogurt, chia seeds, homemade granola, berries, banana, cinnamon, and peanut butter.

To find a reformer class, we did a quick search on Mindbody, which landed us at Pilates of Charleston (Exhale Pilates is another great option, but classes were full). I loved the studio’s vibe – clean and calming, but a challenging workout all the same.

After class, we headed to Huriyali. Ever since my visit to Charleston in 2016, I have wanted to return to this plant-focused food establishment. Nestled in downtown Charleston (they also have a location in Mt. Pleasant), the restaurant offers energizing drinks, primarily plant-based food, juices, smoothies, and bowls. You can sit inside or outside on their garden patio, which is peppered by surrounding plants. Katie and I both got lattes, smoothie bowls and shared the avocado toast.

Easy afternoon with a Mexican take-out ending

We had plans to spend most of Saturday afternoon at the beach, but we were rained out. Instead, we ended up cozying up on the couch for almost eight hours, watching reality television and ordering Mexican take-out for dinner. With constantly feeling like I am chasing a toddler at home, it was a welcome respite. Even if I have days at home when we are not doing much, my mind is constantly thinking about caring for Mason, making meals, doing the laundry. It was so nice to give my body and brain a break from responsibility. We ordered from Agave’s Cantina: grilled fish tacos, chips, and guacamole.

Sunday morning flight home

My flight home wasn’t until 10:45am, so I was able to still have a semblance of a morning routine. I made sure to start the day with a blood sugar balancing smoothie before we left for the airport.

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 heaping spoonful of full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 scoop Truvani vanilla protein
  • 3-4 frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup pre-sliced frozen zucchini
  • Topping: homemade granola

During my layover in Atlanta, I did the best I could with what I could drum up for lunch: a Chomps Turkey Pepperoni stick, Greek yogurt, some hummus, and an apple. With over 20 grams of protein, I knew this “meal” would get me home.

As soon as I walked in the door, I fixed myself another smoothie. I was craving whole food nourishment, antioxidants and vitamin C. It hit the spot! Almond milk, Be Well By Kelly vanilla protein, frozen berries, frozen zucchini, topped with some Purely Elizabeth cereal.

It was such a great trip, and as I reflect back – while I might not have originally structured it as a “wellness weekend” per se – there are always opportunities to sprinkle healthy living habits when traveling. If you think about your pillars of health (mine are nutrition, movement, mindfulness, spirituality, and connection), ask yourself where and when you can nurture them. Upholding my nutritional values when traveling is important to me, although I do abide by an 80/20 mindset around food. When I am eating out at a restaurant, this is often when I allow for that “wiggle room,” and order exactly what I want. I crave healthy food, so this involves protein, veggies, and maybe something fun on the side. Small plates and “shareables” are perfect for this instance.

Formal movement when traveling (like a workout class) sometimes happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I am more likely to carve out time for exercise if traveling by myself or with girlfriends than when I am with my family. At the bare minimum, I try to be mindful of my step count and walk whenever I can (which normally occurs organically anyway).

Mindfulness and spirituality takes the shape of my morning routine. I always travel with my journal and book, and will even wake up early when traveling to make sure I have that time for myself. Additionally, the act of staying present in a new environment, aware of my surroundings, makes me feel more mindful as well.

All of these pillars are important, but if you sacrifice connection for your nutrition, movement, and mindfulness, you are doing yourself a disservice. Connecting with my family and friends while away is equally – if not more – important than those things. There was a time when I prioritized my wellness needs over the connection piece, and I always returned home unfulfilled. Take care of yourself while taking care of your relationships, and that will lead to a long-lasting memorable trip.