My 5 top tips for surviving the Inca trail

Hi guys!

I have recently got back from South America where I completed the Inca trail! (woo!) It was one of, if not the best thing I have ever done and no words or photographs will ever do this experience any justice. Nor will you ever be prepared for what you are about to spend 4 days doing! However, before the trip the organisation freak in me was searching the internet for top tips (as you do) and I was surprised that there wasn’t actually that many so, here it goes!

 

  1. Find an amazing tour company

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First and foremost this really is the important part! There are lots of companies who run the Inca trail tours but I would really do your research, read reviews, speak to people who have already done it and always read the small print. Unlike other parts of the world where you can stumble on tours (which you definitely can do in Cuzco, they’re everywhere!) I would really recommend using the world wide web on this one.

We went with Inca Trail Reservations which were recommended to us by our friends and they were great. Our tour guide Paul made the experience so special, taking us slightly off the beaten track to avoid the other tourists where possible. Paul’s knowledge was phenomenal, the porters were always there to make us feel comfortable at camp and the chef kept our energy up and created some amazing dishes even though we were in the middle of the Andes!

 

2. Walk, hike, walk and hike somemore…

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Nope, there was no warning on how tough this actually is. Although you cannot really train for altitude sickness (believe me I tried, I was even reading sports nutrition books for tips) you can definitely train for all the kilometres you will be walking. Go on walks at home and if  you have hills nearby then I would recommend hiking a few times before you jet off to Peru. Hire or buy walking poles as these were a life saver for me walking down hill on the wet ground and make sure you have walking boots or hard wearing running type trainers.

 

3. Pack for all weathers

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You will probably experience all types of weather, no matter what season you go in! We had wind, sun, heavy rain, light rain… it is very unpredictable! It does get cold, especially when you reach height, as you can see on the photo above at some points you are as high as the clouds so you can imagine the temperature drop.

Layers saved me a lot of hassle – I would wear a vest, long sleeve Lycra top, a fleece, hoodie and have a waterproof to hand. A lot of the time I would have things tied round my waist as it gets very warm hiking up hill but then the temperature could drop in the space of 5 minutes so having clothes on hand was really useful!

Here is a basic list of clothing to take:

  • Thermal top and bottoms to wear under pjs
  • 5-6 pairs of thick socks
  • Warm PJs and a thick jumper to sleep in
  • Walking boots, shoes or running trainers (avoid pumps/converse type trainers)
  • Sandals for around the camping area – it is nice to let your feet breathe
  • 2-3 vest tops
  • 2-3 long sleeve Lycra tops
  • 1 hoodie
  • 2-3 pairs of Lycra leggings/walking pants
  • Sun hat, sunglasses and a woolly hat (to sleep in)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • 2 lightweight fleeces
  • Underwear (obviously!)
  • Small towel

 

4. Keep hydrated and eat as much as you can

 


The chefs on the Inca Trail are amazing and make fresh, authentic food for you every day. It is so important to make sure you eat enough, the chef will cater for big appetites as you will be using up a lot of energy so make sure you drink and eat as much as you feel you need to at meal and snack times. Coca tea is great for altitude sickness so if you are feeling the pressure of altitude definitely give this a try (even it is doesn’t work it is contributing to keeping you hydrated)

On the first day or so there are plenty of families you can buy bottled water from, ensure you take extra money so you can keep refilling. I would also recommend for you to drinking more water than you usually would for the day or two leading up to it, especially if you are flying into Cuzco – this is said to help with altitude sickness (so some Peruvians say!)

Snacks are usually provided at certain stop points on the trek from your tour company however, we took sweets, chocolate and all the usual quick sugar fix goodies… this may not be proven to help keep energy levels up but it did help keep me motivated with steep hills, I mean who doesn’t love an incentive?!

 

5. Enjoy every single moment (even the tough ones!)

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Once you have your itinerary, bought your trekking gear and charged your camera there is nothing left to do but enjoy this amazing experience.

Make new friends, take lots of photographs, keep a little diary, show gratitude to your porters (you only appreciate how amazing they are once you watch them run past you on dead woman’s pass carrying 30+ kilos!) eat lots of amazing Peruvian food in the middle of the Andes, take in the beautiful view of the milky way as you sleep under the stars and take a moment at the Sungate to acknowledge what you have just achieved before walking down in awe to Macchu Picchu!

 

S x

 

Good old disclaimer time *these are personal to me but it will hopefully help a few of you out there. This post is also not a nutrition blog, so I am not endorsing any Peruvian tips with coca tea etc, this post purely a bit of fun*


Berlin – the city for foodies!

Hi guys!
I am fresh off the plane from Berlin and could not wait to share some of my favourite food spots in this beautiful city so here it goes – I will keep it short and sweet I promise!!

 

Roamers Coffee and Booze – wow!! I found out about this place through my friends instagram and once I had visited I could not stop talking about it all day, the actual brunch of dreams!

I went for the classic poached eggs and sourdough (can I even call it a classic yet?!) and added avocado and maple syrup bacon, I would highly recommend! I wont say too much as I feel the photos say it all…

 

 

 

Cafe Gri Gri  – we stumbled on the German cafe Gri Gri and it was lovely, the setting was gorgeous, over looking the river on a front terrace with fairy lights hanging down it was a perfect setting! The service was great and the traditional German food did not disappoint. I went for a Southern German inspired dish of cheese pasta with a local beer.

 

 

Burgermiester – so every single person that knew I was going to Berlin recommended this place. It is under a metro bridgse, does not have many places to sit and slightly resembles Thailand in the fact you are sat in the middle of a main road eating but it was possibly the best burger I have ever eaten! They have a good selection (even tofu for veggies) and I would 100% recommend the chilli cheese fries as a side – perfect stop before heading out for drinks!

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Trattoria Portofino – where to start with this place!! It may not be traditionally German but we had such a good dining experience here… (the free limoncellos may have helped) everything from the food, the drinks and the waiters were incredible. Trattoria Portofino was on a lovely little street set back from the infamous bars and clubs of Berlin but even though it may look quiet at times, they do not do ‘walk ins’ so you need to make a reservation. We had a selection of pizza and pastas with maybe a little too much wine but if you are craving Italian food whilst in Berlin this is the place to go!

 

For drinks:

Monkey Bar for a lovely rooftop view

 

Gin Chilla if you are a gin lover!

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Berlin was such a great trip and although a lot of food trends come from cities like Berlin I was not expecting it to be so good! We did do a lot more than eat so if you have any questions then please send me an email.

 

Sarah x

 

Ps:

Not only is Berlin a city for foodies but the history in this City can not go unnoticed, we visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp whilst we were there and if history is your thing then I would recommend an excursion like this, I don’t know how to describe this tour but it was very informative and puts a lot of things in perspective.

 


The Greek Cuisine – My latest trip to Santorini

I have recently returned from an amazing trip to Santorini. The food, weather, views and yoga were incredible so I thought it would only be fair to share my experience with you.The Beautiful Fira, Santorini

A little insight to the Mediterranean Cuisine:

The Greek diet is said to be one of the ‘healthiest’ cuisines in the world. Known for being high in fruit and vegetables, fish, wholegrain, feta cheese and greek yogurt you can see why it is regarded as healthy and balanced.

The Greek diet is also famous for the use of olive oil which is primarily made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (the ‘healthy’ fats) and contains over half of our recommended daily amount of vitamin E and vitamin K per 100g. However, olive oil is still high in calories so try not to get too carried away; I found the Greeks used it for salads and dipping bread into!

A Snapshot of my Santorini experience:

If you have Santorini on your list of places to visit, I highly recommend it to be the next trip you book. The views are incredible, the people are friendly and there are lots of hidden gems to discover by jumping on a quad.

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The food was amazing, from fresh Salmon looking over Akrotiri to lamb kleftiko in Fira I could not have been more in my element with the cuisine. Although the tradition salad is Greek salad which consists of a few greens, olives and a lot of feta cheese I discovered a brilliantly unusual Caesar Salad served in filo pastry on Kamari beach which I must admit I had more than once!

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Another food discovery I made was Lamb Kleftiko which is a traditional Greek dish of lamb and potatoes slow cooked with garlic, onions, peppers, aubergines and tomatoes. The dish comes wrapped up in parchment paper but when you open it up the smell is beautiful and the lamb melts in your mouth! The recipe was traditionally cooked in an earth oven (a hole in the ground) which was used to capture the heat and smoke to seal the delicious flavour and smells… this was definitely a highlight of my eating experience in Santorini.

You cannot walk past a homemade ice cream shop and not try a little Greek gelati?! This was ferrero rocher ice cream topped with 100% cacao ice cream, a very yummy holiday treat with an amazing view from Fira.

Did you know?

Sangria is not just for the Spanish? The Greeks do a refreshing ‘Greek White Sangria’ I have been led to believe from the residents of Santorini… I am not too sure how to prove this provenance claim but when it looks like this I will happily accept it.

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Santorini Yoga

During my stay I managed to squeeze in a yoga class at the Caveland Hostel with Veronika. This was set on a roof top just before sunset and I loved every minute.

Veronika was great and the setting was amazing whilst we practised a Hatha yoga inspired class. I went to this class with a beginner and Veronika could not have been more helpful, a definite recommendation for anyone wanting to try something new or for those missing their yoga practise at home.

Namaste x

 


My holiday food blog

Hi NutriBloomers,I have just got back from a very relaxing week in the sun! Not only did I get some well needed extra vitamin D from the gorgeous sunshine I also had some incredible food!

With the Great British Summer just around the corner I thought this would be the perfect time for a mini summer food blog so you are feeling refreshed and healthy in the sun.

So where the majority of us start our holidays… the airplane;

vit eHydration is vital for when you fly and when you land in your sunny destination it also helps your skin on well air conditioned flights. I try and drink a carton of coconut water before a flight as well as a litre or two of water during the flight (depending on how long your flight is) I would also recommend investing in a skin hydrating body mist, I love the Vitamin E Mist from the body shop for my face and hands!

Stock up on fruit, nuts or veg sticks for the journey to avoid the temptation of all the salty snacks and airplane food available, get those tasty vitamins and minerals in you! Then sit back, sip some water (maybe add some lemon) and relax until you reach your destination.

Now to the holiday…

Everyone deserves to relax on holiday but I find it a great opportunity to get a little more active than I  usually would commuting and sitting at work. I try and walk as much as possible, take advantage of the swimming pool or the sea for a swim (great for working all those muscles – especially front stroke) and even get a little yoga in there to keep the body stretched and toned!

On my week away I was self catering so I had a lovely selection of food from little Spanish restaurants to big steak houses! I always try and fit lean protein in to my diet wherever I can, starting with scrambled eggs for breakfast – my favourite is to add a little salmon and avocado!

saladLunches on holiday for me are the perfect excuse to have the biggest salad I can make, I try and make the salad as colourful as possible and put a little dressing on the side – balsamic vinegar is my favourite! Don’t forget to hydrate at lunch time too as the sun tends to be at its hottest after midday. If you can get hold of a fresh coconut, cut the top off and add a straw, this has previously been my hydration saviour when I have been in hot climates.

 

fishI don’t know about you but when I am on holiday as soon as I have finished one meal I am looking forward to the next… I try and eat as much fresh fish as I can when I am away and this time I managed to get some lovely steaks in my diet too! Lean protein increases satiety and is great for muscle repair and supporting your immune system – team it with lots of fresh vegetables and you have yourself a healthy tasty summer meal.

pestoIt is not all about eating clean on holiday though – it is also a time to enjoy foods you may not have at home. I found this amazing Spanish restaurant on the sea front where they served homemade pesto pasta (not traditionally Spanish, I know) but it was the tastiest pasta I have ever had! Although some people try and avoid carbohydrates pasta is a great source of fuel for the body and if it is whole wheat contains a considerable amount of fibre!

Hope you all have a fabulous summer, please tweet or instagram @NutriBloom any amazing meals you have on your holidays, I would love to see them x