Our Low Carb High Fat Family Holiday
It had been planned all year and finally it was time for Our Low Carb High Fat Family Holiday
Incentives plans for the children had been in place since deciding that we were going away to the beautiful Port Stephens area in the Hunter region of New South Wales.
The kids could earn a dollar (at mum and dad’s discretion) when performing chores and kind acts around the house to use on activities during the holiday. Some of the activities they were interested in included para-sailing, dolphin cruises, deep sea fishing charter for the boys (more about that later) and golf. There was just so much to select from in the area.
9 months of earning resulted in taking the four children on a last minute run to the local bank to exchange all of their coins into more manageable notes for the trip. Ivy, the 5 year old couldn’t understand what happened to all of her money when the coins were replaced with the notes – very funny.
As we were staying in cabins at a family camping park, we packed a trailer to tow full of bikes, snorkelling gear, boogie boards, golf clubs, fishing gear, bats, balls – oh yeah, and some clothes. Only shorts and t-shirts as the Port Stephens area has a great temperature range in early January. (Although I suspect my wife had a bit more in hers judging by the large weight discrepancy between her bag and the rest of the family’s!)
It’s about a 12 hour drive from our home so we planned to have a stay in the lovely town of Bowral, hometown of iconic Australian cricketer Don Bradman. This would require 8 hours driving and an overnight stay followed by a visit to the Bradman Museum and then a 4 hour onward journey to our holiday park at Anna Bay, Port Stephens. The plan, of course, needed to involve what we were going to be eating along the way.
When I think back to previous driving holidays (we have plenty of family interstate so there have been a few), I’m embarrassed to think about all of the crap we took and purchased along the way, and the cost! McDonalds is pretty hard to avoid when travelling and they have positioned themselves very conveniently to maximise convenience for purchasers. A trap we easily fell into when trying to keep good time on long road hauls.
With a family of 6 a breakfast purchase would cost us around $60 and I realise now that all the high carb, sugary food only fuelled our need to eat more of it. We also had packed plenty of crackers, sweet junk (including low fat yogurts) and fruit. We were high on sugar the whole trip! Looking back, the other problem was toilet stops and the fart smells flowing through the car as a result of all those poor food choices. (despite the fact that it always provided the kids with plenty of laughs!)
This time we were on our low carb high fat family holiday, and I was certainly looking forward to it being healthier and cheaper; and with less rubbish to deal with in the car.
Preparation for the trip was key to good eating so the night before leaving we prepared an omelette mix (recipe can be found by downloading my Healthy Family Meal Plan – just click the photo to the right of this page) and left it in the fridge overnight ready for cooking first thing the next morning. We also boiled some eggs and prepared some high fat mini quiches. We also took left over Christmas ham and a large bowl of salad full of lettuce, tomato, cheese, cucumber and whatever else we needed to remove from the fridge before heading off. We have a well insulated little car fridge that keeps everything nice and fresh during the travels and we just transfer across to our motel room fridge at night.
Now that the children are used to this way of eating, they are far more satisfied and adapted to using their stored energy reserves making it much easier travelling without the constant requests for food. During our overnight stay we agreed to enjoy a meal together in the pub near our accommodation however – after all we were on holidays! These occassional splurges are difficult when trying to manage the childrens’ eating as invariably all of the kids meals come with deep fried batter and fries. Surely someone will catch on soon that there’s a market for healthy, tasty children’s food. These places just seem to ignore nutrition when it comes to children! Our eldest, Eve, is now very adept at managing her own eating and chose the garlic prawns (unfortunately at the cost of an adult meal).
Caitlyn and I chose based on our eating plans, and usually try to request no fries or potato and try to avoid batters and dressings – but hard to really know what can sneak through!
We arose early the next morning and packed up and went in search of a bullet-proof coffees for Caitlyn and I then visited the Bradman Cricket Oval whilst we waited for the Museum to open at 10.00am. The children were hungry by 9.00am so were happy to eat some boiled eggs and ham with a little salad, and to polish off the remaining quiches.
Now, for a cricket fan the Bradman Museum and Bradman Oval were beautiful, fantastic places. The museum is highly interactive with activities, video, photos, art and memorabilia that provide a great historical story of cricket in Australia. There were some subtle and beautiful tributes to Phillip Hughes, who was tragically killed recently in a cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The children contributed to the condolences book.
After a couple of hours at the Museum we were on our way to our holiday cabin for 8 nights, and we were all excited. Sydney traffic slowed us a little on the way through, as I reckon every Sydney-sider headed north for the weekend and the freeways were extremely busy.
In the end we drove for around a further 4.5 hours without a stop – somewhat of a family record! Certainly fueling up on High fat foods ensured that there was no need to stop for food as everyone was satisfied and not focused on where our next carb hit was coming from!
Device management was critical also to keep boredom at bay and the inevitable disputes and fighting that eventually comes with it. So Caitlyn managed the charging of phones, iPad and iPod, distribution of headsets and turning on and off of personal hotspots and bluetooth across devices. No mean feat and a job well done!
Children’s seating positions are also quite important to the success or otherwise of such a trip – get the dynamics wrong and the trip can easily become a nightmare. Our problem – no-one can sit within reach of Ivy.
So we arrived to a nice, remotely positioned holiday park, with a nice pool for swimming and a bay for fishing and plenty of room for the kids to run and ride. Perfect.
Our group had 4 of the 6 cabins in an area as Caitlyn’s parents, sisters and their families were coming also. In the middle of our cabins area was a communal kitchen complete with BBQ, sink for washing up and a large dining table that could potentially fit our whole crowd of 15 people.
And so it was that our holiday was happening.
Now luckily I’ve been able to have some influence on some of the others in our group in regards to high fat low carb eating. In fact Caitlyn’s brother-in-law has lost 10kg (22 lbs) over the last 4 months and helped to manage his migraines (listen to Jimmy Moore’s podcast on LCHF and Migraines) much better, so shopping and cooking was not going to create too much conflict. Most are generally quite curious and supportive even if not eating this way themselves – although I’m sure that there are benefits for them to give it a try.
We mainly purchased salad items and some steak, lamb and chicken. Initially we didn’t purchase any fish as we had high hopes of catching plenty as we went along. Of course staples such as eggs, cream, bacon, coconut oil and butter were also purchased as well as a few snack foods like almonds, macadamias, olives and tasty cheeses.
The days for me usually started very early with some fishing with my eldest boy William where we had mixed success – a few fish but often too small. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow a boat for the week from a friend of Caitlyn’s mother and so soon we were out fishing in the bay as well producing some better results and some reasonable eating.
What was significant was that we could start early in the morning, 6.00am and continue through to 10.00am, then go for a swim for a couple of hours without feeling hungry, despite not having breakfast. A good high fat meal the night before was enough to sustain us until well into the next day. Even then a little salami or bacon was enough to fight off the hunger until dinner time.
Now I was on holidays right? Warm weather, fishing, cricket on TV, surfing etc. So, at the end of the day I felt a beer or few was highly justified so I had plenty of those! I decided to relax in that way during the holiday and see what the result was from a weight perspective when we got home. On previous holidays prior to eating LCHF, I would be wrecked with all that activity and beer and would be screaming for an afternoon nap to re-invigorate. Now I’m a new man and feel much more energised and rarely feel tired during the day like I used to, allowing me to spend a lot more time with the children getting involved with them and enjoying activities or just their company.
Now to the fishing charter. This was to be our big adventure with 7 of our group booked to go deep sea fishing out of Nelson Bay. We were pumped.For ease of writing I have cut and pasted the whole story from my facebook page below:
Great excitement turned to near tragedy when our 8 year old son Samuel suffered a serious seizure during our deep sea fishing adventure off Nelson Bay on Monday 5th January.
After a great start in 1.5m seas, Samuel was excited to have caught 13 slimy mackerel to use as bait when he became badly sea sick.
After an hour or so of vomiting and laying down we noticed him twitching and blinking. This became more dramatic and went into a full seizure down the right side of his body and we were over an hour off shore.
The skipper turned back towards Nelson Bay and phoned 000 for assistance. 2 Maritime police vessels were dispatched to meet us, as they were faster boats, and an ambulance was called to meet us back at the wharf.
Caitlyn’s sister Annie and the deck hand Pug did a great job monitoring his breathing and keeping him in recovery position to keep his airways clear as the seizure continued over a 40 minute period.
After a dramatic open ocean boat transfer from the charter boat to police vessel where I had to carry Samuel from one to the other in rolling seas we were on our way back at speed.
After finally arriving back at the wharf with Samuel not responding to anything, we were met by the NSW ambulance service.
After checking Samuel another vehicle was requested (making the other 6 of us on the trip very nervous).
Some treatment at the wharf which resulted in Samuel’s breathing stopping
Then a 45 minute ambulance ride to John Hunter hospital emergency Department in Newcastle.
His vital signs were good by then and the drugs administered to stop his convulsions were beginning to wear off leading to a few good signs e.g eyes blinking.
He was given some time in emergency to recover and an MRI which was all good.
Eventually as he started to become his old self it was agreed that he could return to our holiday place with Caitlyn and I.
We have monitored him since and he appears back to his old serial pest ways and is showing no side effects.
Thanks to the ambulance and hospital staff, police and boat crew.
And thank God he seems fine.
Now with that drama out of the way, and with Samuel seemingly fine, we could get on with relaxing and enjoying our holiday and really appreciate our children even more. It was a traumatic experience, but I think the good in it is that it brought everybody on the holiday a little closer together and gave us all some perspective about what is really important to us – I know it did for Caitlyn and I. All we could put it down to was the stress of the sea sickness and a very early start to the day. The doctors said that this can sometimes happen to children in such a circumstance.
I realised too that our children’s health is so important and it is so important for us to educate them in eating well and avoiding foods that can potentially affect their future health. That’s not to say that the occasional treat is unreasonable, and we did purchase the odd holiday ice-cream after a session in the surf, but we are sure to remind them that this is very much a treat and not to be expected all the time.
Mind you, at one point whilst Caitlyn and I stopped at a cafe for a coffee with the kids we allowed 3 of them a milkshake and the other a mango smoothie. I sampled their drinks and discovered the sweetest concoctions I had ever encountered. They could have cut the sweetness by 90% and it still would have been good enough to please the kids. After drinking these there was a noticeable difference in their behaviour with them becoming far more agitated and hyperactive – no doubt fueled on the massive sugar hit! We realised that it is better for us to supply little treats at home under our control than purchase them in this way as we have no control over what goes into these sugar bombs – our mistake.
So the remaining days were filled with fishing,golf, dolphin cruises, para-sailing, hours of swimming, surf lessons, socialising and negotiating with children over what would be coming from their money or what Mum and Dad would be paying for. Amazing how the children think a lot harder about their spend when it is their own money, but great that they achieved their goals – and they even had some money left over!
The plan for the return trip was to drive the whole way – over 12 hours, leaving at 5.00am.
The trailer was packed up and goodbyes were said the night before, and by 5.20am we were on the road on our way back to reality.Planning our eating was again key to success so we purchased some low carb high fat food items, salami and cheese, the night before together with some apples, bananas and pears for the trip. A rare treat of some wrap bread for the 3 youngest to wrap up the salami and cheese – Eve knows that this isn’t for her and we usually use lettuce. Looking back on the trip home, there was surprisingly little food consumed and demonstrates again to me that the fat adapted body is capable of not experiencing the hunger that we used to get when living the high carb low fat way.
We arrived safely and without incident, grateful for our trip, grateful our children were all healthy and happy and ready to attack the new year rejuvenated.
So generally after a summer holiday of indulging in plenty of eating and drinking it’s assumed that the weight gain would come right? Well our results were good. Caitlyn remained the same, Eve lost around 500g (1lb) and I lost 1 kg (2lb).
I was far more active and slept much better at night without the mid afternoon slumps of holidays past. The kids had a great time, and apart from our high seas drama, were their usual energetic, happy selves just free roaming in all of the space and enjoying plenty of activity.
I can’t wait for the next one!
Has anyone of your family suffered an unexpected seizure? What were the circumstances?
How do you manage your eating when away from home? Does it cause you any problems or create disagreement?