Tuesday, January 18, 2011

[Article] Traveling Raw

Have you ever gone on a trip without planning what you were going to eat?

You arrive at your destination, realize your stomach is rumbling, and the only local grocery stores don't even carry organic produce, and the food joint your family or friends wants to go to is a cheap sandwich place... Now what?

One possible solution is to look for the classiest restaurant you can find and then order up a custom salad with every fresh thing they have on hand. I've found that this can actually work out quite well. I have an entry about eating out and how to get something healthy while eating out that includes photos of things I've ordered at your run-of-the-mill restaurants.

The best way to avoid this situation, however, is to plan ahead.

Something I've learned across-the-board in my life is that planning is vital. Not because I am incapable of being spontaneous, but because it's easier to have spontaneous fun if you plan ahead. Sounds hypocritical, but think about it. If you didn't plan ahead and bring an extra change of clothing to the creek, then you couldn't decide to spontaneously jump in the creek with your friends... Unless you fancy walking home in wet clothing, which you probably don't. Or, if you didn't plan ahead and bring a packed lunch and bottled water, then you might feel uncomfortable going to that fast food place your family or friends is going to that you don't want to order from: but since you already have your lunch, you can go ahead and go with them.

But when embarking on a raw food diet, or detox diet, or primarily raw diet, what can you take with you?

Kiwi and Celery filled with Raw Almond Butter

I have a set of particular things I make use of when I travel. The longer the trip, the more of the following items I'll have packed with me.

If I leave for three days, you can bet I'll take everything I intend on eating for those three days. I would rather go hungry and have a improvised fast than go off the raw diet and eat something that will make me feel like crap.

(If I absolutely had to eat something cooked just because I was literally dizzy from lack of calories, then I'd go for something that contained no sugar whatsoever, no bread/pasta, and no red meat. For example, cooked broccoli or chick peas might be options I'd consider if I had to.)

My travel foods:

  • 1. Celery sticks filled with raw almond butter. I cover the almond butter with baby spinach leaves to keep the almond butter fresh. I pack these in a glass portable container.

  • 2. Home-made kale chips. I pack these in a plastic baggie. If I don't have any home-made on hand, then I may buy a bag.

  • 3. Raw energy bar from the store, often one of Lydia's spirulina bars.

  • 4. Vegetable crackers, home made. I dehydrated crackers made from carrots, carrot tops, sunflower sprouts, sunflower seeds and other vegetables and seeds. I have one of these crackers with almost every salad.

  • 5. Simple basic washed fruit. A scrubbed kiwi. A washed apple. An orange. I also pack napkins with these, for obvious reasons.

  • 6. Grapefruit. I pre-cut the grapefruit in half and then press back together and put in a bag or glass container and pack my grapefruit spoon along.

  • 7. Plain washed spinach, kale and lettuce. If I'm going to make a salad somewhere, having these already with me and washed is excellent. Also, if someone can provide just a few things, like spicy peppers and avocado, I can add the leaves to make a real meal.

  • 8. Chopped onion. If it's going to be an extended trip, you'll find a container of chopped onion on me, just as I always have in my fridge.

  • 9. Raw olives. They carry these excellent green raw olives at my local Whole Foods. I never liked olives before I tried these particular olives. I eat two to ten of them in a day on average, and would pack them accordingly.

  • 10. Assorted seeds. Flax, sesame, hemp, chia, sunflower -- it's great to bring a bag of assorted seeds. I can mash these into a banana with a fork and have a fairly filling pudding mash. I also like to add raw cacao powder and coconut shreds to my assorted seeds.

This meal was packed and taken with me. A dehydrated vegetable cracker, a celery stick filled with raw almond butter, half a grapefruit, my grapefruit spoon, spinach, lettuce, raw spicy sour krout, cucumber and chopped onion.

If I were leaving home for three days, you can bet I'd had all of the above with me, and more. Being prepared is priceless.

An important note: If you want to make a complete salad in a portable container to bring with you, squeeze the juice of a lemon onto it to preserve the freshness.

Some raw foodie gurus suggest taking a mini blender with you. You're welcome to do this, although I find the idea rather tiresome. I don't want to wash a blender in unfamiliar territory, personally. Most any fruit is delicious to me as it is, and I'm happy to chew it for a few days while I'm away. I can get back to my nearly daily smoothies when I get home.

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