I’m in the US right now and so far I’ve travelled 7 cities in 14 days, so if jet lag, followed by jumping planes, trains and automobiles every couple of days hasn’t been enough to upset the apple cart, contending with trying to find real, whole food on the run in some places, has been. When I travel, I try to eat just like I do back home – the same as I recommend in my book, Eat Yourself Healthy. My digestive system has grown accustomed to it’s usual Green Goddess juice or super food power smoothie first thing of a morning, but staying in hotels with no kitchen and bolting out the door at sparrows fart (that’s slang for ‘dam early in the morning’, don’t ask me where I picked it up from…. I think it was my mother) to navigate my way like a lost lamb through Penn station, New York, or down the HWY from Tucson to Phoenix, Arizona, has meant I have had to find ways to improvise when it comes to sticking to my usual healthy eating regime. Invariably I view these situations as ‘invaluable training’ for me, as they enable me to experience it like the masses, when it comes to the challenge of finding healthy, real food on the run, or when working a crazy 12 hr day. This has been my reality the last couple of weeks, but I’ve actually embraced the challenge of tryingto prove those who claim, they “just don’t have the time” or resources to eat healthy food, WRONG!
Admittedly some parts of the US, like LA, Chicago and and NYC cater far better for busy folk, or those who don’t cook, with places like Whole Foods Market dotted all over America. They have proven to be my ‘go to’ saviour when all else fails, as I can at least count on finding organic, unprocessed, nutritious food and maybe a ‘version’ of the Green Goddess juice, even if it is bottled, (but un-pasturised). On days I know I won’t make it to the store for breakfast, I buy a green juice the day before and store it in my hotel mini bar fridge, ready to grab the next morning if I have an early start. I discovered Organic Avenue stores whilst travelling in New York last year and they make a wide range of delicious cold pressed vegetable juices and smoothies and bottle them for same day sale, but I recommend you read the nutritional panel on the back, as some of their juices and smoothies contain up to 30 grams of sugar per 440ml serve and watch out for the products containing agave! ( If you have a copy of my book Eat yourself Healthy In 28 Days, you’ll know my stance on high fructose sweeteners like this). My favourite vege blend they sell, is either the ‘Super Green Mylk’ or the ‘Medicinal Green’ and my favourite smoothie treat is their ‘Matcha Chia Glow’, which tastes absolutely amazing!
If I’m only to fit a green juice in the morning and can’t top up an hour or so later with some protein from organic eggs and avocado say, I add a shot of protein powder to my green juice or smoothie, to keep me feeling fuller for longer, as well as helping to maintain muscle mass. So when I’m travelling or out and about, I stock up on those single serve protein powder sachets you can usually buy from health food stores, or when back home, I just spoon some into a zip lock bag to travel with. But when it comes to choosing protein powders, remember not all were created equal, so you need to avoid those made from soy protein especially, or whey – unless you know the brand is free of sugar, artificial additives and sweeteners and is made from a high quality, casein free whey protein, as many folk tend to react to casein in dairy now days. I recommend a pea protein powder or one made from brown rice.
Travelling with a bag of organic, (preferably activated), mixed, raw nuts, is also my rule rather than exception, as moving about so often, getting caught up in meetings or being in transit can lead to the blood sugar dropping and the hunger pangs grabbing hold. So rather than be faced with the vending machine, fast food chains, or bakery as the only food on offer, I always tide myself over with a handful of mixed nuts and seeds, ( avoid those with dried fruit as this is just plain SUGAR), until I find somewhere to access real food, that’s also gluten and sugar free.
My journey through the US has taken me to some off the beaten track kind of places, so when faced with nothing but fast food chain restaurants, I at least look Mexican where if nothing else, I can grab a plate of fresh salad, lots of avocado guacamole (packed with good fats to fill me up) and some black beans (a type of legume, rich in fibre and slow burning carbohydrate). I avoid the corn tortia’s and chips, thanks to 0ver 90% of US corn being genetically modified – nasty stuff that needs to be avoided at all costs!
As far as beverage choices go, I really can’t stress enough how important it is to just stick to water. You can easily add 30 + grams of sugar to your day with just one drink like a fruit juice or soft drink. So many people I see trying to do the right thing with their food, bring themselves unstuck with by guzzling a sugary drink. And remember to avoid drinking liquids (even water) 20 minutes either side of a meal as this will dilute your digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid levels, essential to break your food down.
So far…. so good, 14 days in and I have managed to avoid trans fats, gluten, sugar and fast food – the Standard American Diet – SAD indeed! There have been a few days where I have had to choose from the best of a bad bunch, but when you learn how to improvise and plan ahead a little, you really cant go wrong, no matter where you are, or how busy you are. I won’t deny I can’t wait to get back to my home cooked meals and well equipped kitchen and pantry, but for now, this is my reality and I’m enjoying some fantastic culinary delights whilst here in New York, so stay tuned for these, along with my healthy LA food and fitness trail, in an upcoming post.
For now, anyone heading to NY, can read my healthy NY food trail from last year’s trip.
Do you have any tips and tricks for staying healthy when travelling or on the run?