Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

As a frequent traveler trying to stay healthy on the road , I pack snacks and stop at places that offer healthier fare than the barrage of fast food chain outlets along the highways and in airports.

It happened again this week. People staring . Sneaking a sideway glance , sometimes asking for some ( which I will oblige ) as they reach for the high carb, high salt & fatty chips, cookies ,peanuts carbohydrate rich bars and mystery foods(can they even be called food? ) often served on the airplanes .

People are looking for solutions. Most people want better choices , many still don’t care or have given up because they are locked into a poor patterned lifestyle program that can be incredibly addictive.

My seat mates usually want to know – How do I have time to plan out the food I eat ? Why would I do this ? And yes-you must be one those hard core health food fanatics. I readily admit this fact & try to appear as normal as possible .

If you are headed out flying or driving on spring break , vacation or even a business trip in the near future , a few minutes of planning can save your blood sugar from plummeting, your waistline from expanding and embarrassing noises from your digestion system as you settle for greasy fried chicken , pepperoni pizza , cheeseburger, fries , heavy pasta salads , sugary lattes or cinnabons.

I follow my blood type diet ( more about that in another session) so my choices may be different than yours. I am an O positive , secretor , blood type with a strong, healthy immune system that tends to travel well even in challenging circumstances. With my Mediterranean heritage and my search for good food, I have been called a food snob. ( My kids are too!) I would almost rather fast for a few hours than eat junk . It’s just not worth the way I feel .

Here are my favorite foods that I frequently buy to travel with and sustain my nutritional needs and energy .

Nuts: Almonds( blanched , tamari , raw or roasted & no salt ) ,Walnuts , Macadamia nuts , Pecans & Pumpkin seeds. Seapoint Farms Toasted Edamame ( the Wasabi are awesome) or Genisoy soynuts are suitable for those with a peanut allergy .

Fruits: Blueberries, Raspberries & Turkish figs. Ginger pieces for those climatic or stressful moments to settle your stomach and promote healthy circulation when cramped in small seat for hours.

Protein: Sliced meats like roast beef or turkey -buy the Boar’s head ( Oven gold, Hickory Smoked or Salsalito turkey and roasted beef) , Applegate Farms Organic or another clean, grass fed, free range brand if possible .

Hard Cooked eggs ( be sure to crack & peel them first , add any herbal sea salt seasoning and carry in a Ziploc 1/2 baggie ) can also travel well for a few hours . DHA rich , cage free or organic are best .

Dairy : Sheep or Goat cheesses become more flavorful and are safe to consume at room temperature. There are cheddars, goudas and creamy spreadables available in small sizes.The Boucheron brand , a creamy but dry , French goat cheese is one of the best .

Beans: Hummus -Black bean , traditional or even pesto -use a baked wheat free cracker , a spelt tortilla ( Rudi’s)Sprouted grain tortilla ( Ezekiel 4:9 or Fat Flush ) cut into triangles , celery or carrots sticks or Belgian endive leaves for a lower carb , healthy fat & protein-rich snack.

Veggies: Bring pre-washed ( organic if possible) romaine lettuce leaves to eat your protein in( like a sub) or make them up before-hand . I also use fresh parsley , basil , cilantro , sage or rosemary and roll up the herbs in a slice of turkey or roast beef to balance out the acid alkaline levels in the food. You should always try and eat ‘green foods” with any protein .

Stuffed grape leaves are the ultimate travel food . You can even eat them while driving . You get a few carbs for fuel and some phyto-nutrients, fiber & minerals in the leaves-The Divini brand is a perfect individual serving . The Mediterranean Organics will serve 2-3 people.When traveling internationally , these have saved me on several occasions.The Whole Foods brand is surprisingly good but with the liquid & a glass container , this makes them suitable for driving instead of air travel ( serves 2 )

I love whole steamed artichokes so if I am leaving from home for an all day trip , I wrap a fully cooked one up with foil ( season before wrapping) pack a few lemon wedges to squeeze over it before eating ( in a baggie not foil) and you have a really healthy , fiber rich meal .

Roasted pieces of anti-biotic free chicken , hormone free burgers , sliced steak or roast turkey travel well too. I have even brought pot roast or salmon patties for longer trips.

Salads are also a great idea to take with you if you will be eating them within a couple of hours. Pack lemon or lime wedges-pour a little extra virgin olive oil on the greens first for the least amount of fuss. The heavy creamy salad dressings in the airports are not worth the extra calories nor the chemicals that are hiding in them ( GMO soy oil , artificial colors & flavors) . Best salad dressings are lime and/or lemon w/ flax and/ or extra virgin olive oil with some herbs.

Sushi -Buy at reputable place and you may want to stay vegetarian if you don’t have a cooler or cold pack .Fish spoils quickly so be careful here. Many fast food outlets or even grocery store take out sections use artificial dyes in the seaweed salad or in the seasoning sauce (FDC blue & yellow) so check the labels.

Carbs: Mary’s Gone Crackers or Blue Diamond Nut thins. Low carb and a better alternative than the traditional greasy and salty crackers.Frozen Manna bread( low heat , sprouted grains-no flour) w/ soft goat cheese or almond butter fills you up ( it thaws in a hour or so ) can be a healthy replacement for someone who may want more carbs or fiber( like kids or adrenal-burned out travelers)

Dessert : Yes, I do love dark chocolate so I try and pack a bar to share. Dagoba, Mon Cherri , Blueberry & Lavender, Eclispe , XXOO, are amongst my favorites, Green & Black 70%, Theo 70%-80% ,Chocolove 77% + are all organic and offer a healthier option than M&M’s and or a snicker bar.

Beverages: If flying, you are limited unless you buy water inside the terminal or a Tazo herb or green tea from Starbucks. I travel with plenty of tea bags – green , yerba mate, ginger, peppermint, rose hips or dandelion .Some the brands I favor are Numi , Traditional Medicinals & Guakaki. If you are hungry , a hot herbal beverage will fill you up until your next connection and while offering some nutritional benefits too. Try and stay away from black teas as they are natural diuretics and may trigger dehydration & kidney stress-already a concern while flying .

Bars: I don’t like many bars but the Greens+ ( with or without chocolate ) are my favorite, since they have almond butter in the base for protein and a medium carb glycemic index and are a live food bar. Larabars-the cherry walnut or their chocolate mint make a satisfying dessert treat. Many bars are too processed but there are new ones hitting the shelves all the time so be sure to read the ingredients first.

If driving, I travel with Itoen Sencha shots or their new Japanese green tea ( 16.5 oz) both unsweeetned , Iceland Springs, EvamorEden Springs , Figi water & Guayaki unsweetened or Mint Yerba Mate for hydration, alertness and peak metabolic function. Sometimes will also buy some acidophilus ( Jarrowdophilus travel size or a Bio -K ) to support healthy bacteria levels and a strong immune system . You never know what is in your food these days .

Eat real food , not fake food. Take better care when traveling so you can enjoy your vacation or perform better at your job.

A little planning goes a long way .

With all of the recent travel delays lately -keeping a level blood sugar will make a you a happier traveler.

Your seatmates and flight attendants will appreciate this !

Plus it’s a great conversation starter- you never know who will be sitting next to you.

Travel safe, maybe I will see you on my next trip !

Sally Byrd

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