I have to admit that traveling had been a bit intimidating ever since I have switched to a PBD over 5 years ago. Through trials and tribulations I have figured, or rather carved out, a path to make me the most comfortable. Initially before any trip, especially when I travel with others, I experienced anxiety due to lots of unknowns and the desire to remain steadfast to a PBD. I thought that I would share a little of what I do to prepare for travel and how, with a little planning, much anxiety can be eliminated and that you can really enjoy your trip.
Lots of Questions
The destination is a big one along with where you will be staying. Will there be PB alternatives at your destination? Is it a big city, suburb or rural countryside? Is is a foreign country? If you are staying in a hotel will your room have a refrigerator, a microwave, a coffee maker? Will there be breakfast provided by the hotel? What kind of restaurants surround your hotel? Are there any neighboring grocery stores? Any Whole Foods? If you are staying with family then will they understand that you will need to prepare additional food? Are they okay with you storing your supplies in their refrigerator? Using their kitchen? Eating different foods from everyone else? Should you plan to prepare food to feed everyone present? Should you precook some food? How do you pack?
Staying at a Hotel
If I am staying at a hotel I will first determine if they can accommodate a microwave and refrigerator in my room. Having access to both of these appliances makes everything a lot easier. Many hotels will provide both, sometimes free, sometimes for a small fee. If a hotel provides a free breakfast you may access their microwave for limited times in the day.
Next I will lay out a menu plan for the length of time I will be gone. Breakfast is usually the easiest. If the hotel provides breakfast you can usually find fruit, whole wheat toast, tea and oatmeal. You just have to be cognizant about the possibility of instant oatmeal and breads with additives – this is why I pack my own. I can pack pre measured baggies of steel cut oatmeal with cinnamon/nutmeg and chia and flax seed along with containers of soy milk to make overnight oats along with a variety of teas. I can always pick up bananas wherever I arrive. Most rooms these days come with some sort of coffee maker where I can heat water up for the oatmeal and tea. I will include a variety of fruit including oranges, dates, and raisins (all travel well), and maybe some nuts such as walnuts and almonds, and cereals such as shredded whole wheat, or an unsweetened whole grain cereal if I want an alternative to the oatmeal.
I have packed a small hot pot in my luggage in those cases where there will not be a coffee maker or a microwave (I will discuss in a bit).
The next two meals, lunch and dinner, take a little more creativity and planning. I have taken frozen, cooked sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and chickpeas. I throw in a container of balsamic vinegar, maybe some fresh carrot sticks, prepackaged hummus, pita bread, baked corn tortillas, – all in my checked baggage. I usually include an insulated bag in my luggage with cold packs for some of the perishable food. It will keep everything cold until I reach my destination then I can either refresh the cold packs with ice or move everything to a refrigerator. I also pack extra ziploc bags of two sizes (sandwich and gallon), plastic containers, plasticware, can opener and disposable bowls. This helps with preparation and serving once I reach my destination.
Now for the actual meals. If eating out, and you cannot find a vegan/vegetarian restaurant or menu selections, you can usually find salads on the menu, and with some minor adjustments of ingredients, can enjoy a PB meal. I carry my balsamic vinegar with me so that I can be assured of a tasty, and oil-free dressing. I have also carried a potato and/or chickpeas with me to add to my salad once served.
If you are fortunate, there will be some grocery stores within a walking or driving distance of your hotel. This opportunity will provide you the best options during your stay. You can refresh your ingredients and menu options with fresh fruits and vegetables and PB prepared foods. Frozen or canned vegetables, legumes and whole grains are great alternatives and can be heated up and turned into a healthy rice/quinoa bowl with the help of a microwave.