For the past three years each trip back to the east coast has ended with my gut staging a mutiny. By the end of the trip I am nauseated and my stomach feels like it is not working. Seriously…..when my husband and I went back to NJ for our wedding this past July I actually went to a restaurant and did not eat a thing. I felt that bad. And for those of you who have eaten in New Jersey, NYC, or Philly that is a very tragic day when you cannot eat chicken parm, a piece of New York style cheese cake, or a philly cheese steak. Finally I had enough of feeling crummy, bloated, and nauseous upon returning to Colorado.
This past month was Passover. My husband and I traveled back to New Jersey to spend the holiday with his family. And we attended my brother-in-law’s wedding too! I am new to eating paleo and I used that to guide everything I put into my mouth.
Did I eat perfectly paleo? No. But here is how I did eat clean….
I traveled with my own food. A lot of it.
I pretty much cleaned out my fridge the morning that we left and loaded up my carry on bag with everything but the kitchen sink. Salami, olives, grapes, tomatoes, carrots, apples, oranges, and bananas. The hummus was going to go bad if we left it home so might as well bring it!
I traveled with my own snacks. A lot of them.
Rx Bars, Epic bars, nuts, and dried fruit. And I found cute bags of olives from Trader Joe’s. I do like crunchy snacks on plane rides/car trips and found grain free crackers, parsnip chips, sweet potato chips. Just read your labels. Not all convenience foods are clean. Many snacks have added sugars in them too. Just because it came from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s doesn’t mean it is clean eats.
Cleaner Eats at DIA.
Mod Market, sushi, and La Casita are all spots to try in Concourse C. Plus you can get pre-packaged salads, fruit cups, etc. at multiple stands, kiosks, and grab n’ go locations outside restaurants like Rock Bottom and Einstein’s.
We ate at my mother-in-law’s house.
We went food shopping after landing at Newark. We picked up veggies, eggs, tea, lunch meat (not paleo but super quick and easy protein), more olives, and avocado.
Breakfast was our usual. Meat, veggies, eggs. Hello corned beef hash!
Lunch was left over meat, fruit, salads, olives. Dinner was what ever protein my mother-in-law had in her freezer with more veggies. My mother-in-law is a great cook. She always has meatloaf, steaks, burgers, and chicken ready to be cooked fresh or defrosted and re-heated.
I made smart choices when eating out.
This was hard. Very hard. We went to an Italian food place for my brother-in-law’s rehearsal dinner. Everyone was eating bread, penne in a creamy tomato vodka sauce, chicken parmesan smothered in marinara and gobs of gooey mozzarella. What did I do? Passed on the bread, ate my side salad, ordered broiled flounder with lemon and a big side of veggies. I didn’t want to. I wanted to eat what everyone else was eating! You just can’t get that type of food in Colorado. My meal was so ugly I didn’t even take a picture! But I buckled down and made the gut friendly choice for me and the choice that best supported my health.
At the wedding, I loaded my plate up with salad, veggies, roasted potatoes, and chicken. I had a bite of wedding cake to try it. My gut does well with wine (beer is a no-go) and I had a couple of glasses of Chardonnay.
Passover did not make my stomach happy. I chose to not eat the home-made chicken and veggies that where available. I made the poor choice for me and opted for the prepackaged stuffed cabbage rolls and broccoli kugel. While those items where gluten-free, they contained other ingredients and additives that caused me a great deal of discomfort. I did have some prepackaged gluten-free cookies too. Those didn’t sit well either. I really thought I would be ok because everything was gluten free. I wasn’t. Next time we visit I will stick with what I know is home-made, clean eats and not eat the gluten free pre-package foods. If I have too, I will bring my own main dish to the holiday meal as well to lessen the burden on my in-laws. Just give me meat and veggies! I don’t need fancy.
The return trip.
I emptied out my mother-in-law’s fridge. Leftover meatloaf, cauliflower rice with hard boiled egg (from Passover dinner the night before), veggies, olives, avocado, and the snacks that flew out from Colorado with me. As a general rule, I try to eat what I bring within 4 hours of it leaving the fridge. Hard boiled eggs last longer and salami can last longer too as I have learned on previous backpacking trips.
Clean Eats at Newark.
Newark has some great clean eats on Concourse A. Fresh options include-salads, snack boxes with cheese, meat and veggies, bananas, apples, fruit salad, hummus and pretzels. One go-to for me is a salad with meat and veggies from Qdoba. They were out of guacamole that day. I happened to have avocado and put that on my salad. How lucky was I!? Avocado in my carry-on! Or maybe just I am just crazy? I am not sure which I am –lucky or crazy? I am still pondering that question.
To eat cleanly this trip did take some planning, a little shopping, and the will power not to put every delicious morsel of East Coast food into my mouth. I hope this blog post gives you some food ideas to fuel your upcoming adventures! What do you all like to pack for trips? What are your clean eats when traveling? I would love to hear about it!