1. Sean Carney
  2. Travel Related
  3. Monday, May 26 2014, 11:25 AM
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We travel often and have found that eating healthy can be a challenge but it is surmountable:
First and foremost is to carry food with you. Otherwise you will grow hungry and willpower diminishes and hunger increases!
We also always stay in hotels or motels that provide a small refrigerator and a Microwave.
Then upon landing at an airport we head to the nearest grocery store and purchase cans of beans (preferably with no or low salt!) and some spinach, carrots, tomatoes and a variety of fruits.
We also carry in our suitcase dehydrated foods that we make ahead in our dehydrator. These include foods that we previously cooked and seasoned to our tastes such as beans, squash, and yams. We generally mash them before dehydrating them. Once they are dry they pack easily into our suitcases and travel pretty lightly.
In the morning, for breakfast we simply add some water to the dehydrated foods and let them soak a bit before warming up in the microwave. The beans can then be layered out on top of a bed of spinach leaves and we can top that off with some sliced carrots, chopped tomatoes, some olives, and seasonings.
Speaking of seasonings, they also are packed into our suitcases in labeled zip lock bags. This makes it very easy to provide traveling food that is DELICIOUS and pretty fast to make, even in a hotel room.
One day we have a dream to provide a line of these wonderful meals for fellow travelers to make it easy to travel.
Now that we have shared one of our tricks, what are some of your favorite tips for traveling?
  1760 Farm to Market Road 967, Buda, TX 78610, USA
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Ken Thomas Accepted Answer
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Carrying food with you is by far the best and safest plan! You know exactly what’s in it since you prepared it yourself.

Occasionally, due to time and place, schedule, circumstances, etc., it is convenient to eat out at a restaurant. There are huge hazards to eating at restaurants, but with some ordering skills, it can be accomplished. Here are a few rules that I have learned to be vital:

Make liberal use of the word “DRY”.
Never order a meal off of the menu – not even at a vegan restaurant! Always order custom.
Understand that the wait staff and even the chef will not understand what you are asking for, no matter how much they assure you they do. For example, if you say you want your meal prepared oil free, they may assure you that it will be oil free. However, they are not considering that the sauce applied after cooking contains oil, or that some of the ingredients were processed with oil.
Assume all sauces contain oil.
Assume all prepared meals have excess fat and ingredients you are unaware of.
Never, ever think, “Well this one time won’t hurt”. – It will. Gene expression, hormones, enzymes, gut flora, neurology (addictions) among just a few biological functions are altered with just a few trigger molecules in many “foods”. Once altered it may take weeks or months for you system to recover. These setbacks generally take 12 hours to a few days to manifest, blurring your perception of the effect or connection to that “one time”.
Some of the safest things to order are fresh fruit and fresh, raw vegies.
Express the key word, “DRY” when ordering.
If you feel you must have seasoning – bring your own.
A baked potato can be safe. To order a baked potato, tell the server that it must be baked “DRY – with nothing on it” and stress that the skin must not be brushed or sprayed with anything before baking - anything.
Vegies can be steamed DRY – ensure they are not pre-prepared.
Ask for stir fry dishes to be “fried” with water. Express that no oil or sauce can be used – just water – only water. They may tell you that it can’t be done, ensure them it works great. If they won’t do it, order them steamed.
Tell the server that ordering this way is for “medical reasons”. It really helps with their willingness to comply. Do not specify the medical condition as they will suddenly become a doctor or nutritionist and argue your logic. Telling them your reason is medical is indeed true. Even if you do not have any medical conditions, eating Starch-Smart keeps you that way! Worst case – tell them it is Doctor’s orders! 
Do not be afraid or reluctant to insist. What goes into your body should be considered PERSONAL!


A few of our successful travel restaurants include:

Jason’s Deli seem to be almost everywhere. Again, do not order any menu items. I always order the fresh fruit plate, which is just that, fresh fruit. Plus a side of steamed “DRY” vegies (broccoli, carrots, etc.) and a baked “DRY” potato.
Whole Foods food bar has lots of great fresh and cooked DRY items such as fresh fruit, raw greens, several kinds of beans and peas, and various raw vegies.
The P.F. Chang’s Buddha’s Feast can be custom ordered to be Starch-Smart compliant. Remember to order it “DRY” – steamed only, no sauce and with steamed rice. I also leave off the tofu.
PEI WEI restaurants also seem to be everywhere. I have been successful ordering steamed DRY vegies with steamed DRY rice.


In summary, when ordering at any restaurant, always:

Order custom meals.
No oil!
Use the word “DRY” for every item.
Nothing fried.
No sauces.
Ensure nothing has been sautéed or pre-prepared
Be fat content aware.
Ensure everything is clean (vegan)
No oil!
Do not compromise - ever! It’s your body, it’s your life.


Be Starch-Smart!
Be healthy!
Be happy!
Enjoy!
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  1. more than a month ago
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Sean Carney Accepted Answer
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We have taken your advice and started using the word "Dry" to explain how we want our veggies. Some places will tell you there is no oil even though they have coated the veggies with a little oil and seasonings. They think that is OK and that what we must mean is not FRIED. So, "Dry" is very descriptive and good. :-)
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Vikki Deedrick Accepted Answer
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You do have to be VERY specific when ordering. When I was fairly new at this I ordered broccoli and asked that it be cooked with no oil or butter. When it arrived it obviously had some kind of oily something on it. When I asked the waiter I was told it was cooked without oil or butter, but then 'sprayed' with oil & butter afterward. Now I say "I need that cooked and served with no oil, no butter." I have had good success with that. Sometimes I even say I'm not allowed to have any oil or butter. They typically just assume it's Dr's orders.

I like Ruby Tuesday's since I can get a salad bar and my dining companion has an entire menu to choose from. For an extra $1 you can get three sides with the salad bar. I get a baked potato, steamed broccoli and grilled zucchini. It comes without oil or butter. Ruby Tuesday's does oil the outside of the potato and they're done in advance so it can't be ordered without. I simply don't eat the skin. I take my own salad dressing and salsa for my potato.

Also calling ahead is helpful. A friend wanted to eat at a new local steakhouse for her birthday. I called ahead, talked to a very nice young man who told me exactly what was available and how to order it to get what I needed. He suggested I bring my own salad dressing since none of their's were oil-free. He gave me his name and told me to ask for him if I had any difficulty. He also told me that the salad without the things I was avoiding would be simply lettuce and tomato so I took a little container with some garbanzo beans, salad peppers and sliced red onions. I ended up having a great meal, a huge baked potato, a lovely salad and perfectly steamed fresh vegetables. All at a steakhouse!

If I can find a menu on-line I will check in advance what the options are and call them if I have questions about how something is prepared.

We always stay in hotels that have a refrigerator and microwave. I take a medium sized Pyrex casserole dish that will fit into a small microwave and we can cook almost anything we want. We find the nearest grocery store and we're good to go. We might not eat as well as we would at home, but we can stay on plan.
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  1. more than a month ago
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Sean Carney Accepted Answer
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Thank you Vikki for those good suggestions. The idea about calling in ahead is fantastic!
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Steve Soukup Accepted Answer
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Hey all. I am traveling to Europe in a few weeks and would appreciate any tips for vegan eating. I do plan on buying most meals at grocery stores and I have the happy cow app on my phone.

Thanks in advance!
Steve
  Buda, TX 78610, USA
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Sean Carney Accepted Answer
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Steve,

I know you are going to have some good advice for us when you come back. We do not have a lot of experience in Europe. Here in the USA and Canada we often prepare beans and yams and other foods that we love and then use our dehydrator to reduce their size and weight. Then when we get to our hotel rooms we will add water and zap them in a microwave. This way we can get beans and yams for breakfast, which we love. We also hit grocery stores right away looking for spinach, tomatoes, carrots and other fresh produce. We also purchase canned beans if we have no way to cook and take a can opener in our suitcase.

We have also recently purchased a induction stove top. It is pretty much portable but not super conveniently. However, on a recent trip to Canada we did have this hot stove top with us and then we had to borrow some steel bottomed cookware and so were able to cook daily.

Induction stove tops use magnets instead of heating coils to heat the cookware.
Let us know how you did on your travels!

Sean
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Glenna Accepted Answer
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Really appreciate the discussion on this topic. My husband and I have been plant-based since 2004 but still find eating away from home difficult. When traveling a long distance by car and checking into hotels, I just hate looking like something out of The Grapes of Wrath (LOL) while lugging all our food and equipment to our room. For our next trip, I've purchased 2 large plastic storage containers with lids. One for our electric pressure cooker and electric non-stick skillet and the other one for all the food stuff that doesn't have to be kept cold. I think this will help. In the past at some of the small hotels with very slow elevators, we've had to make so many trips back and forth to the car that it is very tiring.

Would like to hear tips from others on how they organize and transport the things they take along.
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Sean Carney Accepted Answer
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That is funny about looking like the Grapes of Wrath! We pack a lot into our suitcases, including some food we dehydrate ourselves. We also hit a grocery store first thing and stay where there is a microwave and refrigerator. My wife packs Pyrex containers as well. We always end up with 50 lb suitcases!
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Sean Carney Accepted Answer
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We have now added one more trick to our travel repitoire which is to actually pack an Instant-Pot into our suitcase. It does mean we have to check in a large suitcase for each trip but life becomes so much easier once we get to our hotel room and plug the Intant-pot in. It ends up there is an Instant-pot that is shorter than the standard size by about maybe 3/4 of an inch and we purchased it just for travel. The standard one is almost too tall for the suitcases.


Now when we arrive and go shopping we are able to purchase starchy root vegetables and squash. We can also carry dried beans with us and cook them in our room. Life is so much better in a hotel room with an instant-pot!

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