Sunday, January 5, 2014

Traveling with high maintenance eating

I recently got back from a 2 week vacation to Maui. The adjustment has been a little rough. We drove to the airport in 85 degree weather and landed at SeaTac in 45 degree clouds. Ugh.

To console myself, I spend an inordinant amount of time scrolling through the pictures on my phone, remembering the sights, sounds, and smells of Maui. Aaaaah. What better way to hang onto a piece of the vacation? Well, maybe to share some tips in case you, too, want to go there. It’s going to be a long post so go get your cup of coffee now. Ready? OK, here we got.

The biggest challenge to traveling on GAPS is, of course, food.* This was a major stressor for me in the month leading up to our trip.  How on earth can you go on vacation and eat clean for 2 weeks? Well, it takes a lot of planning. And since I’m not that good at planning, I had my daughter help me. 

Tip #1 – Menu Plan for the entire trip, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and travel snacks.

I kept a master notebook with pages for what to pack from the bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom, as well as extra odd things. In that same notebook, I wrote out a menu plan for the whole trip. Each day had 4 lines – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Next to the day, I would also write what plans were for the day. The activities dictated what I would fix. If we needed to get out the door quickly (to get to the 7 am farmer’s market, for example), I’d do fried eggs. If there was more time, I planned smoothies or pancakes (recipe at the end of the post).

Now the important thing about the notebook was that it was flexible. It was not holy writ. Things could be shuffled from one day to another, depending on the weather, our energy level, and what we felt like.

As I menu planned, I kept running lists going on three separate notebook pages. They were shopping lists for Costco, Whole Foods, and the health Food store. Then I kept another page for the “Must buy or make before we go” items.

Tip #2 – Make Shopping lists for as soon as you leave the airport

Just outside the airport on Maui is a Costco. Must have items from Costco:
            Coconut oil
            Salad greens (organic)
            Sea Salt
            Bananas (they had local apple bananas there!)
            Wine (if you’re into it. Most other places don’t have a brisk turnover of stock and it’s not reliably good. Plus Costco’s prices are good.)
            Frozen fish
            2 pack of frozen organic chickens
            Frozen organic chicken breasts
            Cheese ( we got Dubliner and Gouda. Yes, we ate it all. Don’t judge.)
            Chicken Sausages (
(dragon fruit)
Whole Foods:
            Almond butter
            Organic Valley Pastured Butter
            Fresh veggies
            Organic canned Salsa
            Olive Oil
            Organic Apple Cider vinegar

Health Food Store:
            Coconut milk (the only place that carried coconut milk without guar gum. Be forewarned, it’s $3.86 a can)
            Additional fresh fruits and veggies
            Kombucha. At about $5 a bottle, this was a huge splurge

Farmer’s Market:
            Farm eggs (they cost $6/dozen. Get over it. That’s still a cheap protein source. )
            Raw Honey
            Coconut water kefir
            Local fruits and veggies

Things we packed:
            Wild, troll caught tuna from Costco. The Costco in Hawaii doesn’t carry it. Worth taking as it makes a great quick lunch or a snack.
            Frozen grass-fed beef in our checked-through luggage, double bagged in Ziploc bags
            Spices in zip bags, labeled. I included spice blends for specific recipes.
            Gelatin. WARNING – Place into a different container, like a jar with a lid. The change in air pressure made our tube of gelatin sneeze all over everything inside the suitcase, which made for several sticky messes)
            Epic bars. Greatest travel meal replacements ever. 
            2 lb bag of soaked, dried walnuts
            Dried apple slices
            Beef jerky (made from flank steak and beef heart – fabulous to sneak in organ meats.)
            Tea bags
            Fermented cod liver oil, nestled next to the frozen meat
            Coconut flakes (for This recipe. It’s tremendous)
            Coconut flour
            Raw Cocoa powder
            Water filter pitcher
            Coffee French press

Our condo was fairly well stocked, but unfortunately, all of the pans were non-stick. Boo! We even went to the thrift store to see if we could score a cast-iron skillet, but were out of luck there. All they had was non-stick cookware that was no longer non-stick and would shed large chunks of Teflon into your scrambled eggs. Double boo.

Other than that, we ate like kings! We feasted on lots of salads, quick meals like hamburger patties, tuna salad (over salad), chicken salad, and lots of grilled meat.

Even on the go, we ate well. I put together Paleo Packs in sandwich size plastic bags. The mix should be protein, fats, and carbs, so I put in jerky, nuts, coconut flakes, and dried fruit.

A couple of times I wanted DESSERT! So I made it. Cocoa powder, coconut oil, shredded unsweetened coconut, and a bit of honey. Awesome.

One of the favorite breakfasts for my family was a recipe that I cobbled together, adapting an online recipe with what I had on hand. We served it with sausage and it made for happy days with full tummies and even blood sugar levels.
Almond Butter Pancakes
(makes 12-16 4” pancakes, using about an 1/8 cup batter per pancake)

3 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 overly ripe banana, medium sized, mushed
1 Tbsp gelatin

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes. The batter will thicken a bit as it sits. While the batter is resting, heat a large skillet (not non-stick!) over medium heat. Use coconut oil to grease the pan and scoop the batter into the heated pan. Let the pancakes cook till bubbles have formed throughout and then turn, cooking briefly on the other side.

Serve the pancakes with plenty of good butter. You can top with unsweetened applesauce, if you need a bit of sweetener on it.

*Technically, we weren’t on GAPS for the vacation. We couldn’t pack bone broth. But we did eat as clean as possible. And the rest we shrugged and said, “It’s vacation!”