Most people when they head off on holidays just need to think about what they are going to wear and what to pack. But when you are passionate about eating nutritious food and trying to steer clear of gluten (who wants to be sick on holidays?) travelling can be challenge.
When we are home, it is safe. You know what's in the food you eat, you know what's on the menus you frequently visit, you know where to buy the best groceries and you are confident about staying on track with your food.
I used to be petrified to go on holidays because I would worry that I wouldn't find anything to eat. That's pretty ironic coming from someone who used to choose to avoid food completely.
But part of my healing process and part of actually getting food into my mouth without fear was eating food that I felt was 'safe.'
There were foods that I used to eat day in and day out that allowed me to feel comfortable. I would run with them for a few months and then be so sick of them, I would change. I think it started with a massive vegetable stir fry with vermicelli noodles, them Spaghetti Napoletana was a stable for a long time (didn't you know pasta and tomato sauce had no fat and therefore you could eat as much as you liked).
Clearly I was addicted to carbs and riding the low fat train to chronic carbicide.
Back then, sugar was not the devil, fat was. So finding a plain pasta dishes, a plain bread roll or a packet of lollies (no fat) was typical and easy to find when you were on holidays. Not so much fun for the people I was travelling with perhaps (sorry mum).
I am so grateful that despite all the distorted eating I encountered during that period, counting calories never entered the equation.
So now as I head overseas on a new adventure for a few weeks I find myself facing some familiar concerns about food. You see this is the first time since I've been gluten free and clean eating minded that I have travelled into unfamiliar territory. I went to Hawaii last year but found them to be 'gluten aware' and it was fine to nativagate. Things were generally labelled gluten free and I just stuck to similar dishes I eat at home- meat and veg.
While you think it would be easy to eat this was in Asia, I am always mindful of what goes into the sauces. Having been 'glutened' many a time from Thai or Chinese food that has GF next to its name, it scares me to think I may very well be spending the next few weeks in a bathroom.
So what am I doing to subside the fear and set myself up for a fantastic holiday.
The PAIN principle
1. PACK snacks from home - snacks can be hard to navigate if you can't read the packaging or fresh food is difficult to get your hands on.
2. ASK questions - ask at the hotels where is good to eat, ask at the restaurants how they cook their food ( fried, boiled, steamed) and what ingredients they use in some of their dishes.
3. INVESTIGATE the local cuisine - find dishes that are traditional to the area that fit your dietary guidelines.
2. NAVIGATE the reviews - do your research ahead of time and find restaurants that have great reviews written by people that have your same dietary requirement eg "they catered for all my gluten free needs and suggested dishes that were appropriate".
Wish me luck x
So I successfully survived my holiday (in regards to food)!
It was a fabulous first week with family in Singapore, we had such an incredible time and created memories that will never be forgotten.
Navigating food while I was there was made so much easier thanks to my awesome sister in law (who is also gluten free). She cooked some delicious dinners, we had an amazing quinoa quiche, chicken wings, a vegetable bolognese and ate some Singaporean chicken and rice.
We dove into the local cuisine head first at the Hawkers Markets and polished off chicken wings, satay sticks, carrot cake (which has no carrots in it) as well as Kai-Lan lan.
I took full advantage of my brothers nutribullet and started my day with a protein smoothie using a variety of fruits and coconut water.
My gorgeous sister in law also gets brownie points for stocking her home with Coco Crunch, strawberries, blueberries, bananas and passionfruit.
Before leaving Singapore and heading into Thailand I stocked up on a few snacks. Found some new gluten free protein bars and some dried fruit and nut mix. I much prefer fresh fruit but when I am stuck I prefer that over other unhealthy alternatives.
I could live this life forever - wake up, train, swim, breakfast, swim, massage, swim, explore, swim, cocktail at the swim up bar, dinner, sleep repeat!
It doesn't get much better.
Hotel breakfasts are incredible, to watch as a professional chef cooks me an egg white omelette is pure bliss. I accompanied it with some juicy fruit (pineapple, papaya, watermelon, dragon fruit and grapes).
Dinner we love to venture out of the hotel environment and try some local cuisine. Chicken and cashew nut, beef and basil leaf, stir fry greens, fried rice in a pineapple (literally). It tastes different here, so fresh, clean, no 3am dry mouth and thirst alert.
I know I have used this post to purely fill you in on my food adventures and a promise to let you in on the active adventure we had while overseas in the upcoming weeks.
What do you find most challenging to navigate food wise when you head abroad?