Real Talk Whole30 Survival Guide: Travel | Fresh Planet Flavor

No recipe today, dear reader. But sometimes “un-recipes” are even better. So stick around, because on a whim I decided to put together some cheeky Whole30 guides. Not just any cheeky Whole30 guides, but the survival kind. This series will address the challenges of the Whole30 with “real talk” and take into account some considerable constraints/pressures/limitations/complications of modern life that form an all-powerful vortex that sucks your time, energy and motivation completely away from optimal eating.  These include:

  • You have children
  • You travel frequently 
  • You don’t enjoy cooking
  • You have social obligations
  • You have an athletic lifestyle
  • You have dubious buy-in from your significant other
. . .and yet (and yet!) you still want to put down that donut and remind yourself how good food can positively affect your health and wellness. For those unfamiliar with the Whole30 program, the principle is simple: for 30 days you commit to cutting the garbage out of your diet and eating whole, nutrient-dense foods instead. It may take some time for your body to adjust and your head to get in the game, but by Day 30, you’ll feel like a reborn person—and you’ll have a much better understanding of how different foods affect your overall wellness. Post-Whole30, you’ll be able to systematically reintroduce foods back onto your plate to see how they make you feel (your personal nutritional template!) so a Whole30 helps you figure out which foods will assist in thriving, not just surviving. These guides can’t and won’t address every hurdle you might encounter or solve every potential setback, but I’m writing this series to assist in maintaining a Whole30 when life seems completely overwhelming, because… Guess what? Life may seem less overwhelming when you’re not achy, bloated, fatigued, fighting brain fog and mood swings, while simultaneously at the mercy of cravings.
That’s all well and good, you say. But what about the ultimate test of Whole30 commitment: Whole30 travel food?! Let’s break it down:
  1. Eat a huge pre-travel Whole30 meal. This principle extends to eating big Whole30 meals for the duration of the trip whenever it’s easily available. You never know when you’ll be stuck with just your Whole30 snacks, so don’t rely on them when you don’t have to. 
  2. Pack plentiful Whole30 snacks for when there are no Whole30 meals available. 
  3. Master (urban) foraging for finding Whole30 travel food “in the wild”.
  4. Embrace the suck and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 
  5. Read up on the other healthy travel resources I’ve compiled at the end of this post!
Shall we begin?
9 Minute Whole30 Breakfast from Real Talk Whole30 Survival Guides |  
EAT YOUR PRE-TRAVEL MEAL: a big (yet speedy) breakfast the morning of the trip before leaving the house… for sustained energy and the sake of your sanity. One meal is hardly the measure of anything, but set your Whole30 travel food experience up for success on your home turf first: 
  1. Wash a large sweet potato (that’s a white sweet potato in the picture above), wrap it in a paper towel, put it in the microwave for 8 minutes.
  2. Crack 2-4 eggs into skillet with a spoonful of coconut oil.
  3. Open an avocado, discard pit, spoon out on the plate and then mash with a fork.
  4. Flip the eggs, turn off the heat under the skillet. 
  5. Split open the cooked sweet potato, load it with the avocado.
  6. Transfer the eggs to a plate, douse with Cholula or other compliant condiment of choice. Add the avocado-loaded sweet potato halves to the plate along with a handful of pre-washed arugula/baby spinach/sprouts/micro-greens, etc.  
Whole30 Snack Food from Real Talk Whole30 Survival Guides |
PACK YOUR TRAVEL SNACKS. These items will accompany you on the plane or in the car, and will serve as emergency sustenance throughout the week to supplement your meals (which may be light and irregular as you navigate the desert of conventional food on offer at your destination). None of the suggestions below require refrigeration, they all taste at least passable at room temperature, and they won’t smell strongly in a confined space:    
  1. Nuts and seeds
  2. Fruit (fresh and dried)
  3. Cooked sweet potato
  4. Nut butter packs
  5. Olives
  6. Seaweed
  7. Raw vegetables
  8. All-in-one bars (RxBars, EPIC Bars)
If you don’t have a bento box like in the picture above to portion your bulk items, portion them yourself into sandwich bags and load them into a larger undivided container.
(URBAN) FORAGING is a necessity while traveling, especially on business trips where your schedule is inflexible and you are potentially in the company of coworkers or clients. Don’t hesitate to stock up on at least the first six items from the travel food list above from the locations below, plus much more! Where can you forage for Whole30 travel food “on location”, so to speak?
  1. Gas stations and corner/drug/liquor stores (may yield coconut water, deli meat, boiled eggs and local compliant specialties!)
  2. Your hotel’s breakfast buffet… stock up on boiled eggs or fruit for subsequent breakfasts and snacks during your stay. 
  3. Markets and tourist attractions: many world-class cities have famous, bustling, beautiful market districts that are worth visiting to absorb local culture, let alone for Whole30 reasons. “See the sights” and get a feel for your location while scouting for Whole30 travel food on-the-go. Alternately, many places are famous for food that can be adapted to Whole30 standards (in the United States, think lobster in Maine, barbecue in Texas, Dungeness crab in Seattle, your LA food truck of choice… it’s entirely possible to disguise a Whole30 travel food mission as time playing tourist).
Lastly, EMBRACE THE SUCK. Final bit of real talk here, because anyone who tells you the Whole30 is easy is either benefiting from some very special circumstances or faking it. Whole30 takes mental energy and determination to give your body a reprieve. One might consider this “robbing Peter to pay Paul” as the old idiom goes, but in the case of Whole30 travel food, it’s simply half the battle to remember that the Whole30 is difficult and that maintaining your Whole30 while traveling is über difficult. Know that it’s a hassle to pack food, research your restaurants, request substitutions and probably use your hotel fridge and microwave… but ultimately these techniques are also the easiest route to returning home with your Whole30 intact.  
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