Some people might be curious how I stay on my Total Elimination Diet while traveling non-stop for days on end. It’s a good question, and the answer is: lots of planning, preparation, and cool gizmos.
I started to write this as a single post, but it was just too involved to fit in a thousand words or less so I’m writing another series! I think this one will be invaluable to anyone who has to travel for work and has special dietary needs.
Leading up to my return to work, I first had to figure out what the challenges would be trying to combine traveling with a TED. I quickly realized:
- I can only eat grass-fed and –finished beef. That’s pretty hard to come by in most airports and hotels!
- I can only eat “safe” olive oil. That’s not usually found in airports or hotels, either.
- Zac is corn sensitive. So far, he’s been okay on the water we use at home. But on the plane, we serve Dasani water which is completely corny! I would prefer not to drink that out of fear it will cause him to “slow burn” react through my milk.
- Potatoes and carrots are safe for me to eat, but it’s not exactly healthy to eat nothing but those two things for days on end (not that my TED is a well-rounded nutritional plan, but you get the idea)…plus, they would take up a lot of weight and bulk in my bags.
So it seemed clear to me that I would have to carry every single bite of food I consume AND every single drop of liquid I drink with me when I go to work.
Time to get creative!
To start, I thought of all the recipes I make that are safe for me and wrote down the ones I thought had potential to be made portable enough to take to on the road. For me, this list came down to:
- Beef Jerky
- Baked potatos
- Raw carrots
- Potato-Carrot Soup
- Hamburger Hash
- Pot Roast
- Mashed Potatos
- Onion Bombs
Now I had to think of ways to make those portable.
Here is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOVVE my dehydrator! Beef jerky is dried already, so there’s one food item checked off the list. I took time over the last month or so preceding my return to work to play around with drying foods, and was reminded instantly of my deep love of my Excalibur.
Hamburger Hash dehydrates beautifully! Potato-Carrot Soup is also awesome dried! Sliced potatos rehydrate and mash up into perfect mashed potatos! Carrots darn near disappear they shrink so much when they dry…but when rehydrated they’re perfect to fry or bake and they taste just like fresh! (Pictures and details on this to follow!)
I Big Puffy Heart my Excalibur.
Then it was a matter of figuring out how much food I would need to take with me. Again, a list came in handy.
- Three meals per day
- Snacks for each day (sometimes I wouldn’t get the chance to eat a real meal, so a snack would have to suffice)
- Olive oil
- Seasonings (garlic and onion powder, sea salt and black pepper)
- Tea bags
OK. With my handy dandy list, I looked at my work schedule and saw that I would leave for work on Friday night and return home Wednesday morning. So that is:
- 5 breakfasts
- 4 lunches
- 5 dinners
- 5 days worth of snacks
- enough olive oil to cook with
- enough seasonings to work with
I decided Hamburger Hash was perfect for breakfast. So I knew I needed to make 5 of those (at least!). Lunch and dinner…well, I needed 9 of those at a minimum. I knew life would be easier if I didn’t have to rehydrate every single meal I made while working, so I planned on some Pot Roast and Onion Bombs pre-made and frozen. Those would be easy to just toss in the oven or microwave and eat whenever I needed. But those would only stay “fresh” and safe to eat for about two days of travel, since I can’t carry a refrigerator with me wherever I go and my ice packs were going to be vitally used to preserve the pumped breast milk I accumulated on the road.
Potato-Carrot soup fit the bill for a meal I could dehydrate and eat for lunch or dinner, and eating a full serving of beef jerky with some rehydrated mashed potatos sounded like a decent enough meal as well.
So 4-5 frozen meals, plus 4-5 dehydrated dinners on top of the Hamburger Hash.
Plus snacks, of course! Cut up, raw carrots would keep for most of the trip and I could snack at will on them, plus I figured I could carry one or two bags of my safe potato chips for the first day or so of work. Beef jerky could pull double duty as a snack and a meal when necessary.
So now that I had a Plan, the next step was to Prepare.
Part 2 comes tomorrow!