Airports do not offer the best options for those following a Paleolithic diet of pastured meat, organic produce, nuts, and seeds. Though you may find some foods that can be altered to fit into your paleo lifestyle, any meat you purchase will likely be factory farmed. And, unless you are at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, which recently debuted the first in-airport vertical garden, your produce will certainly not be organic. Road trips are also a challenge if you do not plan ahead. If you need to travel and want to maintain your paleo diet, you may consider cheating slightly on your diet, altering restaurant options to suit your dietary needs, or bringing your own paleo foods along.
Bring a small cooler in the car or stash some snacks in your carry on for when you start to feel hungry. Carrot sticks and other easily transportable vegetables, trail mix, apples, bananas, and chocolate can all be brought on a plane or on the road for a quick and easy fix for serious hunger. If you have a dehydrator or access to a natural foods store, unsweetened dried fruits and coconut flakes are perfect for traveling. Some paleo enthusiasts have even brought leftovers on a plane or made meals ahead of time to eat mid-flight. You can try it, but make sure you know any flight regulations that may prohibit you from making it through security with some foods.
Some paleo dieters use traveling as a time to do some intermittent fasting. Because eating at the airport or on an airplane can be difficult while following a paleo diet, fasters will simply skip eating while in transit. For longer flights, fasting may feel too overwhelming, but for shorter flights, you may simply skip lunch or dinner and eat when you touch down. If you plan to fast during travel, try not to eat any more food than normal before or after the fasting period. Overstuffing yourself after a fast can make you feel overly full, tired, and sluggish during your vacation.
Once you arrive at your destination, visiting a local grocery store that provides ample organic produce and free-range, pastured meats is best. Eating food from grocery stores will not only save you money, but it will allow you to ensure your food is the best possible quality. Some cities may host a farmer’s market or other outdoor market where local produce is sold.
If you do not have access to a grocery store or farm market and you must visit a restaurant, check their menu before heading out so you have a paleo plan upon arrival. Pick out what you want ahead of time and ask for the necessary substitutions. Swap the potatoes for fresh, steamed greens or ask for extra vegetables instead of rice. Most restaurants will accommodate the dietary requests and needs of the customer.
Sometimes when traveling, you have to eat non-paleo foods. If you’re going to eat foods that are not paleo-approved, make them worth it. If you get something you did not end up enjoying, you will feel guilty and frustrated. Instead, pick items that you simply cannot pass up. If you really feel a need to have some chocolate cake for dessert, skip it and buy a dark chocolate bar on the way home to savor. Not only will it last longer, but you will also satisfy your craving without straying too far from the paleo diet.
Traveling while maintaining a paleo diet in the modern world can be difficult. With a little foresight and planning, however, you can stick to your goals and achieve success. No matter where you end up on your travels, you don’t have to leave your paleo diet at home.
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