15 Feb Guest post by Lani: Plant-strong in Panama: How to travel anywhere in the world and easily stick to your plant-based diet
Lani was off in Panama (hmm, she didn’t invite us to come with her 😉 ) She has some great tips to share about traveling and living plant-strong.
When Natala’s blog post 5 Tips for Small Town Living went up on the Daily Beet here at Engine 2 Diet late January, Greg and I were just settling into our digs on a small island in Panama where we were tropical snowbirding for a couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, we had just returned to the house at which we were staying from market with our food stash for the week ahead. And like Natala’s experience, I’ve found that the simpler you get with your plant-strong diet, the simpler becomes the shopping. The game just changes a little bit when you’re out of country.
‘Going to market’ on Bastimentos Island means traveling down the gravel road to the Red Frog Marina, flagging down a boat taxi, and taking a 20 minute boat ride to Bocas Town. From there it’s find Oliver’s produce market, and track down small mercado or two for beans, rice and salsa. And if you’re lucky, the bakery will still have some bread left when you get there.
We don’t have any wheels in town here so everything needs to be carried in our backpacks, shoulder bags, and gripped in our hands. Oh, and you’ll need a 3rd hand for the umbrella required by the intermittent rain. So as the shopping excursion nears its end, just count on getting your shower au naturelle.
When you are plant-strong folks like us, a market haul is a weighty and sizeable affair. Non-processed foods don’t come in small packages. We should have taken a picture of our load as we headed back to the boat taxi, but your imagination will have to suffice. Rest assured that as we minimize trips to town, we stock up on all we needed for a week. Because that’s all we can carry. If we could carry the food for 2 weeks, we would.
This particular shopping trip we came back with:
- 2 pineapples
- 2 giant papaya
- 4 bananas
- 20 potatoes, including several of a local variety the kind of which I had never seen before yet scored high on the yummers scale
- 16 squash (I don’t know what they are called here, an interesting variety I only find south of the border)
- 12 tomatoes
- 4 cabbages
- 5 heads of lettuce
- 2 onions
- a dozen carrots
- bag of rice (actually found brown! I travel with a starter bag yet that was about gone so glad to find this)
- vindaloo curry paste
- 2 jars of salsa verde
- 2 bags of lentils
- bag of black beans
- 3 loaves of bread
- Bring some staple basics with you that will get you started. For me this is rolled oats and brown rice.
- Ask where the nearest best supply of fruits and vegetables can be found. If you are way off the beaten track, you will be able to find a small bottle of bleach if you need to clean veggies and fruits with skins. If not, you can peel them. Pouring boiling water over tomatoes makes the skin slip off like sunburn.
- Do some recon work in a couple of markets in addition to the produce locations. I always go with a list to look for what available supplies there are in terms of beans, rice, salsa, and oats.
Lani Muelrath is a plant-strong fitness expert! Lani is the creator of The Body Transformation Formula and Fit Quickies™ 5 Minute Workouts. She has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education and over 30 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and trainer. She has received awards for her instruction, created and starred in her own CBS TV Show, and her expertise in the area of health and fitness is called upon by examiner.com, as Fitness Expert for Dr. John McDougall’s Health and Medical Center, coach, Dr. Neal Barnard’s 21-Day Kickstart program, and Health and Fitness Lifestyle Expert for Vegan Mainstream.com. She is Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University.