05 Sep Leaving on a Jet Plane: Char on traveling Plant-Strong!
Leaving on a Jet Plane
I’ve got this plant-strong travel thing down to a science. Simple as “A-P-D” is what I call it…handling myself in the “Airport-Plane-Destination” mode. In the late spring I traveled to the remote interior of northern Honduras and realized that before my arrival I needed to connect with the cook at the home where I would be staying.
I am a person who travels with one small suitcase, stuffed with lots of black clothing, two pairs of shoes (one running), and that’s it! On this trip though, it appeared that I had forgotten to unpack my groceries from the week before, because my suitcase was stuffed with brown rice, organic, decaffeinated green tea, oatmeal, and walnut butter in individual packets. I even packed Ezekiel tortillas and a new fav snack called Peeled Snacks®, I like them because each bag is equal to one serving of fruit. No added sugar. And just the right amount.
And no plant-strong suitcase would be complete without a gallon bag filled with Rip’s Big Bowl (let all the air out before closing and it fits well packed in a sweatshirt).
Part of the trick in packing for travel is that you have to cover yourself for airport delays, air travel, and sitting in a van for two hours until you reach your final destination.
It was important for me to remain plant-strong in Honduras, because three years ago, I was tipping the scales three pounds shy from the number 300. These days, I no longer need a seatbelt extender.
Ready to travel? This is what works for me.
Before you Go:
-Contact your host/hotel, and see what plant-strong options they have available for you. Based on that conversation, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Then head to the store.
-My shopping list consisted of brown rice, old-fashioned oatmeal, whole grain breads, decaffeinated tea, unsweetened walnut butter, spices (cinnamon, ginger, etc.) Pack things that are easily portable. Individual units of food work great.
Day of Travel-Getting Ready for the Airport…The “A” Part of Your Day
-Keep your morning routine. Have a hearty E2 breakfast. Take an empty water bottle, too! Pack two lunches. One for the plane, and one for any delays. If you’ve had delays in your life, you know that there are airport food options, but why waste your money? I usually take some homemade veggie burgers, fresh fruit, my favorite veggies, etc.
-I pack a travel mug. With the tea bags you’ve brought, you can sip on a favorite beverage from a mug that you love. (BTW, I need an E2 mug. Badly.)
I also pack everything in what looks like a swanky purse, but the reality is that it is a lunch cooler. It doubles as a purse, because it has a compartment for my passport, wallet, and tickets.
Here’s the “P” Part
-On the plane, ask to have your water bottle filled. When the food arrives, you can get into your Plant-Strong Aviator mode and have a great lunch above the clouds. Your food will be so good looking that people will actually say, “Hey, wanna sell that to me?”
-Save some food for a snack if your flight is long.
-Get up every hour and walk around. To the front of the aircraft, to the back. Stretch your legs. Wear a plant-strong t-shirt, people are always curious about that word (frankly, they must be living under a rock if they do not know that it means).
-Once you arrive to your final destination, survey the land. Introduce yourself to the kitchen staff. Bring Post-it® Notes (you will need to label your foods). I brought a “before” picture of myself to Honduras, and explained to Isabel the chef (now a dear friend) that I had to be plant-strong because I never wanted to return to my former self. By the end of my trip, Isabel knew that, “I only eat fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. I eat nothing that has eyes…”
-Breakfast is the easiest meal of the day. Oatmeal and fresh fruit, simple as that.
-Pack your lunch every day. You know what you like. Fortunately, the abundance of beans, and cooking them without salt, worked well. With Ezekiel wraps, I could have an E2 Baleada everyday. What’s a Baleada you ask? Sort of like a burrito, usually contains beans. That’s it. If you asked for a burrito in Honduras, you’d get a baleada.
-Lend a hand during meal preparation. While the brown rice is cooking, you can shred fresh vegetables. All of our fresh foods are soaked in a food-safe antibacterial solution and rinsed with boiled water. Every night, I would make the salad…E2 style.
-Take advantage of the produce that grows in abundance. Mango trees and pineapple plants were everywhere! Carrots, potatoes. As for leafy greens? Scarce, but available. Cabbage is used in the place of lettuce.
-Always show your appreciation to those prepping the meals. They love hearing that they have done something well. Engine 2 was new to them, and a challenge since everything in this country’s cuisine is usually fried and salty. It was very rewarding to spread the E2 message to yet another kitchen in the world!
Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye
I left a copy of Engine 2 for Isabel, and translated my favorite recipes into Spanish (Mighty Muffins, NYT Burgers, Raise the Roof Lasagne, and a few others). She was so appreciative.
My trip was awesome. I loved every minute of being part of a medical outreach team that provided primary care to hundreds of people.
A part of me felt as though I was on an E2 Immersion. The funny thing that happened on my first trip is that others would be like, “Hey, can I have some brown rice?” Or, when it was time to make lunch, I would stuff my bean Baleada with tomatoes and carrots. And by the end of the trip, others were doing the same.
When you travel, be plant-strong to thine ownself. Share your E2 experiences with others, be it with the help of a bi-lingual dictionary, or by just wearing a kale t-shirt and leaving your hosts a copy of the Engine 2 Diet.
Safe travels to all!