The Daily Beet

05 Sep Leaving on a Jet Plane: Char on traveling Plant-Strong!

Share this story

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).

Part “D”

-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!


Share this story
Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Ami Mackey
    Posted at 09:31h, 05 September

    Fantastic tips Char! I love reading your blogs. Great ideas and adventure as well!

  • Confused
    Posted at 10:05h, 05 September

    I don’t understand this article. I travel internationally frequently and you are not allowed to bring fruits/vegetables. For example, when you get to the airport in Canada, you go through customs right after you get your boarding pass and you are not allowed to bring fruits/veg through customs. So, how do you bring fruits/veg on the plane legally? Also, isn’t walnut butter considered a liquid? If so, how do you bring it in your carry on? I have tried to bring a jar of peanut butter before but it was confiscated since it was considered a liquid.

    • Me too!
      Posted at 11:15h, 05 September

      Absolutely ridiculous that they would confiscate a jar of peanut butter!! The airport rules have gone over the top because of a few fanatics! It really bugs me that you cannot bring a bottle of water onto a plane! A few people do stupid things and the rest of the world has to follow insane rules that do not support healthy traveling. Arrrrggghhh!

      • KMS3
        Posted at 10:43h, 16 September

        Peanut allergies

    • Engine 2
      Posted at 12:03h, 05 September

      It’s usually coming out of the country that is the problem, not going to another country. You can have up to 1/2 cup of liquid with you. Maybe that was the issue with the peanut butter?

      • Cristina So
        Posted at 12:43h, 05 September

        Actually, I had a small amount (less than 1/4 c) of peanut butter confiscated on a flight from Florida to Virginia. And no, you cannot bring veg and fruit on most flights… But you can get them when you arrive. So, before you pack all that food, check with your airline and make sure you know the rules of the country you are flying into (for example, NO food coming into the US! ESPECIALLY no fruits or veggies, – not meat or cheese either. Chocolate in the checked luggage is OK…lol) Apart from that, the idea is great! I would simply go with getting the fruit and veg locally…

  • Pam
    Posted at 12:28h, 05 September

    Thank you so much. I travel for a living AND for leisure, so you’re describing some of my every-week hassles. Great tips for what to take on this weekend’s trip. I’m interested in seeing the swanky cooler purse.

  • Mary
    Posted at 20:46h, 05 September

    I traveled for years for work. You can take water on a plane, you just cannot take it through security. I fill my water bottle at a drinking fountain or bathroom sink in the airport after I have gone through security. I took a pledge not to buy water in plastic bottles years ago for environmental reasons so I carry a reusable water bottle and a reusable coffee mug in my backpack or carry on. I have water whenever I want it on my flights.

  • Charlene Nolan
    Posted at 18:29h, 08 September

    Sitting in an airport as we speak. Had another great trip to Honduras. Rocked the plant-strong way of life and feel great. Traveling the plant-strong way is awesome. You make work what needs to be done! Enjoy your next trip. ~Char

  • Cory Judge
    Posted at 23:12h, 11 September

    Char – Great article. I go on a lot of road trips and have long struggled with how to eat healthy. In comparison to what you mentioned above, it is actually really easy to pack a cooler while traveling on the road. If you can make the above work, there is no reason I can’t make my own meals for a trip which I have more than enough room to transport whatever, and have no TSA to deal with. Thank you.

  • E2X Anne
    Posted at 12:33h, 18 January

    Char, thank you for providing the checklist for my next trip! You made it very easy to follow your tips and to adapt these to any type of travel. Thank you so very much!

Copyright 2017 Engine 2 Diet | Terms Of Use | Privacy Policy | Disclosures