Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eating Right on the Road

Take-along Primal/Paleo food
My job requires frequent travel. Maintaining my way of eating while on the road has presented some challenges. I've attended conferences where the “free” meal wasn’t worth the price – breaded chicken, corn, mashed potatoes with starchy gravy, and sugary dessert. I’ve learned to “just say no.” Eating at restaurants on the road reminds me how good our local restaurants are. When asked what kind of restaurant I’d like to go to, my answer is “one that serves meat!” So far, I’ve been able to find choices that fit my needs. Nancy and I have learned several lessons about ordering when we eat out, and those apply on the road, too. Some restaurants, like the DeRico Brazilian Grill in Springfield, Missouri are wonderfully easy!
Air travel, and time spend in airports, presents the greatest challenge to finding appropriate food while away from home. It also provides some head-scratching moments. The complimentary “food” (“pretzels, peanuts, or cookies?”) service on a recent flight provided these:
Really?!? Who would have thought that a bag of roasted peanuts would have been produced in a facility that processes peanuts?!?!?
Where do I start with this messaging on the napkins they handed out? What’s “THE heart TRUTH”? It’s a registered trademark of the Department of Health and Human Services. Those same folks who help bring us the Dietary Guidelines. Nice to know that “Participation by Coca-Cola does not imply endorsement by HHS/NIH/NHLBI”! I’m sure Coca-Cola’s participation has no influence whatsoever …
Food choices at airports are generally expensive and typically not low carb/primal/paleo-friendly. The few options that might fit my requirements are mega-sized. So we’ve been looking for some take-along options.
Tanka Bars – These are a tasty combination of buffalo jerky and cranberries. The first time I tried one my thought was “meat candy!” The packages are easy to open, but there is the potential for mess. Another issue is that they’re low fat – a fact they promote in marketing their product (there’s SO much work to do …). So I’ve learned to combine them with a pre-packaged bag of raw almonds from Trader Joe’s. These 1.25 ounce packages help me with portion control, and they’re not much more expensive that Trader Joe’s raw almonds in larger packages.
Nick’s Sticks – Each package contains two sticks, or sausages. Together, they provide 10 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fat in 1.7 oz (47g). Enough to be a very effective snack. These are easy to open, with a nice grind and texture, and they’re made of grass-fed beef with sea salt and no MSG. Nancy says “they’re delicious!” and I agree.
Disclosure: Nick’s father is a co-worker at Barenbrug USA. I have no commercial relationship with Nick or Wallace Farms, Inc. I have no relationship with any of the other products. I’ve received no consideration for my opinion.
In general, I’ve found airports to be poor grounds for hunting and gathering, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found Gary West - certified angus beef black pepper steak strips at Portland International Airport. This product is easy to open, and didn’t produce a mess. The quality of the ingredients is good.
A Complementary Carbfest
Most of the motels I stay in offer a complimentary breakfast buffet. For the most part these are carbohydrate-heavy affairs. But I can still find some acceptable choices. At location pictured above, I scored some scrambled eggs and sausage, melon, cream cheese to mix into the eggs, hard boiled eggs for later (it pays to carry plastic baggies!), and slivered almonds (the were next to the oatmeal).
I can be a challenge to maintain my way of eating while I'm on the road, it isn't impossible.


  1. We were at a hotel two nights ago to watch the documentary "Derby Baby!" in Toronto and they were charging for their carbfest breakfast. The only good options were eggs, bacon and what I could tell were wheat filled sausages. I told my "derby wife" we're going out for breakfast. For the same price at Cora's breakfast restaurant I got three real eggs, bacon, sausage and a couple strawberries with good coffee. Worth getting out of the hotel too! I've significantly cut back on dairy to the point I'm going to switch from Atkins to Paleo this week. :)

  2. Thanks, Laurie! It can be so sad, at times. Good luck with the transition to Paleo!

  3. So Pete, I have followed your journey with interest and one thing I have discovered is that we are on the same page when it comes to carbs. The reason I am obese is that I have abused carbs. I have been a 98% vegetarian for the past twenty five years. I occasionally eat fish when I eat out usually a salmon steak. Otherwise, I have stayed away from meat. But while I am staying away from what you and I disagree on, I have been eating ice cream, chocolate, pastries, cookies, and all manner of deserts and have slowly gained 65 more lbs than I need.

    I have recently decided that I need to do something about this and am more in line with the China Study that you seem to find so flawed. I have been eating a strict diet of nothing but fruits and vegetables similar to what Dr Joel Fuhrman advocates in his book Eat To Live. My fasting sugars have gone from 145 to 115 in 40 days and I have lost 16 lbs. So we agree on the major premise, it's the refined Carbohydrates that are killing us, we just have two opposite paths of escape. It shall be interesting to compare our continuing journeys. Maybe we should go on the road and charge admission for a debate :=)

    I love the complementary carb feast that all motels are providing and I too have a challenge eating on the road. We rarely eat anything from the “free” breakfast however we do scarf up fruit if it is edible.


    1. Oh, look! Pete says. There's a Reply button! I wonder how long THAT'S been there ...

      Hello, Don! I'm *so* glad to hear that your experiencing weight loss and improvement in your blood glucose levels! Good for you! (literally!!)

      Maybe we could charge for the "Duets and Debate" tour ... :-)

      We do have a substantial point of agreement. I, too, hope to hear more of your journey. You have my sincere prayers for a full restoration of your health.

      Peace, my Brother.


  4. Watch out for those scrambled eggs. They are often from boxes of pourable eggs and sometimes pancake batter is added. Here is one example of what is in the liquid scrambled eggs.

    1. Thanks, Anne! I knew about IHoP putting pancake batter in their eggs, but I hadn't thought that the motels would, too. Could well be. I guess I'll stick to the hard boiled eggs ...

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  6. Hi Pete,

    I'll be traveling next week and I'm going to pack a few baggies of low-carb snacks for the plane trip. I'll definitively bring some pecans, beef jerky, and almond thins (homemade variant of wheat thins.)

    I already told my in-laws that we should stop at a Wally-World, so I can grab some essentials for myself before we go to the lake house. My in-laws are all about steaks and salads, but not low-carb, so I think it'll be fairly easy to stay on track (just omitting the stuff I don't eat).

    Now that I have my priorities right in my head, I'm not running on willpower anymore, like I used to. What a great feeling!!!

    1. Enjoy your journey, Nickiesworld. Good luck with the visit. Too many think it's all about willpower ...