As promised, here are some tips on how to eat as much raw food when traveling, as well as how to stay sane and still enjoy your trip in spite of eating more cooked food than you usually do.
-Travel like a girl/boy scout. I’m always ready when I travel. I bring raw protein powder, raw snacks like kale chips, and raw nuts and seeds. I also bring a vegan multi, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vitamin C, and oxygen powder supplement. I take megadoses of vitamin C to neutralize the AGEs (amino glycation products) and acrylamides in cooked food. I swallow oxygen powder capsules in the evening to help me eliminate all the cooked food the following morning.
-E-mail the airline at least a week before your trip and request for raw food. There were a couple of airlines that did not heed my e-mail. I still asked for vegan food during the flight. One multi-award-winning carrier gave me about 10 packets of roasted peanuts. The other gave me additional fruit.
-Consume something raw before eating a cooked meal to soften its blow. You can eat fruit or a huge salad as your first course, but I find green juice to have the greatest mitigating effect.
– Take advantage of trying dishes that you know you cannot eat in your home country. Why eat hummus in Korea when you can eat it anytime at home? Why eat kimchi either when it’s readily available in your local supermarket?
Try fruits and vegetables that aren’t available in your neck of the woods. You can also try varieties that you won’t find in your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Go for the familiar ONLY when there’s nothing vegan to eat.
-Google all restaurants that serve raw food. Happy Cow does not have a comprehensive listing of vegan-friendly restaurants, so it’s best to look them up online, or ask a Facebook community of local vegans where you can find raw food. Your best bet is a vegan or vegetarian buffet (just skip the non-vegan items). There’s always a salad bar and some vegan dressings. I eat until I think I’ve had enough calories, which means looking 3-5 months pregnant by the time I’m done eating. Sometimes I eat a tablespoon each of the cooked entrees just to try them, which of course doesn’t make me look less preggers.
If you decide to eat mostly cooked food at the buffet then you won’t have to worry about the post-meal Buddha belly. If you do suffer from cooked food coma afterwards then just rest in your hotel and watch TV or listen to music. Focusing on something else while going through the coma helps you avoid beating yourself up for eating more cooked than raw.
-Stock up on raw foods that keep well such as dehydrated goodies when you do find a raw vegan restaurant. It’s also good if you order takeaway food for your next meal. You can eat it in your hotel or at the beach. If you have a mini-fridge in your room then you can also buy something for your breakfast the following day.
-Don’t travel when you’re on a cleanse or when you’re trying one of those subcategorical vegan diets. This will limit your raw options all the more. I went ketovegan early this year, so you can just imagine how eating raw became a lot more challenging for me. Before going keto the highlight of my raw adventures abroad was always the raw desserts. I love raw bars, cakes, pies, brownies, ice cream, molded chocolate, tarts, power balls—you name it. And so my mettle was severely tested when I flew to Taipei last May. I looked at the raw cakes the way Charlie Bucket stared at all the candy he couldn’t afford in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—with a pathetic mixture of longing, deprivation, and self-pity.
-Lastly and most importantly, don’t stress it when you eat cooked food. Apart from making you feel and look crappy, stress also restricts the blood flow to your stomach, making cooked food all the more difficult to digest. Just enjoy the food. See it as a mere experience, not as a failure. What I’ve learned is that when you have been raw long enough, getting back on track becomes so effortless it’s nearly automatic. Also, the experience isn’t really for nothing. I usually experiment at home and create a raw or semi-raw version of the cooked dishes that I liked when I was abroad.
So there you have it. You don’t have to maintain your usual raw-to-cooked ratio when you travel. Just enjoy your trip and go back to your usual raw percentage when you get home. The point is to stay vegan at all times. That’s what really matters.