I am now just a week away from finishing Whole30 and starting the reintroduction phase. As I write this, I am in Spain on a much-needed weekend away. While on Whole30 though, this brings so many challenges as opposed to being at home. Having said that, with proper planning I have been able to not only do it, but enjoy it too. So here are my tips on how to maintain you Whole30, or any food plan, while travelling:
1) Carry a water bottle and stay hydrated Keep a water bottle with you throughout your journey. To be environmentally friendly take your own solid one rather than gathering plastic ones. Empty or finish it before you go through security and fill it up wherever you get the chance. Keeping hydrated minimises any symptoms you get as your body adapts to Whole30 but also minimises hunger and cravings.
2) Take your own food (non-liquid and dry) to the airport Prepare and take your own food to the airport. It requires planning but ensures that you have healthy and Whole30 compliant food before your journey as opposed to all the snacks foods available at the airport. Make sure none of it is liquid and ideally stick to dry foods to make sure there are no issues going through security. Between this and your water bottle, you also save yourself from the extortionate airport prices!
3) Inform the airline of any dietary restrictions prior to your flight This sounds obvious but if you have a long flight you will probably need a meal. Make sure you throughly inform your airline of your dietary requirements. Give them a call to be sure and see if they can tell you the exact menu. It is persnickety but as with Whole30 in general, planning is fundamental to success.
4) Choose destinations where there will be suitable food options for you Luckily I am in the Mediterranean, an area famous for its healthy eating. Whole30 would not necessarily be possible elsewhere though; in India for example the food tends to be rich, creamy and full of butter. America, for all its junk food, actually has Whole30 compliant products labelled in the grocery stores, so that would be much easier than you think; barring the temptation of course!
5) Look at menus online before you book a restaurant Plan, plan, plan. Google restaurants in the area you are visiting and have a look at their menus before you book. If a dish takes your fancy but you are unsure if it is totally compliant, give them a call. The Whole30 website has some great tips on eating out in general while doing the programme [link].
6) Have supplies in the fridge or freezer for when you get back As with literally everything on this list you have to plan ahead. Planning thoroughly ensures you are covered when you are at your most vulnerable with your cravings. When you get home after a long flight the last thing you will want to do is cook; so just get it out of the way beforehand. I am lucky enough that my mum makes these incredible salmon and sweet potato patties so freezer stocks are plentiful for my return home.
7) Mistakes will happen so do not get downbeat Honest mistakes can happen. I have had to eat in buffets this whole trip and accidentally ate a battered courgette thinking it was a potato as well as accidentally contaminating my whole plate with a sweet and sour vegetable dish that I thought was tomato-based. It happened; but I plowed on and continued doing everything as best I could given my surroundings. The ideal may have been to stay at home and not have any mistakes; but at the same time these are really challenges you will face when taking on a food plan and lifestyle change that you only learn from when you face them.
As difficult as travelling on a food plan can be, being this far through Whole30 keeps me motivated. At this point I have zero intention of undoing all of the healing and benefits my body has gotten just for a brief moment of euphoria when satisfying a craving. I had so many excuses as to why I could not do a food plan like this and traveling factored in: I want to go to new places and explore new cuisines. At some point though, you have to prioritise self-care and after I have completed this programme, there will be plenty of scope to try whatever food I like, albeit in good measure. So stop making excuses and join me on a journey to health.