Vacation Prep: Paleo

 A fellow CrossFitter from my box asked me how I keep paleo when I travel, whether I’m going on vacation or traveling for work.  As my work travels both this year and last year take place during the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge (yes, I’m doing it again) and my vacation took place during my box’s 30-Day Paleo Challenge, I have to have a food plan.

 Let’s go in chronological order:

Fall 2013 – Work travels to Jacksonville, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Fontana, California.  Not exactly food meccas unless you’re looking for fast food (Waffle House, What-A-Burger, Raising Cane’s, In-N-Out Burger, respectively).

Since Delta only offers non-paleo snacks – pretzels, peanuts, and cookies – I brought my own.  I made my own trail mixes in Ziploc baggies consisting of raw cashews, raw almonds, and raisins.  I brought slices of a homemade paleo banana bread or paleo blueberry or raspberry muffins (pictured below).  I also dropped a handful of Larabars in my bag.

I tried to find hotels that serve a continental breakfast or have a restaurant open for breakfast.  I ordered scrambled eggs or a vegetable omelet.  I brought avocados from home that I sliced on top of the eggs.

Since lunch is always take-out from a local fast food place, I knew I was SOL there.  I made my own “breaded” chicken that went into the refrigerator as soon as I arrived.  I bought thin sliced chicken breast, coated it in egg, then “breaded” it with a mixture of almond flour, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.  These were then baked for about 10 minutes on each side at 350.

Dinner was easy.  As I am usually the only female on these trips and men like meat, we often wound up at a BBQ joint or steakhouse.  I would get a plain grilled piece of fish or steak and a side of vegetables (steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus, plain baked sweet potato).

My work trips are usually fly in early Thursday morning, fly out Friday evening or Saturday morning.  I don’t usually have the time to visit the hotel fitness center or local CrossFit box.  As the 2013 trip to Ohio had me coming home Sunday morning, I had the time Saturday afternoon and WOD-ed at CrossFit Grandview.  The space was enormous and they must have had at least 50 people show up for the class to do a Hero WOD.  They were very welcoming and I left with a t-shirt.  My only issues were the large ratio of athletes to coach (about 50:1 with a camera) and the lack of warm-up time to build to working weight.  With so many other boxes in the area, I’ll go to another one to add to my CrossFit t-shirt collection.

Summer 2014 – Vacation to Aruba

My food for the flight was the same – trail mix and blueberry muffins.

Boyfriend D and I were fortunate to share a suite with a kitchen with his sister and her family.  We picked up eggs, avocados, and sweet potatoes and made breakfast in our hotel room.  We roasted the sweet potatoes in the oven and scrambled the eggs with the avocados.  When we bought the sweet potatoes, we had no idea the only sharp knife in the room was a steak knife:

By making our own breakfast in the hotel room, we also saved quite a bit of money and were able to indulge on nicer dinners with an extra glass of wine.

Being on a Caribbean island, the fish was fresh and the fruits and vegetables were tropical.  Lunch was at a restaurant either on our hotel property (Marriott Ocean Club) or the hotel next door (Ritz).  I typically ordered grilled fish with a side of vegetables.

Dinner was just about always off hotel grounds and, like lunch, I would stick to meat or fish with vegetables.

When the paleo challenge ended while we were away, I broke it with a delicious piece of halibut that came with champagne risotto and chocolate mousse for dessert.  Needless to say, the romance of the night ended pretty quickly after that.

Fall 2014 – Work travels to Dallas, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio (North Carolina and Florida were before the challenge started, California will be after it ends)

I ate breakfast at home before my flight to DFW (spinach and mushroom frittata with roasted sweet potatoes).  I picked up a banana from the Delta Sky Club and added it to the bags of Wonderful Pistachios in my tote for the flight.

I am very fortunate to work near a deli that serves a strictly paleo menu in addition to their regular deli foods.  Their paleo meals all come with a protein and two vegetable sides and they carry paleo brownies.  I bought two meals (chicken meatballs with mashed sweet potato and roasted cauliflower and chicken chili with mashed cauliflower and sautéed kale) and two brownies that served as my lunch both days in Texas while the rest of my crew ate What-A-Burger.

Dinner that night was at Outback, where I had grilled mahi and a side of steamed broccoli.  Dinner was waiting for me when I get home.  Boyfriend D said picked up steak and asparagus at Morton’s. 

Tell me, Fitters, how do you keep paleo when you travel?  What do you bring on your flight when you know you won’t be able to eat any of the snacks the flight attendants give out?

Vacation Prep: Finn

Dear Fitters, I must apologize for my long absence.  My too long absence.  I have missed you and I have missed writing.  Let’s play catch up.

When we last met, I was getting ready to go on vacation and told you about my issues finding sunglasses.  I ended up keeping the Ray-Bans I bought.  I didn’t tell you about any of my other vacation prep, which I had meant to do.  Since I’m in the midst of my work traveling season, what better time than now?

You all know I have a dog and probably wonder, “What do you do with Finn when you go away?”  Luckily, a former neighbor recommended a very sweet, nurturing woman who lives two minutes away as a dog sitter.  I bring Finn to her house the night before along with all of her toys, a letter with important phone numbers (you know: grandma & grandpa, the vet), her treats, and Ziploc baggies of pre-packaged meals.

Yes, I am that person who measures out my dog’s meals and puts each meal in its own bag.  I know how much my dog eats for breakfast and dinner and don’t want to run the risk of her eating too little or too much, the latter being the more likely case.  I also am particular about my dog’s diet.  Finn doesn’t eat any grains or unnatural products.  Her food is Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato and her treats are Blue Wilderness Grain Free Salmon Biscuits.

When my sitter wasn’t available one weekend last December, I had to use a back-up sitter who also came highly recommended.  She laughed when I told her I measure out my dog’s meals beforehand and questioned why I wouldn’t let her feed Finn whatever dog food she had lying around.  When I went to pick Finn up after that long weekend in Ohio, Finn could not wait to get out of that house.  Needless to say, I haven’t used her again.

To answer the back-up sitter’s question about her food, though: When I first picked up Finn and brought her home from the foster mom in Connecticut…I never showed you that picture?  It’s one of my favorite’s!  Cousin E took it as I was driving:

As I was saying, Finn had the worst dandruff when I first brought her home.  We finished up the dog food the foster sent me home with.  I don’t remember the brand exactly; but, it was one of those everyday commercial ones like Purina.  Cousin E suggested I put Finn on a grain-free diet and within two days, the dandruff was gone.  Now she has the softest, silkiest fur that I could pet for hours.

Vacation took me to Aruba with Boyfriend D and his family.  We dropped Finn off at the sitter the night before we left.  The sitter was leaving on her vacation the day we came home.  My stepmom, aka Grandma to Finn, picked her up the day before.  When we came home, Boyfriend D and I dropped off our luggage and went to pick Finn up.  I smile now, on the plane to Dallas, looking forward to coming home tomorrow for her greeting.

During my longer work trips, like the one last week that took me to Jacksonville, FL, after a day in Charlotte, NC, and had me away for 4 days, Finn stays with the sitter.  For those that are just one night, like this one to Texas, Boyfriend D stays over and takes care of her.  I hate seeing both sets of their sad puppy eyes when I walk out the door; but, I know the kisses I’m going to get from both of them tomorrow that makes it all worth it.

Tell me, Dear Fitters, what do you do with your pet(s) when you go away?

Also, Instagram account for Finn – yay or nay?

(As an aside, I receive no reimbursement for any reviews or links I may post.)