Eating healthy while traveling
Health is one of my top three priorities in life (the other two being my family, as well as peace, inspiration and harmony to help me keep connecting to, growing with, and learning about my inner world and the true nature of my real self). No matter if I am fixed in one place for a longer time, or if I’m traveling to someplace new every second day, eating well is always prioritised. Truly healthy for me means:
Whole and clean foods in their original form. Vegetables, fruit, legumes, seeds, nuts, grains, seafood, seaweed.
Biodynamic (Demeter labeled), or organic.
Avoiding foods that contain gluten, sugar, corn, soy, gmo, additives, colourings, unnatural stabilisers, “natural flavourings”, inorganic oils, factory farmed meat, dairy and eggs. As all of these sap you of energy, are highly inflammatory, and can set off a slow snowball effect that moves you from mild ailments to real illness and disease.
Organic, natural food should be the norm anywhere you go in the world, and one day it will again (praying for it and envisioning it). For now, I would say that most places I visit, from the most rural village to larger cities, there can be found at least a handful of people who are passionate about growing, eating and/or selling foods that haven’t been manipulated. If there isn’t an organic health food store to be found, there may be a farmer. Or as the last, but a much valued, option here in Europe, Lidl always have something organic, pic from one of those trips to the right 👉🏼.
I am always happily surprised when I find local organic stores or farmers markets in new places I visit. Never taking them for granted. Eternally grateful for the smallest options. Anything is better than nothing. As long as we get a few organic tomatoes and eggplants, we’re fine. If that is all there is, I always see it as a wonderful opportunity to dive deeper into my understanding of that particular plant. And I find ways to cook with them that I haven’t thought of before.
Traveling by car at the moment (European road trip for the past seven months), we have a special food box in the back of our car that is well stocked with the best quality dry produce such as quinoa, rice, oils and our utterly beloved and highly treasured spice bag (the cotton bag in the pic below), and much more. This enables us to cook up something tasty and healthy no matter where we are. Of course one of our criteria for accommodations is always that they have a kitchen. And when we’ve been camping, that box comes in super handy also for its ability to work as a work/chopping desk.
When a new travel destination is booked, one of the first things I do (next to cruising through Airbnb), is to zoom in on google maps to see what food options will be available to us. I would normally search for these:
organic market / farmers markets
health food store (which almost always has some variation of organic food products and produce)
Then I’d search for the same stuff but in the local language. So here in Sicily, I’d search for anything Biologico. Here in Sicily, or Italy as a whole, NaturaSi has everything we need. In France it was BioCoop, and in Portugal when we lived there, Biofrade was our organic option. Organic farmers markets where you get to chat with local organic producers are always the best, both price-wise but also because you can learn about their processes, their produce and about the local ways of growing. But these only tend to be open once or a couple mornings a week.
While purchasing organic food is most often a possibility. Finding a restaurant that uses real quality ingredients, is another story. They aren’t easy to come by. Which is why we eat 90% of our food at home. There simply aren’t that many places that match the quality we love and are used to at home. If we were driven only by how food tasted and how it made us feel in the very moment of eating it, we would eat out much more often and in many more kinds of places. But from a sustainable health and happiness perspective, we almost only eat out when we know that the restaurant is conscious enough to source its ingredients well, and that they opt for healing ingredients before destructive ones. We prioritise feeling truly energetic, strong and alive, and only natural high-vibrational food provides you with that.
Recently when visiting Catania - an ancient port city on Sicily's east coast that sits at the foot of the active volcano, Mt. Etna - we visited the lovely La Cucina Dei Colori . I had mapped it out on google maps and read about the organic, seasonal food they prepared. Arriving there and experiencing it in person, almost moved me to tears because of how well executed the place was. They used the freshest local ingredients. Offered 6-7 different vegetarian/vegan options to build your plate from, with homemade bread and cold water. For a hungry mamma that had walked a few miles with her 11 kilos baby on her back in the scorching hot sun, it was like stepping through the gates of Heaven as I was greeted by Naomi, the wonderful North African woman who seated us and later walked us through their entire menu. The photo at the very top is from there, as well as the pic here to the right. I have such profound love for real food and the ways in which it helps us gain power and healing through the synergetic chemical reactions of the plants. It really is so beautiful, the exchange between our bodies and the colourful, powerful plants that grow with the help of sunlight and rain water. And when restaurants respect and value this process too, I can only feel gratitude and love for them. The food in that restaurant was so good and so perfect, that we went back for another lunch the day after, as well as a dinner. Once you find something you love, you kind of stick with it. Already looking forward to the next time we visit Catania, mainly to be able to go back to that place for more wonderful food and inspiration.
Rowan loves food as much as we do. He eats and enjoys everything we eat. I still nurse him as much as he wants and needs to. But he also eats all of our meals with us. We have one rule when it comes to food and Rowan’s eating, and that is that we won’t eat anything we don’t want him to eat. So if our more un-conscious pleasure-driven selves would crave an ice cream, he will get some as well. This is a really good way for us to stay focused and not give in too often, as sugar really is something we do not want him to eat. Knowing that refined sugar creates really bad internal inflammation when consumed too often, which eventually may lead to disease. The same with pizza, if we are to give in for a low quality pizza one day, he will get a piece. Even if non-organic dairy and gluten is something we’d never buy or use at home.
Writing about the lovely restaurant in Catania, made me think of the wonderful African restaurant we visited in South of France early in the summer. A small restaurant with 5-6 tables run by a charismatic woman. We asked what she had that was vegan and/or fish, she said she would see what she could do, and 20 min later came out with the most amazing, most beautiful plates of food. One sea bass baked in banana leaf, and one mixed vegan plate. That was another moment where I literally had to hold my tears back. Just look at those beautiful plants combined with such creativity. She was my hero that day. And I always make sure to tell these people how they have made our day and how grateful we are that we get to eat their food. Everyone needs encouragement, and it is especially important to show gratitude to the people who do something extraordinary in a world where much else is left unconscious.