The week before last, I flew to San Diego for a photography workshop. I was so excited to go learn some new skills, and stay with one of my nearest and dearest girlfriends while I was there. But, a few days before the trip, I had a bit of a subtle panic attack. I had thought of everything… my camera equipment, my flight itinerary, my rental car… everything. Except the food. My heart took a quick pause, my chest tightened up for a moment, and my mind when completely blank. I turned to Jake and said, that I was totally ready for the trip, but, what am I going to eat while I’m there???
Most of us who have gone Paleo find ourselves cooking from home for practically every meal. From home, you have total control over every single ingredient you ingest. You can cook a nice Paleo meal using your favorite grass-fed & organic meats, selective spices and oils, and seasonal organic veggies. Unfortunately, the world makes it a substantial challenge for us to eat at a restaurant and get the same quality of food. Hopefully that will one day change!
Jake quickly calmed my nerves by reminding me that I could pack some snacks. I packed up some landjager and beef jerky from Bill the Butcher, as well as a bag of unsalted macadamia nuts. Never before had I worried about my luggage smelling like meat :) I also emailed the workshop to see what was to be provided for lunch, and even offered to bring my own. They told me that we would be getting take out both days and ordering from a menu, so I was thrilled that I would have choices. I also planned to do some grocery shopping since I was staying with a friend and would have a fridge to store some things in. I took off feeling positive, and much less scared for my system.
So here’s how it all broke down, meal-by-meal:
- breakfast: (Airport): I went to Anthony’s Fish Bar and ordered the breakfast tacos, but asked for them without the tortilla. The guy looked at me like I was nuts, but obliged. I was so proud of myself for asking, and sat down with my basket of scrambled eggs & bacon. There was a bit of cheese on top, but I moved it aside. As I was eating, I thought there were more eggs, but then my fork ran into a giant pile of cheesy potatoes underneath. I felt taken. And mad. I was mad at the potatoes. I had not noticed these on the menu. I ate every last bit of egg, and tossed the potatoes. It was enough to get me by until I landed in San Diego and went to lunch with my girlfriend.
- lunch: (a burger joint): The salads all had a lot of non-paleo ingredients, so I ordered the chicken lettuce wraps because they were more simple, and I was able to get my veggies from the lettuce.
- dinner: (in): I ate what I had bought at the grocery store – the deli turkey (seasoned with only paprika & pepper), a raw bell pepper, and a handful of macadamia nuts before the workshop meet & greet.
- breakfast: (in): deli turkey, a whole raw bell pepper, handful of macadamia nuts. Knew it would be a busy day, so I also ate a landjager in the car on the way there.
- lunch: (at the workshop): I ordered a whole salad that had chicken and some sort of vinaigrette dressing and diced apple. I picked all the croutons off. Due to my diabetes, I tried to avoid the apple, but it looked like the chicken, so I ended up eating it anyway and had to give more insulin later to cover it.
- dinner: (a steakhouse): we seasoned & grilled our own steaks (so fun!), and I ordered a side of asparagus, had some side salad, and 2 glasses of red wine
- breakfast: (in): deli turkey, a whole raw bell pepper, handful of macadamia nuts
- lunch: (at the workshop): I ordered the grilled chicken breast & seasonal veggies (broccoli). The dish came with salsa and cheese, so I ordered it without the cheese.
- dinner: (mexican restaurant): ordered steak fajitas, ignored the tortillas, added guacamole. great way to get meat, veggies and fat!
- breakfast: (in-flight): I upgraded to first class, so I was offered the “cold veggie tray” – I was so excited they were offering veggies, I jumped at the offer. Turned out to be a great mixed-green salad with a greek dressing, and a few celery and carrot sticks. There was a side of pita bread & humus, but I just ignored those. Yay veggies!
Overall, it was so much easier than I’d thought. I felt prepared with my snacks (which I didn’t even eat all of!), and it really helped that I grocery shopped as well. I learned that all you have to do is ASK, and most restaurants can tailor things to meet your needs. Remember, that eating Paleo is so much simpler than all the other dishes, so they will usually have what you need on hand. Other good advice Jake & I learned was that if you’re eating out, pick an expensive restaurant… cheap food is usually very bad food.
Here are a few food photos I snapped with my iPhone…
Happy eating! Joey