Thursday, November 20, 2014

Austin the Trip, thoughts on wheat-free travelling

I have a couple blog posts about our trip to Austin coming up, it was pretty fabulous. But returning to normal life has been hectic so they've had to wait. Taking a trip 2 days later to the Island didn't help that either, but oh was it nice.

Healthy eating while travelling is certainly something to think about; probably could have used a lot more thought about it before going. As someone who doesn't eat wheat or rice (90% of the time) it's hard to know what will be available that isn't a sandwich or bagel, but also isn't continual salads (which can be pretty lame at airports). While my wheat-free/rice-free lifestyle is voluntary (I'm thankfully not celiac or anything like that) the choice is not without reason, and not purely for helping lose weight. The biggest reason I have made this choice is that I feel better in almost every way when I avoid these types of food. The moment I eat wheat or rice my eyes start to sag, they get sleepier and sleepier. My belly feels fuller than full and I feel sluggish. While travelling feeling these ways is less than ideal, especially over a longer stretch. I'd like an alert mind as I navigate airports and such. I can speak from experience as I forgot my lunch at home today and felt a huge craving for a subway sandwich, something I haven't had in over 8 months, actually since long before I cut out wheat. Having made the choice to indulge I can say that I don't regret eating it - the taste and flavour, texture, etc is so rewarding. BUT my eyes are now dropping, my stomach feels full to bursting and I feel so sluggish and tired, not a great way to set myself up for an afternoon of work. Generally, for me the alertness is worth the sacrifice (outside of the occasional craving, like this one), and the extra effort. 

So back to the point: What to eat when you aren't eating wheat and rice and are travelling (and are pregnant, therefore needing good amounts of food)?

Friday -  Breakfast (at the airport) - I grabbed a yogurt and a banana to eat on our first flight.
                  Lunch (between flights at SFO airport) - I found a super boring salad for $9. Seriously, so boring, it was just lettuce, 4 tomato wedges & sliced deli turkey with half a packet of italian dressing. It was enough food for me and it was a healthy choice, but man it was not satisfying in a taste or experience sort of way. 
                  Dinner (in Austin) - Once Nancy picked us up we went to Chuy's Tex-Mex. Thankfully they serve corn tortilla's with their creamy dip, and my favorite menu item (the flautas) are served in a corn tortilla. No Wheat for me! I avoided eating the rice served on my plate, but made sure to eat the beans as well. Mexican is often a great choice for avoiding wheat, especially if you have the willpower to skip the rice. 

Saturday - Breakfast (Taco Deli) - Mexican again is a saving grace, I had two Migas Taco's on corn tortilla's, lots of eggs & veggies in these tortilla's!
                      Lunch (Whole Foods) - We were picking up some groceries in Whole Foods and grabbed our lunch there - I picked a healthy little salad with some hard boiled eggs & tuna, as well as lots of veggies. Filling but not heavy.
                      Dinner (Fogo de Chao) - This was the big birthday dinner out for Nancy and Paul - I grabbed some salad stuff from the salad bar and the rest of the meal was meat only. Very easy to avoid wheat and rice here! Plus they served gluten free cheese bread balls that were to die for, especially since it had been at least 4 months since I'd had cheese biscuits.

Sunday - Breakfast (at Home) - Nancy scrambled us up some eggs, simple & filling.
                    Lunch (Jester King Brewery) - Given that I'm pregnant (not beer) and not eating wheat (making pizza a basic no-no) this brewery and pizza place was a bit tricky, but a very tasty caprese salad (the best I've ever had) and one piece of pizza seemed to go down well. We'd walked and explored a lot that day, so the pizza didn't seem to make me as sleepy as I feared. 
                     Dinner (at Home) - Nancy made her famous Sunday night Nachos (with corn tortilla's) and it was a perfect way to enjoy mexican food without getting totally stuffed. 

Monday Breakfast (Taco Deli) - Breakfast was Taco Deli again (because it is awesome) and the corn Migas tortilla's were fabulous. 
                     Lunch (Chick-Fil-A) - We were out at the mall maternity clothes shopping when lunchtime hit. Thankfully Chick-Fil-A was offering grilled chicken nuggets, no wheat! So I grabbed a little container of those and some waffle fries. Turns out I don't love their fries but the little grilled chicken bites were great, and more than filling enough. 
                     Dinner (Rudy's BBQ) - For our final Texas dinner we hit up Rudy's for Texas BBQ. This was also pretty easy to navigate - I stuck to the (very unhealthy but oh so tasty) creamed corn, coleslaw & baked beans, as well as all the BBQ meat choices we had. I just skipped the wonderbread that was offered. On our way home we stopped for Ice Cream cones and I got mine in a cup, which I've always far preferred to cone. 

Tuesday - Pre-breakfast (3am, on route to the plane) - Greek Yogurt, Granola bar & Snack Pack (from Nancy)
                     Breakfast (9am on the plane) - I was starving by the time we got on our second plane 6 hours later so I grabbed their protein meal - hard boiled egg, grapes, cheese & bread roll (which I gave to Paul). The hard boiled egg was a lifesaver - there's no protein like it. I wish I'd thought to whip up some of those for both directions of the flight! 
                     Lunch (2pm in Seattle) - As soon as we'd picked up our car and Paul's sister we headed for the nearest Olive Garden - Paul was so hungry, and I wasn't far behind hunger-wise. We both got the all you can eat soup, salad and breadsticks combo. I skipped the breadsticks but feasted on soup and salad. Filling, warm and tasty. So perfect. 
                     We must have eaten something else on our way home, but I'm not able to remember at all anymore. We definitely enjoyed some coffees and teas and other drinks along the way to fill in the hunger gaps when they came. Thankfully Olive Garden was so filling I'm not sure we needed another meal. 

All in all I found it not too terrible to be wheat free on our adventure. I got to enjoy food (a lot!) and still managed to make some healthy choices. This would undoubtedly be a different story if I was fully gluten free (thankfully I can handle ice cream, soups and sauces that have gluten in them). I came back happy with how I'd chose to eat, which in itself is probably a miracle, that didn't used to be how I felt after travelling. Wheat-free (especially when you don't substitute wheat based items for potato or rice based items) forces me to think critically about what I put in my mouth and how it affects me. I'm thankful for that. 
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