Travel has its challenges for those of us who dare to stray from the conventional, especially when it comes to eating. Finding finely prepared certified organic menus in the majority of eateries is not the easiest task and for the most part entirely impossible.
So how do you protect yourself from GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and more when you are finding yourself having to eat or feed your family at locations away from home?
Campers can likely pitch their tent, picnic with organic groceries from the local natural food stores on the way while roasting organic vegan burgers over the campfire. But often, 100 percent organic purists have to go through a change in diet, a long search for freeway exits that might feature a store carrying organic and a commitment to keep it simple on the road. The good news is that a majority of mainstream conventional grocery stores now feature natural foods sections where, if you are lucky, you can find organic cereals, crackers and juices.
But here are some tips to be sure your organic non-GMO family does not go hungry on the way.
1. Pack organic juices, fruits, dried fruits, nuts and organic crackers to keep everyone happy on a long car trip. Also, this is a time when your favorite organic food bars and energy bars will come in handy as well as small size organic yogurts and puddings.
2. Keep an abundant supply of pure spring water in small bottles in the car to stay hydrated in case you have long miles to drive in between any type of hot food restaurant that might otherwise satisfy your family’s hunger
3. Mircrowave! Amy’s Kitchen offers a great variety of organic and natural pizza, Indian meals, Mexican bowls, mac and cheese and other tasty pasta dishes for the kids. In five minutes you can serve a hot mostly organic meal right in your hotel room and win smiles from the whole family!
4. Wherever you can, stock up on organic avocados, cheeses and other sandwich ingredients including whole grain organic breads and rolls. Organic sandwiches on the road can be really satisfying. Often you can find containers of organic hummus, tabouli and tofu salad in the refrigerator section of local natural food stores and you can make your own wraps right on the road. A jar of nut butter might also come in handy for organic nut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids.
5. Watch for local organic farmers markets which may feature not only organic produce but homemade organic baked goods, jams, honey, maple syrup and more.
6. Buy a copy of travel books like “The Essential Vegan Travel Guide” or visit websites such as the Vegan World Trekker (www.veganworldtrekker.com) and Happy Cow (www.happycow.net).
7. Do a google search for organic restaurants in your destination location before traveling. Vegan and vegetarian restaurants may be more likely to serve organic food. And of course many natural foods stores do have an associated hot bar, sandwich bar or juice stand right there in the store. Some organic vegetarians seem to do well at good quality Indian and Thai restaurants so you might want to check these out as well.
As daunting as it may seem to those wishing to maintain the health and environmental benefits of their 100 percent organic diet while traveling and away from home, it can turn into a delightful adventure for the family to source organic foods, ingredients, farm stands and eateries while vacationing or on the road.
Happy organic trails!
Simi Summer, PhD is an organic advocate, independent researcher, educator, and free lance writer. She is a strong proponent of organic consumer education and informed consumer choices.