How to find healthy food
when you’re traveling
January 29th, 2017 by Holly Cornish
As I know from personal experience, it’s hard to eat healthy when you’re traveling. Whether you’re trying to be gluten-free, organic, low-carb, vegetarian or all of the above – good luck.
Aside from how hard it is to find a good restaurant or grocery store, there’s the constant temptation of going off your eating plan and allowing yourself to “have a treat” – which usually turns into a binge.
What are the costs of eating conventional food? They can be very high.
Chemical sandwiches with a side of salmonella are not good for you. But there are other nasty things lurking in food from big national chains. Here are some ideas for eating healthy when you’re away from your own kitchen. . .
Special Message from Lee Euler
New Hip? New Knee?
Bring your own. . .
On the road, you can pack a cooler with food and ice and put it in your trunk. It’ll save you both time and money on the road.
Good options include homemade salads – think pasta-salmon-vegetable salad, or a nice big chef’s salad if you’re trying to avoid the carbs (bring olive oil for dressing). You can slice organic chicken breasts into strips, lightly sauté them, refrigerate, and eat them with some organic Ranch dressing or hummus for dipping.
Of course, olives, fruits and vegetables, sliced cheese, and plain individual organic yogurt are good road trip options. If you’re gluten-, dairy- or carb-free, you can adjust your plan accordingly. Really, any healthy finger food means less money spent and less risk from eating out. Bananas are good – very filling and pretty nutritious, although very high-sugar.
Add organic jerky, Kind bars, and nuts and seeds, and you have the makings of a couple days of healthy meals and snacks on the road with much less need to “grab a bite” from some factory-food purveyor.
Be sure you throw in a few paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware.
You can pack non-perishables in your suitcase for air travel. As you eat your snacks, you make room for souvenirs.
Work around airport security
Given the dearth of food options at most airports — and delayed flights that can cause you to give in to the worst airport food — it makes sense to carry some food if possible. But make sure you give some thought to it, given the challenges of getting it through security.
Here’s what we’ve found works, at least most of the time.
Stash your food treasures in a small, personal size, soft-sided cooler. Put it in your carry-on bag or purse. Include napkins, plastic silverware, and a freezer bag.
Once you get through security, go to a coffee shop and ask them to fill your freezer bag with ice. Add it to your cooler. It’ll keep your food cool for a few hours till you consume it.
Now, what to fill the cooler with? Salad or chicken strips per above. But keep your dressing light and mix it in. And skip the dip for your chicken.
Hummus is a big question mark. Don’t expect the TSA to let it through. It’s happened, but not consistently. If they deem your container of fresh homemade hummus to be more than three ounces, they’ll trash it. Believe me, it’s happened.
Individual packets of nut butters to enjoy with an apple should make the cut, if the nut butter is labeled as less than three ounces.
Sliced cheese with good quality crackers will work.
You can bring cakes and pies through security, but save yourself the headaches and skip them. If you must have a treat, stick to homemade cookies… they’re far easier for travel.
Incidentally, sandwiches, cookies, and partially eaten or sliced fruit must be wrapped to get through TSA security.
Note about international travel: You may be subject to more rules. Check before leaving. Also be aware your destination country may not allow you to bring in food. You’ll have to eat it or trash it before passing through their immigration procedures.
Tip: On international flights, you’ll be fed sooner and generally have better quality food (not perfect, mind you) if you pre-request kosher meals. Even if you’re not Jewish.
Eat safer restaurant food
Chipotle was one of only two fast food restaurants to receive an “A” rating on a report by six nonprofit activist organizations, including Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, and Friends of the Earth.1
Sad to say, their move to organic and locally sourced ingredients was derailed by the recent salmonella attack. The government never figured out the source of the contamination. Which is unusual, because the Feds can usually trace it back to the farm. Thus, many suspect Chipotle was sabotaged.
Panera Bread received the other “A” rating on the report. More than 90 percent of all meat and poultry served at Panera is raised without antibiotics.2 I’m not a regular, but I understand they do have gluten-free options.
If you’re on the west coast, check out Organic Coup. It’s the first fast food restaurant to qualify as Certified Organic under the USDA. The company (started by former Costco employees and backed by Costco executives) opened its first restaurant in 2015 in the San Francisco Bay Area. They plan to open 10 or 12 new locations in the West soon.3
Also in the west, the Burgerville chain of fast food restaurants – with 39 locations across the Pacific Northwest – was serving locally sourced antibiotic- and hormone-free meats decades before it was the hip thing to do.
Want to discover farm-to-table restaurants while you’re on the road? Surf over to www.eatwellguide.org, enter your location, select “restaurants” and a mile range, and you’ll find restaurants nearby. Most of them are independently owned.
Alternatively, find a Whole Foods or a similar organic food store, and peruse their salad bar or deli for your next meal, using your cooler. It’s great if you’re on a budget, or if you don’t want to sit down for another hour after driving all day. You might even find it more palatable.
Packing healthy snacks before you leave or driving a little further to find a better restaurant will make your next road trip much healthier and safer. Sure, it takes a little more planning and effort. But it’s time and effort well spent.
One reason is the toxins and microbes found in some chain
restaurants. . .
The superbug doctors can’t treat
Farmers misuse and overuse antibiotics.
This makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics. When you eat food containing resistant “super” bacteria, you get sick. But this time, antibiotics may not work.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about two million Americans get antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and 23,000 die as a result.4
Farmers also pump cattle full of hormones to help them gain weight faster.5
Whatever’s in the animal – antibiotics, bacteria, or hormones – goes into you when you eat the meat. So you gain weight faster, too.
Breaded yoga mats
In 2014, a blogger known as Food Babe petitioned the Subway fast food chain to remove a chemical called azodicarbonamide from its bread.
Azodicarbonamide is a common flour-bleaching agent and dough conditioner that’s also used in yoga mats, flip-flops, and packing insulation.6
The World Health Organization says this chemical causes asthma.7 The Center for Science in the Public Interest says it causes cancer.8 It’s also linked to respiratory issues and allergies.9
Subway removed the chemical from its bread. Other companies followed suit, sort of.
Dunkin’ Donuts still uses azodicarbonamide in its Texas toast. Burger King’s French toast sticks still contain it. Ditto for Arby’s croissants, French toast sticks, and sourdough breakfast bread.10
My guess is that the chemical is in widespread use in any wheat-based bread or pastry you buy from a conventional outlet. Meaning that breakfast pastry you allow yourself to have in the airport or train station.
Chemical sandwiches: a primer
While today’s fast food restaurants are improving, there are still many pitfalls in their menus.
Only a small fraction of the chicken purchased and served by Pizza Hut and Papa John’s is antibiotic-free.11
Wendy’s currently buys half of its chicken antibiotic-free. They say they’ll be at 100 percent by the end of 2017. Problem is, you don’t know which half you’re eating this moment.
McDonalds serves 100 percent antibiotic-free chicken at its US restaurants. But don’t stray from chicken on their menu. They haven’t raised the bar for their beef and pork.
Taco Bell promised to serve only antibiotic-free chicken by the beginning of 2017. But, like McDonalds, they’ve made no similar commitment for their beef and pork.
Chick-fil-A serves antibiotic-free chicken, but their classic chicken sandwich contains almost 20 added chemicals, including monosodium glutamate (MSG) (linked to brain/nervous system damage and obesity), tert-butylhydroquinone (causes stomach tumors, damages DNA), and dimethylpolysiloxane (causes cancer and immune disease).12
The following fast food restaurants are even worse. They make no effort to serve any antibiotic-free meat:
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Burger King
- Dairy Queen
- Domino’s Pizza
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- IHOP Restaurant
- Jack in the Box
- Little Caesars
- Olive Garden
- Starbucks Coffee13
I never go to any of these places, because I follow a low-carb, gluten-free eating plan, and I try to eat organic whenever possible.
It takes some effort to avoid them completely – there will be times when you’re in a hurry, or in an airport, or you just don’t want to go off-highway looking for a health food outlet (use that app!). But you can avoid them if you know a few tricks of the trade.
One of the things to pack when you travel is raspberries. If you don’t know why, you missed our last article. See it now, just below.
Could a Gummy Candy Conquer Cancer?
Sweet, little gummy candies may be fun to roll around in your mouth and lick with your tongue but it may be hard to wrap your mind around the idea that they could also be a therapy for cancer.
Of course, I’m not talking about the sugary, artificially flavored toddler-bait at the supermarket checkout line.
Instead, I’m focusing on small, berry-based lozenges that send potent anti-cancer natural chemicals into the body – and into cancer cells – that may help shrink tumors and save lives.
And the most prominent side effect? They taste good!
Simple Trick to Get to Age 120
Do you know there’s a molecule in your body that’s designed to keep you “young” as long as possible?
Yet once you hit your forties, your body’s levels start to decline rapidly. By the time you’re 60, they’ve dropped by nearly HALF!
It’s a major reason why you may feel tired all the time…more forgetful and “spacey”…and stiff, sore, and achy. It also helps explain declining vision, gray hair, an aging heart, wrinkled skin, and much more.
But these signs of “old age” don’t have to be inevitable. According to top scientists at Harvard and Stanford, it’s now possible to live to 120 and beyond.
And thanks to this new breakthrough discovery, you can do so while enjoying the vitality of someone HALF your age!
Click here to get more details on how easy it is. . .
Going after cancer cells
The secret to the medicinal power of these candies is black raspberry. In studies and clinical trials, these berries – and gummies made from them – are displaying impressive ability to attack cancer cells, prompting a growing number of researchers to fill out their grant proposals to fund more research into black raspberries and their effects on human tumors.
Along with black raspberry candies that attack cancers in the mouth, raspberry drinks are being used as well as suppositories that show promise against the development of colon cancer:
All in all, the black raspberry is poised to become a therapeutic star.
Research into the anti-cancer benefits of black raspberry show that the many natural substances in the little fruit team together to fight tumors. Researchers at Ohio State University point out in a study on how black raspberry protects against cervical cancer that, although many of the compounds in the fruit “have been identified for their cancer chemopreventive potential, many other components remain unknown and/or untested for cancer chemopreventive activity.”1
That’s why these scientists say that in some of their tests they are using what they call a “crude” extract of black raspberry. They believe that the “complex mixture” of plant chemicals in black raspberries add up to more than the sum of the parts.
In plain English, you’re better off eating the whole fruit rather than a single compound extracted from it.
As they explain in their research paper on cervical cancer – the complex combination of chemicals contained in raspberries puts the nix on “multiple pathways” that cancer cells need to grow, thereby shutting down and killing the abnormal cells in a variety of ways.
In their lab tests on various types of cervical cancer cells, the Ohio scientists found that the raspberry extract slowed or stopped the growth of all the cancer cell lines they examined. One of the main ways it interfered with tumor formation was by inducing apoptosis – causing the cancer cells to self-destruct.
That doesn’t surprise me – many studies on various natural anti-cancer compounds have found that they frequently increase the rate of apoptosis among cancer cells.
The secret is in the color
Anthocyanins are one of the main types of compounds in black raspberries that have been shown to power its anti-cancer abilities. This class of phytochemicals consists of pigments that are responsible for the color in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are the reason that experts in nutrition are always urging us to eat colorful fruits and vegetables – red, yellow, orange, purple and blue in the skin mean good things within.
However, the anthocyanin combination in black raspberry is unique to this plant and many of the anthocyanins don’t seem to be found in other fruits and vegetables.
One thing that has puzzled researchers has been the apparent lack of absorption of anthocyanins when foods travel through the digestive tract. Added to that, some scientists have found that many of these types of natural chemicals don’t survive the trip from the mouth to the intestines intact. They thought the digestive system converts the anthocyanins into other chemicals called metabolites.
Not to worry: they were mistaken. It turns out that it wasn’t true that anthocyanins aren’t absorbed – but researchers’ methods for finding them in the body were not initially accurate enough for the search.
In fact, scientists at the University of Louisville in Kentucky found, in lab tests on animals, that anthocyanins that are in food can eventually travel just about anywhere in the body – and they found them making it to the lungs where the anthocyanins they were inspecting (from blueberries, in this case) were working some of their anti-cancer magic.2
And further studies using more sophisticated chemical analyses have now shown that these phytonutrients travel to the brain3 and other organs.
As for the metabolites – researchers believe these help fight cancer, too. So nothing is lost when anthocyanins are broken down by the digestive system.
Gummy candies for adults
That’s another reason researchers at Ohio State and elsewhere are now sort of in the candy business as well as the medical research business. They have formulated and are producing (for their studies) black raspberry gummy candies to test as a delivery system for these natural chemicals to be applied against prostate cancer (among other uses).4
The development of the gummies at Ohio State has involved the food science division as well as its medical research staff. The results have been candies that the patients want to keep sucking on even after the clinical trials have ended.
As researcher Kristen Roberts points out, “In a study that is looking specifically at these food-based interventions, compliance is critical. The black raspberry gummy confections were packed with phytonutrients that the men truly enjoyed. Most of the participants inquired about ordering the gummies after they had completed their prescribed dose.”
Tell the difference
One thing I should caution you about, though, is that if you’re looking to eat fresh black raspberries, some people confuse these berries with blackberries. They’re not the same thing. And, although blackberries are certainly a healthy snack or dessert, they don’t have the same potent combo of anti-cancer natural substances that black raspberries contain.
These items are clearly labeled in the store. If the package says “blackberry” then it’s not a black raspberry, even if the two look alike to you. Unfortunately, most supermarket raspberries are red, not black. I almost never see black ones in stores.
They’re pretty easy to grow, however, if you have a sunny backyard. In fact, they’re kind of a weed, and you need to be careful they don’t take over your yard. Where I grew up, back before the Civil War, red raspberries were pretty rare and everyone had black raspberries. By the way, red raspberries are very nutritious. But from what we know at the moment, they don’t have the same, strong anticancer properties of black raspberries.
You should pick your berries as soon as they’re ripe. Otherwise, birds, who love this fruit, will swoop in and get them first.