It’s a common problem, and a question that I am often asked – “How do you cope when you travel?”
I am normally happy to answer this question by saying that I usually take an apartment or villa when I travel outside the UK, and as a result can go to the local markets/supermarkets and buy all the produce I need. However, on 16th February 2014 I found myself in a hotel room with no fridge, in the middle of a desert, literally and figuratively. Don’t get me wrong – Las Vegas is a fascinating place, but I never imagined it would be so hard to eat there. In this city, it appears that the healthy option is considered to be a chicken wrap, and the only salads offered in restaurants contain mayonnaise and ham.
The first recommendation I will make for those who love their sprouted food, is to take a sprouting bag with you. I demonstrate this in a You Tube video that I made whilst in Spain last year, so have a look at this for guidance – it’s just as easy to grow sprouts in a hotel room over the bath as it is in a kitchen. Secondly, have a Plan B, starting from the moment you pack your bags. For this trip, my shopping list from the Fresh Network was quite extensive: E3 Renew Me, which can be made up into a green drink by adding filtered water to the powder, in the event of there being no local juice bar (there certainly wasn’t one near to where I was staying!), dried goods such as onion bread, banana supergreen bites from Inspiral, Raw Health Italian crispbreads and a few other goodies, as well as my usual supplements (notably Juice Plus). None of these take up much luggage space. I also recommend wheatgrass juice sachets for the daily green “fix”, rather than powder.
Next, a bit of advanced planning never goes amiss. Some people make up their own meal to take on the flight. This is a great idea if you have the bag space for it, and I usually do this. On this particular 11 hour flight though, I couldn’t carry additional lunch and dinner boxes, so I relaxed in the knowledge that Gatwick Airport departures lounge has a Pret a Manger, which sells a vegan superfood salad box. I bought 2 of these, discarded the separate dressing which contains vinegar and other nasties, and that was my plane food, with a couple of Jason Vale’s raw snack bars. Plenty of water on the flight reduces the dehydrating effect of flying.
Happy Cow is a fantastic resource for vegan-friendly restaurants. When looking up raw restaurants in Vegas though, I found only one, and it was miles away from where I was staying, and because I didn’t have a hire car, it wasn’t an option. Likewise, I couldn’t find any juice bars on The Strip, and after 2 days of living on mostly dehydrated food, my body was screaming for its usual green juice and salads. Something had to be done, because a cooked vegan meal, even if I could find one, wasn’t going to do it for me.
Whole Foods Market to the rescue! Just over 2 miles south of my hotel, I found salvation. I checked out the local bus service, and, finding I could get a 3 day pass for the whole of The Strip for just $20, I nipped down to Whole Foods. I was overwhelmed by the variety of fresh juices, and choice of organic salads. The great thing about the USA is that when they do raw food, they really do it properly. I found chilled unpasteurised green juices, fresh coconut water, raw smoothies and all the other wonderful goodies that my jet-lagged body needed. Hydration is so important in a desert climate, and it is often overlooked as a cause of tiredness. Eating a lot of dried food had definitely adversely affected me, even though I was conscious to keep drinking plenty of water. It’s amazing how much better hydrated you are on green juices than water.
The next challenge came in the form of no fridge in the hotel room. I solved that one by making several trips to the ice machine and filling up the wash-basin with ice. This kept the perishable green juice cold enough to prevent deterioration, and I put the salad greens on top of the bottles of juice. Job done!
This all sounds like a huge amount of effort to go to, but once I found Whole Foods it really wasn’t much hassle at all. So, in summary, here’s what to do if you are going to be in a hotel room without your usual resources, and, if you are really unfortunate, no fridge:
- Ensure you have some emergency food supplies ordered before you go. I use the Fresh Network for this – find their banner link on my website here
- Take a sprouting bag and some sprouts/seeds with you (see my video on how to use it)
- Go to a local market for provisions
- If in an American city, find the nearest Whole Foods Market online, and buy fresh, unpasteurised juices from the chilled drinks section (check the labels to make sure they really are raw – I found a lovely green juice called “Twelve Essentials”, made by Suja)
- Have a look at Happy Cow for vegan restaurants where you are staying
- Enjoy your travels!