I recently spent a week down in LA to attend a training camp and spend a few days just enjoying being somewhere where snow and cold does not exist (seriously, I came home to snow and -20 Celsius).
One of the things that I personally find stressful while travelling is eating. To give you some context (if you have not read any of my previous posts), I have digestive issues that I need to take into consideration. There are certain foods I can’t eat without going into what can be described as a full blown gallbladder attack or make me straight up sick (ie. I will need to know where the nearest bathroom is ASAP). As an athlete, eating while travelling can provide an extra challenge. I need to make sure I’m eating enough and eating the foods that I know will sit well in my stomach.
Please note that I’m the last person to tell you what to eat (especially on vacation) so I’m not even going there. Eat what you want to eat. Want 3 desserts? Have at it. Nothing but barbecue? Enjoy. I’ll root you on from the sidelines.
So How Do I Do It?
One of the biggest things for me is packing my own food (specifically for breakfast). Breakfast sets the day for me (especially I’m going to be training or racing). One of the things I always take with me (as I have it every morning for breakfast home) is Vega Protein Powder individual packages and a shaker cup. If you are wondering, I always put this in my checked bag if I’m flying as I really don’t want to take the chance of getting questioned or it getting confiscated by the TSA if it’s in my carry on bags.
Once I arrive at wherever I am, if there is a fridge in hotel room (or apartment/ Air B&B), I run out to a grocery store to pick up a few things. One of them is milk (usually soy or coconut milk as I can’t drink regular cows milk and I find almond milk too acidic for me), bananas, chocolate (because I like a piece of dark chocolate in the morning), fruit and granola. If there is no fridge but there is a continental breakfast, I will order some granola or oatmeal and and order of soy milk for my shake.
For lunch and supper, I always try and look at the menu before I head in. This is not always and option and depending where you are, you may not have a lot of options (like airports). I personally look for foods that I know will sit well with me (ie. chicken, fish, vegetables, rice) so I try to find places to eat that provide me with those choices. It’s extra crucial for me to try and find these options if the reason I’m travelling is racing.
A big thing for me is making sure I stay hydrated (especially if I’m flying). I always purchase a bottle of water before I board a plane or if Dean and I are driving anywhere. I find especially with air travel, I end up with a horrible headache if I’m not drinking enough.
Going back to packing my own food, I always pack a protein bar with me. I’ve been on too many flights thinking I was going to get food, got nothing and was so hangry by the time we got off the plane I was ready to punch the first person I saw right in the throat.
If we are driving somewhere, I will usually pack an apple, a muffin or crackers with me (even though we stop) but there’s not a lot of places to stop on the drive back home to Trail, BC or Shaunavon, SK.
There is always an extra challenge if the reason I’m travelling is specifically for racing. If I’m going to be racing, I need to be extra cautious with what I’m eating while on the road away from home.
While it can be challenging at times, it can be done. It takes some planning ahead and patience (the thing I’m still working on). In the end, the goal is to get food with good quality into me without causing some sort of a flare up. Restaurants are great, but you may not always know what you’re getting, so planning ahead, viewing menus, and bringing food can go a long way to travelling successfully with digestive issues.