Challenge: Foodie with intolerances, traveling.Posted: September 3, 2012
I’ve just spent the past 3 weeks traveling around London, various parts of the USA and Fiji. It’s been a fabulous trip and I’ve been so fortunate to go to some amazing places, including the Olympics. I’ve realised that every time I travel I find out more about myself. It’s like a fast-track to understanding what you really like, what you don’t and what you are prepared to put up with! It’s such a growth experience. Plus it gives one that illustrious time to reflect on life and take it easy.
When a holiday is planned, one of the biggest so called ‘attractions’ of a given destination is the local food. As a foodie, and as someone who is passionate about health and living well, therein lies some obvious food challenges! Of course it depends on where you travel, what type of travel you are doing and then where you stay. Case in point, my lemon and hot water first thing in the morning, ‘green’ smoothies and airplane food. With no kettle in my room, it was somewhat a challenge to have room service bring you half a freshly squeezed lemon in hot water, just as you like it. Or to be both gluten and dairy free on a 14 hour flight. However, all first world problems!
Notably, this is the first big trip I’ve done since I’ve been officially dairy free, and I was a little worried. I took mini tetra packs of rice milk, almond milk and some Brookfarm gluten free muesli with me so I knew I could at least have one meal each day where I would feel sufficiently nourished. I needn’t have worried. On this trip I discovered that no matter where you go, if you are well informed and you make the right food choices for your various intolerances, it’s not that hard to ensure you still feel great have a great ‘foodie’ experience. And that we did!
One of the most fabulous discoveries this trip was that in New York and California, goats cheese is a standard kitchen ingredient. When dairy seems to be a standard part of every breakfast, lunch and dinner menu what a delight it was to be able to order a goats cheese omelet for breakfast. Lunches on the go were a little more of a challenge, but there is plenty of Japanese food available, and restaurants always have heaps of interesting and filling salad choices – hold the ranch dressing! Dinners everywhere were incredible. There is a real healthy culture in the West Coast of the USA and New York which made it easy to enjoy yummy food and still eat well. Salads with walnuts, beetroot, goats cheese, as well as plenty of oysters, fish and organic meat. And lobster! Wow such an affordable treat as they are a real delicacy in Australia. I did think I may turn into a lobster after eating so much lobster in New York. Interesting fact I learnt is that lobsters were used to feed the prisoners in New York back in the 1800’s as there was such an oversupply of lobster!
Next stop, was the drive from San Francisco south to Los Angeles, one of the most scenic drives in the world. We were zipping along California’s famous Highway 1, in a convertible with the top down, music on and the wind in our hair. It sounds cliche but I can now speak from experience and say this famous road trip is one of the must do’s when you are in the States. I would suggest heading South as you will be on the right side of the road, literally the passenger (me!) in the car will feel like they can lean out and touch the water. Pulling over to take photos, and enjoy scenic lookouts is an essential part of the experience, as is stopping in Big Sur for a local chicken cajun wrap and see the local artists.
Finishing in Fiji, being a tropical Island was a little different again. When you travel to Fiji, you discover there’s no such thing as ‘organic’ food in Fiji, it’s just food. The traditional Fijian diet is based on seafood and local fruits and root vegetables. There are no chemical sprays on the food grown in Fiji. Which is a rare and total heaven! Fascinating then that younger Fijians are only now beginning to succumb to the dietary issues common in other parts of the world as eating habits shift towards imported and processed fast foods from the west. (More on this in another post). But the quality of locally caught tuna which we ate as sashimi, or seared with salad for dinner was sublime. Fiji is also a living prof of the superiority of tamper free food, You have never eaten a papaya or any other fresh produce such as you’ll eat in Fiji. This is living locally. Everyday I’d have a coconut water, where one of the locals would climb up the tree for me and produce a fresh coconut, and after drinking we were able to enjoy the flesh. Heaven!!
Returning home, we’d had a fabulous adventure with some terrific food and the treat of not having to do dishes for several weeks! It was a shock to return to the cold weather in Melbourne, but a delight to get back to my kitchen, herbs on the balcony, my blender and even those pesky dishes.