Eating Plant Based When Traveling: Arizona and New Mexico – Tips and a Detailed Journal with Pictures + Tamari Roasted Sunflower Seeds


Eating a kick ass, healthy plant based diet is totally doable when you travel, you just have to be prepared and bring your own noms.

Here’s my food journal in pics from a quick trip to Arizona and New Mexico I took last week. Read the captions above each picture for description and tips.

I’m all set to go!

I made all my travel food the night before my trip and then I assembled it before I left for the airport. The airport inspection people didn’t even look in my bag of food. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t.

My Buddha Bowl had layers of hummus, brown rice, roasted butternut squash, kale and T-Crack.

I didn’t eat lunch before I left for the airport so I happily dug into my food bag and chose this yummy Hummus Wrap to fuel up on. It had hummus, chopped kale, grated carrot and Tamari Roasted Sunflower Seeds (recipe below), all wrapped up in a sprouted tortilla. Bowchicka wow wow.

I fit all my food into a medium-sized reusable grocery bag so everything is in one place and easy to find.

I travel with a big purse so I can fit my food bag right inside. It’s all about condensing your stuff and having easy access.

I left the Big Island at 2:45pm. I had a layover in Oahu until 8pm and then I had an overnight flight to Denver. I arrived tired and ready for my Lemon Poppy Seed Oats. I always pack my oats cold with a bit of soy milk and some walnuts. Planes are cold so I don’t worry about my food going bad. Besides, plant based food doesn’t go bad as quickly as meat and dairy. I was so happy to have my own food. I felt light and energized after I ate.

I had a 4 hour layover in Denver. After I did some work, I walked around the airport and to my delight, I found a Mexican restaurant that had black beans, potatoes and salsa that were vegan and almost oil free. I was stoked to have some warm food. I ordered a side of each and it was less than $4.

When you’re in an airport and you see a place that offers black beans, definitely take advantage of it! Be sure to check to make sure they aren’t made with animal products before ordering. I had lots of food in my food bag, but I ordered these anyway because I knew I would eat all of the food I brought. And I did! By the time I reached Arizona the only food I had left were grapes, so I popped them in the fridge for later.

I finally made it to Tucson where the Sonoran Desert was calling my name.

The cactus behind me looks like it was poking my butt. It was not 🙂

If you’re ever in Tucson, check out Tumerico. They serve up the best plant based tamales I’ve ever had, along with a ton of other plant based options that always burst with flavor, color and texture.

I will not visit Tucson without eating here. They always have tamales (their signature item), but their menu changes often, depending on what produce they have.They do use oil, but sometimes you just gotta say fuck it! Ugh – I love this place SO much.

The Tamale Plate does not disappoint. I couldn’t even count all the veggies involved, there were so many. I ate this at 10am and I wasn’t hungry again until 6pm!

The next day, my mom and dad and I drove to Silver City, New Mexico. This is where I was born and raised and where they rent out our family house. I made Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats the morning we left and we packed a bunch of other food, including fruit, soy milk, chopped walnuts, an avocado, sprouted bread, Tofu Salad, my mom’s amazing vegan crumb cake, stuff for smoothies and almond butter. #HaveFoodWillTravel

We had a nice breakfast of Oats topped with walnuts and a side of mango, grapes and tea. We were ready for our day.

Lucky thing we fueled up because our asses were working all morning. Here I am helping my dad mix cement and pouring a new slab for the well house.

I loved growing up on this land. So many happy memories.

Here I am looking awesome in my sunhat, glasses and mask (a must when mixing concrete). My dad is to the left and my mom is giving the camera a nice shot of her butt on the right 🙂

Lunch was partially sprouted bread with Tofu salad and chopped romaine.

Oh, Hatch chili. How you will always hold a special place in my heart. Here’s a bean and chili stuffed burrito with more chili on top and some mashed avocado with lime juice. This is a meal I could eat every. Damn. Day.

After a week of hard work, visiting and fun, it was time to say goodbye (the hardest fucking part!!). Here I am with my mom, food bag filled and sadness in my heart.

I bought a pomegranate the day before I left and dissected that beautiful fucker and put the seeds in a bag so I could eat them straight up, with a spoon.

Mr. airport security man didn’t want to let me through security with my oats. He said they were a “repackaged item that fell under the category of a liquid or a gel”.

I pulled a card I don’t use often and told him (very nicely) that I follow a “very specific diet” and that I can’t eat anything in the airport. He talked to a couple more people and did a few tests on my oats. After determining that my breakfast was safe, he let me through. Here’s a tip. If you pack oats, add hardly any soy milk. The more liquid, the more trouble at airport security.

Here I am happily eating my breakfast at my gate.

Jam is yummy, but it has a lot of sugar. Instead of almond butter and jam, I make almond butter and fruit sandwiches. This one is almond butter and grape halves on sprouted bread. It was perfect to have with my oats.

Screw the pretzels, I had a crisp organic apple in my food bag with my name written ALL over it!

Sunrise from high in the sky.

When I got to Los Angeles I spotted a Mexican restaurant that had vegan black beans. A side of beans wasn’t on their menu but I asked for it and they were able to do it. And they only charged me $2! If you don’t see something on the menu that you want, It’s always worth asking if they can make it happen.


When all the seats are taken at the gate, I pop a squat on the floor and I happily nosh. I look around at everyone eating fast food and drinking sugary drinks and I’m always thankful that I know what I know and that I put what I know into action.

While I was in the LA airport, I saw a woman sitting on the floor with her three kids and they were eating a delicious looking lunch that the mom obviously packed. There was a big quinoa and veggie salad, a kale salad, fruit, and a dressing that looked just like T-Crack. I had a big smile on my face as I passed by their picnic and I wanted to give that mom a high five. But I kept walking because having a stranger walk up to you in an airport while you’re eating and wanting to give you a high five is awkward.

Here’s a hot tip. Always stash a cloth napkin in your food bag. You will use it often.

One of my great loves used to be potato chips. The salty crunch does something to the brain that you literally can’t get enough of.

Instead of potato chips, I now eat romaine hearts. They aren’t salty, but they do give you a satisfying crunch. I ate my romaine hearts with my beans.

Here I am on my long flight home. I was sure to eat up all my fruit before landing in Maui because fruits from the mainland are not allowed on the islands (or in other countries).

This pear smelled so good and was perfectly ripe and juicy. There was a stark contrast between my pear (and the rest of my food) and the airplane snacks that were handed out. The little girl sitting next to me kept looking up at my food in wonder as she ate potato chips and Cheerios. I felt like having a talk with her mom, but I refrained, kept minding my own business and sent them both love. 

Next time you travel, do yourself a solid and put some of these ideas into action. You will be surprised at how good and energized you feel during your trip. When I used to drink and eat like crap, traveling felt … heavy. I always felt slightly hungover, really tired and super sluggish. Now when I travel I feel good and light and energized. Be sure to drink lots of water as well because being in a plane dehydrates you like crazy. If you put some of these tips into use, share your pics in our private Facebook group!

Do you have any plant based travel tips to share? Talk to me in the comments below.

This week’s recipe is easy to make and super handy. Sprinkle them on soups, salads and wraps.

Tamari Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Author: Molly Patrick


  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds 150g
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)


  • Heat a large skillet over medium - low heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add the sunflower seeds and spread them out so they are in a single layer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Evenly pour the soy sauce or tamari over the seeds, stir, and cook for an additional minute or two. Some of the soy sauce will stick to the skillet, that’s okay, just stir the seeds around.
  • Turn off the heat, transfer the seeds to a plate and cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.


The soup pictured is Carrot Ginger. You can find the recipe right here.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with eating plants in the sky.


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Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Judith on October 21, 2017 at 10:03 am

    5 stars
    Those sunnies take me back to macrobiotic days. The only difference is I pour the hot seeds into a bowl and immediately stir in the tamari. The hot seed just grab it. Then I just spread them out on a plate so they dry completely which takes about a minute.

    • Molly Patrick on October 21, 2017 at 10:11 am

      That sounds yummy, too!

  2. Pam on October 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

    5 stars
    Love your shoes, where did you get them. So cute with the little pull tabs on the heel!

    • Molly Patrick on October 21, 2017 at 10:51 am

      I love these shoes too!
      I got them in a thrift store. I think they’re fake Yeezy 350’s.

  3. Vicki on October 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Ohhh, Hatch chile. Heaven.

    • Molly Patrick on October 21, 2017 at 11:02 am


  4. David A on October 21, 2017 at 11:00 am

    5 stars
    That sprouted wrap looks incredible and I gotta figure out how to do them. Going to roast up your Tamari sunflower seed when I come inside for day. Loving what you do.

  5. Kaitlyn Serafin on October 21, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    5 stars
    Molly – you are truly an inspiration. Many thanks for being you.

  6. Keri on October 21, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Whenever I try to fly out of any of the Hawaiian islands to the mainland with any sort of fruit, whole or cut up, it is confiscated at the agricultural screening at the airport. 🙁 Saw that you were able to keep your apples, and I would be super appreciative for any recommendations on how to prevent my delicious sustenance from being taken away? Thanks!

    • Meghann Milton on October 26, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Hi Keri, Molly says that they usually just tell her to eat the fruit before she lands on the mainland. So maybe ask if they’ll allow that next time. 😉

      Team Dirty Girl

      • Keri on October 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

        Thanks so much! 🙂

  7. Carrie on October 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I had my hummus confiscated by airport security, ruined my fucking day :0

    • Meghann Milton on October 22, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Aww, bummer Carrie! It’s always a gamble getting through airport security with food. 🙁

      Team Dirty Girl

  8. Heidi on October 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    PB&Fruit is one of my long-time favorites! I typically go with Kiwi in winter, Strawberry in spring, Peach later on … and someone recently turned me on to PB&Tomato, with summer’s garden ripes! I’ve never tried grapes … I’ll have to test it out now!

  9. Monica on October 23, 2017 at 7:19 am

    4 stars
    PB with Bing Cherry halves is the best! Since we have a mini to feed, once we can’t get the cherries fresh I’ve been making the berry syrup from the pancake night one one of the recent meal plans (just letting it thicken a little more) and using that instead of jelly. Super yummy!

  10. Wonder on October 24, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Where’s the tamari then

    • Meghann Milton on October 24, 2017 at 7:54 am

      You can use either regular soy sauce or Tamari for this recipe. 😉

      Team Dirty Girl

  11. David A on October 24, 2017 at 8:00 am

    5 stars
    Did this per the instructions and was just great. Decided to play on the next batch and added a TBsp of nutritional yeast and a few drops of liquid smoke to the soy sauce. Simply incredible.

    • Molly Patrick on October 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Great call!

  12. Laura on October 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

    What is the card you carry that explained your diet? Is there one I can print myself, or do I have to get it from a doctor? Thanks.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 26, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Hi Laura,

      I don’t think Molly has a physical card…it’s a phrase indicating she doesn’t usually get to the point of having to say to someone “I have dietary restrictions” but in this case, she did. But, making a card might is a handy idea.

      Team Dirty Girl

  13. Melissa Lux on October 28, 2017 at 9:40 am

    5 stars
    Great post! Thank you for reminding us (and showing us how) all it can be done on the road…p.s. can’t help but imagine that you let out a glorious belch on the plane after eating that apple. LOL

    • Molly Patrick on October 28, 2017 at 10:09 am

      You know me so well!
      I actually farted on the plane and the little girl sitting next to me looked horrified.

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