Eating Plant Based When Traveling: Honolulu – Tips and a Detailed Journal with Pictures
By Molly Patrick
Feb 18, 2017,
Last week Luanne and I went to visit Oahu for 5 days.
One of the most common questions I get is how to stick to eating a healthy plant based diet while traveling. I decided to document everything I ate during our trip and share it with you. This way I can show you how to eat healthy while traveling, instead of telling you.
It might take a little dedication and some planning, but it’s entirely possible to eat like a plant based boss while traveling. Here’s how.
First up, it’s important to pack food with you on your travel day. This way you don’t have to rely on crappy airport food or health depleting fast food along highways.
There are several things that I recommend doing before any trip. These things will help you clean out your fridge and make sure you have plenty of food for your travel day. Let’s talk basics and then we’ll get to my food journal with pics.
1: The day before you leave, make either fried rice, a veggie stir fry or a tofu scramble that you can pack with you the next day. Use up as many veggies as you have in your kitchen. You don’t have to follow a recipe, just use what you have. This makes a ton of sense because it uses up ingredients that would otherwise go bad and it gives you food for your travel day.
2: Set aside the ingredients needed to make a green smoothie the morning of your trip.
3: Make a soup with any leftover ingredients and freeze it.
4: Make a big juice if you still have produce that needs to be used. Most veggies and fruits are great in juice. The juice I made the day before my trip had a few carrots, some random citrus, an old beet, a bunch of ginger, a couple apples and some celery. It wasn’t the best juice in the world, but it was better to have those nutrients be put to use by my bod than to toss them out or have them go bad while I was away.
5: Freeze any batched food that you have in your fridge. Most plant based food freezes really well. Sauces, beans, soups, casseroles, fruit. I even froze pineapple chunks before my trip and they were perfect for smoothies when I got home.
6: Make a batch of steel cut oats, pack some for the next day and then freeze the rest.
7: Google or Yelp the nearest healthy grocery stores, juice bars and healthy restaurants near where you’ll be staying, and then bookmark them. If there aren’t a ton of options, at least find a grocery store where you can pick up some veggies and fruit.
8: Wake up extra early and give yourself enough time on your travel day to make your food. Heat up your scramble, stir fry or rice, make sandwiches if you’re doing that – get everything together and don’t forget some napkins and plastic silverware.
9: Make a big green smoothie and head out the door!
Okay – I followed all of these steps before my trip and then on Monday morning, we were ready to go!
Monday February 6th
On our way to the airport. I made two big green smoothies with whatever I had in my fridge; soy milk, spinach, banana, chia seeds, cooked sweet potato and frozen blueberries.
Morning view of Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano) near our house.
Hanging out at the airport before our flight. We’re ready to feast!
From left to right below:
A mix that I made with almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and raisins.
Overnight oats, layered with soy milk, frozen blueberries, walnuts and banana slices.
Black rice and lentils layered with stir fried cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, baked tofu and onions and spicy peanut sauce.
Baked tofu with leftover sauce that I had in my fridge.
And then of course some plastic spoons and forks and a couple of paper towels.
I wash all of my glass jars and use them over and over again. This is a coconut oil jar. I don’t eat coconut oil, but I do oil pull with it (another Fuckery altogether).
The security people at the airport took the jars out of my bag and inspected them. I told the guards that this was my breakfast. They looked at me funny, but they let me through.
I layer my oats with soy milk, nuts and fruit so that each bite has a nice mix of ingredients.
Rice jar. This bad boy kept us full until dinner.
Chowing down. Maybe not in style, but we give zero fucks. As long as we’re fueled up and don’t have to rely on airport food, we’re golden!
Touchdown Honolulu. But where is the sun? It didn’t come out until the next day.
After we got settled, we walked around Waikiki and found a Farmers Market. There was a guy selling vegan and sugar free goods! These oat cookies had oil, but I didn’t care. In a pinch, I would choose a little oil over a bunch of processed sugar.
I forgot to take a pic of my dinner. I wasn’t super hungry and all the restaurants around the area were the proper kind with full on big meals. We found a food court that had quick Mexican food. They didn’t have whole wheat tortillas but they did have whole black beans that were vegan (not intentionally, it just so happened they were vegan).
I ordered a burrito with black beans, rice, tomatoes, lettuce and guacamole. When I sat down to eat, I unfolded the burrito and ate it like a bowl without the tortilla. It wasn’t the best thing in the world, but it worked!
Tuesday February 7th
I didn’t have any lemon so I started my day with a big cup of warm water. This is a great way to gently wake up the digestive system and you can heat up some water in almost any travel situation.
We had a big day planned, including a meeting with Luanne’s immigration lawyer (the reason for our trip). Luanne immigrated to the U.S. 15 years ago on a high skilled work visa (H1-B). She became eligible for citizenship last year. It will be another year until her citizenship goes through.
In the meantime, we’ve had a trip planned to visit Australia in April. Because of the current Muslim ban (um… I mean travel ban), Luanne’s lawyer advised her not to travel outside of the U.S. since Luanne is from a Muslim country (Malaysia). Needless to say, this has been a fuck show.
I needed fuel before the meeting, so I grabbed a banana from our room and ate it as we headed for the bus to take us downtown.
While we were waiting for our bus, we noticed a little cafe called Heavenly with a sign for green smoothies. Total score!
This had almond milk, banana, kale and almond butter. I think the almond milk was sweetened because I got a headache immediately after I drank it. Lesson learned.
If you’re avoiding sugar, always ask if the nondairy milk is sweetened and if it is, request your smoothie be made with water instead. Easy fix.
After the meeting with the lawyer we were starvin’ marvin’. I yelped “vegan food” “near me” and a vegan restaurant called Water Drop Vegetarian popped up, less than a block away. There were no oil free options, but I didn’t care.
When you go out to eat, you have to pick your battles. A yummy plate of vegan food that has oil is better than no food at all. I don’t even know what all was on my plate, but it was delicious and I ate the whole thing.
Awhile later, we went to a big outdoor mall and randomly stumbled upon a hula show. I always have my nut and raisin mix in my bag, so I nibbled while we watched hula.
Luanne had spotted a ramen place that she wanted to try for dinner. It was pretty early, but we hadn’t eaten since our early lunch. She ordered a big bowl of udon and I ordered veggie tempura. I took the fried breading off and ate the veggies plain.
Traveling with a meat eater is doable, you just have to be open minded and accepting.
After we had a long walk on the beach, I was ready for some food! We yelped “vegan food” “near us” and the only place that popped up close by was the same cafe where I got my smoothie earlier that day. It had a couple healthy vegan options so we did it up. Luanne was still full from her udon so she had a martini while I chowed down! I had some guacamole with sweet potato and corn chips.
I also had this beautiful plate of goodness (below). It was a shit load of two different types of raw kale on a bed of quinoa, blanched asparagus and cherry tomatoes. It came with a green goddess dressing (it had a bit of olive oil, but less than I expected). This was my favorite meal of our trip. All of the food was local and organic. The thing about islands is it’s more economical for restaurants to buy ingredients from local farms, so it’s really easy to find healthy local food.
After this dinner I could feel my cells buzzing as we walked back to our room. I was literally spilling over with joy. Then I tripped on the sidewalk and almost fell. It was hilarious and I laughed until tears rolled down my eyes.
Luanne told me that she should be the one tripping because she drank alcohol and I didn’t. To that I exclaimed, “I’m high on cruciferi!!”.
It was a good day. And as a bonus, we’re keeping our Australia trip in April because the stupid fucking Trump ban no longer includes green card holders….(for now at least.)
Wednesday February 8th
Okay – so if I wasn’t me and I met me, I would think “That’s the type of chick who loves a good acai bowl”. Well, this is a reminder not to judge a person by their website because I fucking hate acai bowls. It doesn’t make sense that I hate them. But it’s confirmed, I hate them. I ordered one for breakfast on Wednesday morning because they’re everywhere and I thought I should give it a try. I took one bite and I couldn’t do it. It’s like eating ice cream for breakfast. It’s terrible!
It doesn’t make sense because I drink a green smoothie every single morning that’s cold.
If I eat a bowl of something for breakfast it needs to be hot. I think that’s the problem. Maybe. I don’t know. All I know is I couldn’t eat it so I ordered a taro English Muffin without oil or butter. It was okay. It wasn’t great. It was dry. But it was food in my belly and it wasn’t a bowl of sweet cold gloop, so I was happy.
We drove up to the North Shore after breakfast and I found a cute restaurant called The Beet Box. They had really good green smoothies and I was so stoked to ingest some nutrients after my breakfast bust.
The coast was gorgeous as we drove around the island. We missed a big surfing competition by one day. Shit – that would have been fun to watch!
And then we drove past a fruit stand! This is the type of place that shouldn’t be ignored if randomly stumbled upon.
We got a huge pineapple that the old uncle who owned the stand cut up for us and I had a chilled coconut.
Here I am, super happy with our snack.
We drove all the way around the island to Kailua, where we would be staying for the rest of our trip.
I was super hungry by the time we arrived because I hadn’t eaten enough that day. I was so thankful for kitten hunger. My Resetters know ALL about kitten hunger, but it’s basically when you can go a long time without eating and you don’t feel anxious, angry or sick.
As soon as we dropped off our things at our Airbnb, I yelped the closest restaurant that had vegan food. An Indian restaurant came up and we were on our way. I had turmeric rice, kidney beans, cauliflower and lentils. It wasn’t the best Indian food, but it wasn’t oily and I was thankful for it.
After dinner, we went to the beach and watched the sun go down. When you aren’t always occupied with food, alcohol or sugar, you find that you have more time to enjoy simple pleasures, like nature, meaningful conversations and good books.
Thursday February 9th
The place we were staying had a kitchen, but I didn’t feel like cooking because I cook ALL the time and I wanted a break. Luanne found a coffee shop, Morning Brew near where we were staying and they happened to have steel cut oats! I requested no sweetener and nondairy milk. They added some golden raisins, berries and crushed walnuts. It was a huge win.
Happy for my breakfast!
We decided it was a beach day, so we went to Whole Foods and I filled a container with lots of yummy things from their salad bar and picked up a container of no oil hummus and some Mary’s Gone Crackers (not pictured for some reason).
We were ready for the beach!
But not before we stopped at a local juice bar and grabbed some pressed greens. Now we’re ready for the beach.
We brought this tent from our house. It packs into a small bag and it literally pops up when you open it. Super handy.
We parked ourselves here and we proceeded to do absolutely nothing for 3 hours (except read and eat of course!).
Grubbing on my lunch. Mostly veggies, a little quinoa and some hummus and crackers. All oil free and super yummy.
Soaking up the view.
The perfect dessert – sweet, juicy and refreshing.
For dinner, we hit up an evening Farmers Market where I found a yummy raw food stall. I bought beet hummus, raw cucumber lasagna and flax crackers. The food was expensive, but it was yummy and the healthiest option there. After I quit drinking and smoking, I no longer cared if I spent a bit more money on super healthy food.
Before I quit, I was spending about $20 a day minimum on alcohol and cigarettes. That’s at least $600 a month (a lot of times it was more). From that point forward, I knew I could never make an excuse not to eat healthy for lack of money. If I had the money to drink and smoke, I have the money to eat good quality food that will help keep me healthy and strong. #endofdiscussion
Happily eating away at the market. Nom, nom, nom, nom.
After dinner we sat outside and Luanne had a glass of wine and I had a hibiscus kombucha. The perfect end to a lovely day.
Friday February 10th
Saturday February 11th
Time to go to the airport. I stopped by the same coffee shop that had steel cut oats and got some for the road (air?).
A pretty typical airport situation for me. Pineapple, orange, hummus, whole seed crackers, berries, nuts and raisins, figs and oatmeal.
Considering the plane ride was 45 minutes long, it’s safe to say that my food was taken care of well after I got home.
The first thing I did when I got home was take all of the stuff out of the freezer that I froze before my trip so I would have plenty of food for the next few days without having to batch or eat out. I also stopped by my health food store and got a bunch of leafy greens so I could make smoothies.
When I got home from our trip I didn’t feel bloated, I hadn’t gained any weight and I didn’t feel like I needed a vacation from my vacation. I felt refreshed and rejuvenated.
The most important thing to keep in mind when traveling and eating a healthy plant based diet is this:
Do the best you can and ENJOY! If you spend your whole trip stressing out, what’s the point? Do what you can and then let it go. This is a lifestyle and it has to work with your life.
If you have any tips for eating super healthy while on the go, come over to our private Facebook group and let’s keep this convo going or let me know in the comments below.
This is a huge topic and the more we can learn from each other, the better. Also – feel free to share this post if you think it could help your people.