Eating Plant Based When Traveling: Utah and Arizona
February 16, 2019 / Molly Patrick /
By Molly Patrick
Feb 16, 2019
We recently took a trip to Utah and Arizona to see friends and family. Here’s a glimpse of our plant based eats along the way, including where to eat yummy plant based food in Salt Lake, Moab and Tucson.
After a taking a red-eye flight from Hawaii to LA, we arrived tired and delirious, but ready for the day ahead. From LA we flew into Salt Lake City. If you’re digging my shirt, you can pick one up here. I usually wear a medium top but this particular style runs big. I am wearing an XS in this pic.
I quit drinking coffee in 2008 after switching to a plant based diet. After making the switch, I didn’t feel like I needed the caffeine anymore because I had a ton of energy. Now I mainly drink herbal tea and sometimes green tea when I’m feeling crazy (Yes, it pained me to write that. The level of boring I have achieved is amazing.)
We went to Klatch Coffee in LAX. I ordered green tea with soy milk (whooa!) and a cup of oatmeal. I don’t typically eat instant oatmeal because steel cut oats have a better nutrient kick, but I wanted something hot and this was the only plant based item I could find. It worked! I also ate the peanut butter and berry sandwich that I packed with me. When I travel I eat the best I can and don’t stress about it.
I have a movement practice that I’ve been doing every single day for over a year. It has changed my life and my body. Seriously, I can’t imagine not doing it. I used to get super sore and stiff when I flew, especially long flights. I no longer get sore or tight. I just do my practice, even in airports or on planes!
If you haven’t checked out Michelle Andrie’s movement practice yet, do yourself a solid and check it out. This woman is a fucking GEM. The sock / ball combo you see in the picture is a Michelle special. She came up with this device that you can easily make yourself. There’s nothing like it out there. Michelle is a pioneer in her field because she’s doing things that no one else is doing. Seriously, check her out!
Here I am working it out at the airport. People look at me funny when I do this in public but it doesn’t bother me. Let ’em stare! It’s a fine tradeoff for feeling awesome.
I try to pack light on trips so a travel yoga mat is too bulky for my liking. I use a Manduka yoga towel instead. It has little grips on the bottom and it folds up small. It’s super light and it works great for travel.
We went to Salt Lake City to visit our friend, Kellie Davis who also happens to do all of our meal plan testing and meal plan photos for us. We hired her years ago and have become good friends. Our whole team is awesome, we’re friends with every one of them.
When we got to Kellie’s house she had just tested the upcoming #FamilyFaves Meal Plan. She had to pick up her son from school so I took the pictures of one of the dishes for our classroom. This BBQ Smack-a-Roni and Cheese with Salad was the perfect meal after our long journey.
Ethiopian food is one of my favorite cuisines and since we don’t have an Ethiopian restaurant where we live, we wasted no time scouting out a local favorite, and diving in – hands first. This is our lunch at Mahider in Salt Lake.
Ethiopian restaurants are awesome for plant eaters and omnivores because they have just as many vegan options as meat options. As a side note, I don’t eat oil when I’m home but when I’m traveling or eating out, I never expect an oil free meal. I’m happy with any vegan meal I can get!
Most times at Mexican restaurants you can piece together a vegan meal, even if the menu doesn’t specifically say vegan on it. Whole beans, rice, avocado, shredded cabbage and corn tortillas are my go-to.
I always ask to see if their whole beans and rice are made with chicken stock before I order. Most times they aren’t, sometimes they are. And sometimes, you feel like you hit the plant based jackpot when the menu has clearly stated vegan items!
This burrito from Sonora Grill in Ogden was DAMN good. If you’re ever in the area, it’s a must.
After a couple days in Salt Lake, we hit the road and headed south to Moab. That shit was cold as hell but the upside is that we were some of the only visitors in the various parks. Me, Luanne and Kellie, after a brisk hike.
Please note that Kellie’s scarf in the pic above this one was a little something I put together with my leg warmers and a hair tie. #PodunkMolStrikesAgain
This was one of many spectacular views from Canyonlands National Park.
Nothing like chowing a leftover burrito on a road trip.
You see that beautiful woman in blue on the left? That is Jen, one of our recipe / meal plan wizards! She lives in Colorado so she drove up to Moab to hang out with us. This was the first time we met in person and just like every one of our employees that we’ve met in person so far, we hit it off like old friends.
Here we are at Eclecticafe in Moab, getting tea and coffee before a day of fun.
The Dirty crew at Arches National Park. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And cold as fuck. Jen’s husband, Dennis joined us as well. He was a delight.
We basked in the sun, taking it all in.
I packed some nut butter and blackberry sandwiches and some celery for a snack.
We went bowling. It did not end well for me. Jen and Luanne however, are bowling BEASTS.
We ate breakfast at Eclecticafe because it was the only thing open that had a vegan breakfast option. It was warm and it was plant based. We were happy campers (who camped our asses at the Hilton).
Back in Salt Lake with fresh snow greeting us.
Here’s the deal. If you ever find yourself in Salt Lake City, go to Bolt Cutter. Just trust me on this one. It has such yummy plant based food that we orgasmed over it on two different occasions during our visit.
It is far from oil free but the flavors are on point. Here is the Buffalo Cauliflower. So good!
Tortilla Soup that warmed my soul.
We had a feast!
The quesadillas are made with a house made cashew cheese and stuffed with other goodness.
We caught the first day of the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s how I summed up Sundance. There was a lot going on and nothing going on. There was a lot of buzz but we didn’t really know what to do. So we just kept eating.
And then we went back to Bolt Cutter and had Matcha Almond Lattes and a snack.
Kale Caesar Salad. Now THIS is a salad!
Nachos for days!
We said goodbye to the snow and to Kellie (and her awesome son and boyfriend) and we flew to Tucson, Arizona to visit my parents and to eat! Did I mention we love to eat?
Here is me, Luanne and my mom (Pamela) enjoying a beautiful January day in the desert.
I packed steel cut oats for the hike. They kept me going for a good three hours.
Standing tall amongst the saguaros.
Time for a lunch break! I packed tofu salad sandwiches for our desert hike. January is the perfect time of year to hike in Tucson. It isn’t too hot and it isn’t too cold once you get hiking.
Please note that my scarf is actually a napkin. I’m all about dual purpose.
My mom makes the BEST whole food plant based pancakes ever. She makes them for me every time I visit.
A picnic at the VA while waiting for dad’s doctor appointment? Check! We packed dolmas, hummus sandwiches and fruit.
If you’re ever in Tucson, EXO Roast is a must. Luanne and I used to go there every week when we lived in Tucson. They don’t have many vegan options but they do have really good tea and yummy granola with almond milk. Plus, the owner is awesome and the atmosphere is inviting and chill. If you’re looking for a good coffee shop in Tucson, this is it!
Luanne had coffee and lemon cake and I had tea and granola with soy milk.
Ethnic grocery stores are one my favorite places to explore. You can find great deals on plant based ingredients like tahini, dates, olives, roasted red peppers, pickles and different legumes.
This is one of my favorite Middle Eastern markets in Tucson, Babylon Market. Not only do they have lots of interesting groceries, but they also have a restaurant that has really yummy dolmas, wraps, hummus, falafel and baba ganoush.
Here I am chowing down on Fattoush, hummus and pita.
Here’s another must if you’re ever in Tucson. Turmerico is almost all plant based, with the exception of eggs and cheese (just tell them you are vegan and they will take care of you). Their food is INSANELY good. You have to try their vegan tamales – so damn good!
I eat here every time I visit Tucson.
I forgot what I ordered but it had jackfruit, potatoes, salsa, beans and guacamole. SO good!
Vegan Tamale Plate. These are the best tamales I’ve ever had in my life, and I’m from New Mexico. #nuffsaid
A bag full of plant based food means one thing. Time to get back on the plane and head home. I packed a baked tofu sandwich, nuts, fruit, and my mom’s blueberry crumb cake. It’s always hard to say goodbye, but at least I had cake.
I never have a problem getting through security with my food. I make sure not to pack liquids and always prepared food. If I pack oatmeal, I make sure there are more oats than non-dairy milk. Packing an almond butter sandwich is fine, but you can’t bring plane almond butter or the TSA folks will confiscate it. Here’s an excellent resource for whole food plant based traveling.
If I ever have any trouble at security regarding my food, I very nicely explain that I follow a specific diet and that I cannot eat anything that the airport has to offer.
My baked tofu sandwich was so satisfying, I can’t imagine not traveling with my own food.
We ate at another yummy place in Tucson but I forgot to take pictures of the food. Beaut Burger is a vegan burger place near downtown. It’s in an outside shopping area made out of old shipping containers that is definitely worth checking out. When you do, stop by Beaut Burger and grab a bite!
Because we didn’t stay in one spot during our trip we ate out a lot more than usual. When traveling, I make sure that whatever I eat is vegan and I don’t worry about it being as healthy as when I’m home.
We were gone for 2 weeks and even though eating out is fun and tasty, I definitely noticed a difference in my overall energy and the tightness of my pants.
I was happy to get home so I could get back in my kitchen and start cooking Dirty again! Within three days of being home, my pants were back to fitting like normal and my energy was back up. This reaffirms that eating a healthy Whole Food Plant Based diet is much different than eating a vegan diet. Whole plants for the win!
During one of our Plant Based Resets years ago, one of our Resetters took a trip to New York during the program. She emailed me, stressed out about how she was going to stick to eating a whole food plant based diet on her trip. My response was simple:
Do the best you can and enjoy the hell out of your trip!
She emailed back, totally relieved. She had a great time on her trip and when she got home, she got back on the WFPB train. Here’s the thing. Eating a healthy whole food plant based diet shouldn’t be stressful. If you’re stressed about sticking to it 100%, do yourself a favor and stop it! The whole point of traveling is to get out of your routine and experience something new. If I tried to recreate my kitchen and my food routine when I travel, I may as well stay home!
Don’t over complicate this, just do the best you can and enjoy!
Now, tell me in the comments below, how do you usually eat when you travel and have you gone anywhere recently?
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with seeing something new.