How I Stuck to Eating a Whole Food Plant Based Diet During my Recent Three Week Trip to Australia (with pics)
By Molly Patrick
May 13, 2017,
Sticking to a super healthy plant based diet might be easy when you’re at home in your kitchen, rolling along with your routine, but what happens when you get in a car or a plane and roll out of town for vacay? I get asked about this a lot and I always tell people that it’s totally doable to stick to eating like a healthy plant based boss when traveling, it just takes two things:
1: You must make up your mind that you will eat like a plant based boss.
If deep down you would rather eat funnel cake instead of strawberries and cheese and crackers instead hummus and carrot sticks, then no amount of inspiration from me will help you eat better on your trip.
Although sticking to a superstar plant based diet while traveling is totally doable, it does take some navigation and figuring it out. So just like anything, if you really want it, you will figure it out. If you don’t really want it, it’s super easy to say fuck it. And then reach for the cheese.
2: You must be open to getting creative and spending a bit of time prepping some simple staples.
Eating like a champion plant eater takes some forethought, regardless of where you happen to be. When you travel, you won’t be getting your batch on like you do at home, so you’ll have to gather up some ingredients and piece a few things together to make it work. What you make will all depend on the amount of kitchen and refrigerator space you have to work with.
Instead of telling you ideas and tips about how to have an awesome getaway while still nomming on plants, I’m going to show you. To do this, I documented a lot of my food from my most recent three week trip to Australia. Below are pictures from my trip, along with descriptions.
Keep in mind this isn’t ALL the food I ate on my trip, just a snapshot that nicely represents what made up the majority of what I ate while I was away.
Before we jump in I want to remind you why eating and drinking really healthy during your vacay has many perks and is 100% worth it.
- It allows you to thoroughly enjoy your trip because you feel fantastic and full of energy the whole time, instead of feeling like you constantly need a nap.
- You won’t get constipated. And this is awesome because feeling poopy when you’re trying to explore and have fun is shitty (wink, wink).
- Your travels become a rich experience that you soak up, not an obstacle that you have to work around to feed your addictions.
- You save money because you don’t eat out as much.
- When you eat super healthy, you don’t get as hungry in general, so if you need to go a couple of hours without eating, it’s no biggie. This is a great help when you’re exploring and you can’t get to a meal right away.
- You don’t gain weight during your time away.
- You come back home feeling refreshed and rested, which is the whole purpose of a vacation! Too many people feel like they need a vacation from their vacation as soon as they get home.
Okay my dear, let the show begin.
I’m ready for take off! Here I am at our cute little island airport, ready to go with plenty of food for the plane. When you fly long haul, there is always the option to request a vegan meal, but bringing your own is always more healthy and much more tasty.
Plastic jars are fantastic to pack food in because they are light and you don’t have to worry about them breaking. Plus I don’t know that security will let you through with glass jars. I stick with plastic and I’ve never had a problem getting my food through security.
Here I have:
- Steel cut oats with berries and soy milk
- A jar with cut up black bean burgers, hummus and kale
- Almond butter and applesauce sandwich
- Avocado and sauerkraut sandwich
- Coconut macaroon bites
- Black pepper snap pea snacks
Before I got on the plane I peeled my oranges and put them in a bag so that I didn’t have to do it on the plane. This makes it super easy to grab a quick snack when you need a little something.
If you’re traveling out of the country, always eat your food before you exit the plane. That way you won’t have any issues at customs. Packaged food isn’t a problem but you can get a fine for innocently bringing fruit or veggies into another country.
We arrived in Sydney at 8pm Sydney time. For the first two days I arrive somewhere with a much different time zone, I try not to think about what time it is back home because it fucks me up. I just go with the flow and follow whatever time it is where I’m at.
We woke up at 4am the next morning and we were wide awake, so I made a cup of tea and mixed up some green powder in water for a little boost (in the jar on the left). I never drink green powders at home, but when I travel I find it helpful.
I busted out my travel yoga mat and eased into the very early morning with some yoga and meditation. This is a great way to recuperate after a long plane ride.
When I got hungry after my tea, green water and yoga, I found an apple and some peanut butter in the house we were staying. That was awesome because no stores were open yet because it was so early.
After the sun started shining and Sydney woke up, we headed out the door and explored the city for the rest of the day. We started at a coffee shop where I found a delish whole wheat muffin that had no sweetener apart from fruit. Total score!
When it was time for lunch we found an awesome food court with a ton of vegan options. I scanned the whole thing for the option with the the most brightly colored veggies. I was tempted to eat Chana Masala at an Indian food stall, but my body wanted a boost of veggies so I found a salad place and went crazy.
Every single time you get hungry it is an opportunity to fill up on nutrients. This is true whether you’re traveling or not.
My honey found some vegan ice cream on the way back to our place and you better believe I helped her eat it!
The next day we rented a car and started on our road trip to Melbourne. I spotted this “dirty” bag of keys at our car pick up and naturally I thought of all my Dirties!
The night before our road trip, we went out to eat at a Mediterranean restaurant and I ordered extra hummus and dolmas for the next day. If you find a good healthy restaurant while traveling, always order some food to go so that you know you’ll have something yummy, healthy and easy for the next day, regardless of what your schedule or plans look like.
We also went to a grocery store (nothing fancy, just a regular grocery store) and I stocked up on fruit, whole wheat bread, avocados, whole grain muesli (breakfast cereal), nut butter and soy milk. Our friend gave us an insulated bag and I packed some food before we took off the next morning.
Here I am feeding Luanne and avocado sandwich.
Can I just say that Australia has some amazing fucking strawberries? I munched on organic strawberries throughout my whole trip. Every box was sweet, juicy and exactly how a strawberry should taste.
Here I am in the car happily eating these sweet little nuggets of goodness.
Noming on my dolmas that I ordered the night before.
After a long day of driving on the opposite side of the road, we checked into a little motel that had a fridge, a microwave, a kettle and a toaster. We made some toast, poured a bowl of cereal and called it dinner.
When choosing a place to crash for a night or two, it’s always best to choose a room that has a refrigerator, a toaster and a kettle. With this simple setup, you can easily make eating in your room work. It might not be as nutrient dense as you’re used to, but you’re on vacation, it’s time to relax yourself!
I also made some mint tea and ate an apple with my toast and cereal. I always bring an assortment of tea bags with me when I travel.
The next morning I made a cup of brewing cacao in my handy travel tea ball and sipped on that before we got on the road. I also made some sandwiches with cashew butter, thinly sliced apple and some grapes that I cut in half. I ate a bunch of grapes and then we got in the car and vroomed off toward Melbourne.
While filling up on gas in a little town, we found a cafe that just happened to have a quinoa salad. Even though I had some food in the car, I jumped at the opportunity to eat quinoa and veggies.
Next to my salad are my pig socks. Because PIG SOCKS.
We arrived in Melbourne and Luanne’s friend who we were staying with made this huge bean salad just for me. What a happy bowl of food to arrive to! It’s always a good idea to give your hosts a heads up about how you eat, just so there are no surprises.
The next day we went to a grocery store so I could get some veggies and other staples since we would be at the same house for several nights. In the produce section I stumbled upon this cabbage. What the??
At the store I found Coconut Aminos and it made me more excited than a condiment probably should. I swiftly went back to the produce section with the freaky alien-like cabbage and loaded up on broccoli. Steamed broccoli and Coconut Aminos were made for each other and it’s one of the easiest, no fuss things to make. Perfect when you’re staying at someone’s house and using their kitchen.
Later that night we went out to dinner with our friends. They chose a yummy Vietnamese restaurant with lots of veggie options. I ordered fresh spring rolls, steamed greens, and a bowl of rice with veggies and tofu. It’s easy to get a big plate of veggies at most Asian restaurants. You can also ask for less oil and they are usually happy to accommodate.
The next day, our friend made more yummy food for us. I felt totally spoiled. She made quinoa salad with peas and arugula. She made roasted sweet potatoes with garbanzo beans. And she made Indian spiced cauliflower rice (you can bet you will see a couple of those recipes on a meal plan near you!).
I had some quinoa salad and fruit for breakfast one morning and it was the perfect reminder that breakfast can be made up of anything and it’s always fun to look beyond traditional breakfast foods for the first meal of the day.
The next morning it was time to continue our road trip down the Great Ocean Road, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever seen. I fueled up on toast with almond butter and blueberries and a cup of brewing cacao before we headed out. It’s always key to eat before you leave the house…no matter whose house it is.
I packed a ton of yummy food that our friend made for us in our handy insulated bag, and we were off!
One of the many scenic views from our beautiful drive.
THIS is why being prepared always wins when it comes to eating super healthy on a consistent basis, especially when you’re traveling. A big portion of our drive had absolutely nothing in the way of food. And if there was food, it was fried fish, french fries or meat pies. Awesome if you eat that stuff, not awesome if you don’t.
Lucky thing I used my trusty plastic container and filled that sucker with Indian cauliflower rice, garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes before we got on the road. Not only was it healthy as fuck, it was also more delicious than any food options during this portion of our road trip. Plus it was in the backseat, waiting for me when I started to get hungry.
We stopped and awed at what used to be the Twelve Apostles but is now more like the Six Apostles. It was breathtaking. Too bad I felt totally drunk due to a pill that I took earlier for motion sickness. I usually don’t take pills of any kind but it was either that or throw up in the car. So I took the pills and felt super weird for the rest of the day.
Back on the road and time to eat again! Here’s my trusty almond butter container with kale, hummus and garbanzo beans and some black rice crackers that I picked up in Melbourne. Together it was a super yummy and satisfying lunch.
We arrived in beautiful Warrnambool later that evening and grabbed some dinner at a Thai restaurant. It wasn’t so much that we wanted to go out to eat, we just wanted a warm meal and I didn’t have it in me to cook at the house we were staying.
When I go out to eat, I oftentimes order things that are not on the menu. For example, at this restaurant I asked for a side of steamed broccoli without oil and a plate of brown rice and tofu. I added the broccoli to the rice, drizzled a bit of soy sauce and lime over it and dove in. It was simple, yummy and as an added bonus, much cheaper than ordering from the menu.
The next morning we woke up super early and hit the road to Adelaide, our final destination.
Do you want to know two awesome things about waking up early for a road trip in Australia? The sunrise and the kangaroos. AT THE SAME TIME. Thank you life!!!
When traveling by car, I always pack cereal, soy milk, plastic utensils and a container. It’s not as healthy as steel cut oats, but being able to have a bowl of cereal in the car can be gold.
As a side note, I’ve decided that this almond butter container is the new CFDG mascot.
We arrived in Adelaide and one of the first stops we made was Central Market, a beautiful market with tons of fresh food and healthy ingredients. When you arrive to your destination, the market or grocery store should always be your first order of business, after assessing your kitchen situation.
Asking locals where you can find organic produce is super helpful. From there you can ask where to find a health food store or healthy ingredients, like whole grains and beans. You can usually count on people who work with organic produce to point you in the direction of hippie ingredients.
If you can’t find organic produce or a health food store, go to any regular grocery store and do the best you can. At the very least, all grocery stores have a produce section and canned beans. If nothing else, cut up some greens, drizzle some lemon on top and top that sucker with beans. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Most regular grocery stores I went to had a decent health food section, stocked with tahini, packaged whole grains, whole grain bread, hummus and soy milk. Just make sure you read the labels and avoid items with ingredients that you can’t pronounce or sound more like a science experiment.
If I could marry a grocery store, this is the one I would marry. Almost everything they carried was sold in bulk and they had every ingredient a dirty girl could ask for. I could have spent three days in this store. Just look at my face! I was beaming.
I was super happy to have gathered my supplies and put them to use. I got to where we were staying and promptly made hummus and T-Crack and washed a bunch of produce. Along with fruit and a batch of quinoa, my food was set for a few days.
We popped by a farmers market one day and bought mouth watering strawberries and pomegranates. I had a moment when I sitting in the sun, eating those strawberries, looking at a totally different country than I’m used to, and pure bliss washed over me.
As I was having my strawberry bliss session, I thought back to when I used to drink and smoke and I remembered how excited it would make me and how much pleasure I got from it. But how much joy it sucked out of my being at the same time.
In contrast, here I was, having a simple moment with a strawberry, and joy was spilling out of me. That’s what happens when you trade pleasure for joy. Your happiness becomes internal, not external. And when happiness is internal, you don’t have to rely on anything to turn it on. That my love, is freedom.
We stayed with Luanne’s brother and his family while in Adelaide.
They all eat meat, so unless we went out to eat (which didn’t happen often), I would make my food and they would make their food and we would all eat together. I kept my food simple so I wouldn’t be in the way. After days and days of seeing me eat like an actual rabbit, they started to ask questions about my diet. I never bring up food or diet or health with people unless they ask. Once someone asks, I’m an open book.
Later in the week they asked if I would make a meal for them, which I was happy to do. After that meal, they asked if I would make another meal for them. So I happily made another meal. Luanne’s brother requested Chili so I made a huge batch of spicy bean and veggie chili and a batch of cornbread.
I also made a big lasagna with veggies and Tofu Ricotta. Everything was a huge hit and 100% Whole Food Plant Based.
When you don’t judge people for how they eat, it’s more likely that they will be curious and interested about how you’re eating. Most people just need time and space to reach that point on their own.
For the record, I put pomegranate seeds on everything I ate for three solid days.
We went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant one night and this beautiful bowl of food was on the menu. When I go out to eat, I never stress about my meal being oil free or organic or kissed by Buddha. If it’s vegan and it has mostly veggies, I’m golden. Easy peasy, no need to over complicate shit.
One night after dinner, we all went to a dessert cafe that had vegan and non-vegan desserts. There were seven of us, so we ordered seven different things. I was happy to sample each one and they were all delicious.
When walking around a quaint little town one day, I spotted a sign that said “Turmeric Lattes”. Sign me the fuck up! It was made with almond milk and it hit the spot.
Here’s a quick tip. If you ever see a place that serves food and they have a dreamcatcher in the window, bet on them for having something super healthy for you to eat or drink.
One day the whole fam went out to lunch. Luanne’s family chose a place that wasn’t vegan friendly. In this situation, don’t waste a second being upset or disappointed, instead take action! I told the group that I would be right back and that I was going to find something to eat and I would bring it back and eat with them. I made sure that was okay with the server, and off I went.
I walked up the street, saw a cafe with a dreamcatcher in the window, walked in, ordered a beautiful bowl of food, went back to the original restaurant and proceeded to eat my lunch and have a great visit with everyone. Below is the cafe where I found that bowl of yum on the right.
You have to remember that life isn’t always all about you. And then adjust accordingly, without being angry, bitter, or holding a grudge. Be tender. Be soft. Be loving. Be kind.
After three weeks, it was time to head home. The morning we left I threw together all the food / ingredients that I had left in the fridge and I ate a big breakfast and packed hella food for the plane ride home.
This was a big pan of kale, broccoli and mushrooms that I cooked up. For Luanne’s sister-in- law and myself, I served it with hummus and toast. For everyone else, I served it with eggs and toast. I used up my ingredients and everyone got fed.
After breakfast I put together my plane food kit.
- Peanut butter, banana and pomegranate sandwich
- Hummus, kale and broccoli sandwich
- Mushroom, kale and hummus stacked in trusty almond butter jar
I also packed some fruit, some cashews and some tea.
Here we are about to board, happy that we don’t have to rely on airport food and happy to be headed home to our kitties.
This is what happens when nobody sits in the seats in front of me. #totalwin #noshame
I’ve had fun sharing my journey with you. Now I would love to hear from you! What is one thing that you took from this post that you can put into action the next time you travel?
Post your comment below or join us over in our awesome private Facebook group and let’s keep the convo going! If you want us to do all the planning for you, join our Plant Fueled Meal Plans. All you have to do is shop and cook. Leave the rest to us.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with exploring this big, beautiful world. Even if it’s just across town.