Traveling as a vegan is surprisingly not as difficult as many might think. Plant-based options are available everywhere now, from airports newsstands to local restaurants at your final destination. However, taking the extra step and being prepared can never hurt by bringing your own snacks along for the trip. It will eliminate the headache of having to search for a healthy option when you are starving, and you will feel good because you know you will be eating something nourishing instead of those bags of chips from the gas station or those french fries from the nearest drive through (yes, both are vegan but might not be your ideal options).
During this first week of July, I traveled to Colorado to visit a friend from college. There was two of us coming to spend 6 days at his house in the small town of Fort Collins, Colorado. Fort Collins is the sweetest place to visit. The town is adjacent to a wall of mountains, built with bike friendly roads, amazing hiking spots, and lots of small local businesses.
Being at a friends house for this trip meant I would have access to a kitchen for the 6 trip days, which is great! However, I knew we would also spend a lot of time out of the house, biking around town, visiting local breweries, eating at local restaurants, and hiking. To make my life easier (and healthier), I brought along the following items for this trip. I want to share these with you in the hopes to help you during your next vacation! (If you eat a plant-based diet or not, you will benefit from the options below regardless ;] )
1. Magic Bullet
I don’t know about you guys but I am a creature of habit. Most of my days at home start with a smoothie or a smoothie bowl. And since my body thrives with a set eating schedule, I wanted to at least give myself the option of having a morning smoothie, when possible, during this trip.
My friend does not have a blender at his place, so either I would bring one from home or I would find a local spot that makes fresh smoothies. I decided that bringing my own would be the best option. Of course packing my 12.5 lbs Vitamix blender was completely not an option, so I opted for purchasing a small portable blender to bring with me.
I searched for options on Google, and I found the Magic Bullet to have a great price and many positive reviews. I quickly searched for close-by stores that carried this mini blender, placed an order for a pickup, and within 2 hours I had the Magic Bullet in the back seat of my car! I got mine for $38.99 at Best Buy. (the Magic Bullet was already all wrapped up in my bag so you can't see it in the photo above)
2. Pumpkin seeds
These beauties are a great to-go snack. During this trip, I used them on top of my morning smoothies, I added them to salads, and I brought them along in my bag to snack with fruit throughout the day.
Aside from its yummy taste, pumpkin seeds have amazing benefits. They are alkaline-forming, a good source of vitamin E (which helps promote glowing skin and healthy hair), vitamin K (important vitamin for preventing heart disease and osteoporosis), and L-tryptophan (which helps promote sleep and fight depression). I found this great article about pumpkin seeds if you want to learn more.
Stevia has been my go-to sweetener choice lately. If you are not familiar with the stevia plant, it was discovered over 1,500 years ago and it is native to the Paraguay and Brazil regions. The stevia leaves were then used not only in food but to also to treat burns and stomach discomfort. It is a very nutritious plant with over 100 nutrients. Stevia is a great sweetener option if you want to avoid raising your glycemic index. It is also known for having zero calories or carbs.
Of course, the stevia sweetener available at our grocery stores is not the leaf itself, but a refined version where the sweet components of the plant are extracted and often mixed with other “fillers”. This article by One Green Planet does a great job explaining how store bought stevia is made and how to find the most natural brands. I am currently trying SweetLeaf Stevia drops, which has a great taste; but I am now looking to try another option that is 100% stevia.
4. Go Raw sprouted pumpkin seed bars
These bars are my obsession. I have one a day with almost no exception. When I was planning this trip, I knew I would need to bring enough Go Raw bars to last me the 6 days. These bars are raw (meaning all of the ingredients are unprocessed and the bar was made in a low-temperature dehydrator so all of its nutrients are intact). It is made with only 5 organic ingredients (and no crazy added chemicals): sprouted pumpkin seeds, sprouted flaxseeds, dates, raw agave nectar, and Celtic sea salt. It is not overly sweet and it’s super satisfying. And when I am feeling extra adventurous, I eat them with raw tahini!
5. Vitamins / Supplements
Yep, I am a supplement taker! I am not going to hide it. When I first transitioned to a vegan diet, I was against taking supplements. I listened to so many other vegans talking about how unnatural the act of taking supplements is and that if you are eating a whole plant-based diet you will be ingesting all of your necessary nutrients from your foods.
Well… my experience seemed to have proven that wrong for me. Yes, I do believe plant-based whole foods grown in a sustainable way, with organic practices and a nutrient rich soil will provide you with all of your necessary vitamins and minerals, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of the food we buy at our local grocery stores and eat at restaurants were not grown under the practices listed above. Our food is not being grown in an ideal environment, therefore supplementation might be necessary. Yearly blood tests will help you determine your needs.
For this trip, I brought probiotics, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin b12 supplements, along with the Nail, Hair & Skin Connection supplement by Rainbow Light I added to my morning smoothies.
Chocolate is life. LIFE! There was no way I could spend 6 days without my chocolate. But not all chocolate bars are the same. The raw cacao used to make chocolate bars is an extremely nutritious whole food. It is an antioxidant powerhouse, it improves blood flow in our bodies, promotes healthy skin and even protects us from the sun. When purchasing chocolate bars, reach for those that are free of dairy, low in sugar, and mostly cacao. You will always find me eating 75% cacao or above, 90% cacao being my favorite. A piece of this chocolate bar between dinner and bedtime with a warm cup of tea is my not guilty daily pleasure.
Alter Eco is one of my favorite chocolate brands. Not only for the dreamy taste, but they are an organic, fair trade, non-GMO brand. Huge plus!!!
7. Toasted Coconut Chips by Dang
As you have probably noticed by now, I am very picky when it comes to the food products I purchase. The fewer ingredients and least refined or processed, the better. These toasted coconut chips have 2 ingredients: coconut and sea salt. That’s it. No crazy added flavors, oils, or sugars. Made with thai coconut meat, I kept this bad boy in my backpack when adventuring around town and ate it by itself, usually in the afternoons. Adding these toasted chips to your salads when you go to restaurants to add that extra crunch, or to your smoothie bowls in the morning, are other great ideas on how to eat this yumminess.
Nuts are on of my favorite snacks. A handful of nuts will keep me going for a while without raising my blood sugar levels. It has lots of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and healthy fats we need for body functions. (Sprouted nuts are always better than eating them raw, but because of my lack of preparation, raw nuts was my only option). This small amount was enough to last me the 6 days.
9. Pre-batched smoothie mix
Since my goal was to prepare a smoothie for breakfast as much as possible during this trip (with my brand new tiny blender), I decided to make my life easier and bring pre-batched portions of the superfoods I normally use at home to make my smoothies. I try to meet as much of my daily nutritional needs early in the morning. This way, I have to be less focused or concerned with what I eat for the rest of the day. And I do so by packing my smoothies with superfoods, vitamins, minerals, and supplements.
My mix had:
1 scoop of Garden of Life Protein Meal vanilla flavor
1 tsp Maca
1 tsp Spirulina
1 tsp Moringa
2 tablets of the Nail, Hair & Skin Connection supplement by Rainbow Light (I hate swallowing nongel pills so I just add them to my smoothies :) )
1 tbsp chia seeds
*I purchased all of these at my local Whole Foods. But I did notice when adding these links that if you order direct from their websites and sign up for their newsletter, you will get discounts on your fist purchases.
To make the smoothie, I added to my Magic Bullet fresh spinach, ¼ to ½ an avocado, 1 ½ cups of water and/or almond milk, a few drops of Stevia, ice, and the smoothie mix I brought. Within 5 minutes I had a high protein and nutrients packed breakfast. I topped the smoothie bowl with blueberries and pumpkin seeds.
TIP: if you use Ziploc bags like I did, you can wash and reuse them. Less waste = Happy Mother Nature ;]
10. Tea bags
I love tea! Unsweetened Jasmine Green Tea is my current favorite; however, for this trip, I brought this flavorful chai rooibos tea by Yogi. I like to support Yogi tea because they are certified organic, vegan, their tea bags are compostable and their packaging is recyclable.
This specific tea has Rooibos, a red tea with antioxidant properties, and a traditional Ayurvedic blend of Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Clove. I would describe it as a warming and spicy - sweet tea; very cozy.
I hope this post was helpful, especially when you plan your next trip. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to read them below.
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Thank you for stopping by.
Disclaimer: I shared a lot of links to the products talked about above. These are products I love and use daily, and I am sharing them with you because I believe in their value. None are sponsored.