On The Road Post Whole 30

We finished up our Whole 30 last Monday and on Wednesday Julie and I had a trip to Seattle for a full day training we were giving for a group of non-profit leaders in the Northwest. We knew it would be a bit of a challenge to keep to our post Whole 30 diet and we packed some snacks to help us out. In our planning, we decided to stick to our diet for the most part, but that after the training we would allow ourselves to have something we hadn’t had for a while.

We had some time after we landed in Seattle before we could check into our hotel so we hopped in the car and headed downtown. We were trying to find a Whole Foods, but the maps app on our iPhone took us to two wrong locations. So we gave up and headed towards the Pike Place Market area. We looked for a restaurant that would be fairly friendly to our diet, but since I don’t like seafood, we didn’t have a lot of luck. We settled on the Hard Rock Cafe – not the first thought you have for healthy food. We both ordered a burger with no bun or cheese and a salad. I’m sure there were some things in there not on our Whole 30 plan, but we finished that on Monday, so we did our best given the circumstances and our level of hunger.

After a quick lunch we ventured into the market and loaded up on fresh apples, pears and bananas. I think we found a new favorite apple – the Pacific Rose variety is fantastic. We also ventured over to the original Starbucks and then proceeded to try to find a Whole Foods. Our batteries in our phones died, so we headed back to the hotel to finish our prep for the training.

Since the training was at the Conference Center at the airport on Thursday, we thought we would find a quick breakfast of some eggs at a restaurant in the terminal so we could get into the room and test the A/V equipment before the presentation. Not much luck there. The only option was a pre-made breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese and bacon. After much convincing, the employee finally heated up just the eggs and bacon. Lunch was provided – mexican. So we had meat, lettuce, salsa, and our apples and bananas. The training went great, and we were exhausted after a day of speaking. Our host wanted to take us to dinner. The Cheesecake Factory.

This was our dinner “off-the-plan” and we were pretty good considering we were at the Cheesecake Factory. I had a burger with the bun and cheese, mostly because I was so hungry and tired, and partly to see how I would react. Julie was better and had a burger with no bun and cheese again. It was delicious and I really enjoyed it until about an hour later. If could feel my stomach moving, working, trying to digest these foreign items like it had never met them before. I didn’t get much sleep, and I pretty much lost my desire for bread.

We mostly stuck to the plan on Friday as we finished up our trip and headed home. Eggs with veggies for breakfast followed by a quick trip to the Space Needle. Salads for lunch and flat iron steak and green beans and fruit for dinner. Julie decided to since she didn’t go off plan on Thursday night she wanted to try some mashed potatoes. She seemed to really enjoy them.

By Saturday morning Julie and I were both looking forward to being able to cook our own food and getting back to some clean eating and I was ready to get back into Ed’s Gym.

Traveling on a restricted diet can be very difficult. What secrets do you have for a successful trip?


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  1. I am a flight attendant so I travel quite often…my biggest tip is, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! It takes a lot of practice and sometimes a bit of Intermittent Fasting but creativity is key and it’s always worth it! Apples, bananas, clementines, homemade trail mix, canned organic chicken and avocados are the easiest to travel with if you can’t keep things cold…when you have access to a chiller I love deli meat roll-ups with celery, carrots, red pepper and olives. I often make a salad with leftover protein and slice up an avocado to use as my “dressing”, the salad is my first day meal as it doesn’t usually keep until day two…

  2. Mary Beth says:

    Anytime I travel on a Gluten Free diet I make sure I research the restaurants in the area so I can be sure I have a place that is safe to go. I also always take some snacks for my breakfast (because unless there is a diner handy I’m completely out of luck). Snacks are about the only way to make it through a trip on my diet!

  3. Well done, Abels! Jeff, I think it’s REALLY easy to say, “Screw it, I’m tired and hungry” and eat what you used to call “comfort food.” Dallas and I have fallen prey to this mindset after a stressful weekend on the road, but we always regret it. Making deliberate choices about when and with what to indulge is a much better approach, and far less likely to leave you with an upset belly, headache or brain fog. I think you guys are both doing amazing after your first Whole30 – while on the road, you did the best you could but didn’t let food take over your life. Great balance, great attitude, love these posts!


    • jeffabel says:

      Melissa – thanks so much. The Whole 30 program has been great and I think it has really launched me forward on this crazy journey to a healthy lifestyle in 2012. Looking forward to meeting you all this spring when you come to Colorado Springs.

  4. Sarah says:

    This spring marks the seventh year since I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. My reactions are pretty severe – I throw up for a few hours straight with about 1/4 tsp of a gluten-containing ingredient.

    I’ve had good experiences traveling and some horrible experiences as well. When I go on work trips, I communicate with conference organizers to make sure I have safe meals, but I still bring back ups, specifically for breakfast foods. I use Urban Spoon’s “gluten friendly” tag in new cities and even print maps to a few safe restaurants. When my hubby and I got married, we found a honeymoon cabin with a full kitchen and brought a cooler with us so that we didn’t have to worry about eating out every day.

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