Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Traveling with Real Food and Minimal Waste

Last weekend, Sean and I spent a few days at a cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was a wonderful romantic getaway for our anniversary, with day trips out to Monterey for the aquarium and Santa Cruz for the Boardwalk, as well as time spent "in camp" hiking the state park and wading in the river.

Living Design: Traveling with Real Food and Minimal Waste
 the river near our cabin

One of our goals for this getaway was to continue our efforts of eating a real food diet, as well as drastically reducing our waste. I recently borrowed Zero Waste Home from a friend, and we've been more inspired than ever to eliminate our waste. We certainly weren't perfect at achieving either zero waste or only real food, but here is what we did and what we learned for next time:

Friday dinner: BBQ at the cabin. Chicken sausages (some packaging), grilled veggie packets (aluminum foil was recycled, need to buy a grill basket to avoid the use of foil in the future), and sourdough flatbreads. I portioned out the dry ingredients for the flatbreads ahead of time, so all we had to do was mix the amount of sourdough starter in with the dry, a little water and olive oil, and then let them rise and grill!

Living Design: Traveling with Real Food and Minimal Waste
 balls of flatbread about to rise

While spending time outside the cabin grilling, we got to know our "camping neighbors." It was interesting to me hearing the men compare their dinners. The conversation was something like this,
"What are you grilling?"
"Ribs, you?"
"Tri-tip. What about you Sean?"
"Oh, we've got chicken sausages, veggie packets and some homemade sourdough flatbreads."
That's my gourmet grill chef!

Breakfasts: honeydew melon, hard boiled eggs, homemade sourdough toast with homemade kumquat marmalade (melon rinds and egg shells would be compostable if the facility had green waste bins, but sadly they did not)

Lunches: we packed our lunch each day using leftover sausages from the first dinner either sliced onto some sourdough bread or rolled into leftover flatbread. Carrots, oranges and homemade granola bars were brought from home and packed into reusable bags

For dinner on Saturday and Sunday we ate out. We were careful about portion size so that we didn't need to bring any leftovers home with us.

This was our first trip while being actively conscious about eating a real food diet, so it took a bit more upfront planning than we were used to. There were a number of things we brought from home that previously would have just been purchased at the market near the cabin, like eggs and bread. By bringing from home, we could control the ingredients (no additives in the bread) and feel confident in the source (we buy our eggs direct from a farmer at the farmers market). It also reduces waste since there was no double wrapped bread packaging or disposable egg carton (ours get returned to the farmer each week).

We did buy milk there, and unfortunately the only options in the correct portion were non-recyclable containers. I'm hoping we start seeing more recyclable or reusable options in milk packaging across all sizes.

We're already working on ideas for our next trip to help us eat clean and reduce our waste at the same time, even when away from home.

If you have any tips for eating real food while traveling, or reducing waste on the road, please share in the comments! I'd love to hear more ideas.


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