• Paleo Travel Lessons from Abroad: Part 3

    Paleo Travel Lessons From Abroad—Part Three | stupideasypaleo.com

    Paleo Lessons from Abroad—Part Three

    [This is the second in a three-part series about my experiences living, eating, cooking and blogging about Paleo in my four months abroad. Click here for Part One and here for Part Two (vacations).]

    Bruce Lee famously said, “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.”

    This could not apply more accurately to my time living abroad and still continuing the Paleo lifestyle. When my stay in Scotland passed the two or three week mark, I knew I was on more than just a vacation, and it was clear I’d have to make some adjustments to my Paleo approach. Like Mr. Lee said, going with the flow and being like water was the way I found success.

    When you’re on a vacation for a week or two or three, you may have access to a kitchenette in your hotel room or perhaps in a condo you’ve rented. It’s likely, though, that you’ll be eating out a fair amount or most of the time. When you’re living somewhere on a more long-term basis, going out to eat for every meal is probably not on the agenda.

    I learned pretty quickly to adapt to my new Scottish surroundings and here are some of the lessons about doing Paleo when you’re living somewhere long-term I’m passing on to you:

    Paleo Travel Lesson #1: Be Accepting

    When you live in a different country, food availability is likely to be different than what you’re used to. If you walk into any market expecting to see speciality products such as coconut aminos and chia seeds, you’re likely to be disappointed. Be accepting that some familiar products may not be available at all or if you can get them, it may be from an online retailer. Just don’t be surprised if you have to pay international shipping costs.

    By accepting that I wasn’t going to be able to find some of my favorite foods or products, I found it less stressful. Another adjustment I had to make was the size of the refrigerator and oven: Everything was just so much smaller than I was used to. Instead of doing two big cooking days a week, I changed to three medium-sized cook-ups so there was less food to store. Viewing these new differences as challenges rather than obstacles kept me from getting frustrated about my new surroundings.

    Paleo Travel Lesson #2: Creature Comforts

    If you’re spending a long period of time in your location abroad, equipping your kitchen with some creature comforts will make cooking at home more enjoyable. I’m not saying you need to pimp out your cooking space and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars. But if the cutting board is tiny, the knives are all dull or there’s only one pot to cook in, it’s not going to be very enjoyable. Make sure your new kitchen space is stocked with the essentials to help you create simple meals at home.

    Suggested essentials: a sharp chef’s knife, cutting board, baking sheet, a few pots of different sizes, some kind of grater, can opener and mixing bowls. Anticipate what you’d use almost daily and focus on that. If it’s a piece of specialty equipment or something you’d rarely use, skip it.

    Paleo Travel Lesson #3: Get Acquainted With Local Food

    When I was browsing the meat section in the market, I consistently wasn’t finding anything labeled grass-fed. Turned out, all the beef was grass-fed. D’oh. If you can do a little research on local / regional / national meat or veggie production / imports, it’ll help you more easily navigate and make choices aligned to your budget and ideals.

    Be willing to try new / unfamiliar foods and make the most of what’s locally available.

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    Paleo Travel Lessons From Abroad—Part Three | stupideasypaleo.com

    Thoughts on living longer-term in a different country and trying to adapt Paleo to your new situation? Leave them below!

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    11 thoughts on “Paleo Travel Lessons from Abroad: Part 3

    1. Hi Steph,
      I can imagine that Paleo-shopping outside the US is quite the endeavor initially – being from The Netherlands, I always envy you your Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. On the upside, it certainly dragged me out of my comfort zone; nowadays, I spend hours browsing through Chinese shops (where I came to get my coconut milk, but left with oodles of herbs and spices as well) and online retailers became my go-to for more exotic things like coconut aminos. And that is why I would suggest the following Paleo Travel Lesson #4: Ask a Native. Your blog is the gateway to an international community that’d be more than happy to share their experiences and lucky finds – we learn so much from you, here’s our chance to finally repay you 🙂 Meanwhile, have a great time in Scotland!
      Love, Claudia

    2. We have lived in Africa for the last four years, and sometimes it can be a challenge, but as you said you adapt . Because I get to visit the states at least once a year I am able to take a few staples with me, but when they are gone that’s it. I always keep hew recipes in mind and try to get he ingredients while I’m home, but sometimes I just save it to make it when I’m in the U.S.
      Cheers, Helen

    3. Now this made me smile. When I stayed in the US from the UK back in the late 90’s I had real food issues – for me I couldn’t understand why all the containers in the supermarkets were so BIG! It made me smile that you had the opposite problem. Back then I was so much younger I didn’t know what I know now about food, and I used to a) eat way too much (I came back home a size larger!) and b) drive 20 odd miles once per month to get a large bottle of Ribena, some English chocolate and copies of Sunday newspapers.

      Cooking was a challenge -= especially as I needed to get different equipment and use new words for things I already knew, but it did mean I managed to learn to cook new things in new ways – and the lasting legacy is that I usually know what you’re referring to in recipes 🙂

      I’m rebooting with a whole 30 since easter and my watchword is flexibility…..

      Thank you for reminding me of this.

      1. I love this! Isn’t it funny how life is all about perspective and the ability to roll with the punches? 🙂 Wishing you the best on your Whole30!!

    4. I will be traveling to the UK mid-May for work trip. I have just started my journey with eating Paleo. The toughest part I think will be the actual plane trip. Any suggestions on what to bring as most airline meals are not even close to Paleo.

      1. You can bring something like canned sardines, cut up fresh veggies and fruit, jerky packs like Primal Pacs, etc. Some airlines offer gluten free meals if you inquire. I know British Airways does.

    5. I live in Budapest Hungary. Most EU countries are GMO free. Budapest has an organic market every Saturday. There are many “Bio” (organic) stores where you can buy coconut oil, as well as organic spices etc. Many of the supermarkets have a Bio and gluten free aisle.
      We have done the Whole 30 3 times and after the initial research have had no problems staying compliant here.

      1. This is fantastic to know, Sheri! Your insight is much appreciated and I’m super impressed by your 3 successful Whole30s while abroad. Rock on!

    6. You can get almost all health food products in health food stores in the big city centres. For those of us who live rurally, Amazon UK is a gold mine for health food! I buy my coconut flour, coconut oil, tamari, and nut and seed butters from Amazon.

      I would also recommend that you get acquainted with a local butcher. While all beef in Scotland start as grass-fed, most are grain finished. My local butcher sells grass-finished beef. I’m also going to start buying bones from them to make broth.

      Farm shops, markets and local fish mongers/fishmerchants are great places to get local food. Many people in the country also sell eggs from their chickens using an honesty box: our neighbourg down the road has chickens and sells their eggs for 20p each. Whenever we need some, we pop over, grab the eggs from the box and leave our money. We also live incredibly close to a berry farm that supplies Tesco and Marks & Spencer; we can see their poly-tunnels from our kitchen window! Needless to say, we stock up on their berries over the summer, and buy bags of their frozen berries to last us the winter.

      While it’s more difficult to initially source paleo foods in other countries and/or in rural settings, I think we’re at an advantage: I used to be so out of touch with the food I bought at the grocery store. I never used to even care about where it came from and what the animal I was eating, ate. I think living in a rural setting, and taking advantage of all of the food goodness it has to offer, has totally changed my knowledge and understanding of food.

      1. Lucky for you to be so close to amazing food. We lived in Glasgow City Centre and had no transport other than train so it was hard to get out and get more locally sourced food. Great suggestions!

    7. these posts are super useful- I spent 3 months traveling through south america last year, and in august i moved to Barcelona, so a lot of my time has been spent on the road, and I have been able to maintain a ‘paleo-ish’ diet.. for the most part!

      the hardest part for me was actually moving to spain and reminding myself… ‘YOURE NOT ON VACATION ANYMORE.’ basically i kept my focus on fresh produce and proteins- i have had to shift my preferences slightly due to what we have available here, but i find that now i am easily able to eat a mostly paleo diet for pretty cheap.

      eating out, I tell waiters that I am allergic to gluten and they are generally quite helpful, although because a lot of meals are eaten tapas style it can get a little difficult with a large group- when i first got here i googled common dishes and their ingredients so i could at least be somewhat clued in when we all went out to eat.

      most of the food here in spain is fairly fresh, with a focus on seasonal food, although we do have some all-too-delicious fried and battered treats- although gluten is not my friend, i definitely made sure to try chocolate con churros- that is NOT to be missed!

      another thing was making sure to stay active- it was tough when i was on the road in South America, but i made sure to do a lot of walking! When I got to Spain and was slightly more settled, i would do a 30-45 minute tabata style workout or run almost every day, and then i found my crossfit gym… and my life was complete.

      it can be super hard to eat healthy and stay in shape while travelling- but i found the key for me is reminding myself how great i feel when i eat well and exercise- that enough has become motivation to stay on track!

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