Article contributed by Starr Lindegger (Botswana-based coach)
I have been travelling a lot these last few weeks, and doing some serious long distances. Driving from Maun, in Botswana, all the way to Nottingham Road in the Natal Midlands, in South Africa. We also detoured to visit friends in far off places. The last thing I wanted was for my Banting lifestyle to go out of the window while travelling. I therefore took time to carefully plan my Banting snacks for those 8, 9, 10 hour days to keep me awake on the road, and to keep my two young daughters (who were travelling with me), happy. They like to snack on the way – a lot.
Carbs are a big no-no, especially grains , which as we know causes inflammation and makes us fat. They also cause energy spikes and dips ,which doesn’t bode well for staying alert, and in a good mood while on the road. Carbohydrate rich foods, which very often have sugar added to them too, are converted to glucose (sugar) in the body. The body then releases the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. If too much insulin is released you experience a sugar crash, and low energy levels soon after eating them.
Here are some Banting tips and a list to help prepare you for the long road.
Prepare your snacks before leaving home
Pack snacks for the trip before you leave. This helps you from stopping and buying the wrong foods so readily available at service stations. Unfortunately, when you get hungry (and if you haven’t prepared), the junk will be the first food items you will go for. Remember, even the gluten-free products are loaded with either sugar or carbs. Gluten-free grains are still difficult to digest, as they contain toxic moulds, and have mineral binding phytates (which can further affect gluten-intolerant people and autoimmunity). Eating grains aggravates the intestinal lining of the gut, which affects your health, as your body doesn’t easily absorb the nutrients from food.
Pack your snacks into a portable fridge, which is always in my car, or else a cooler. Even if you are travelling on planes, a small cooler is perfect to keep with you as hand luggage. If you are flying, don’t forget to pack things that can go through the check-in points. The good thing is that bottled water is readily available on flights.
On this trip, I was lucky enough to be staying with family and friends most of the time, so I always had a kitchen to play in. However, we still went out to restaurants and this is always a bit tricky. So I did my research on Google to find the right restaurant. If there are none that are right for you, don’t give up, go out, have a meal and most importantly educate the waitrons in the restaurant. Phone ahead and advise them you don’t eat toxic seed oils, such as sunflower, canola, soya and safflower oil. These inflammatory and highly toxic seed oils cause so much damage to our bodies resulting in many health problems – not to mention they are genetically modified. So rather ask for your food to be cooked in butter or olive oil, which are most commonly carried in restaurant kitchens.
Choose quality whenever you can
Fresh, organic and good quality food is so incredibly important. When I travel, I love to pop into the farm stalls along the way and buy fresh, organic produce and homemade cheeses for the road. Think of all the pesticides and antibiotics used on your food if it is not organic. They mess with your gut flora, which are so important for keeping a balanced, healthy body and which protect us from getting sick and fat.
Don’t forget the water. Even better, if you have one of those small water filter jugs, take it with you. It’s also not advisable to drink the chlorinated tap water available in hotels and the homes you stay in. It is really important to keep hydrated otherwise it messes with your bowel movements. Water also keeps your moods and stress levels under control. This is so important when cooped up in a car for hours on end.
This is what my Banting list of snacks for the road consists of:
- Banting chocolate muffins
- Biltong, organic
- Seed crackers with full fat cream cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Chicken pieces
- A container with sliced vegetables – cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green beans
- Kale chips
- Nutty seed bars for a special treat (see recipe below)
- Lots of water
- Iced tea, which I make in a glass bottle and is a standard drink in our house
Then I always stock up on a few quick fixes for those overnight stops on the road and the morning when you just want to get up and go;
- Muesli, grain-free and sugar-free
- Almond milk
- Macadamia nut butter
- Banting bread
- Generally there is enough chicken pieces and sliced vegetables as well for the evening meal (I do love my car fridge!)
Best of all, don’t stress, plan ahead and have fun doing it. You will feel a whole lot better keeping your body balanced and healthy while you travel.
Here’s my favourite nutty seed bar recipe, just for you.
Nutty seed bars
- 3 tablespoons xylitol
- 2 tablespoon psyllium husks
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup almonds, chopped
- 1 cup water
- Heat the oven to 160˚C.
- Mix together the xylitol and coconut oil until the xylitol has dissolved.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the water, to the coconut mixture and mix well.
- Add the water and stir to mix.
- Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove and cut the mixture into bars.
- Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
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