Indianapolis, IN & Overnight Travel, Gluten-Free Vegan Style

by Valerie on December 21, 2012 · 0 comments

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Happy almost-holiday season.  I had a business trip earlier this week, the last of 2012.  2012’s warp speed slowed down a bit in December, so I had a bit of time to plan for this trip and also learn from the my several trips earlier this year.  As I travel more for my job, I am discovering different approaches to eating gluten-free and not getting sick, while also maximizing my energy and sticking to my vegan diet.

Seeing as I was in Indianapolis exactly 30 hours and spent the majority of my awake time in meetings, I decided to schedule my rest day to coincide with my trip, such that I did not have to pack workout clothes and shoes.  Ok, that’s not completely true – the reason I did that was because my day of meetings was starting at 7.30am, which means being done working out by 6am and I could just not face the the 5am wake-up call.

Either way, this freed up significant space in the carry-on, so I decided to instead try a new approach to travel – bring most of my food with me, especially as I was on a tight time-frame and with the exception of one meal, would be on my own for meals. I packed a small cooler in my carry-on suitcase, just to see how that approach would work, especially as I was staying at an Embassy Suites that had a fridge and a microwave.  Also, research on the immediate vicinity of the hotel and the meeting site indicated that vegan gluten-free options would be slim, so I figured it was best to plan ahead.   

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In the cooler: baked plain tofu cubes, frozen in a ziploc, cooked quinoa, also frozen, and cooked chickpeas, also frozen.  In my suitcase: seaweed snacks and crackers. In my purse, I had my ziploc bag with multiple nut butter packets and apples for snacks.  I also packed an enormous salad (kale, roasted veggies, some tofu cubes that I had frozen, hemp seeds) for the plane ride (which was right at lunch):

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True story: the flight attendant asked me what greens were in my salad because they did not look wilted.  I explained how I massaged kale and how it holds up really well for travel, and she said she was going to try it, as “airport salads are awful.”  

No kidding, but anyway – upon arrival, I had an hour, so I took a nice walk around downtown Indianapolis (which is super cute and has lots of walking trails, but I was freezing).  I also hit the one grocery store within walking distance of the hotel to pick up two of my travel staples, hummus and mixed greens:

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Also, soup – I knew from reviewing Pacific Naturals that their allergy practices are solid.  Also, I was freezing and I had a microwave, which meant that soon enough I had a snack of steaming hot soup.  The hummus doubled as salad dressing.  Incidentally, Sabra says in its FAQ that all Sabra products meet broad standards of gluten free content of under 20 ppm, which is enough peace of mind for me when I travel (and I love that I can find Sabra almost everywhere I travel).  Oh, and greens to make hotel room salads.  As I did when I was travelling back from San Diego, I also planned ahead for eating during my return trip.  Here is a sampling of the meals and snacks I had:

  • Soup, hummus and crackers
  • Salad greens with hummus, quinoa and tofu, using the container from my salad from the plane ride over
  • Apple with almond butter
  • Quinoa with chickpeas and the last of the hummus, along with a lara bar (a little low on greens, but I was out, and this was perfect for the plane ride home, which was very turbulent)

I did have one meal out – the restaurant was pretty gluten-free friendly, but we were a large group and on a short timeframe – instead of trying to try to modify (meat and gluten-heavy) salads to be gluten-free and vegan, I went with the easy way out – a double order of steamed broccoli with a side of avocado. It was plain, but I did not get sick – also I had a ton of broccoli which, along with the avocado, made for a satisfying meal, especially when I followed it up with a few tofu cubes.  Overall it was a quick productive trip, and it was fantastic to not get sick. I felt like my meals were a bit boring, but better that than feeling terrible.

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