Food for Flight


I don’t like my food to come in plastic shrink-wrap or to be served on TV dinner-style trays. So, what’s a girl in flight to do? Last November, I arrived at the airport prepared. I was scheduled for a flight to the east coast, and with a parcel of groceries in hand–I was committed. I was not going to be purchasing any small, over-priced meals that were potentially warmed in a microwave. In hand, I had: a jar of crunch peanut butter, several pieces of whole fruit and vegetables, cottage cheese, raw hard cheese, avocado, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and dried meat. I was so pleased with my selection of nutrient-rich foods that, in theory, was going to last me the entire flight.

My bubble was burst as my parcel of food was being scanned for potential explosives or liquid content. My unopened jar of peanut butter and cottage cheese were pulled from the bag immediately. The attendant said, “These are considered liquids, you will have to throw these away”. I tried to argue that ground-peanuts are not considered a liquid, and that if the attendant would actually look at the cottage cheese in his hand, he would discover that it was actually a “dry-curd” cottage cheese (if such a thing actually exists). To my chagrin, my efforts to hold on to my food failed due to standard procedure.

A women looked at me skeptically as I tried to give her the unopened food, but it seemed shameful not to try. In the end, the best I could do was leave the unopened containers on the edge of a trashcan and board the plane hoping that the food would be eaten by someone.

This is one of the many reasons I do not enjoy flying. At the airport, personal freedom is restricted, and one’s choices are limited. This interaction started me thinking about how I might be better-prepared with my own food for flight the next time I travel. If I view the restrictions in service and the limitations as a challenge it will be interesting to note what I can get away with bringing or making myself.

This is a partial list of reasons that I am not interested in eating airplane food to begin with:

  1.  it is expensive
  2.  the size is small
  3.  there is excessive packaging
  4.  the food is not fresh
  5.  the food is often microwaved (no thanks)
  6.  the food is of poor-quality (not organic, not sustainably-sourced, not sustainably-raised, etc.)
  7.  the food leaves me hungry (what’s the point of eating, if you are still hungry in the end?)
  8.  the food tastes bad (who wants to buy food that tastes bad to begin with?)

Instead of eating airplane food, I’ve decided to commit to creating my own meals while on the plane with the nutrient-rich ingredients I bring myself. If you think picnic you have the idea. On this particular flight, and with the ingredients I had left, I was actually able to make a simple and yet tasty guacamole, that would have been considered a “liquid” had I mashed the avocado before boarding the plane. Not bad, for some of my food being spurned by airport attendants!

Guacamole recipe:

2 whole avocados

1/4 red onion

1/4 red pepper

a thin-skinned lemon

salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

Directions:

  1. Use the plastic fork or plastic knife that is provided by the airline to cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit and scoop out the avocado center. Mash the avocado content in the plastic water cup that is provided.
  2. Take out some cut onion and pepper pieces that you sliced the evening before, and mix them in with the avocado.
  3. With a plastic knife, take a whole thin-skinned lemon and slice off a section (not as difficult as you may think), squeeze the desired amount of lemon juice into your guacamole. You can use the rest of the lemon to flavor your water. If you do not have a lemon on hand, you might ask one of the flight attendants if they have any lemon or lime, as these are often served with drinks (it is, at the very least, a whole food).
  4. Mix in the salt, pepper and cayenne you brought along. Your guacamole is ready to eat!
  5. Enjoy alone or use as a dip for vegetables, tortillas, or anything else you brought to spread it on. I spread mine on some tortilla chips and added a little raw cheese!

As it stands, I will be leaving for the east coast in a few weeks, this time, I will be better-prepared and more creative with what I make. What else is there to do while on a plane for many hours?

Copyright©2009 Eat To Live Nutrition. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Make the Commitment, Transition to Eating Whole Foods in 2010

I will be teaching a class about the fundamentals of nutrition and transitioning to a whole foods way of eating this Saturday, January 23rd, from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM at the Northwest Women’s Fitness Club. The class is free for members and I believe it is only $15 for non-members to get a day pass. Call the front desk at 503.287.6755 to register for the class! Space is somewhat limited.

This is a small blurb about the class:

“A busy lifestyle doesn’t have to lead to poor eating habits, weight gain and frustration. Instead of committing to a fad diet for the new year, commit to a new way of eating by learning about real food that supports the health of your body. This class will teach you the fundamentals of whole foods nutrition. Everyone is an individual. Learn more about what your body needs to feel better, look younger and have more energy for yourself and to share with others in 2010!”

Date: January 23rd

Time: 1:00 to 2:30

Location: Northwest Women’s Fitness Club, 2714 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR

Amount: free for members, $15 for a day pass for non-members

 

Nutrition and Cooking Classes

EAT TO LIVE NUTRITION

Healing the body with nutritional therapy and a culinary re-education

Traci Goodrich, NTP                                                                                                                                                                             

As a nutritional therapist and cook who emphasizes the use of nutrient-dense foods and traditional food preparation methods, my goal is to help people find time to prepare meals and to educate people about foods that support and maintain their vitality. Knowledge is power and with the right information, people can heal their own bodies with the vitamin and mineral-rich foods they consume. With a little planning, preparing meals that nourish the body can be easy. Part of this education emphasizes using quality ingredients, and helping people locate foods that contribute to maintaining health. I believe that an investment in the quality of foods you consume is an investment in your future, and is a form of preventative health care.

Check out upcoming nutrition and traditional foods cooking classes in November with Traci at community supported kitchen Salt, Fire and Time in Portland, Oregon.

THE NECESSARY EVILS

Sugar, salt and fat have a bad reputation, and for good reason! Refined and processed version of each are responsible for many of the degenerative diseases that exist today. Consumers are often scared and confused by too many choices. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn about versions of sugar, salt and fat that actually support health and why.

Students will learn ways to improve digestion and how proper digestion supports healthy immune function.

Students will learn how to source food on a local level.

Students will learn about the vitamins and minerals in the foods that eat and how to get the most bang for their buck by choosing foods that are the most nutrient-dense

LOCATION: Salt, Fire & Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

DATE: Monday, November 2, 2009

TIME:5:30 to 8:30

AMOUNT:$60.00

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

SUGAR ADDICTION: TROUBLE-SHOOTING AN EPIDEMIC

If you were to list addictive substances in order, sugar would be at the top of the list, and part of this reason is access–we are surrounded by it! I know that in Portland, Oregon, you cannot throw a stone without landing on an artisan cupcake. Sugar is also in many prepare foods that you might not consider to be sweet. This class will focus on strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar people consume in order to avoid larger health concerns such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

Students will learn about the glycemic index and the glycemic load of food and how carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.

Students will learn how to “recalibrate” their blood sugar levels.

Students will learn how to avoid being part of the epidemic that is diabetes.

Location:Salt, Fire and Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

Date:Monday, November 16, 2009

Time:5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

SUPPORTING THE NUTRITION NEEDS OF THE VEGETARIAN

Many vegetarians often have difficulty digesting food. This seems counter-intuitive considering vegetarians have a mostly plant-based diet, which is considered easier to digest. Yet, all too often, many vegetarians rely too heavily upon foods that are difficult to digest and that many people are actually sensitive to, such as soy, wheat and cheese. This class will focus on the special nutrition needs of the vegetarian diet. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn how to jump-start their body’s ability to produce stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

Students will learn about specific nutrients that many vegetarians are deficient in and how to better absorb the vitamins and minerals they consume.

Students will learn how to reduce their dependence on soy, wheat, and cheese and which versions are considered better alternatives for wellness.

Students will learn about some of the low-fat myths that might be undermining their body’s nutritional needs.

Location:Salt, Fire and Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

Date:Monday, November 23, 2009

Time:5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

 

 

 

Why you should question reduced-fat foods

This is a thoughtful question from one of our readers. I encourage more questions of this nature because it stimulates an open dialogue as we discuss nutrition and how to make healthy consumer choices regarding food.

Question from reader:

I have a question about this post (regarding my suggestion to use full-fat dairy products), but I’m pretty sure I know how you’d answer. A lot of times Americans focus on healthful eating so they can lose weight. So eliminating reduced-fat foods seems counterproductive. But my understanding is that since reduced-fat foods are less nutrient-dense, they’re less effective in weight loss than a plate full of more natural foods would be. Is this correct?

Response from Traci Goodrich, NTP: 

This is an important question. I would say that reduced-fat foods are less effective in weight loss because they are harder for your body to digest, often have more sugar, and are often less satisfying than the full-fat counterpart. My criticism of reduced-fat foods, specifically reduced-fat dairy products, is your body actually needs the fat that has been eliminated in order to digest, absorb, and assimilate the fat-soluble vitamins contained in these foods. In my opinion, it is counterintuitive to view reduced-fat dairy as “health food” because the fat that has been eliminated makes it much more difficult for your body to digest and benefit from the nutrients contained in these foods. I would suggest not eating dairy at all, if it is reduced-fat. I think that it is more healthful to eat full-fat dairy products, but to also recognize what a portion is (1 cup of milk, a few ounces of cheese, 1 cup of yogurt), which takes some knowledge and a little restraint. There is also a plethora of foods that are naturally low in fat to choose from! If you are someone who has fully transitioned to a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet you will end up eating less, because you will be satiated after you eat. There is an appropriate ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates (mostly from vegetables, grains in moderation) at each meal so that you walk away feeling satisfied and not hungry after a few hours. If you continue to gain weight after you’ve transitioned to a whole foods diet, I would look towards correcting your digestion by adding more culture foods and fermented foods that help to stimulate the digestive enzymes in your gut. 

A criticism I have of reduced-fat dry foods, such as granola bars and cereals, is that they are hard to digest and often loaded with sugar! With diabetes at epidemic proportions in this country, I would look towards reducing sugar as much as possible, and even being moderate with sugar in its whole form as with fruit and whole grains. 



 

I hope this response helps!

Real Food, Whole Food, Nutrient-Dense Food

Real food, whole food, and nutrient-dense food is best. This should be your mantra as you transition to eating to live. Pay special attention to how your body responds to food. Ask yourself: Are you still eating, but you are actually full? Are you actually eating 1 portion or 3? Do you have an appropriate balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates at each meal? Are you satisfied after you eat? Do you snack mindlessly throughout the day? The following is a list of a few simple meal suggestions. There are billions of recipes out there, so I encourage you to experiment with what you like and eliminate what you don’t. 

Breakfast 

Two eggs in real butter, add a dollop of sour cream, salsa or sauerkraut, add two pieces of nitrate free bacon
Full-fat yogurt (unsweetened) with fresh fruit,  and some nuts and/or seeds
Oatmeal with butter or nut butter, a touch of maple syrup, raisins and nuts
Fruit Smoothie: blend yogurt, coconut milk, berries, a small amount of maple syrup and possibly a few raw, organic eggs (for the adventurous)

Lunch

Rich vegetable and meat sauce with pasta or rice (olive oil, tomato paste, whole tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, onion, garlic and whatever vegetables and meat you prefer)
Salad greens with a variety of raw vegetables and a salad dressing, add tuna, chicken, turkey or egg salad
Soups and stews: Lentil, chicken with rice, black bean, cream of broccoli, beef stew (the sky is the limit with this)
Quiche: a standard whole grain crust made with eggs, half n’ half, spices and whatever filling you desire, add a salad
Simple crudités in addition to whole grain crackers, salmon cream cheese or sardine in olive oil or mustard

Dinner

Coconut milk curries with fresh vegetables and/or meat served over brown rice
Stir-fry, grilled meat, seafood or vegetables serve over a green salad
Simple Mexican food: salad, beans, rice, salsa, sirloin, and raw cheese
Simple Mediterranean food: hummus, tabouleh, felafel or juicy lamb

 

 

 

 

Healthful Tips To Stay On Track With Nutrition

Eat until satiated, without over eating or under eating. Try to eat three square meals a day and limit snacking. The digestive track needs a chance to rest between meals!

As a general guide, each meal should be comprised of about 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrate (the carbohydrates should be mostly vegetables with no more than 10% of grain).

Try not to revolve meals around bread products. Instead, use grain as an accent to a meal and in moderation.

Keep a food journal. It’s a great way for you to understand your patterns around food and how food really makes you feel.

Start the day with a pint glass of water with lemon or a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar.

Do not skip meals!

Try your hand at making a rich beef or chicken stock, salad dressings or fermented foods.

Do the best you can! Creating new and healthful habits takes time, so, start slowly, make changes you can live with, and add things you enjoy eating. Eat your food slowly, in a relaxed environment, surrounded by friends or family, and chew your food thoroughly.

 

The Foundation of Nutritional Wellness

Drink 8 to 10 glasses of pure water throughout the day (add some electrolytes in the afternoon—a pinch of Celtic sea salt in water is sufficient).

Have a substantial protein and a healthy fat at each meal. Two or three ounces of protein with each meal (5 to 7 ounces a day),  is a good place to start, some people need more protein and fat because of activity or energy level. Have at least a tablespoon of healthy fat with each meal (real butter, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, or lard). Many people need more fat, especially vegetarians.

Have fruit in moderation. Two to three pieces a day is sufficient, look for low to moderate glycemic fruit such as berries, apples, or grapes. Avoid fruit juices and jellies.

Consume more vegetables daily, in a variety of colors. Sage advice is to shoot for 5 a day, but limit your intake of starchy vegetables (less potato, carrot, and corn, add more green leafy vegetables, beets, broccoli). These should be raw or lightly steamed.

Have low-toxicity, wild-caught seafood 3 times a week. Do your research on what is considered safe. At this point: sardines, oysters, tuna in moderation, salmon, cod, herring, mackerel, shrimp, and crab are all good choices, as well as others (If you do not eat seafood, you must find another source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts and seeds are good choices).

Choose meat that is hormone-free and organic whenever possible.

It is generally wise not to revolve meals around a grain. Consumption of grain should be no more than 10 % of your meal. If you happen to have a big starchy meal such as pasta for dinner, do not add a grain to your other meals.

Add more nuts and seeds: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, pecans, walnuts, or peanuts. Add them to salads, smoothies, and yogurt or eat alone.

Have a salad daily.

Add some cultured and fermented foods to each meal to aid in digestion.

Have calcium-rich foods with each meal (This is not limited to dairy products. Think about chicken broth, or broccoli, as well as many other calcium rich foods).

Limit consumption of caffeine to no more than 16 ounces daily.

Avoid energy bars, protein bars, cereal bars, and granola bars. They are often full of sugar and/or soy protein, and not what the body really needs for energy.

If you are not vegetarian, experiment with adding organ meats to your diet once a week.

 

Out With The Old, In With The New

Clean out the cupboard

Replace corn syrup, white sugar, or any refined sweetener with something real such as maple syrup, raw honey, or molasses.

Replace MSG with something natural.  Look for foods that contain real herbs and spices or Celtic sea salt.

Replace refined white salt with grey, Celtic sea salt.

Replace store bought granola bar, cereal bars, crackers and most boxed cereal with nutritious snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and nut butters (to name a few). A few good store bought cracker brands are Ryvita and Mary’s Gone Crackers. A note on store purchased granola bars and cereals: these foods, even if they are presented as healthy snacks, are often loaded with sugar (even if it is fruit juice sweetened).

Replace refined white bread products with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, spelt, buckwheat, and whole wheat (in moderation).

Replace unhealthy oils with coconut oil, safflower oil, extra virgin olive oil (remember to heat at low temperatures only), and flaxseed oil (not meant to be heated).

Clean out the refridgerator

Replace low-fat dairy products with whole milk dairy products and be sure to include cultured dairy. Include yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, real cream (or half n’ half), real butter, and raw cheese. Use whole milk in moderation.

Replace sugary yogurt with plain whole yogurt and add fruit or a small amount of maple syrup or honey if you want to sweeten it (it will cut the amount of sugar in half).

Replace fake butter, margarine and soy spreads with real butter (or even lard, yes, lard).

Replace soymilk, bricks of tofu, fake meats and fake cheeses  (which are heavily processed) with properly prepared, fermented soy condiments such as tamari, miso or raw, naturally fermented soy sauce. Properly prepared soy may be eaten in moderation (1 or 2 times a week). A note to vegetarians: if soy has been used heavily in the diet, I recommend replacing soy products with a substantial protein and a healthy fat at each meal: add more nuts, seeds, legumes, cream cheese, coconut milk, nut butters, real butter, olives, avocado, as well as other vegetables to whole grain crackers, whole grain pita wedges or brown rice.

Replace processed cheese, cheese slices, and “cheese spreads” with raw cheese and cream cheese.

Replace sugary sodas and fruit juices with sparkling mineral water, or a fermented beverage such as kombucha, or “sweeten” drinking water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange. Remember that a full glass of orange juice has as much sugar as a can of Coke (when it comes to the chemical processes of the body sugar is sugar, no matter how nutritious the food is or what the sugar is called).

Replace sugary pickles and vinegar based sauerkraut with real, healthful fermented products (Bubbie’s is a good brand). It is generally a good habit to include a fermented food at each meal (this might be a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar in water before the beginning of a meal).

 

Great Beginnings Always Start With Leaving Something Behind

A great place to begin is to clean out your cupboard and your refrigerator. I recommend clients greatly reduce (and eventually eliminate) the amount of processed foods they eat. I understand that we live in a busy world, but if you have 20 minutes to make dinner, you can just as easily sear a tuna steak (which takes less than 10 minutes) and assemble a basic salad with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon for dressing, instead of making a box of “the San Francisco treat”.

If you are that person that cooks from a box, rest assured that you are not alone. This is a transition that will take time. I recommend that you start by reading labels. Make sure you know what every ingredient is on the box, and if the ingredient is not a whole food, or a word you do not recognize, do not purchase the box (this is trickier than you may think).

A good rule of thumb is to not buy foods that contain high fructose corn syrup or MSG (also known as “natural flavor”, “hydrolyzed protein” and “spices”). This actually eliminates a considerable amount of unhealthful foods right off the bat.

To go a step further, stop purchasing items that are highly processed, such as white sugar, white flour and white salt. These foods are actually void of nutritional value.

It is also wise to get rid of unhealthy oils such as soybean oil, Crisco, Pam cooking spray and Canola.

There are many items that exist in the refrigerated that are considered healthful but need to be replaced with a counter part that is whole and nutrient-dense. First, I recommend phasing out “low-fat” dairy products. This makes sense if you want the food you consume to be nutrient dense.

Store bought salad dressings are often unhealthful because of the type of oil that is used, as well as the amount of sugar that is often added! Also, store bought salad dressings have often been sitting on the shelf for too long and have rancid oils. A simple dressing takes less than 10 minutes to prepare if you have olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a few spices on hand; it’s also a lot tastier and less expensive.

Tofu has been in vogue for some time, but I recommend eliminating bricks of tofu, fake meats and fake cheeses from your refrigerator. These foods are highly processed and hard to digest.