People often ask how we travel anywhere with the way we eat, but we do and we love it!
First of all, rent an apartment or house! We rent a villa with a full kitchen which makes it super easy to eat what we want, when we want it. So many people at the beach were buying 10 dollar smoothies in plastic cups, with plastic straws from the bar (who knows what ingredients they use, but the colours sure didn’t seem natural!!) and we just had our water and tea and smoothies from the place we rent in our Klean Kanteens, and lots of healthy, nut-free snacks in our reusable bags.
For the past few years for family vacation, we’ve traveled to Jamaica, where we’ve been fortunate enough to even have a chef, and this year, our chef was so open minded and actually excited about making quinoa and lentils…for his first time ever (and you wouldn’t have known because he made everything so well)!! We do pack around 100 pounds of food to take with us from Toronto – enough for our whole family for the entire trip. We take everything but fresh produce, which we get locally from wonderful organic farmers from Stush in The Bush in Jamaica, and from their market. We take our own olive oil, buckwheat, quinoa, lentils of all colours, beans, brown rice, kelp granules, popcorn kernels, nutritional yeast, gluten-free flour blend, chia cereal, our superfood collection, and even great Canadian Maple Syrup (and much more)!
We also pack LOTS of snacks – for the plane both ways, and for during the days while we are there. I have a 5 year old brother who requires LOTS of snacks to keep him going – although I’m not sure he needs any extra energy!! This year’s family favourites included, Go Raw Granola Bars, Sea Snax (my favourite flavour is Toasty Onion), Navitas Mulberries, and Yumpeez.
Doing organic, clean, vegan desserts has always been a challenge while away, so we take with us a selection of cookies from Sweets from the Earth, New Moon Kitchen and a box of Lucy’s for good measure. We also discovered that our favourite Jamaican organic farmers bake vegan chocolate chip banana cake and incredible breads, and this year they made them fresh for us with gluten-free flours. I can’t tell you how incredible they all were. I really enjoyed the Cornmeal Molasses bread and the Honey Raisin toasted and topped with generous amounts of SITB Banana Preserve and hemp seeds. The cakes they baked were dense, moist loaves and the intense flavour lasted way beyond the last bite I took – and it still tasted fresh a couple days later, although I’m not sure how we even made the cake last that long, it was so great.
The chef, Derval Todd was determined to cook vegan food, even though he hadn’t really done so before. We arrived with all of our ingredients, and some recipes, which he turned into spectactular plates of pure yumminess and true beauty. I have included a small selection of what we brought and what he created below – I will post more on facebook, instagram, pinterest and twitter. We did indulge in a local organic farmer’s eggs one day for most excellent lentil omelettes (yes, you read that correctly!) and Derval did fillet an entire fish that he went and had a fisherman catch for us one morning – my mother didn’t eat that, but it was my little brother’s absolute favourite of the whole trip.
My favourite meals:
1. Taco night – traditional jamaican rice and peas (brown rice & red beans), my mom’s red lentil “cheese” sauce, shredded carrot slaw, topped with Derval’s homemade Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce
2. Black Bean Burgers – amazing black bean burgers with a balsamic reduction that was so tangy, it almost tasted like BBQ sauce topped with lettuce and tomato (hold the tomato on mine) on gluten-free pancake “buns” – genius, right??? I also added hot sauce. I think I added hot sauce to almost everything, except breakfast.
Wherever your travels take you, try and find a local, organic hidden treasure to bring back home that reminds you of the flavours you tasted on your trip. I brought back Stush in the Bush Banana Preserves and Chef Derval’s Hot Sauce – I think I should import both of them because I know that they would be huge hits here!