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Need advice: Vacationing preservative-free

 
pioneer
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Eating eating out and eating healthy are a difficult combo.  Since most people don't worry much about what they put into their body, I guess the restaurants generally decide to go with cheaper supplies.

Unfortunately, DW has a violent health reaction when it comes to preservatives.  Trying to find anyplace to eat is a real challenge, so we usually just stay home.

Worse still, how can we even go on vacation anywhere?  If it is this difficult finding anything edible around town, how could we ever do it in a strange location?  (And again in the next town, and so on?)

I mean, she's always wanted to see Alaska, but, given the climate, I'm assuming fresh ingredients would be even harder to come by.

What do you think?  Is all this impossible!??  Maybe.  Thought I'd ask though.
 
gardener
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It's not easy!  

Although I'm often lax when eating in public due to the incredible difficulty of being otherwise, my preferred mode of eating eschews animal products and added oils.  That fundamentally means that most processed foods are off my menu -- which, I imagine, is where most preservatives are also found.  I can speak to the incredible difficulty of finding a restaurant meal made from whole simple foods.

Salad bars usually work for me, but I hear rumors that they sometimes spray a sulphite over the cut greens to keep them looking better on the bar.  I don't know if that's true.

I can usually eat at Asian/Chinese buffet restaurants.  There's often plain steamed rice in a cooker; that shouldn't have preservatives in it.  I find that fresh fruit from the dessert bar mixed with rice and a bit of hot sauce (it's often in a bottle, so you could read the ingredients, but I don't know if it has preservatives) makes a tasty tropical meal.

Subway sandwich shops are a good possibility.  You'd have to be leery of condiments and any sandwich ingredient that might have been in a can or jar, but there ought to be a safe sandwich that could be specified.  

My aunt and uncle are very elderly and they have a vacation scheme that lets them eat how they want every day.  They go to one location per trip, and rent an AirBNB or VRBO or similar apartment with cooking facilities.  And they tend to pick locations that are walking distance from some kind of nice urban market with a wide variety of fresh groceries to choose from.  Then they shop and cook for themselves while they enjoy the location.  You could do this -- although maybe with reduced satisfaction -- by choosing a vacation itinerary with hotel "suite" rooms that have minimal cooking facilities, located near basic food shopping locations.  Then focus on whole foods and stuff from the produce aisle that is less likely to have preservatives. It would be a lot of advance research, but possible maybe.

When I am taking a long road trip (cross country or up the Alaska highway) I tend to start with a cooler of very fancy vegan sandwiches, made real dry and wrapped in heavy tinfoil (perfect combination of protection and slight breathability).  I use a stout whole grain bread plus relatively "shelf-stable" things like olives, hummus, cheese (there's a vegan one I like, but if you eat dairy you can find something fancy that doesn't have random preservatives), sun dried tomatoes (read labels carefully!) and other strong flavorful things with a bit of oil content for richness but very little water moisture.  Kept cool these will stay fresh and attractive for up to a week, and I don't really get tired of them.  Which is a good thing, because finding edible roadside food tends to be a total disaster.

I hope there's something in here that's at least slightly helpful!
 
steward & bricolagier
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When me and my mom were property shopping we packed an electric kettle and a hot plate, dishes, and I cooked in motel rooms. We'd pick up fresh stuff and I would get creative with it. I pretty much assume I can't eat most places. We just packed like we were going camping someplace with power.
 
master steward
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K Eilander wrote: Worse still, how can we even go on vacation anywhere?  If it is this difficult finding anything edible around town, how could we ever do it in a strange location?  (And again in the next town, and so on?)

I mean, she's always wanted to see Alaska, but, given the climate, I'm assuming fresh ingredients would be even harder to come by. What do you think?  Is all this impossible!??  



We always get a room that has a refrigerator.  This has never been a problem.  We take foods we can eat that don't need cooking.  And we can always buy somethings in the towns that we are staying at.

I have even used the coffee maker to heat somethings.

Alaska might be a challenge.  Do Cruise Lines cater to special diets?
 
pollinator
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Go self catering, shop in the local supermarkets and make your own food.
 
gardener
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back in my vegan days i heard good things about cruise lines in terms of accommodating special needs. they tend to take on fresh produce.

I had a kid with very severe food allergies and we used to go on vacation a lot, bringing most of our food with us (we did a lot of camping!)
I think it's important to isolate what the substances are so you can identify whether they are used or not. Subway was mentioned, I'm thinking about the dough conditioners they use in their bread, for example. It's a big field of stuff out there, once you can pinpoint what it is, you have a better chance of figuring out who uses it (looking at websites, or even calling and asking) and avoiding it.
 
pollinator
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Buying low or no cook foods at grocery stores, as has already been suggested, is always my first strategy.

If you're eating in a restaurant, look through the menu and see what vegetables are in all the different dishes.
Now you know what ingredients they have on hand. You can usually get them to make a stir-fry or salad special for you. Just make sure to specify no sauce or dressing, cause who knows what's in there.
 
pollinator
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Restaurants need to make money, so they buy cheapest ingredients possible. We pay for them service and taste, not for quality food. Of course there are exceptions, but those are very expensive. Like all others say, buy your own. Even in the store it is hard to get quality food. Do you know that almost anything edible that is not organic can be irradiated and genetically modified without telling the consumer? And even organic produce can be washed/soaked in water with chemicals added and that is not on the label, because it is in water...List goes on. I try to eat as much as possible from my garden and farmers market.
 
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