Long summer of off-roading


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So, I completed my first W30 earlier this month. I'm riding my own bike now and it's OK; I really am discovering, one by one, the inflammatory agents in my former diet. I feel fantastic, have got a good start on fat loss, strength gains, and am just all in, period. I have never felt so free of pain, anxiety, depression, fear, etc. So worth it.

That said, I have a 3- to 4-month summer break ahead. I am in UAE, where it is simply (IMO) too hot to live in summer, and I will pack up the kids and head to the Upper Midwest. We will most have access to a kitchen, so I can prep and cook, and shop for groceries like a normal person, but there will be camping, and visiting, and parties and all that.

I'm not so worried about the "occasion" eating. I think I can handle it.

What worries me is our religious restriction. We eat only halal, and as the kosher among us can vouch, this is no small thing outside an urban center or some metro areas. The closest store selling halal meats is a 2-hour drive, one way. We previously kept halal by literally raising (on grass and hay) and slaughtering all our own meats (plus eggs and even goat dairy). Sigh. Best life ever.

Anyway, while I know it will take planning and occasional trips to the big city to buy (what is probably questionably-raised) beef, lamb, goat and chicken, I need help making sure I access every possible alternative source of protein. Of course, eggs and fish and all manner of seafood. I'm not a fan of nut butters, but will eat plain nuts, knowing they are not as good a source as the animal sources.

What am I missing? Are there others I could tap into? I'm not terribly worried about budget, but I am concerned about quality and geography (i.e., distance between me and the food). Also worried about getting to the point where my kids refuse to eat another bite of eggs, tuna, sardines, salmon, or seafood.


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Are you wondering how to get protein from non-animal sources or are you trying to think of easy portable protein options beyond sardines and tuna?

Have you checked out paleo kits by steve's club? their beef jerky packs and jerky sticks or life savers

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I can speak to this since I am a pescatarian currently doing the Whole30. My only protein sources are things other than red and white meat.

Nuts (although these count more as a fat source than a protein source); eggs (hard-boiled as a snack tastes different somehow than an omolette stuffed full of lots of good things in the morning); a diversity of fish vacuum packed and frozen (good salmon, swordfish, and mahi all taste great cooked or grilled with minimal seasonings like lemon, salt, pepper and a bit of ghee, and then fish like tilapia, cod or trout go well with sauces and vegetables whose flavors will dominate more than the fish); frozen shrimp and scallops (scallops are a life saver for me because they cook fast, are pure protein, and can be added to any saucy vegetable dish with a variety of seasonings). Finally one concession to make post-Whole30 might be a good quality source of pure whey protein with minimal additives. It can be blended up with coconut milk and fruit to taste great in summer and efficiently ups the overall protein in a day if that really is an issue. I guess it's technically dairy but I've seen a lot of strict Paleo people at my gym add it back in because metabolizing protein quickly after workouts is so important. If you or the kiddos tolerate it well, perhaps something that could work as a short cut.

As to the seafood, you can do skewers of shrimp or scallops or chunks of fish and veggies, or even pineapple, as kebabs on the grill. Yummy. The trick for me to eat lots of seafood and not get bored is to cook it in a variety of ways, not just as a fillet next to a pile of veggies.

The other thing is to get used to sticking a fried egg on top of almost any meal. I love fried eggs stirred in with spaghetti squash any time of day.

Hope that helps some!

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Another suggestion is an Amazon Prime subscription. I get it free as a student and the two day free shipping is amazing. Check Amazon and see if they have enough of your go-to products available with the Prime icon to make it worth it. I get organic ghee, coconut oil, and amazing macadamia nuts through Amazon Prime. They also have good no sugar added dried fruit. I also that they have halal jerky but not sure how much sugar is added to that. Could be an option though.

I've even ordered paper towels and other household items off Amazon Prime when I know it's going to be hard to get to the store... Lazy, but awesome.

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Thanks for the suggestions!

@Megan, not necessarily portability, but it's really hard to find halal meats in smaller communities, and the alternative, for us, is fish/seafood/eggs and also dairy, which I have yet to reintroduce. Pretty sure I can get whey protein.

Going to see whether our host has a deep-freeze (I think so) and see about a little road-trip to a butcher down the way. I think I can order ahead and get at least a couple grass-fed lambs and/or goats, if not a quarter of grass-fed beef. I can always bring food on day-visits, and when we go to the cottage, we pack to cook. Just going to take some extra planning, and maybe a week or three of pescatarian living.

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You know, you're right. As much for eating halal in the first place. A Whole 9 mindset just adds an extra level of responsibility. And I'm really glad I'll be two solid months in dairy-free, grain-free, legume-free, sugar-free and crap-free. The practice (i.e. development of good habits) is going to keep me free.

I leave in a week. It'll be fine...

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, I've been stateside for two weeks now, and while I'm still recovering and trying to get my feet under me after 17 hours in the air and a packed social calendar from day one (and single-parenting my two kids and making up work for missed school time), things seem to be working.

I've got a great selection of fish and seafood available at local stores, and I can get good eggs here. I located a halal shop about a half-hour drive up the road where I can get some meats. Not great meats, but I think the goat is probably best in terms of what they're fed before slaughter. The chicken is OK, and I am roasting whole chickens when I make them, and we eat the meat and then I make broth with the carcass. Good for the budget, too. I've located a source for halal grass-fed meats, but need to coordinate to make the long drive for pickup.

Meantime, as I said, fish and eggs are great. I can get wonderful greens, and berries aren't $9 for a half pint (yay!). I have access to an awesome kitchen (I am house-sitting), coolers, crockpot, gas grill, and anything I could possibly need to prepare great meals.

Bonus, I am just three blocks from a nature trail for great walking and running with views of wildlife, and a mile from a gorgeous country park. Kids have a neighborhood park with full jungle gym, so I can work on my upper body strength. My friend even has a basement yoga studio. Beds are comfy, municipal water is good to drink. Life is pretty good.

And B&N is a short drive away, and It Starts With Food comes out tomorrow. :D

Sourcing food, it turns out, is less of a challenge than getting the respect from certain family members. But even so, most people have no trouble accepting my food choices, and I can do what I need to in order to avoid issues with the one who tries to force-feed flour, sugar and dairy. :rolleyes:

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