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How to Stay Plant Paradox Compliant When Traveling

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is about how to stay plant paradox compliant while traveling. So I decided to write down the things I learned from my experience so far, hoping it will help those of you who are concerned about traveling on the plant paradox.

Beyond all the specific tips about food items, I’d like to say that the way we think about food matters. Travel, even when is for pleasure, usually involves some kind of stress, and we don’t want to add to it, as being stressed is as bad as eating unhealthy, hence it defeats the purpose.

We should not do things out of fear, but rather take everything as a challenge and try to have fun finding creative solutions and living the new lifestyle in different contexts. 

Lectin-free travel essentials

I’ve been following the plant paradox lifestyle for about two years now. I completely understand everyone who is concerned about traveling and staying healthy, as I’ve been there not long ago. We all know that food in transit, whether airports, gas stations, planes, or even hotels is unhealthy. This adds even more to the stress of traveling.

All my tips about travel were tried and tested. In the past almost two years I’ve traveled to Europe, in different countries, multiple times, changed planes in many airports, and also did quite some road trips in the US, some of them in extremely remote areas, like West Texas.

Before I list some of my tips, I’d like to say that it’s important to travel with food that is satisfying, that you love, even if it’s not really the type of food you would have at home every day. For example, I never have Quest bars when I’m at home. But there is something satisfying about munching on a quest bar while on a plane when other people are eating the food served. It feels like a cheat but it’s not.

Just a short story, to confirm that being lectin-free matters, when I traveled long distance last winter and changed many planes and airports and stayed compliant all the time, it was the first time in my life traveling without having a headache. I understood then that the headaches I would get when traveling was not from being for a long time in a plane, but from eating the food served on the plane. That being said, staying hydrated is as important as eating the right food (or not eating the wrong ones).

Get the Marigold lectin-free sampler package here (click on the photo above)

An update on lectin-free protein bars

Since the last time I updated this article, Quest bars compliance with the Plant Paradox program has become quite confusing, because they changed some of the ingredients. Plus, they are no longer the healthiest option on the market.

MARIGOLD, a family business based in Texas, makes some amazing lectin-free protein bars. All their bars are made with grass-fed whey, free of casein and lactose, only with real, quality ingredients and free of sugar alcohols. They are absolutely delicious and although I’m on low histamine, dairy-free diet, having few bites of one bar a day did not trigger any symptoms.

I still don’t recommend having a protein bar every day, but for travel and emergency situations, they will be my number one choice from now. (This is not a sponsored post, although they did send me a sampler pack, and great they did because I would have missed on something really good). They truly taste and look like something I would make at home. Plus I have a soft spot for supporting Texas’s small businesses.

Unfortunately, you can’t find them in stores, but you can order them on Amazon and directly from Marigold website.

New Gundry MD lectin-free snack bars – Update October 2021

Gundry MD has recently launched two new lectin-free snack bars. They are loaded with fiber, protein, and polyphenols. I have tried and tested the new snack bars which come in two flavors; honey nut (made with real Manuka Honey) and polyphenol macadamia (made with decadent dark chocolate). Both are delicious and recommended.

When purchased from my Ambassador Store you can save up to $42.00 when buying 6 boxes with 72 bars.

List of travel essentials

Below are most of the items I traveled with that helped me stay compliant and happy all along, and not feeling deprived:

Lectin shield

With all the efforts we might make, there will still be situations when you can’t control everything that’s in your food. Make sure you always have a couple of Lectin Shield in your purse. Take 2 30 minutes before a meal that you have doubts about.

I would not recommend using Lectin Shield as an excuse to eat non-compliant food, but you do you. Make sure it’s worth it. I think I would do it for a croissant in Paris or a slice of pizza in Italy.

You can save more than 40% and up to $180.00 on Lectin Shield when buying 3 jars or more from my Gundry MD Ambassador Store.

Lectin-free protein bars

I know, maybe not comparable with a bowl of greens, but they are packed, they don’t need to be refrigerated, and they are a lifesaver when you crave something sweet and consistent on a flight. It will keep you away from unhealthy snacks that you will see everyone eating. Plus, when traveling we tend to be more stressed and therefore more tempted to have snacks.

There are only three QUEST bars that are PP compliant, and my favorite ones are Quest Nutrition QuestBar Protein Bar Strawberry Cheese Cake — 12 Bars and Double Chocolate Chunk. I believe Cinnamon Roll is also compliant.

For the healthiest and tastiest option, check MARIGOLD protein bars, a newer addition and all their protein bars are lectin-free, so no more confusion when searching for compliant options.

Compliant chips

When I wrote this article, none of these options were available, at least not in the stores I shop, but now (I try to edit this article regularly to keep it updated) we have quite some choices and this is pretty tasty and satisfying stuff. We have two brands of green plantain chips, one of coconut tortillas and some sweet potato chips. We even have Puffs people, although careful, they are addictive.

Barnana Plantain Chips

Terra Green Plantain Chips

The Real Coconut, Coconut Tortilla Chips

Jackson’s Sweet Potato Chips

Lesser Evil Paleo Puffs

Dark chocolate

75% and more, unsweetened, or, if sweetened with sugar, it has to have less than 1-2% sugar per serving. Today there are many brands making this type of chocolate, so it’s super easy to find. My favorite chocolate now is Taza, the 95%. Even my husband loves it, and he used to be a milk chocolate fan.

Eating Evolved, Primal Chocolate, Midnight Coconut

Taza Chocolate, Wicked Dark

Nut mix

I don’t leave the house without nuts. If I go on a longer journey, I usually buy packages of my favorite ones: walnuts, macadamia, pistachios, hazelnuts and pecans and have a small bag with a mix of all of them in my hand luggage or purse. Nuts are also an easy-to-find item in airports – not all, but most of them. So far, the best airport in terms of healthy food options was Heathrow London.

Coconut oil

I find individual packs of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s. They are perfect to carry around in your bag, for when you feel hungry, need some energy or even for your skin.

Little helpers

Coffee Creamers, Collagen, Turmeric Tonic, or these Vital Proteins Collagen Sleep Shots. I call them little helpers for a lack of a better word, because I see them as helping to make a trip a little more bearable and interesting.

You can always buy a black coffee from a coffee shop on the road and add your collagen creamer, or even turmeric tonic. And if you have jet lag, or need a little help to fall asleep, this collagen shot with collagen peptides (their collagen is grass-fed), hyaluronic acid, melatonin and magnesium may help.

I love them because they have the travel sizes. You find it in Whole Foods or Amazon (linked above). Same with the Turmeric Tonic from Further Food, you can find their travel sizes here. It’s amazing if you have a headache, sinus pressure, or feel like you are catching a cold.

Beef jerky

Most of the beef jerky out there is not compliant (not 100% grass-fed, has sugar or maple syrup or other non-compliant ingredients), but if you search well you will find stores, local farms that sell compliant ones. I buy mine from Burgundy Pasture Beef in Dallas, a local farm/ranch store. They are a great source of protein. They keep hunger and cravings at bay, plus they are tasty, so satisfying.

Home-baked food

Especially if you travel by car, but even on a plane, you can bake some of your favorite stuff at home and take it with you. I make avocado or sweet potato brownies, almond & flaxseed crackers, walnut bread, Italian almond biscotti, anything that you bake at home and can last for a few days. I also make fat bombs with nut butters and chocolate, also a good healthy snack to have so you don’t have to crave the bad stuff.

Italian Almond Biscotti with Tigernut Flour

Grain Free Olive Oil Sesame Cookies

Grain Free Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Cranberry Macadamia Plant Paradox Cups

Extra Dark Avocado Hazelnut Brownies

Dr. Gundry’s Carrot Cake Muffins

Green Plantain Coco-Nutty Granola Bars

Double Chocolate Tigernut and Sweet Potato Cake

Canned fish

I know, some people cringe at the idea of traveling with fish, but until you open a can, you won’t smell a thing. On my last trip, I had some cans of BPA-free, sustainable pink Alaskan salmon and it was a lifesaver, plus it is really delicious with just some lemon and olive oil.

Henry and Lisa’s Wild Alaska Pink Salmon

Transportable food

Especially if you travel by car, you can get hard-boiled eggs, olives, raw veggies sticks, compliant cheese, lemons. I usually have a cooler box in the back of the car where I keep all the food.

Enjoy not eating

When food is not available, take the opportunity to do intermittent fasting. You can still have a black coffee or tea. Your brain will thank you for this. Usually, breakfast is the easiest to skip. It makes the most sense because it gives your system a long break from digesting.

I do intermittent fasting every day by just skipping the morning meal, and it makes everything so much easier. I can’t even imagine having to think about three meals a day.

Stasher bags

This new addition to the list is not sponsored or anything, but it is the best invention, I have to include it. They are the best way to transport food, especially when you travel by plane. They are transparent, made of silicon, and leakproof. Theoretically, you can take soup with you. They are even microwave and oven safe, so you can even heat your soup. I’m not going to do that, but I’ve seen people doing it.

They are a little pricey, but it’s all worth it. You can go plastic-free and these will last you a very long time. Unless you misplace them, as I do…

Stasher Reusable Silicone Food Bags 

Stay plant paradox compliant when traveling – Take it as a challenge, a fun one

I’ve come to realize that the fear that we will starve because there won’t be anything to eat is not justified. There is always an option, even if not the perfect one.

Make sure your accommodation has a kitchen, especially if you are staying for a longer time. Now even hotels have a little kitchen with a microwave, a fridge and a sink, but I definitely prefer Airbnbs. I’ve survived short trips in hotels with just what I brought from home. Actually, having a cold boiled egg for breakfast, with salt and pepper, few olives and few veggie sticks is more delicious and satisfying than you would think.

Check the local grocery stores. Now there are good grocery stores everywhere and even if you don’t have a Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Natural Grocers in the area where you are traveling, believe me, you will always find broccoli, cauliflower, seasonal greens, salad mixes, sweet potatoes etc, all kind of vegetables you can cook with. Some of the best dinners we had were in Airbnbs.

And finally, if you visit friends and family – like it was my case when I went to Europe (my sister in the UK, my mother-in-law in Denmark and my friends and family in Romania) – have fun going shopping with them and cooking for them. We had amazing dinners with my friends and family. There was a little bit for everyone and we were all happy to share the experience.

The art of ordering lectin-free food

Practice the art of ordering in restaurants, because if you are traveling, you don’t want to spend all the time cooking in a kitchen. Enjoy your nights out without stress. Take it as a challenge rather than a burden. And don’t be shy to ask for healthy food.

We all know that the demand drives the offering. So the more we ask the more restaurants will think about the oils they use and how they source their ingredients. Look at the paleo community. Many restaurants now have paleo items on their menu.

Now, if you pick a fast-food chain, there is no way you can get something healthy, so I don’t want to raise your hopes high. But there are so many local, good restaurants everywhere, some even have special menu items for people on diets (mostly paleo or gluten-free). If they don’t, here is what I learned by experiencing it first hand.

Eating out in New York City

If you haven’t read it yet, I have an article about eating out in New York City, in case you are traveling there any time soon. It also has tips and tricks for ordering food that you can apply anywhere. 


Tips on eating out and staying plant paradox compliant when traveling

When it comes to protein, never order chicken, unless is specifically mentioned that is a pasture-raised chicken (which you probably won’t find anywhere, and if you do, please let me know as I’d like to know that place).

Pastured beef (100% grass-fed) is difficult to find, but not impossible. If you find it go ahead and order, just make sure you are sharing with someone else and you don’t have more than 4oz per serving (the steaks, especially in the US, are enormous). Make sure you ask the server if they have grass-fed beef. Sometimes it’s a special – probably only for connoisseurs – and it’s not added in the menu; they don’t even tell you they have it unless you ask (I have no idea why but I heard chefs always have a special thing they cook that are not on any menu).

My favorite protein to order is a wild-caught fish (I always check restaurants menus in advance to see what kind of food they serve). Always ask about the oil they cook in.

If no protein option, go for a salad or two side dishes

Sometimes, there is no protein option for me, so I go with a salad or one or two side dishes. I had an amazing dinner in a restaurant just having Brussel sprouts and asparagus. They were delicious.

Make sure you ask them in advance what oil they use, and ask them if they can replace any non-compliant oil with olive oil or butter (which even if it’s not casein A2, is still a better option than canola or peanut oils).

And above all, be nice and graceful with the staff when you make all these requests. Usually, they are super nice and accommodating, but it’s good to have a good connection with them for a great dining experience.

A glass of red wine or champagne always makes dinner more enjoyable, no matter what you are eating.

Cheese platters are also an option. Ask them what their cheeses are and select the French, Italian, Spanish or Swiss ones. Or goat cheeses. Because my husband is not on a diet, we usually take the whole stuff and I eat only what’s compliant, he eats the rest.

When it comes to salads, make sure you ask to have it without the dressing and ask for extra virgin olive oil and lemon or vinegar on the side. A piece of tomato or cucumber is easy to remove from the plate, but a dressing is not. Alternatively, you can travel with small jars of olive oil and balsamic in your purse and use them for your salad. Don’t be shy or ashamed. Do it with a sense of humor, have a laugh about it with your partner or friends.

Ask beforehand to the ingredients

I learned this the hard way; some restaurant has dishes that sound complaint, but when the food comes to the table it has all kind of non-compliant stuff likes chickpeas, peppers, peas, chilly flakes, etc. You don’t want to be disappointed with your food when you are hungry. So nicely ask beforehand if the ingredients on the menu are exactly all the ingredients in the dish, or if they add something else.

And if you need a reason to give for your requests, just say you have bad reactions to certain ingredients or are on a special diet for health reasons and want to make sure they are not included in the dish. I would not use the allergy reason, unless you really are allergic, because that makes things more difficult for people who are truly allergic.

Oh, and forget about dessert! I’m sorry to break this news,  but there is no way you will find a compliant dessert in a restaurant, no matter what. If you know you like something sweet at the end of your meal, have a piece of dark chocolate with you or one of your homemade desserts.

And, if none of the above works, get that Lectin Shield out of the purse.

Questions or comments on how to stay plant paradox compliant when traveling

Did I forget something? If you have more specific questions ask me and I’ll add more points to this article if I know the answers.

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you. 

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  • Reply
    Stine M
    June 18, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Thanks for a great article! I’m going on a road trip in a couple of weeks, and I’m definitely taking some of your suggestions!

    • Reply
      June 18, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      My pleasure! Have a great trip <3

    • Reply
      February 10, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      Thank you for your insight!! I’ve just started week 2 of PP…had a tough week 1 but today feel so much better. I’m determined to stick with this plan because I see and feel great effects from it so far. As far as traveling, we have an RV so am able to cook while traveling but your suggestions will help along the way. Thank you for giving workable suggestions

      • Reply
        February 12, 2020 at 1:14 pm

        Hi Kathy, I’m not sure if this is a comment to the article or a reply to someone else’s comment, either way, I’m happy you could find some helpful information here on this website. And can I say I’m jealous on your RV living? :)))

  • Reply
    June 18, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Claudia,

    I look forward to reading your blog and Instagram posts! I’m hoping you might be able to answer a question about quest bars. I was looking at quest’s website the other day and noticed that the Dr. Gundry approved flavors say something like “now made with soluble corn fiber” . Were they always made with corn fiber or is this a formula/recipe change? I’m wondering if they are still plant Paradox compliant. I asked Dr. Gundry on his shopping list post but no response yet. Since you have them in this blog post I thought you might be familiar with the ingredients. I don’t eat them all the time but won’t eat them at all if they’re no longer a yes! Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      June 19, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Jessica, good question and I’m not sure about the answer because I don’t remember exactly all the ingredients on the old bars. And checked to see if I have any old one left in the house but I don’t. I think we have to ask Dr. G for a definitive answer. How do you feel after eating them? Do you have any reaction?

    • Reply
      June 23, 2018 at 6:04 am

      How frustrating! It’s hard to keep up when brands change their ingredients 😫

      • Reply
        June 23, 2018 at 3:41 pm

        So apparently they are still fine, Dr. Gundry confirmed. But it’s good to keep an eye on ingredients even for products we are used to, because they have this habit of changing stuff, and not always in better.

        • Reply
          July 3, 2020 at 5:12 pm

          Hey Claudia!

          I’ve just finished week 1 of the PP diet and so far I am so excited. I’ve seen a lessening of problems I’ve had for 20 years, including acne since the age of 8. I wanted to ask if you know if Quest bars used blanched almonds? I’ve been a little confused on the compliant bars on the PP list but I didn’t need to eat any until the other day. I was flying from Los Angeles to NYC so i grabbed a Primal Kitchen Almond Spice bar that was on the list for the plane ride. The next day I had several break-outs, which i have not gotten since starting the diet. On their website it says their almonds aren’t skinless. I’m wondering if you know why bars with almonds are listed as ok as they most likely have skins? Do you have any issues when you eat any of the ones containing almonds on the list? (i want to order Marigold but they have a pause on orders right now!)

          Anyway, you blog has become a huge resource and I look forward to purchasing your cookbook!

          • Claudia
            July 7, 2020 at 5:58 am

            Hi Monique, I think you are right, most bars use unblanched almonds, and as far as I know, the only compliant Quest bars don’t contain almonds (although I know that lately they have changed some of their ingredients and they might not even be compliant anymore). I never tried a bar that was not compliant or containing almonds, so I’m not sure what to say. Listen to your body, it might be the almonds but also some of the other ingredients? Packaged food in general, even if convenient, might not use the best ingredients.Instead of a bar, try taking your own mix of nuts and a dark chocolate with you, it’s safer, and super tasty combination :)) I loved Marigold but I don’t eat dairy and they are only an emergency snack. But out of all bars I’ve tried, they are the most delicious.

  • Reply
    Heidi L Dockens
    August 19, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you so much! We started the Plant Paradox two weeks ago and are still getting our footing when it comes to eating outside our kitchen. Appreciate you sharing your experiences so we be prepared!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Is it okay to eat nuts due to their high lectin omega 6/3 ratio? Thanks for your response.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2018 at 11:42 am

      It’s not only ok to eat nuts, it’s recommended to have a handful everyday – but they can make weight loss harder so it depends what your goals are. You just have to be careful nuts are not roasted in rancid oil or they are old and rancid themselves. Buy them raw, store them in the fridge and if you like them salty and roasted do it at home. I hope this answers your question.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Does LectinShield seem to help when you’re eating out?

    • Reply
      September 1, 2018 at 11:37 am

      It does. I used it several times while in NYC, and I felt perfectly fine all the time. I did not cheat big though, just small things. Funny you ask, just finishing up an article about eating out in NYC now and I mention lectin shield.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    When is it okay to eat the recommended dark chocolate? Is it okay to eat it in phase 2 and in what week?

    • Reply
      October 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      It is ok in Phase 2 and 3. You can have a small piece of dark chocolate every day xx.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Claudia! That is so fun to say to another Claudia, but I digressed! Lol. Thank your for the great tips and insights. I travel a lot for work and have found it challenging. I am inspired but your thoughts. Would you consider sharing where I can locate the home baked goodies recipes you mention in the article? Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

    • Reply
      October 13, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Hi Claudia (yes, it is fun haha). Thank you so much for this suggestion, I just spent some time updating this article and added much more info and links to help finding resources. I hope it is helpful. xx

  • Reply
    Remy Tennant
    January 2, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I love the PP diet but not a huge fan of Quest Bars. I looked for some alternatives and put together a comparison chart that includes the approved Quest Bars plus some other lectin-free options.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for the road tips! I will be well prepared. Ordered Pastured chicken from Circle C Farms in Florida, USA.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Ann Turner
    May 20, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    I so appreciate your words of wisdom, thank you so much! Huge help!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Hello. I’m a flight attendant and I travel all the time and live out of hotels. I’m having a hard time with what to eat because we only have access to a mini refrigerator and microwave. Do you have any suggestions for meals? I’m getting sick of the few options that I have.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2019 at 11:34 am

      That’s a hard one. My sister was a flight attendant (on long, international flights) for years so I know what you mean. It’s something you will have to figure out for yourself, depending on what facilities you have access to and what do you like to cook and eat. I remember my sister never ate the food in the flight. I guess you just have to cook and pack your own food. Find ready, non perishable snacks that you can always carry with you. In layovers fo to the local supermarkets. I hope you fgre this out, inflight food is terrible. xx

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