Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Traveling can be stressful with a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance because of all the unknowns. Yet we still find it to be so worth the effort! One of the most important things we do that allows us to travel and successfully eat soy-free is make a plan. Planning isn’t glamorous; it takes time and energy, but putting in the effort in advance allows us to get the most out of traveling and new experiences without compromising on food requirements. Here’s how we do it:
When planning for eating away from home we consider three main topics: travel food, eating out, and grocery stores. Planning a trip is enjoyable (in fact, research as shown that anticipating a vacation provides pleasure) but adding food uncertainty can make it feel extremely overwhelming. Each of these three categories reduces the ambiguity and anxiety of traveling.
Travel Food: What do we eat on the airplane? In the car? At the airport? Do we bring snacks? Can we bring snacks across country borders? These are just some of the things we consider about travel days. Traveling sees people at their worst, as we all become tired of sitting and feeling hungry, sleep deprived, and jet lagged. It is at these times, when our decision-making capability is reduced, that planning is key. Before leaving the house, we plan for what to eat when something goes wrong. We check airports to make sure that they have a few likely soy-free options in case our flight is delayed. We bring plenty of snacks to hold us over until we get to our destination in case there is no soy-free food available during transit. In the car, we look up places where we can stop along our route and we know what kinds of foods to look for at a convenience store. While things might not go wrong, we try to be prepared and give ourselves some easy options for when we are tired and stressed-out.
Eating Out: Before we get to a new place, we look up a few restaurant options. Not only is it fun to explore the possibilities for authentic cuisine at local establishments, it also allows us to check the menu and find a couple of places where we feel comfortable eating. We may not end up actually eating there, but it is reassuring to know that we have options in our back pocket in case we can’t find anything else. The peace of mind it provides is well worth the time it take to research; plus, you never know when you’ll find a restaurant that catches your eye online.
Grocery Store: One of the first things we do when we visit another country is explore the grocery store. This gives us a chance to see what kinds of foods typically contain soy, but it is also a fun experience to check out the local items and find some treats to sample. But our grocery store preparation begins long before we set foot into the market. From the comfort of our couch we try to identify the likelihood of ingredients being present in certain foods. For example, we know that Europe largely uses non-GMO products, which reduces the chances of finding soy in things like crackers. Using this planning and research, we can then better target our grocery store visit to check foods that are likely to be soy-free and more quickly (and ideally with less stress) find some soy-free options to eat.
Traveling is so often full of new experiences. With a bit of planning, we know that we can fully experience all that a destination has to offer while also staying soy-free so we can enjoy the trip. Happy planning!