Tired Of Being The Odd Person Out At The Music Festival Food Truck Line? Here’s How To Pack For The Festival Season When You Have An Autoimmune Disorder

HELP! Is what I used to scream when I first started my new eating lifestyle.

I was lost, confused, and angry that I had to change my diet to support my body as it continues to deal with an autoimmune disorder.

I would oscillate between joy that I felt so good with my new more healthy food choices, and then anger and sadness realizing that I had a new burden of packing my own food, getting it through check points, and storing it during the concerts.

I felt like the oddball.

Some of my friends and family would pick on me for “being so sensitive” not realizing the difficulty my condition creates when my body deals with SAD (standard American diet) foods.

Especially at a music festival with port-a-potties no one wants any of their body parts to touch. I ended up spending a lot of time in them.

I’d be angry because I knew how to avoid this situation, but I had given in to old habits, despair, and feelings of futility rather than choosing my health.

It took me a few years, but I started to figure out a system.

I now have foods I take as staples and additions I use to enhance the limited choices I have at the food trucks and concessions.

Here’s a rundown of living with an autoimmune condition and eating well at your favorite festivals.

  • First, think about staples: good fats, protein, and carbohydrate choices.
  • Second, Know the rules of the event
  • Third, think light and packable.
  • Fourth, Food storage and safety

The first one you can address by watching my other videos about the food staples you should know about, or by doing some research in advanced.

The second, to really Know the rules of the even ask your self a few questions before you go

  • –  Can you bring food in?
  • –  What type of food can you bring in? and
  • –  What type of containers & tools are allowed?

Some places won’t let you bring in your own food, but might if you explain your situation. This may require a doctor’s note or verified diagnosis, so check out the rules with plenty of time to get these items if needed.

How much can you bring in? Sometimes you can bring in snacks but not much.

Find out if they require it need to be sealed? Does this mean you can seal something at home or does it need to be factory sealed? This might be the difference between throwing food out before you get through the gates, losing your favorite water bottle vs. being able to have the foods and beverages you need to feel your best for the whole show.

I know it sucks to purchase bottled water in small plastic bottles but it might be the difference between having the water you want and need versus having none or small tiny cups throughout the day.

It can also be the difference between having a small very expensive option vs. bringing in your empty water bottle and refilling once inside the festival. Again, do your homework.

Depending on where you are staying you may have to have a couple of staging places. If I am doing a multiple day event I will often pack and prep enough for the event and resupply each day.

If I am flying I will research stores and options near my hotel or venue so I know I can restock when I get there and before I fly home. I have found airports, hotels, and planes often have the tools I need to make this happen – knives and plates for cutting things on, if I ask.

If I am camping or staying on site. I’ll have my stash at my site and I go back to eat a bigger meal and only bring in small stuff. If you are camping you’ll need to think about food safety, which I’ll talk about in a minute.

Here’s a Meditation Just in Case you Find Yourself Uncomfortable and Stuck in the Porta-Potty Line.

Now, What types of foods can I get on the festi-grounds?

Some places will let you bring in certain foods and beverages because they aren’t selling them, but won’t let you bring in anything that competes with what they have to offer.

It might be possible to research the vendors ahead of time and find items on their menus you can eat.

When you figure out what you can purchase there and what you can bring in. Consider your macronutrients. You want to bring in a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The balance of these will be different for each of us based our particular situation.

Focus on items that will energize and revitalize you but are also accessible. Packing in a steak to cook, when you have no grill isn’t viable. But can you make the steak ahead of time, slice it, and bring it in?

Cut your veggies ahead of time and pack in reusable containers that might double for waste as you eat your stash.

In addition to the food you want to bring in, how will you bring them in? What type of containers & tools are allowed?

Will they let you bring in a cooler, backpack, purse, chair pockets, on my person only?

Can you bring in ice or will you have access to ice throughout your festivities?
The answers to these questions will determine what you bring and how much you can carry.

Consider what utensils you need. I have a folding cutting board and knife (not always allowed, so you might need to adapt), napkins, salt, pepper, and multipurpose containers.

I like to make my experience comfortable and convenient as possible so I don’t feel deprived.

I find deprivation leads me right to a big bucket of the fuck-its. The BFs lead me to disbanding my healthy habits and right to the porta-potty line.

Sometimes my difficulties are a gift. I find my options are better and easier than my friends who end up waiting in long lines and working to eat messy foods without the nice wipes I have handy.

So which containers do you choose?

The third is to think light and packable.

No matter what you want to bring and where you are going, we all know there will be lines. Lots of them, lines to park, lines to get through security, lines to find your seat, lines, lines, lines.

What you don’t want is to be weighted down while getting through these lines. That will sap your dancing energy before you know it.

Consider what items you can get in single servings. I can pack my jar of nut butter, but I can also buy single servings that are small and light. I can make my own single servings for the day. You always have some creative choices to consider.

I usually cut up enough vegetables for a gallon bag or two, but I don’t have to take the whole thing into the venue at once. Like I noted earlier I might leave some at my basecamp and refill as necessary.

Consider how much you will really eat. I tend to overpack a bit because I know if I don’t have enough I will turn to unhealthy options.

Fourth Food storage and safety

This is a big one. I don’t want to spend all my time in the porta-potties because I have eaten poor choices but I also don’t want food poisoning. Another way to spend a lot of time in the porta-potty.

As you are considering what items you want to bring make sure you are aware of what your heat and chill options are. If you will not be able to keep things cold, you’ll want to make sure to bring items that are shelf stable.

Fats are where we often get into trouble. Fats go rancid and cause us issues when they aren’t stored properly. The molecular structure breaks down and changes on us.

If I won’t be able to keep things cold, I often opt for nuts, seeds, dried meats, whole hardy fruits and veggies. Most fruit and veggies, nut butters, crackers, chips, salsas, and fried chicken are.

It’s a big win when you can find the right combination of food and drink that help you stay healthy, feel your best, and enjoy the show. Here’s to having a great festival season this year!

Want a visual of these tips? Check out Studio B’s TikTok to see me prep and pack for festival weekend and a road trip.

Kale, Chicken, Avacado, Mango, Green Onion Salad

Want something quick and easy that uses up some leftovers. Here’s a great salad you can make using left over protein from last night’s dinner.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Kale – Torn
  • Chicken – I cooked an extra breast for dinner the night before
  • Mango – Chopped
  • Green Onions – Sliced
  • Avacado – Sliced or diced
  • Olive Oil – to dress
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

The Cooking Part …

Put all the pieces together in a bowl or on a plate and mix up. Voliá it’s ready to serve and eat.

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What to serve with …

As you can see I ate mine with some sparkling water. It also goes well as a side dish or without the chicken. I have put it alongside another protein source and eliminated the chicken to make it into a fresh-tasting side.

Upcoming Programs:

Veggie Omelet, Tomatoes, and Kale

Want a healthy and easy breakfast? Look no further! Lots of veggies, protein, and healthy fats in this meal.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly, my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy

Ingredients:

  • Eggs: 2-3/ person
  • Avocado: 1
  • Tomato: 1/2 per person
  • Potatoe: 1/2 per person
  • Broccoli: 1/4-1/2 cup per person
  • Onion: 1/4 cup per person
  • Mushrooms: 1/4 per person
  • Cilantro: for garnish
  • Chives: for garnish
  • Kale: 1/2 – 1 cup per person
  • Olive Oil: for sauté and to dress the kale
  • Salt & Pepper: to taste

The Cooking Part …

I am not great at making omelets so this picture is an important one in my cooking skills.

Shred the potatoes. In an ovenproof pan coat with oil and lay potatoes in. Bake at 350 while you work on the rest. Chop the broccoli, onion, mushrooms. I usually use a little olive oil to saute the onion to translucent. Then add broccoli. Let onion and broccoli saute to soften. Finally, the mushroom to warm and blend flavors.

While the onion and broccoli are sauteing I scramble 2 eggs (per person). after adding all vegetables to blend, add the scrambled eggs. Allow eggs to surround veggies and “set up”. If you have an omelet pan use it. I do not and have to improvise.

Here’s how I do it: As the egg gets firm around the middle of the pan, use a spatula to gently lift the edges and allow liquid egg to move below the bottom layer. Be careful so you are not burning a part of the eggs, but not moving it so much that you tear the set layers. In the end, if you do, it becomes a veggie scramble rather than an omelet. Still tastes the same 🙂 When the egg is set enough you can fold it over and remove it from heat.

While the egg is setting I rip the kale, slice tomatoes, and chop avocado. Just watch the egg and attend to the omelet as you go. As the eggs finish, I remove the potatoes from the oven, add a little oil to the egg pan and fry each side of the hashbrown to make them crunchy. Sometimes I run out of time for this and do not want my eggs to get cold. Then I just skip this step.

Plate. Garnish with cilantro and avocado, sprinkle oil on the kale, salt, and pepper. Serve and enjoy.

What to serve with …

I am not a vegetarian so I often add cheese, bacon, ham, or whatever leftovers we have that might go good with eggs. I have been known to use the leftover pizza toppings as the omelet guts. I use a variety of veggies depending on what is in the fridge including cauliflower, carrots, and spinach.

4 Health Tweaks You Can Easily Introduce to Your Daily Routine

Are you looking at 2020 wondering how you will implement changes to your health goals? Feeling overwhelmed already? This year look to simplify changes by making small tweaks in your current routines and add little increments to your health behaviors for maximum success.

Guest Post By: Jennifer McGregor

Well-intentioned health goals are a dime a dozen. Everyone always has something that they want to achieve, whether it’s losing 20 pounds or running a 5K. For many, reducing stress is also a compelling objective, especially those in high-stress occupations like caregivers. Regardless of what your goals are, know that it takes more than just good intentions to meet them; you need action, too. Thankfully, with strategic tweaks here and there, you, too, can incorporate solid health practices into your daily routine. Here are a few to get you started.

Choose the good.

The fulfillment of any health goal invariably starts with one thing—making good choices. In fact, mindfulness is known to not just improve your physical health, but also your mental well-being, too. 

No doubt, the thing that particularly benefits from this is your diet. The practice of mindful eating means listening to your body’s signals—that is to say, eating when you’re hungry as opposed to bored and knowing when to stop. Not only that, but it also means consciously choosing to consume food that’s healthy and nourishing, cutting back on processed food rich in sodium and sugar, which would be particularly beneficial to caregivers prone to stress and conditions like hypertension. Another way to eat healthier (and less) is to order healthy options from a meal delivery service because with pre-measured ingredients, you can control portion sizes

Beyond just your diet, being mindful means making choices that truly serve you and your body, too. This can be as simple as going to bed an hour earlier to get more quality shut-eye, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Move with intention.

Of course, regular physical activity is a must for just about any health goal. And it’s hard not to see why with the many known benefits of movement. Its physical perks such as weight loss and improved immune and lymphatic systems—to name just a few—are common knowledge, but even more interestingly, movement also enhances brain health, elevates your mood, and reduces stress.

While the idea of movement inevitably brings to mind exercise, there are other ways to go about it, too. This could be anything from stretching to dancing to gardening. Indeed, simply being on your feet will already do wonders to your well-being holistically, so it’s great practice, therefore, to always make it a point to move.

Prioritize relaxation.

As rewarding a vocation as caregiving is, it also leaves you vulnerable to feelings of overwhelm and frustration, making caregiver stress a real problem. This is why it’s doubly important for caregivers to make relaxation and stress management a priority. 

Doubtless, the easiest way to go about this is to introduce relaxation techniques to your routine, such as meditation and deep breathing. It’s also a good idea to make it a point to go on a break and take time to do something you love, like reading or pursuing a hobby. Going on vacation is another way to relax. Even a staycation in your own city will do wonders for your overall well-being. 

Allow indulgence.

In the same vein as taking downtime, you should also give yourself a license to indulge from time to time, as long as you make it worthwhile. For example, partaking in your daily red wine is one indulgence that’s really good for you as red wine is chock full of antioxidants that protect you from a plethora of diseases, as well as anxiety and depression. Hiring a health and lifestyle coach is another, as you could certainly benefit from a customized health plan, plus it helps to have someone hold you accountable.

Suffice it to say, health goals are just ideals when you don’t have concrete steps to follow through on them. Thankfully, being healthier need not be earth-shattering. So start making small changes and see the difference.

Photo Provided by Author: Jennifer McGregor via Upslpash.com. Image URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/VKnjdEesFxw ~ Image Credit: Photo via Unsplash.com

Easy Red Cabbage & Carrot Coleslaw

This is a great side dish and goes with all sorts of main dish dinners. It is hearty enough to stand as a main dish for lunches or a small dinner. It’s easy, quick, and tasty.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Red cabbage – green would work just fine too
  • Carrots – shredded or sliced
  • Thai fish sauce enough to coat the cabbage and carrots (or you can skip and just use the tahini)
  • Toasted Sesame seeds with Olive Oil for toasting – you can also use tahini, and skip roasting
  • 1 lime for juice
  • Salt and pepper

The Cooking Part …

  • Heat olive oil (just enough for your sesame seeds)
  • Drop-in sesame seeds and stir to coat, allow to roast on stovetop
  • Chop or shred carrots and cabbage, toss in a large bowl
  • Pour in fish sauce and stir
  • Add the roasted sesame seeds and olive oil
  • Slice lime in half and squeeze juice over the mixture
  • Salt and pepper to taste – less is more here because it will sit and intensify as the flavors blend in the dish. You can always add more to serve. 

What to serve with …

You can add rice vinegar to this recipe if you would like a tangy flavor. It is a great side dish for any Asian BBQ, soup, or dumpling. It’s also great with tacos, sandwiches, or hamburgers. Serve warm to add another dynamic alongside a fish dinner or pork chops. I served with Fish as a main course. AND it’s great as a solo dish, too. Make a batch and eat off it all week.