It might be a tad strange to start my blog while on Week 19 of the Cohen program, but I couldn’t help but list this down on one of the posts on the Cohen Lifestyle Centre Facebook page.
I travel for work and leisure, and this year, I’ve been fortunate to have been on several trips already. I didn’t expect to be on the Cohen program so my travel plans did not exactly factor in the complexities of the Eating Plan. But here are 19 tips that I’ve found to be helpful while traveling on the Cohen program. Some worked, some didn’t. 🙂
- Prepare your proteins beforehand. Dishes such as beef tapa, roast (air fried) chicken breast fillet, garlic sautéed/”fried” tuna can be cooked pre-trip, then vacuum sealed in Santi’s. (Vacuum sealed bags start at Php 20 up. They can only vacuum seal dry foods.)
- Email the hotel you will be staying at to request for Cohen-compliant meals for breakfast and/or lunch/dinner. Just tell the F&B manager/staff that you are on a “strict dietary prescription” and send them your recommendations for dishes. Best to send them the recipes with the measurements days before your trip so you can co-ordinate if some ingredients are not available.
- Check restaurants at your travel destination if they can make Cohen-compliant dishes. Same “rule” applies as with hotels when communicating with restaurants.
- Buffets can be your friends.
a. Choose your protein, ask chef to cook it to your specifications that are Cohen-compliant, and if possible, measure the raw ingredients yourself (with a digital travel scale you brought yourself).b. For your veggies, check the salad station first. Then check the grilling station.
c. For more variety in your DIY salad, get an apple, honeydew or mangoes (or other Cohen-compliant fruit) from the dessert station to add to your salad.
d. Ask for balsamic vinegar from the waiters. Usually the ones at the salad bar are vinaigrette already which is usually already mixed with oil.
- Bring a reliable digital travel scale. The small “pocket” ones are unreliable, especially if the restaurant doesn’t have dishes small enough to place on your scale. The measurements will not be accurate, I tell you.
- Bring your crackers with you.
- Take a small squeeze bottle of Carmela Tanjangco’s balsamic reduction.
- Bring your own stash of stevia or Splenda. If you can ask the resto or hotel for more Splenda, even better. You can replenish your own travel stock with no problem.
- Keep to your 2-3L water intake.
- Check out the local grocery for yogurt and fruits.
- Stay away from street foods.
- Check with airline if you can hand-carry your food. Some airlines are accommodating, but others are not. You might need to check-in your food with the rest of your luggage.
- If not, pack a cooler with Abigail Ongyanco-Lim’s Techni-Ice.
- Check with your hotel if there is a mini ref so you can store your food during your stay. Otherwise, befriend the hotel/resort/B&B/inn staff so you can ask them to keep your food in the kitchen’s fridge. [I survived a 9-day Myanmar trip at a hostel this way. Just ask nicely. 😉 ]
- Time your meals so you can eat with everyone else. If it means waking up earlier than usual (say, 7 am) so you can have lunch with your travel companions at 12nn, do it.
- If you know you can’t resist the local food, don’t even attempt to be around it. It’s too risky and too tempting to deviate. [Trust me, this is a major test of will power and commitment to the program.]
- Ask other Cohenites for recommendations for groceries, food sources, restos, cafes, hotels, etc. that are Cohen-friendly. The Cohen FB page has a lot of posts from other Cohenites for their suggestions on Cohen-friendly/compliant places in Boracay, Cebu, Davao, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, etc.
- The bigger or more cosmopolitan the city, the better chances of finding restaurants and hotels that are Cohen-friendly.
- Print out your Eating Plan on a small sheet of paper and have it laminated so you can keep it in your wallet. You can show or hand this to the chef or waiter when you eat out at a Cohen-friendly establishment. If there’s space at the back, list your Cohen-compliant preferred ingredients as well so the chefs have a reference for what you are allowed to eat.