Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reporting For Ashlee's Blog, From Austin TX; How to Stay Healthy on Travel

My husband Paul, holding our third child, Megan, a few days after she was born. Right now he is on travel at a conference in Austin, Texas, experiencing what it's like to eat whole foods away from home.

I wasn't going to blog today.

I had a goal to not blog today.

I'm weird. But we've already established this.

I came home from a very full and busy day. Opened my email.

How totally sweet is this?

Dear Ashlee,

Do you take guest writers on your blog? If so, please consider posting the following little experience that I’d like to share.


How can you eat a plant-based whole foods diet while on travel?

I’m currently on travel at GEC 2012 in Austin, Texas learning more about plasma and atomic physics, but was unable to take my lovely wife, Ashlee, and our three energetic children on this trip. So I have to fend for myself as far as food goes.

As you’re likely aware, my wife is an outstanding chef, and very health conscious. But without her help, I’m stuck living off of the local restaurants and the spotty fare provided by the workshop.

The complementary workshop snacks are actually remarkably good for breakfast: fresh fruit bar, steel cut oatmeal, fruit juices, and breads. But what to do for lunch and dinner?

So far, I’ve tried several of the local restaurants, with mixed results. I started off with Veggie Heaven,, and was happy, but not overly thrilled. I find that they, like most vegetarian or vegan restaurants, offer too much oil and not enough fresh vegetables.

I also tried a Vietnamese restaurant next door,, with which I wasn’t very impressed. For dinner yesterday, I walked into one of the hotel restaurants downstairs, but they appeared more interested in serving alcohol than their guests, so I walked out and tried, which wasn’t bad for fast food, but didn’t feel all that healthy either.

Today for lunch, I decided to try to assauge my craving for salad by trying out a local Mexican grill. I’ve been impressed with Café Rio, and Chipotle’s ( looked similar, so I decided to check it out. I was very impressed! I ordered a salad with lots of Romaine, cilantro-lime brown rice, fajita vegetables, black beans, guacamole, corn, tomatoes, and WOW was it delicious. I feel so good after eating this way that I decided I needed to write a special guest entry on Ashlee’s blog!

So here are some of my conclusions:

1) Careful selections at vegetarian-friendly restaurants like Chipotle’s can beat exclusively vegetarian/vegan restaurants like Veggie Heaven in terms of delicious and healthy fresh vegetables, beans and rice. You don’t even have to like tofu!

2) Restaurants that are at least aware of special diets, but perhaps not exclusive to those special diets, are usually the best. Chipotle’s has a nice special diets page.

3) We’re very blessed here in the U.S.A. with lots of restaurant choices, many of which offer abundant delicious plant-based foods. In my experience traveling abroad, plant-based diet restaurant diners outside the U.S.A. will have a somewhat harder time finding fresh fruits and veggies on the menus. I had a real struggle with this when I traveled to Japan recently.

4) We need to find good Mexican grills in Albuquerque! Café Rio hasn’t arrived in NM yet, but I just found a Chipotle’s in Albuquerque: 6810 Menaul Blvd NE. We must try it out, and find other similar restaurants!

That's all for now. Off I go to learn more atomic physics.

Hasta entonces,


Made my day! Love you, Paul!


  1. I think this shows that you really do have to have determination to follow your goals. It would seem that one should push through the initial frusteration of trying to find accomidations because then they get in the habit and know what works! And if Paul can do this while traveling AND working a full time job regularly, it gives me more motivation to be dedicated for sure! Thanks Paul for the great advice!

  2. What a nice hubby! I agree about Chipotle. My kids and I ate there at a mall recently (we live in Gilbert, AZ) and got a burrito bowl with the tortilla on the side (my kids love a plain tortilla). The bowl had black beans, guac, brown rice, and that's it. I didn't get anything that could potentially be spicy since we were all sharing it and it was LOVED by all.

  3. Everyone has me wanting to go to Chipotle's really bad, now!

  4. I have tried both Cafe Rio and Chipotle! I love Cafe Rio's fresh green salads and I like that Chipotle lets you pick & choose what to put on your creation! I love that both offer fresh guacomole! The only other restaurants I am able to survive and tolerate is Rumbi's, with their beans & rice bowls and salads. And Subway with lots of veggie choices. One time I ate out at Ruby Tuesdays and had an amazing salad with Romaine, cranberries, raspberry dressing and roasted walnuts, it was to die for! Interesting for a steakhouse! I am always nervous when going to eat in large groups and the restaurant selection has been made by group vote so this time I just ordered the salad and it turned out great! So I agree with you Paul, you have to really seek it out in unexpected places!!! So fun to hear from you and your experiences!