Organic Trip Tricks

Aerial Shot of Turks and Caicos taken from the plane

Just got back from a wonderful trip down to the Turks and Caicos. If you like beaches, crystal clear warm water, scuba diving and spending a lot of money on food this is the place to go.

Excited to buy some Organic Chocolate Covered Goji Berries from the CLT airport! Just so you know I didn’t see any organic chocolate the whole trip in T&C.
Enjoyed watching a movie, homemade collard wraps and diced pineapple on the plane

Islands have very limited selection of food and the quality isn’t always the best since they have to import most of it from neighboring countries who are usually just serving as the middle man, as they are importing it from somewhere else too. This means double mark up on the price and since you don’t know when that piece of fruit was flown over, it could go bad in a number of hours of leaving the grocery store. I witnessed this after buying some lemons – 2 survived and the rest were covered by mold within 12 hours. 5 dollars down the drain.

:(

Crazy Expensive Beer

So what is a Food Babe to do when organic foods are scarce and options are limited? Here are my top tips on what to do when you don’t have access to organic foods in restaurants or even at the grocery store.

1. Eat plants – First and foremost, remember eating fruits and vegetables whether they are organic or not is the most important thing to do. The benefits of eating these foods far outweigh the negative impacts of pesticides. When you eat out – make fruits and vegetables the main portion of each meal. At the grocery store look for frozen fruits or vegetables that have been packaged at their peak (you might get lucky and find something organic in the frozen section too)

Shopping at Graceway Gourmet Market in Turks & Caicos

2. Stay Alkaline – Remember that keeping your body in an alkaline state vs. acidic is the most important factor in avoiding health issues. You want to eat foods that will keep the scale heavy on the alkaline side as much as possible. This can be hard, especially when you are on vacation and enjoying more foods like alcohol, sweets and fried foods than normal. Starting off your day the right way is crucial. Eat fruit and veggies first thing in the morning!

I call this my liquid salad breakfast – Found some organic celery, rainbow chard and apples at the market. Blended it up before heading out to scuba dive and drank it straight from the jar!
I ordered a salad at the start of every meal I could. This one from Coco Bistro had AMAZING Plantain Chips.

3. Make a choice – Use the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen” list available on the Environmental Working Group website to help you navigate which products to buy organic (or take with you on your vacation) and help you order in restaurants. If you have a choice between having red peppers or asparagus and don’t know whether its organic – choose the asparagus. Asparagus naturally repel pests allowing it to be grown with minimal pesticides. Include red pepper in your diet when you are back home and can guarantee it’s organic.

 

You caught me!  Trying to eat a half of a watermelon one morning. Watermelon is on the Clean 15 List – making this an enjoyable treat even if its not organic.

 

4. Consume local meats only – Avoid all other meats unless the restaurant or grocery store states it’s free of growth hormone and antibiotics. I personally don’t eat any meat while vacationing unless I know its safe from additives. This was super easy in T&C – local fish was everywhere! You can go back to eating your chicken or pork or whatever, when you get back home or to a restaurant where you know it’s safe.

Fresh caught Mahi Mahi on a plantain cake at Coco Bistro. Check out those micro greens on top – mmmmmm
My husband chose Lamb at La Bagatelle one night at the Gansevoort Resort. Lamb is a super sustainable meat and is treated more humanely than beef.

5. Skip the free food – The “fresh bread” that is available in most grocery stores is horrendous. It usually has a laundry list of ingredients that your body can’t process. Buy bread from the local bakery or look in freezer section at the grocery store for higher quality bread. In T&C, we bought Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread in the freezer section and made great sandwiches for the dive boat every day. I took a few bananas from the breakfast table every morning and used almond butter single serve packets to make the sandwiches. This saved us from eating the dive boat’s free catered selection of ham (conventional deli meat is full of potential MSG, nitrates, sodium, growth hormone and antibiotics) and white bread sandwiches and the side of Funyuns, Doritos and Cheetos they offered. We scoffed at their chip selection and snacked on Twin Cakes Pumpkin Kale Chips instead.

Getting excited about the first dive into the Caicos Waters
Scuba Diving Day 2 
Thank you Jamie Goldstein for taking these awesome underwater shots for us!  I was immediately drawn to Jamie, because he also brought his own sandwich on the dive boat :)
Black tipped reef sharks everywhere – It was awesome!
Looking up
Spotted Eel chopping at us

 

 

 

These little suckers are hard to see – Fortunately, Matthew our dive master is pretty amazing at spotting Scorpion Fish

6. Research! – Before you go anywhere check out some of these websites where you can find restaurants and businesses that use local and/or organic products – I am surprised every time I travel what is available– We came across this random cafe called Fresh in T&C that specialized in organic breads and other goods. We ordered our lunch for the plane ride back and picked up some rum cake for a treat. There was no way I was getting caught with my Food Babe pants down again in a Caribbean airport! You should have seen the glaring looks of jealousy and heard the questions I got at the airport when I pulled out my fresh greek salad. “Where did you get that? OMG did you get that here!?”

Rum Raisin Cake – Made with organic flour at Fresh
  • Eat Well Guide– Find local, sustainable and organic food
  • Happy Cow – Compassionate eating guide
  • Animal welfare approved – Search for animal welfare approved products and restaurants
  • Vital Juice– Finding healthy life in major cities across the US
  • Slow Food USA Use slow food to help you find local products and restaurants
  • And don’t be fooled by sites like this one that give you options at restaurants that are lower in calorie but still horrible for your health and body

Navigating through the food in T&C was harder than navigating the island itself. The main island of Provo is incredibly easy – You can walk up and down Grace Bay (one of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen) to eat at countless delicious restaurants while enjoying the views of the water.  We were pleasantly surprised that we found another place that we love to dive in the Caribbean. Although my heart still belongs to St. Barts, T&C is sooooo easy to get to – it’s only a 2.5 hour plane ride and we are there! Diving with Caicos Adventures, we saw countless numbers of sharks, eels, turtles, rays, scorpion fish, etc….(proof posted above!) The 45 min boat ride out to the reef in West Caicos was worth every minute to experience some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Trekking through the sea with Provo Ponies is not to be missed either. Hope you enjoy these additional highlights from our trip!

Lobby of our hotel – The Regent Palms
The gorgeous stone entrance to our villa
Awesome pool that we dove right in as soon as we arrived
We were right on the ocean – check out this view from our villa patio
We walked everywhere – Enjoyed drinks one night at Grace Bay Club
A really sexy atmosphere at the Gracy Bay Club – Loved the hanging lanterns
So excited about jumping off a cliff into the ocean
Jumping! Wooooo Hoooo!
Ruby was such a nice horsey
My horse Ruby was a Cougar, My husband’s horse Mango had tourettes and kept cursing him out
Following a rather loud Mango as we arrived at a secluded beach.  %^&%$$%#@# … Mango – Shhhhhh that’s so rude!
This makes my Top 10 list of coolest things I have done – The water was so clear and waist deep for miles 
So refreshing for the horses and us!
I always send postcards to a few loved ones when I am on vacation – Nothing better than doing this a little tipsy on champagne
Sunsets from our villa were incredible – a nightly ritual we will never forget

Thank you Nora Townsend from Journeys Unlimited (We met this wonderful lady who is a travel agent on our trip to the Amalfi Coast in April.  She was staying at the Hotel Caruso with us.  I called her up before this trip and she booked this amazing resort for us.) Our trip was spectacular, thanks again for finding us a great deal and for all the extra amenties we received at the resort! Can’t wait to book our next trip with you.

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16 Responses to “Organic Trip Tricks”

  1. Heather

    Looks absolutely enchanting! I’ve been eating like crap lately! you’ve inspired me to re-enlist my creativity!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Heather)

      Heather – Happy to inspire anytime :) Good luck with getting back on track!

      Reply
  2. Vicky

    Ooohh..I did the horse riding in the ocean in Jamaica! It was definitely a lot of fun, but there were a lot of ‘sea biscuits’. LOL

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Vicky)

      I heard Jamaica is the only other place in the Caribbean that allows it….I love your sense of adventure Vicky! Will you hurry up and get scuba certified?!

      Reply
      • Vicky (to Food Babe)

        You are definitely inspiring me to get scuba certified..I love the pics!!
        BTW – I’ve been forwarding your blog and the info on keeping your body in an alkaline state to others! They love it!

  3. Rachel

    Love the photos!!! I’m so pumped now… even more than before. Would you recommend Coco Bistro? The picture of the eel is incredible!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Rachel)

      Coco Bistro was our favorite as far as food! Sitting under their large lit up palm trees was beautiful. It’s not the most romantic though, since it is a rather large restaurant off the beach.

      Reply
  4. Veena

    We are so happy that you are back home safely.

    Love

    Mom and Dad

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Veena)

      I hope those pictures of me jumping off the cliff didn’t give you and Dad a heart attack :)

      Reply
  5. MiniMe!

    Omgosh! LOVE THE PICTURES! Have always wanted to go horseback riding along the beach! AHHH :) Looks like y’all had tons of fun!!!

    Reply
  6. Allison

    Hi Vani,

    A friend recently introduced me to 100 Days of Real Food and I can’t get enough of it myself! I stumbled upon your site while flipping through and realized you had your hands in both.

    On the side I’ve been helping to launch The Ultimate Yogi, similar to P90X. http://www.theultimateyogi.com

    Any chance you think this might the the right fit for your blog/website. We’d love to offer a giveaway and discuss other advertising opportunities if so.

    Thanks very much,

    Allison Haas

    Affiliate Manager

    The Ultimate Yogi

    E: TheUltimateYogi@q4marketing.com

    http://www.TheUltimateYogi.com

    Reply
  7. Rachel Bardin

    Enjoyed re-reading this post! I miss T&C. I’m busy planning my travel food for our anniversary trip this weekend. Of course I went to FB for help!

    Reply
  8. margot

    The way that you eat (other than the meat you consume) is so environmentally friendly, but then you seem to abandon that principle with your travel. Luxury travel is one of the most environmentally harmful things you can do. Those hotels waste endless resources to keep you in 5-star style, from the daily linens and towels, to the land destroyed to build them, to the luxury goods flown in to keep you happy. Your photo of the front of the hotel is a great example. That perfect, green lawn and most of those plans are not indigenous. They are a crazy thing put there for fancy tourists that require an insane amount of water and other upkeep.

    Reply
  9. evy

    looks like you had amazing time!!! Make me want to book right now !!!
    what is twin cakes?

    Reply
  10. Ros

    Hi Food Babe,

    thank you for all the info you get for us, much appreciated!!

    Do you know anything about Natures Promise Organic Brand (found in Stop & Shop)? are their products truly ‘Organic’???

    Reply
  11. Paige (to Mackenzie)

    Thank you thank you thank you. She has the occasional good thing to say, but *so* much of her blogs contain things that just plain aren’t true. Airplanes pump almost 40% nitrogen into the cabin, which causes bad things to happen! The air we breathe is 70% nitrogen. Airplane cabins are highly pressurized, which compresses your organs! They have the equivalent of around 5000ft altitude – that’s slightly low pressure. Chia seeds have more omega-3′s than salmon! Well, yes, sort of – do you want to eat 6 ounces of chia seeds (that’s a heck of a lot) or 8 ounces of salmon? ALKALIZE YOUR BODY! Um… no. There’s a reason blood pH meters measure to the thousandth of a unit. If that reading changes by more than a hundredth, bad, bad, things are happening.

    Reply

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