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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!?”
- 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
- 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!
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.