Saturday, November 01, 2014

keeping track

Having taken part in Plastic Free July and have continued to try to keep my single use plastic to a minimum I was curious as to how I'd get on whilst away from home for 10 days. Not only was I away from home but I was travelling on all but four of those days, and I was trying to travel light which meant there was a limit as to how much food I could bring from home.

The journey from home to Wellington went well as I had my wee Marmite lunchbox with me to fill up with self-service sushi in Kerikeri rather than use one of their plastic boxes. The cashier was surprised to see me provide my own box but thought it was a really good idea which was encouraging. At the airport I had oodles of time so could get a proper pot of tea with cup and saucer rather than a takeaway cup, and the miso soup which I had expected to come in a bowl (as it always used to) came in a paper cup but without a plastic lid. So I was feeling rather pleased with myself after the first day.

I've debated for some time whether it is worth getting one of those reusable coffee cups for takeaway cuppas, but I buy so few in a year it hasn't really seemed worth it. I was looking at them in the Kathmandu sale though in Wellington umming and ahhing over it yet again when I spotted some small vaccuum flasks. My old one leaks so it's no use for travelling any more, so rather than get a coffee cup (for about 4 cups a year!) I got a flask which had the added bonus of meaning I didn't need to buy a cuppa so often and I was guaranteed a cuppa I like as I generally try to avoid ordinary tea these days. I soon discovered though that it is a highly efficient flask and thus I need to add some cold water to my tea otherwise I have to wait way too long for it to be a drinkable temperature! There are way worse problems to have than a burnt tongue though.

Snacks for the road proved to be a challenge and I failed completely to avoid small packets and individually wrapped bars. When you're vegetarian and avoiding dairy, gluten and unwarranted amounts of sugar in things your options are limited. I'm fine at home as I simply make my own stuff and generally snack a lot less, but that's not so practical on the road. Also I simply didn't have room in my bag to buy a big bag of something and make it last several days of travels. I think I need to refine my 'packing light' skills - it was tricky though when the possible weather options for my trip were potentially 'four seasons in one day' let alone in one week and I was only going to be at one of my stops long enough to do any washing and get it dry.

But generally I think I did reasonably well until the penultimate day. I succumbed to the lure of a decaf soy latte at Christchurch airport and that meant a disposable coffee cup and plastic lid. Then on top of that the turbulence on the way north meant the Air NZ staff served the cuppa on the plane with a lid too. Quite understandable and far more necessary than such lids often are, but two such lids in the space of a couple of hours did feel a tad excessive. I did enjoy my coffee at the airport though.

What would I do differently another time? Well other than try to pack less so there was more room in my bag for bigger supplies of snacking food I should probably do a bit more research when I have browsing time to spare in a supermarket. Part of the reason why I ended up with some of the stuff I did was because I kept running out of time in shops and there is a limit to how many things you can read the ingredients list of when you're in a hurry! I'd forgotten/not realised that some of my old travelling staples whilst wheat free weren't gluten free and I'm trying to stick to being GF as much as I can as it does seem to be helping. Having got into the habit of making so much of my food from scratch at home I've not needed to buy such things for a while. If I've got a 'go to' list of things to look out for that I know I can eat and are sensibly wrapped I can probably avoid the GF snack bars which ended up being the default option this time. I did treat myself to a box of Nairns stem ginger oatcakes though and refused to feel guilty about it. I usually avoid them for food miles reasons, but I reckon an annual treat is allowed! I'm still experimenting with recipes to try to recreate them at home but haven't quite cracked it yet, one day I'll make an acceptable substitute....

As ever making lifestyle adjustments take time and effort to put into place and become the 'new normal', after a while it will become second nature and then I'll be ready for the next change, whatever that may prove to be.


Anonymous said...

I almost always have a couple of packs of the ginger oatcakes in my bag for emergencies - but they do tend to end up as ginger crumbs as they inevitably fall to the bottom of the rucksack and get squashed!

Although come to think of it, that would be an easy way of making a biscuit base for a pudding!

Anna Dunford said...

Oooooh, now that has given me an idea, yesterday I made a chocolate torte with a filling very similar to the avocado chocolate mousse, and now I'm thinking some ginger in the base could be a Very Good Thing Indeed =)