Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paleo Eating at a Music Festival

The last thing that most people are thinking about when they attend a music festival is what they are going to eat for the next few days. There are much bigger decisions to be whether to see Kenny Rogers or Bon Iver (I chose a little of both), whether to take a nap in the afternoon so you can stay awake until 3:30 in the morning dancing your little heart out to Skrillex (I chose the nap...and the dancing) and whether anyone else will be dressed like Shera (okay, I didn't dress like Shera this year, that was a couple of years ago, but it was a big hit). Following a Paleo diet, though, I am forced to do a little more planning before heading out of my home territory for any length of time to ensure I have the tools I need to eat a healthy, wholesome diet while away from home.

Me and my Ironman

I have learned that a lot of people treat vacations, or any trip away from home, as an excuse to take a break from their healthy eating habits. I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to take what is available and making it work for me, though, and I hope that from this and my post on Eating Paleo at Disney, that you will pick up a few tips you can use on your next vacation. It definitely takes a bit more work and planning, but I believe it is completely possible to stick to your Paleo diet anywhere you go...even a four-day music festival on a Tennessee farm.

If you have never heard of Bonnaroo, it is an annual music and arts festival about an hour outside of Nashville in Manchester, TN. This was my fourth Bonnaroo and I love it more every year. I have gotten to hear the Avett Brothers sing our first dance song, "January Wedding" twice, I've heard the Beach Boys play "Kokomo", witnessed the reunion of Buffalo Springfield, danced into the wee hours with Deadmau5, and made lifelong memories with some of my closest friends. 

Bonnaroo has plenty of great music, but not a lot of Paleo options when it comes time to fuel all that dancing. We were lucky enough to be staying in a RV this year, which made things much easier. But even if you are tent camping, you can stock your cooler with fresh fruits and veggies and cook most of these same meals on a grill or camp stove using a frying pan. Our whole group (all 5 of us) went grocery shopping together a few days before we left and picked up everything we would need for four days of breakfasts, lunches and snacks. We knew some of our meals would be eaten inside of the main music venue and you can only bring in small snacks so we didn't plan to cook all of our meals in the RV. Here is a little recap of what I ate throughout the weekend...

Breakfast: This was made exponentially easier by the fact that we had an RV with a full kitchen. Two mornings, I made Everyday Paleo's Southwestern Frittata. Well, the first morning it was a Southwestern  Scramble because the RV rental group had to come by and show me how to use the oven. But we got it all straightened out. The other mornings we had bacon and eggs with onions, spinach and salsa and/or fruit with almond butter and coconut milk.

Lunch: We usually made our way back to the RV for a break sometime in the afternoon. I brought along plenty of lettuce and salad fixins so I usually threw together a salad with lettuce, deli meat, onion, blueberries, cucumber and homemade dressing. Nothing fancy, but it was tasty and gave me the energy boost I needed. We did purchase lunch one afternoon. We found a burrito stand and requested just the burrito filling served in a bowl. So we got chicken, fresh pico de gallo and guacomole in a bowl. I think they even gave us a bit extra since we weren't having the burrito. I have found you can do the same thing with pretty much any sandwich or rice dish, you just have to ask!

Paleo version of a naked burrito - chicken, salsa and guacamole

Snacks: This was a pretty easy one because we could purchase or make everything ahead of time. For this trip, we brought along nuts, dried apricots, raisins, apples, bananas, berries, homemade jerky, almond butter, carrots, cucumbers and hummus. I am on the fence with hummus, I know beans aren't the most nutritious food, but I think there are much worse things I could be eating and I don't eat them often. Plus, hummus is yummus! We could only bring small snacks into the main music venue so we would throw a couple pieces of fruit, some jerky, dried fruit and nuts into baggies and pack them in the Camelbak. The Camelbak was a lifesaver because it can get HOT in Tennessee in June and the Bonnaroo folks are nice enough to provide tons of free filling stations.

Apricots and Walnuts

Dinner: We were treated to some awesome dinners by my Ironman (aka "Grillmaster"). On our first night we grilled kabobs with steak and vegetables. A few nights later, as we sat outside the RV and listened to Phish close out the weekend in the distance we dined on grilled chicken, poblanos and peaches with a side of guacamole. Pretty much a perfect end to the weekend. We also purchased a few of our dinners and I found another great vendor, I believe the name was "Bayou Billy's". They had a sausage sandwich and I requested my sandwich without the bun. They asked if I wanted rice and I said that I only wanted meat and vegetables. When they heard that they offered me some extra zucchini and squash, which doesn't even come on the sandwich. I happily accepted and couldn't even finish the huge plate of food they gave me. Again, most vendors can make adjustments to suit your needs, you just need to think a little bit creatively.
Sausage, peppers, onions, squash and zucchini
The Grillmaster at work
There is definitely much more to music festivals than just the food, but by thinking ahead just a bit, you can easily stick to the nutritious diet you follow at home. Food = energy = not missing your favorite late night act!