New Job & Healthy Work Trips

Hey guys – so big announcement – I found out my new position (still within my same company); I’ll be in a Deepwater Facilities Engineer role starting in January!  I’m both very excited but a bit scared, in a good way.  The project I’ll be working on is in the Gulf of Mexico, just south of New Orleans, but I’ll still be based in Houston.  I will be in a different office, so that will change my schedule up a bit.  I expect to be quite busy in 2014 with both a new role and Ironman training, but luckily David and I have talked about it and he knows to expect some late nights and that I might need extra help around the house and in the kitchen.  Thank goodness I have a husband who is my #1 teammate!

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{ At a friend’s wedding recently }

So on to this week – I had a unique opportunity to go on a business trip to see the project structure in a fab yard in Corpus Christi.  It was only an overnight trip, but it made me think a lot about my travel habits and how I’ve learned to keep my travels {somewhat} healthy.  After 8 years in the oil & gas industry I know that my diet is a bit foreign to most of the people I work or travel with – my menu choices have been called “rabbit food” more than once.  Traveling to large, diverse cities is no issue, but when I go to smaller towns, many of them simply don’t know that that fresh fruits and vegetables exist.  Traveling and finding fresh foods is quite difficult!  {I know Jesse could probably commiserate with me on this!}  Corpus is no different  – as one coworker observed “everything here is coated in cheese”. 

Anyway, I normally pack for these trips expecting I will need to fend for myself and bring extra food to suffice where the restaurants fall short.  That’s the great thing about travelling domestically – if you can make room in your carry-on or suitcase, there’s a lot you can bring.  For the two-day trip, I brought a banana, clementines, a snack mix of trail mix bulked up with cereal in a Ziploc baggie, a Kind bar, green tea bags, Nuun and some homemade oatmeal for breakfast in a Ziploc baggie.  Some other great ideas depending on your space or weight constraints might be plain popcorn & trail mix in a baggie, individually wrapped dark chocolates, dates/dried figs, or Lara bars.

I ate one of the snack bags on the plane there so I wouldn’t be too starving at dinner.  I knew what restaurant we were going to beforehand and saw from reading ahead on the menu that it was mainly bar food, so any veg choices were limited.  Still, it helps to read the menu ahead of time to ease any ordering anxiety when you get there.  I was able to get a large salad that actually wasn’t too bad and quesadilla with “light” cheese (I only ate a couple slices) for dinner one night.

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{ Morning hip, core, and yoga }

In the morning we had to leave for the site visit at 6 AM, so I did my abs/core work plus yoga from 4:40-5:30 AM.  I had brought my yoga towel which was a GREAT idea – a light alternative to bringing a yoga mat and it made me want to stretch and do planks since I’d brought it.  I also installed the YDL app (yogadownload) on my phone.  It’s $2.99 or so and very worth it to have 20-25 minute yoga classes at your fingertips.  There are at least a 100 classes to choose from so I searched “morning yoga” and found a twisty morning flow I really enjoyed.  I’ve also searched for running flows, evening yoga, etc. and have been happy with the short, at-home flows they have.

I had brought my own mixed oatmeal to the hotel; I’m glad I did as the other options were eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. and sugary cereal.  While getting the hot water for my oatmeal, the server commented she couldn’t believe how good it smelled – yep, homemade oatmeal mixes are far superior to any sugary bagged ones!  I had mixed 1/2 c. oat bran, flax, 1 scoop vanilla whey, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice (brought it with a plastic bag then used the hotel bowl), and it was SO delicious.  I also ate a banana & some green tea for breakfast.  This amazingly held me over until 11:30 AM, which almost never happens!

The only time I had few options was at the cafeteria-style lunch at the fab yard.  It was a special celebration on completion of the project, and they were serving steaks.  For these situations, there’s not a lot of choice, but I was able to get a plain baked potato and load up on the salad bar.

While my food options were a little less than ideal, I still came home from the trip not feeling stuffed or that I had to compromise my eating habits, and I never felt awkward.  You guys also probably realize that I’m passionate about nutritious, clean food and love to spread the word.  The blog is one way where I can write freely, but real life is often different and requires delicacy at times.  I’ve found that people become the most interested and inquisitive about diet when I don’t make a big deal about it.  I don’t need to state that I’m ordering a veggie meal; I just order it and if they ask why, I talk about how I love veggies and how great clean eating makes me feel.  I find that showing excitement towards my food choices instead of meeting a menu with a frown on my face often shows people that the diet I’m eating makes me happy, healthy and excited for life.  Then if they ask I can share with them what it is and how delicious it is. 

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{ David’s fish & kale salad creation left and a typical side salad right }

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6 thoughts on “New Job & Healthy Work Trips

  1. Congrats on your new job!!

    I think it’s really sad that it’s so hard to find healthy and nutritious foods in some places and that the majority of our population is poisoning themselves with junk food. Kudos to you for taking it on upon yourself to pack your own food. 🙂

  2. Congrats on the new position!

    I can definitely relate to the issues with travel and eating, although you seem to have a better handle on it than I do. Although I frequently have good intentions to do so, I rarely bring stuff with me to eat. I also tend to go for some less-than-healthy options at times, just to fill me up (french fries, etc.) As for business lunches/dinners with others, I too find that the best way to handle myself is to just order and not make a big deal out of it. If I have advance warning, looking up menus ahead of time definitely helps.

    And since you were just in Corpus, I’ll go ahead and call out the Corpus Christi airport as having the worst food options out of all of the airports that I regularly travel to. Worse than Jackson, MS, where there is at least a Hudson News with some granola bars and bags of nuts.

    1. Thank you – yeah, I’ve grown to realize that I’m much happier (less grumpy) if I bring my own food! I didn’t get to spend much time at the Corpus airport so I didn’t see what restaurants were available, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it’s pretty bad. I think I did see that at the news stand where I bought a water there were some Kind bars and trail mixes though, so maybe they are moving up!

  3. Congrats on the new gig, Brittany! So exciting!

    I traveled a lot at my previous job and did the same things… packed healthy food, green tea, hydration, bars, running shoes and my lululemon travel yoga mat (it folded perfectly to fit in the bottom of my suitcase!). My coworkers thought I was nuts (one guy was shocked I was able to take an avocado on the plane) and occasionally made fun of me for getting up super early to run or practice yoga, but I was so thankful I did. Having the gear and nutrition with made it much easier to say no to late nights out and junk food!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one that does all those things! It makes a world of difference to have at least some of your normal diet/routine while traveling. Otherwise you just feel crappy the whole time! Avocados are a great idea, they go on everything 🙂

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