Every summer, it has been a tradition to drive to the west coast, take a ferry to one of the islands off the west coast of Scotland, and campsurfbike for a week. This year, instead of staying in Scotland, we took a short ferry crossing to Northern Ireland instead. We had been invited to the wedding of one of my best friend’s in high school, which was in County Cork, Ireland, so we took that opportunity to make a holiday out of it. And, like any holiday, we ate! To celebrate today’s What I Ate Wednesday blog celebration, I’m going to show you how a primal eater like myself eats while away, aaaaannnnddd while camping.
p.s. Tomorrow, I will write about What We Did in Ireland, or WWD… only joking on the terrible acronym.
We have very meagre camping equipment, including our equipment for food preparation. We made great use of our one burner stove:
And before we left for our holiday, I bought an espresso maker to go on top of the stove, to replace the instant espresso we’ve used in the past. This thing was a life saver!!!!! I got to enjoy my usual bulletproof espresso every morning (sometimes twice…), and I’ve now started using it at home instead of our espresso machine. It makes more espresso…
To be primal and camp requires some preparation. Like I mentioned in my Primal Lessons post Primal in Transit, I did some meal prep. Well, actually Pat did. Every week, he cooks up a batch of curry, usually a Vindaloo, because he loves it. We use this as our dinner Tuesday and Thursday nights because we both run, and dinner is easy and quick to prepare afterwards. We always freeze a 1kg tub of the stuff, so instead of leaving it at home in the freezer, we put it in our cooler (coolbox), frozen, and took it with us camping. This frozen curry doubled as an extra ice pack to keep perishable food cold. It thawed on its own, and then we heated it up over our camping stove, and served it with rice.
I had also roasted a bunch of organic beet(root), and took it in a plastic container.
Primal while camping does involve some forward thinking, and being outside your food comfort zone. I quickly learned – after a two hour ferry crossing where the only paleo-friendly foods on board were water, sparkling water, fruit and tea – that I still needed to be organised and prepare food to have in advance, especially if we were on the road.
One way I did this was to chop up a bunch of raw vegetables and store them in plastic containers. We also bought many jars of gut-friendly sauerkraut, and tins of tuna and sardines to crack open for lunch. Combined either fish with mashed avocado, salt and pepper, and serve with the vegetables and roasted beetroot, and you had a cracking meal.
I also did this to prevent Pat, a Fruitarian in disguise, from continually reaching for banana after banana, or apple, or other fruit because it was easiest to eat quickly. Fruit is great, but not in excessive amounts.
Breakfasts were mainly cooked outside at our tent, in courses because we only had the one stove. Our first course was bulletproof espressos, quickly followed by fruit + coconut cream + Nutter Bomb (made some of those to take too!). When the Nutter Bombs were finished, I topped my fruit with peanut butter and more nuts. And yes, we took coconut milk with us – about 14 tins!
The second course would be scarmbled eggs and vegetables, and sometimes bacon.
A spoiler alert for my What We Did post: the weather wasn’t the greatest, so we did go out to eat and to food shop just to get out of the wind and perpetual drizzle.
At the Tesco in Sligo, we found various types of coconut oil, a large tub of ghee, and a bottle of coconut oil spray! My Tesco in Montrose doesn’t sell that much paleo-friendly saturated fats! I also bought some almond butter.
Our camping holidays usually involve Pat going off for a surf while I’m left to my own devices – and no, I don’t go with him. I’m a surf princess: I’ll only go if it’s warm. And it never is.
So instead of be a surf-widow, I went to the cute-looking Shells Café in Strandhill, just outside the town of Sligo. I initially went into their shop, to which the café was attached, and liked the look of the place so much, I requested a table and took my writing stuff inside. I worked on some pieces for Primal Eye Magazine, while enjoying lunch for one:
I loved the café so much, I returned the following day when Pat went for a surf, again to work on my writing. The menu at Shells caters to gluten-free patrons, and for their burgers, has the option of making the meal ‘naked’ instead: no bun, lettuc instead, and with a large salad on the side. Day two’s lunch was a naked Chicken burger with pesto and melted cheese, with a super salad:
Both days, Pat would come in a join me for lunch after his surf, and both days I had a cup of tea with a slice of gluten-free chocolate cake:
And, because I loved the shop, I bought a few treats to take with us, like this bottle of paleo magic:
Gluten-free pork sausages:
And not pictured, a sample platter of smoked mackerel, smoked salmon and smoked trout to take on the road with us.
I definitely loved Shells Café. Their menu had typical items, like Fish n Chips, Sandwiches, soup, burgers, but they also catered to those who love food, follow a specific diet, and appreciate something different – me! The staff were also very friendly and the service was excellent both days 🙂
As if my Shells find wasn’t enough, the day we left, I went to the Strandhill People’s Market, a small farmer’s market held in a hangar at the Sligo airport. It had the typical farmer’s market fare – fresh fruit and veg (which I bought), burgers, popcorn, sweets – but also had some different food vendors. I picked up some delicious paella for Pat to eat post 50 mile cycle, and some prawn and chicken salad rolls for myself.
If you’ve already guessed it, I was a bit lenient while away. I was on holiday after all, so I allowed myself to be more liberal in my food choices, but still stuck to the Primal Template about 75% of the time. To give you an idea, at home, I’m about 95%.
My friends Lori and Andy’s wedding was where I was most flexible, but with good reason: Lori appreciates good food just as much as a I do, so her wedding was worth it.
After the ceremony, we enjoyed a champagne reception with canapés, Prosecco with elderflower cordial, Ikea cookies I ate about 7!) and Lori’s homemade wedding treats:
Dinner was an experience! The menu alone was a treat:
A few of our plates:
By the end of dinner, we all were so stuffed, we had food babies. We had also seen the ‘see reverse’ bit at the bottom of the menu, and discovered the feast wasn’t over!
I walked into the castle to this spread:
Lori also made her own wedding cake:
I had all of the desserts except the rosewater and pistacchio pavlova, and then was properly stuffed!
If you’re wondering how I felt post-wedding, non-paleo blowout, by midnight that night, I had an upset stomach. I also had some irritation in my mouth from all the sugar, and the next morning, I had a sugar hangover, not an alcohol one – I’m not at all a big drinker, and had my alcohol earlier in the evening. In the days that followed, my bowels didn’t move as well as they usually do. Lori and Andy also gave us some leftovers to take with us on the road, and whenever I enjoyed the desserts, I got a repeat of upset stomach. Would I change anything from that day and not eat all those delicious foods? Nope. In all my time as a primal eater, I’ve never had a blowout like this before; I’m actually quite disciplined with my diet, with the occasional non-paleo food here and there. It was my friend’s wedding, a friend that really appreciates good food and went to all this effort to plan a celebration for her and her husband, and all her special guests. I don’t at all regret the blowout.
Despite camping and being on the road, we enjoyed much delicious, quality food in our travels. Ireland has some great food choices; my friends too 🙂