Friday, July 19, 2013

Travel Tips and a Thought About Food

Hey guys!

So kind of a short post today.  Hubby, the puppies, and I are hitting the road tomorrow morning, so I feel a need to clean the house today.  He used to laugh at me, but there's nothing nicer than coming home after a trip to a clean house and not having any chores to do! 

We are going to be spending tomorrow night with my parents and visiting with his friend, who just moved near my parents from Texas with his wife and baby. 

Here are my tips for traveling with pets:

Be prepared:

Pack extra food, a few toys, a water dish, an extra leash, and any medications, even if they only take them occasionally.  A blanket is a nice idea too.  If your dog is crate trained, bring along their crate or invest in a fabric travel crate.  We have a travel one for Big Boy and Trouble sleeps on a pillow in my parents' laundry room.  If your pet has a sensitive stomach, know that a change in water can bother them.  We usually pack a giant water bottle filled with tap water at home and slowly refill it with the local water as the dogs drink so that they can slowly get used to the new water.  There's also a doggy first aid kit that I bought at the local pet supply store.  I keep one at home and one in the car, just in case.  You can also find instructions for assembling your own online, if you prefer.

Know your pet:

If there's something that will stress your pet out, have a diversion or something else.  If they hate the car, take breaks.  Big Boy doesn't like to travel, so we do this and also play music in the car, since it seems to help.  He won't eat treats in the car and ignores toys.  Trouble is actually fantastic in the car, she hops right in and curls up and goes to sleep within five minutes.  Some cats will screech the entire time they are in a car, so if it's going to be a long trip with a jittery pet, talk to your vet before hand. 

Have a plan:

If you plan on staying overnight on the road, be aware that not every hotel accepts pets.  Calling ahead is a good idea.   Holiday Inns are a good bet, since they mostly seem to take pets, but do check in advance.

Be safe:

Both dogs have a "car seat" harness that attaches to a seatbelt.  It keeps them out of the drivers lap and out of the way of the airbags if anything were to happen.  Air bags can be as dangerous to a pet as to a baby.  Big Boy would sit in your lap while you drove if he could, so it's a big thing.  If you roll down the window for your dog, invest in doggy goggles at the pet supply store.  It prevents them from getting bugs or debris in their eyes.  At high speeds, they could go blind from an impact.  Never, ever let your dog run free near traffic.  Cars heat up remarkably fast in the summer sun.  Don't leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes, even with the windows cracked. 

And a though about food...

My husband works for the federal government, which means that he's currently being furloughed.  In other words, right now he's getting every Friday off, unpaid.  So our biggest earner is taking a 20% pay cut.  (Teachers are already underpaid, but that's another story.)  We've know this was coming for several months and have been preparing for it.  Our vacation was carefully planned and more modest that it would have been otherwise.  We've been making some smart cutbacks:  canceling cable and just watching Netflix and shows online, quitting the gym since neither of us were getting our money's worth because of our busy schedules, and we basically stopped eating out.  So we're ready, but we're also trying to be extremely careful for the next 11 weeks. 

And this got me thinking about ways to save on the grocery bill.  Healthy food really is more expensive, and I refuse to live on Ramen noodles or junk like I used to.  So I was kind of a vegetarian in college, a junk-food vegetarian, but still.  I played around with the idea of going vegetarian, or maybe even vegan, later on in grad school after I'd learned to eat healthy, but it never really got off the ground, in large part due to the extreme resistance of my boyfriend (now husband).  But he likes beans, and they're significantly cheaper than chicken or anything else.  And healthy, too.  If we were able to eliminate eggs, dairy, chicken, and fish from our grocery list, we'd save quite a bit.  So I've been paging through this new cookbook I picked up, called Vegan on the Cheap and I think maybe I could make it work for both of us taste-wise, health-wise, and save on the grocery bill, too.   He even signed off on the idea, as long as he can swap in chicken in place of tofu.  So I'm thinking that we could try it for a week and see what we think and how we feel.  Maybe it's something we could carry on with, and if not, it's okay too, since it's only an experiment. 

Here's my basic plan:

Breakfast:  I normally have cereal or eggs, and since both dairy milk and eggs would need to go, I need a new plan.  I could scramble some tofu or have soy or almond milk on my cereal, but they both sound a little foreign and I'm trying to make this week painless.  So, I'm thinking that cooking the soymilk into something would be less frightening.  My plan is to stick with banana and blueberries, but overtop oatmeal cooked with soymilk or almond milk.

Lunch:  I normally have a wrap or a salad.  I just need to change out my protein source here.  Instead of chicken, turkey, tuna, or eggs, I'm going to have hummus, baked tofu, a veggie burger, or peanut butter.  Still with whole grains and lots of veggies. 

Afternoon Snack:  I normally have yogurt and fruit, and the fruit is fine but I need something to replace the yogurt with.  There is soy yogurt and coconut milk yogurt but, like the soy milk, having it straight up sounds a little intimidating.  What if I hate the taste?  So I'm planning on using a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of nuts instead. 

Dinner:  A recipe from Vegan on the Cheap.  These will mostly be bean dishes, since my hubby likes beans but is balking at the idea of tofu or tempeh.  I suspect that he would eat them if they were combined with other stuff and not in big chunks, though.  I'm going to get one of those big bags of frozen grilled chicken strips for hubby.

Dessert:  I normally have fruit and Cool Whip, which probably isn't the best for you anyways.  I don't see any eggs or dairy on the ingredient list, but a web search suggests that it isn't vegan because of some of the additives, so I'm going to try to use up my tub this week and substitute something else during my experiment.  I've read that nondairy ice cream is actually pretty good, so I may get a carton of that as a treat.

I'm trying to avoid a lot of the processed replacement foods, since I like to focus on whole foods as much as I can.  Plus, it seems like the vegan counterparts to meat and dairy are still pretty expensive, which would defeat the purpose behind my experiment. 

What do you think?  Do you have any experience with trying a veggie diet?  Any advice or things I should definitely try?  Or avoid?  I promise lots of updates and food pics during my experiment next week.

Stay cool!



  1. Great tips! I've never tried a veggie diet but I'd love to see pics of your experience!


I love reading what you have to say! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

Athens Trip: Day 4- The Acropolis!

Hello again! Athens' crown jewel is really the Acropolis.  A series of temples dedicated to Athena, the patron Greek goddess of the cit...