You can be sick of traveling, but there's just no need to travel sick. I was in Tampa for a few days and didn't want to risk eating restaurant food...so I hit up the local supermarket and got to work. I say work but I'm that oddball who actually enjoys a challenge like clarifying butter in a hotel bathroom.
The whole process took about 15 minutes and left me with two cups of clean grass-fed butter to get me through a busy long weekend.
I spent a lot of time traveling and vacationing with a broken gut. Sometimes it ain't pretty and it's very often uncomfortable. In addition to the physical stress of traveling, there is also social pressure to eat at restaurants, and maybe even a slight nostalgic desire to joyfully flog my insides with standard restaurant food. How many time have you heard one of these?
I don't know about you, but if I ate at a restaurant every time someone tried goading me into it, I'd spend most of my life on the floor, near a toilet, curled into the fetal position. While this seems like an inescapable dilemma to someone just learning the ropes, it's not. Choosing health is not about willpower; it's about planning ahead. A well-nourished body is ready and willing to make good decisions and, for me, not eating at restaurants is almost always a good decision. While less is generally more, your trigger foods are the exception. Less still probably means some quality alone time with your porcelain pal, John.
Mission: Clean butter
From my previous post, Slow-Cooker Clarified Butter:
Butter is a healing and nourishing food but, like many people with autoimmune conditions, I don't do well on dairy. Enter, clarified butter. Clarified butter, or ghee--although technically different things, these terms are used interchangeably in the US--is just pure butter fat. The pastured cow butter I typically buy is 84 percent butter fat, meaning that the other 16 percent of the stick is water, salt, milk proteins, lactose, etc. If you experience digestive distress from dairy products, give ghee a chance; it just might rock your world.
Find the good stuff. If you know your grass-fed butter, or you can read labels, you'll find it at most grocery stores. If you're wondering how one feeds grass to butter, google it.
Mise en place
Put the butter in the pot. Plug in the pot. Turn the pot on. Melt the butter and don't disturb it. With this method, you want to avoid stirring the butter throughout the whole process. Don't help entropy.
As the butter melts, some of the undesirables sink to the bottom and some float to the top. Gently and persistently skim the floating solids and discard, trying not to stir up what lies beneath. A hot pot like this one automatically turns off when it gets hot. You may need to run through several heat/skim cycles but be sure to stop as soon as the surface is skimmed clean.
Very slowly and carefully drizzle the clarified butter into storage containers. (Best Western coffee cups are always in style.) When you get close to the milk solids at the bottom of the pot make sure you pour even slower to prevent them from tagging along. At some point, you just have to cut your losses and leave a little butter fat behind--this is survival, not perfection...
When you're done pouring, you'll have something like this--a rather clean cup or two of clarified butter and a hot pot of mostly milk and water. The former will be safe at room temperature or in a microfridge for the duration of your stay. The latter is probably best poured down the drain along with lots of warm water.
Store and enjoy
This may look like a used applesauce container to you but to me it looks like the perfect ghee storage vessel--I think there's a proverb or two buried in there. Use what you have, get creative, and relish your role as the owner of your own well-being.
Having read this far, you may be wondering why I didn't just bring clarified butter with me. Well, that's a good question worthy of further discussion.
First, is clarified butter a gel? Is it a paste? Is it a solid? That depends--how hot is your suitcase and how curious is your TSA agent? On a recent trip, just after enjoying my complimentary full-body massage, I queried my handler and his manager about traveling with fats.
Technically, they told me, both clarified butter and coconut oil are permitted as carry-on luggage. While a jar of fat is almost always a source of great fascination to the security agents, I have yet to have one confiscated in my travels. Silly as it may seem, the agents confirmed that refrigerating the fat before traveling reduces the likelihood of it raising concern. Communication, patience, and a clean-shaven face also seem to help.
Whether you choose to pack it, make it, or buy it at your final destination, clean and healthy fat will help you stay energized and sated in your travels. I hope you find your own way to become an empowered traveler, and maybe we will cross paths on a mountain path or a warm sandy beach someday.
Happy and healthy trails,
I'm Ethan, a guy whose life used to be controlled by ulcerative colitis. As I systematically tested diets, treatments, and all types of health advice to heal my colon, I learned a lot about my own biology and also how to cook without compromise. I'm here to share the best (and sometimes worst) of that journey with you.