It’s that time again: Time to pack up my things and fly across the World! This time it’s to Korea, for the Four Continents Championships, which is also being run as the Olympic test event for next years Winter Olympics.
I always have to be careful with my food while travelling. Packing endless bars, trail mixes, oatmeal packages, dried fruits, almond milks and peanut butter packets, but through my experience, travelling to small towns in Korea is even more difficult to prepare for. Normally, I would look online and find vegetarian or vegan restaurants, or organic grocery stores and I would take taxis there to get the food I needed for myself. But so far, I haven’t been able to find such places in Gangneung. So for this trip I contacted the Korean Organizing Committee for the competition, to ask them about what food they were planning to prepare for the athletes and I was so happy to be sent a meal plan that includes all the catered food for athletes, coaches and support staff at the Four Continents competition.
The International Skating Union and Organizing Committees always do an amazing job at our events; providing us with beautiful accommodations, friendly volunteers, organized services at the rink such as physio, doctors, ice captions, music announcers, and more. But sadly, one thing that is often overlooked is the food. When athletes are at home training, nutrition plays such an important role in allowing us to preform our best, and when we go to competitions we hope to feed our bodies and minds nutritiously so we can preform optimally. When I got the meal plan for this week, there was no whole grains offered, very little vegetables, no meat alternative for vegetarians or vegans (and there are quite a few skaters that don’t eat meat), and no dairy alternative for those with a lactose allergy or vegans. I find it very challenging to preform to the best of my ability when I’m faced with the challenge of “What will I feed my body today”. For example, most athletes don’t eat white bread at home, so when we go to a competition we don’t want to be starting to eat something unfamiliar. And so begins my food preparations.
This is a collection of my “breakfast” foods that I am bringing with me for the trip. I have some organic oatmeal, oatmeal/quinoa squeeze packs with organic raspberries, spelt bread with organic superfood greens peanut butter packs (and a dark chocolate one as a special treat) and multiple almond milk packages. I like the almond milk with my oatmeal, but also in my coffee. This should be sufficient for a week of breakfasts. I saw on the prepared meal plan that bananas will be offered with breakfast, so I’m planning on adding those to my breakfasts as well.
So this was a bit new to me. Normally I can get dinner at a local veg restaurant, or the catered meal offers tofu dishes, but since that doesn’t seem to be an option this time, I thought I’d try bringing my own chili. Although it’s not homemade, I tried to find the healthiest version of canned chili possible. I plan to add rice to this for my dinners. I see the catered dinner offers white rice. I thought of bringing brown rice packages, but cooking them could be a challenge since I don’t have a kitchen. I didn’t see any dark green leafy vegetables on the catered meal plan, so I found these organic baby food packs of kale and I figured mashed up organic greens is better then no greens at all! Inside those tinfoil wraps are frozen sweet potato and tempeh burritos. Those should be good for the first 3 days that I’m in Gangneung, as long as I put them in the fridge as soon as I arrive. I’m planning on being able to add salads with my dinners, as that is offered in the catered meal plan.
And my last collection of food is my snack pile. Almonds, bars, energy balls, apricots, coconut water, protein powders and some daily beet powder (I also have my Kronobar bars that I forgot to include in the photo). These snacks will help get me through the days, and prepare me to preform at my best. I have some cookies to bake tonight to add to my snack pile, because I have quite a sweet tooth and an entire week without sweets will be very challenging!
I also have all my classic essentials, such as nutritional yeast, chia seeds, hemp seeds, oregano oil, probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and Calcium/Magnesium.
So at the end of my food packing experience today, I’m left wondering how much my suitcase is going to weigh. I barely had room for all this stuff in my bag, along with my skating and training gear and equipment, yoga mat and yoga blocks, toiletries, costumes, clothes and shoes …. It is moments like this that I am truly thankful for Air Canada’s Super Elite program which allows me to check in 3 bags! And who knows, maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by veg options upon my arrival in Gangneung!