Hey guys, today I wanted to go over something that I get asked a lot. How do you stay keto when you’re traveling?
Since my husband and I travel a lot so back when I first started keto I didn’t know what I would do for our upcoming trip. I sat at my desk on the computer for hours searching the internet and looking in all the keto groups I was in for suggestions on what kind of restaurants I should go to and what types of foods I could eat. The problem was that all the suggestions or the keto restaurant guides I came across listed things I wasn’t willing to eat. So I was pretty much on my own when it came to learning what I should order. After hours of searching and not really finding any good answers. I figured I would stick with the basics, like eggs, avocado, bacon, steak, and vegetables, that should be easy enough, right?
The time for our trip came and I wasn’t sure if there was anything at the airport for me to have so I just ate at home before we left and fasted the rest of the day we flew because we had already decided to have IHOP for breakfast since they served keto-friendly breakfast foods. The next morning, my husband and I are sitting at a booth in IHOP and I don’t even look at the menu because I already knew what I was going to order. The waitress comes over and takes our order. I was so proud of myself because I knew that bacon, eggs, and avocado are keto-friendly foods, so I had ordered an omelet with just these ingredients in it, I even told them not to put the hashbrowns on my plate so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them along with a black coffee. After breakfast, we are back in our hotel room getting ready to go out. It’s been about an hour since we finished eating and I like to check my sugar and ketone levels to make sure I stay on track. So I’m standing and the desk in our hotel room I prick my finger and put the blood on the test strips for the sugar level meter and then the ketone meter, I’m anxiously waiting the 3 seconds it takes to get my results. And what do I see, a sugar level of 91 mg/dL and a ketone reading of 0.4 mmol/L, I was totally shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How could my levels be so off, I mean I only had an omelet with bacon and avocado and a black coffee. On average my ketone readings were 1.5 mmol/L and my sugar levels were 79 mg/dL I couldn’t understand what I had eaten that would make them so different I mean when I make the same omelet at home I don’t have this issue. After talking with my husband we decided we would go back to IHOP the next morning for breakfast so I could try and figure out what happened.
So the next morning, my husband and I are sitting in another booth at IHOP again. This time I look through my menu only to be totally surprised as I read the words “made with a splash of buttermilk & wheat pancake batter” in small writing at the top of the section for omelets. I had no idea they put pancake batter in their omelets, this had to be the reason for my reading to be so off the day before. Our waitress comes over to our table ready to take our order so I decided to ask her about the batter in the omelets. She tells me yes they do add it, it’s how their omelets are so big and fluffy. At this point I was so angry, I was angry at myself for never seeing that small writing about adding pancake batter and I was angry at IHOP for having the writing so small in the first place, I felt like I had been tricked. Now I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to make a scene, so instead of being rude to our waitress I bite my tongue and asked if I could have an omelet made from real cracked eggs without any pancake batter added to it. She tells me that yes I can but it would make my omelet smaller, I tell her that’s fine and again I ask to not have the hashbrowns and just a black coffee to drink. After breakfast, we go back to our hotel room and I nervously waited for an hour to pass so I can check my levels. Again I stand at the desk prick my finger and add blood to the test strips. By now I was so impatient it felt like the 3 minutes took a lifetime before results showed up on the little meters. This time my results were so much better, my ketones were 1.1 mmol/L and my sugar was 80 mg/dL it wasn’t the results I usually had but they were so much better than the day before.
After this experience, I decided that from now on, I needed to have a better understanding of what was offered in the restaurants I was eating from because it’s shocking to learn that something you thought was a keto-friendly dish, really isn’t and it's very upsetting when you learn it the hard way by getting kicked out of ketosis.
Once we got home from our trip I was still in disbelief about the pancake batter being in omelets that I went on my keto Facebook groups to ask if anyone else had known this, there were people who have been doing keto for many years that had no idea there was pancake batter in the omelets at IHOP, I mean they were floored. This made me even more determined to find a better way because if people who have been doing keto for years didn’t know about this then the odds were that a lot more people could be unknowingly sabotaging themselves when eating out.
My plan to make sure this didn’t happen to me again was to create a list of restaurants I could eat at based on the places we went because the keto restaurant guides I looked at before my trip had me so shocked by some of the foods it had listed on it. I mean can you believe there is a keto restaurant guide out there that recommends eating bread on it, I mean how is bread a keto option? That’s when I was more determined than ever to create a truly keto-friendly restaurant guide that I could use. For each restaurant in my Keto Restaurant Guide, I went through each item on the menu that was listed online and looked at the ingredients and the nutrition facts, and compiled a comprehensive list with suggested ways to order to make a dish keto-friendly. I know it isn’t always easy to find something keto-friendly at every restaurant and some options will be more keto-friendly than others but it’s always better to know ahead of time if I’m eating something that might not be 100% the strict Keto I usually eat.