Outdoor-adventure photographer Jeff Brockmeyer highlights five daily habits that allow him to effectively take a plant-based diet on the road
After a 4 a.m. wake-up and an hour drive south to the Mexican border, Jeff Brockmeyer marches into the Tijuana International Airport’s TSA checkpoint officers, unzips his trusty cooler bag, and presents 120 ounces of pure, organic orange juice — loaded with Vitamin C and ready for inspection.
Traveling from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas means a busy day with international borders and airport security checks before arriving in an unfamiliar land. Brockmeyer, however, has zero intention of letting hectic travel negatively impact his healthy diet. While vegan, he is first and foremost a dedicated produce-juicer who consumes three-quarters of all meals as fresh juice.
Brockmeyer, 35, is a talented and respected outdoors and action sports photographer who’s made a career out of traveling the world. That is, until two years ago, when Brockmeyer’s on-the-road lifestyle came to screeching halt. Health issues related to Crohn’s disease forced his hand to make a life-changing choice: Undergo a major surgery to remove an inflamed part of his intestine; or begin a series of chemotherapy treatments. Either way, traveling for work was out of the picture and Brockmeyer felt that he was losing grip on the life he had worked hard to create.
Then, lying awake one night in the hospital, Brockmeyer realized a third option: Adapt to a 100 percent plant-based diet. He made a choice to forgo doctor’s recommendations and committed to implementing the diet, regardless of the extra effort.
Today, Brockmeyer is back to living his life, traveling to the fullest and making breathtaking images. Only now, he has become a master of planning out plant-based meals. Because of the high health stakes to make a mobile juice-based diet work, we needed to hear his best tips for taking such a high-health, high-effort production on the road or into the air.
Back in Cabo, Brockmeyer hits the ground and immediately finds a local market to stock up on all of the fresh fruits and vegetables needed for his week ahead. With necessities in hand, we connect in the evening to unlock a few keys to not sacrificing healthy habits while traveling. In short, the recipe to success starts with proper planning and following through on a few routines. Healthy habits are a byproduct of healthy routines. Brockmeyer’s best advice for health on the road? Plan for it by making new routines—and stick to them!
Brockmeyer’s 5 Routines for a Healthy Travel Diet
Do Your Research: As soon as a trip is booked, find the nearest grocery store. Plan the meals you will be shopping for based on what foods will be available in that area. Upon arrival in Cabo San Lucas, Brockmeyer already had the name and location of the nearest market and wasted zero time stockpiling produce. “The first thing I type in on Google is the city I’m going to and ‘organic farmer’s market,’ Brockmeyer says. “Organic and local is my favorite. It tastes the best and is the most nutrient-dense. That’s what I strive for.”
Prepare at Home: The day before hitting the road, prepare all of the meals needed for the entire day of travel. For Brockmeyer this includes around 120 ounces of juice and a variety of dried fruits. His strategy here is to have enough nutrients prepared for an entire day regardless of what it will entail. “I’ll take about two hours the night before preparing,” he says. “I’ll make my juice, cut up different fruit and store everything in the fridge. I always pack four jars of juice and some backup dried fruit so that I can get through an entire day, in case there is an emergency. Even if it is a two-hour flight, bring snacks for the whole day.”
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$120 in local organic freshly picked produce. This will last about a week. If you have farmers markets in your area, I highly recommend supporting them. Not only is their quality of produce far superior, but it is usually way cheaper too! Food is medicine. Pills are not medicine, pills are poison. Choosing to pay your farmers for the life force of nutrient dense organic produce keeps the system alive that is designed to keep us alive. Farmers are our key to radiant health. Monsanto would love to pump you up full of GMO corn and soy based processed crap, Merk would love to pump you up full of aluminum and formaldehyde vaccines to give you autism, Tyson would love to pump you full of hormone infused chicken thighs, AND….. your local organic farmers would love to pump you up full of the best nutrients in earth grown by the sun and the king himself to give you a thriving and perfectly healthy body. Let’s give the local growers our support to keep on going so Costco and Walmart aren’t the only options to get organic food in 10 years. I’ve drink 200oz of fresh Valencia orange juice in the past two days and I’ve never felt better. The cure to all these bull crap diseases is to stop listening to your doctor recite research studies and prescribe you medicine, listen to your heart, to nature, it is listening to the healers, and the self healers who have put in the hard as hell work, regenerating their bodies the hard way, all on the one tool given to us to keep us healthy and bring us back to health. The Food! It’s the food. It’s everything! I’m about to blow a fuse out of my brain socket I’m so pumped up on 64 oz of OJ. Thanks for listening to my rants. Happy holidays may the juice be with you. 🙏🏻
Pack Accordingly: Brockmeyer prepares two bags to ensure his healthy travel is a success. One bag is typically a carry-on cooler containing the prepared juices and cut dried fruits for his travel. This bag is also equipped with coldpacks and a doctor note confirming his diet. Although he has never had any issues with TSA while flying domestically, he has been asked to present a doctor note during international travel inspections. The second bag gets checked and contains all of the tools necessary to prepare meals while on the road. Example packlist includes: knives, cutting boards, bowls, strainers, a juicer or blender and lots of storage such as water bottles, grocery bags, mason jars and plastic containers.
“I make sure all of my stuff is extremely organized, and I bring a doctor note in addition to saying that I have a health condition,” Brockmeyer says. “It has never been an issue. The other thing I do is take everything I would need for an extended period of time.”
Groceries on Arrival: The number one biggest tip and most important step: Grocery shop as soon as you arrive to your destination. Brockmeyer can’t stress the importance of this step enough. If you are traveling with others, don’t feel awkward about breaking off to shop or asking the group to make the stop with you. Either way, it is imperative that you take responsibility for your diet and that means buying the ingredients you need. “If you want to live a healthy life and travel,” he says, “the first thing you have to do is go to the grocery store no matter where you go! You don’t go to a restaurant, you don’t go to a gas station. You go to a grocery store and get what you need. You are in charge of your body.”
Prepare Meals Daily: Each morning Brockmeyer prepares all of his meals, this requires setting aside the time in advance. If you know you won’t have time to cook your meals directly before you eat them, plan ahead and prepare for your day. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. “You need to prep your own food,” Brockmeyer insists. “If you will be on the go all day, wake up early and make all of your meals. That is your routine.”
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