In today’s episode of The Whole Circle Podcast, Tracey fills us in on how she managed to travel to America for a month-long holiday and continue to live additive-free.

Tracey and Jo both travelled to America recently, although separately as Tracey was travelling with her family and Jo travelled over a bit later on by herself, to attend the doTERRA Convention in Salt Lake City.

Because of that planned business trip, Tracey and her family decided to incorporate a month-long holiday to America at the same time.  They had a week in Salt Lake City for the doTERRA Convention and then just over 3 weeks travelling around America.

Tracey’s itinerary

  1. They flew into LA and spent 5 days in Hollywood.
  2. Next was Salt Lake City where they spent a week for the doTERRA Convention.
  3. Next was back to LA where they had a few days at Santa Monica Boulevard and four days in Disneyland.
  4. Next was Houston where they went to NASA and saw Taylor Swift in concert.
  5. Next was Las Vegas where they also did an overnight trip to the Grand Canyon.
  6. Next was Hawaii.
  7. Then home.

An absolutely AMAZING trip!

Part of her biggest fear about America was not the lack of gun control, but what food they would be able to eat over there.  You hear so many horror stories about the food portions being so big and upsized, or fatty, sugary foods or lots of fast food.  So, she worried about where she would be able to eat, especially additive-free.

Were the horror stories true?  No, absolutely not.  They found eating additive-free really easy.

Hints and Tips

  1. Stay in Airbnb’s as it makes a difference to how you could eat as you can cook for yourself. If you stay in hotels it would be really hard to live additive-free, not to mention expensive too.
  2. When you’re settled into your Airbnb, Google what organic or wholefoods you can source close by, whether it’s from a supermarket or restaurant. By doing this, most of the time Tracey found organic or wholefoods within walking distance from where they were staying.  It was really simple.  Over in America, you have a chain of stores called Wholefoods Market which are easily found and stock everything you can think of.  Even Target stores over there have a supermarket in them and they stock lots of organic food.
  3. If you have found a good restaurant, order enough so you can take the food away in a doggy-bag for dinner or lunch the next day.
  4. When they travelled from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon they shopped at the Wholefoods Market prior and stocked up on what they would need food-wise to get them there and back. Things like fruit, plain potato chips, coffee, juice etc.

The key is to be prepared and do your research and you can easily source what you need.

They didn’t eat perfectly the whole time they were away, but they ate in a way that was comfortable for them.

A funny story……Tracey’s girls were nagging her that they didn’t want to eat additive-free the whole trip.  So, Tracey promised them that they could try American food.  The girls tried Goldfish which is chock full of annatto, so Tracey made sure she got the smallest packet they could find of them.  They also tried some cereals which Tracey reckons were just sugar and food colouring.

In terms of eating out to sample American food, the only thing that came to mind was Taco Bell.  They were in Salt Lake City, Jo is with them, and they decide to go to Taco Bell for dinner. WOW!!!!! Tracey doesn’t even know how to describe it.

So, let’s set the scene…. they walk into Taco Bell and it was totally empty which should have been their first hint! Haha

They went up to order and the first alarm bell went off for Jo when she looked at Tracey’s face of pure uncertainty of what they could possibly order from the menu.

The second alarm bell was when Jo said to the lady at the cash register ‘do you have any vegetarian options’ and her response was ‘huh?’ haha!

The third alarm bell should have been the cost because nothing was more than a few dollars.

Jo then ordered vegetarian nachos which was $2.40 (or something like that), which was soooo cheap.  They didn’t even manage to get back to the table and their order was ready…. way too fast!  Tracey’s husband, Craig, bought the food over to the table and put it down in front of Jo and Tracey and they took one look at it and pretty much laughed!

Tracey ordered nachos as well, but she hadn’t ordered the bean version, hers were ‘meant’ to be meat but she actually doesn’t know what was on top! Tracey picked up a chip which was like cardboard (tasted like it too), and it had all this ‘cheese sauce’ running everywhere.  She took one bite, which they insta-storied (so get watching their insta-stories) and she just couldn’t eat any more.  Even her daughters couldn’t eat what they ordered, nor Craig and he eats anything!

They then noticed a dishevelled man sleeping on top of a table outside who they think was homeless.  They thought they would see if at least he would eat it and he said ‘no thanks’ haha even he wouldn’t eat it!

They threw it in the bin and left but they were still starving so they walked about 5 minutes and came across a big organic store (think the size of Kmart), right near where they were attempting to eat rubbish! Haha.  So, they went and bought food in there and went home and cooked it.

All Jo wanted during the trip was a juice as she’s been drinking a lot of juice lately.  In Australia, you can buy fresh juice everywhere at places such as Boost Juice.  So, one morning in America they went into Wholefoods Market to get some food and next door was Jamba Juice which Jo was excited about.

She was checking out the menu and noticed that they all seemed to be syrup based but she found a Kale blended juice that sounded alright.  She had a sip and it tasted just like sugar.  She asked the attendant ‘do you have syrup in these juices?’ and the response was ‘oh yes, we base them off lemonade’!  Consequently, Jo was annoyed.  They also had sourdough pretzels and she figured that whilst she’s in America she has to get one…. but then she couldn’t eat it as it was so stale and coated in sugar all over the top.

Funny stories aside, overall Tracey found it fairly simple to eat additive-free, especially given they were staying in Airbnb’s which made it easy to cook up their own food.  The best part was being able to easily source nitrate free bacon.  It’s everywhere in America and is the norm.

Is America any worse than Australia for additives and preservatives?

Tracey thinks America and Australia are the same.  Education is lacking in all of those areas.  Foods that were convenient and quickly available were more expensive, just like here in Australia.  Of course, organic is going to be more expensive, but when you can even get organic in Target, you can’t say convenience is an issue because convenience was definitely not an issue for them.

Tracey actually found it easier to source wholefood organic produce in America than she does in Hobart where she lives.

Additive-free plane travel hints and tips

Prior to travelling, Tracey had packed all the food they needed.  She didn’t want to rely on plane food as let’s face it, it’s usually not good and she didn’t want to eat it.  Here’s a big myth buster, you can take whatever you want food-wise on the plane, but you can’t take it through customs so you must put in the bin as soon as you get off the plane.  They had eaten all their fresh or cooked food on the plane and the only thing they took off the plane was a sealed packet of bliss ball bars and the authorities didn’t mind about those.

Make sure for carry-on luggage the liquid you are carrying is less than 100ml per item.  You could take coconut water or coconut milk in little 100ml containers so that you can make your coffee/tea/drink with that if you wanted to.  Jo took Velvet Lattes on the plane with her and made those up with the milk supplied on the plane which was completely fine.

Jo also took a cooler bag in her carry-on luggage with an ice brick which contained more than 100ml of liquid in it and the authorities didn’t have a problem with that.  Tracey had someone in customs tell her that a bottle of frozen water is completely fine to take on the plane, so because she didn’t have a cooler bag brick, they just froze a bottle of water and used that to keep their food cool.

What did Tracey make to take on the plane for the flight over to America? 

  1. 12-18 mini zucchini slices, which were about the size of a muffin.
  2. A big salad which included a lot of greens, spinach leaves, roasted pumpkin, nuts and seeds. She had packed a salad each for her and her husband.
  3. They took drink bottles and continuously filled them up whilst on the plane.
  4. Plain chips.
  5. Plain popcorn.
  6. Bliss ball bars from the supermarket.
  7. Lots of hydrating watery fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. This was to ensure they got as much fluid on the plane as possible.

She packed all the food in a small, wheeled case so that it was easy to wheel around and take on the plane.

What did they take on the plane coming home?

They found this a little trickier because they didn’t have their kitchens to prep everything, although Jo made sure she bought a packet salad from Wholefoods.  Coming home Tracey packed lots of fruit, and since they were leaving from Hawaii, they had access to awesome fruit!  She also packed some plain chips and plain popcorn.  Basically, lots of snack foods.  Again, they made sure they drank lots of water.  For the main meals, they did rely on the aeroplane food.  They were flying Qantas from Hawaii back to Australia.  It certainly wasn’t additive-free, but it was only a 9.5 hour flight.

Did they suffer from Jetlag?

No.  They first landed in America at 6.30am and they all felt great even after the long-haul flight because they had eaten really healthy on the plane.  They’d had a bit of a sleep on the plane but really not much, so they managed to go well over 24 hours without much sleep and felt fine for it.  She attributes this to the food they ate and staying well hydrated.

Jo was the same.  She travelled for 26 hours by the time she left Hobart, Australia and arrived in Salt Lake City. She arrived about 2pm in the afternoon and stayed up and went to bed at 9pm.  She slept all the way through that night and woke up the next day with her body clock set to the new time zone.  It was awesome.

It was the same when she travelled back to Australia.  Travel time for that journey was around 27 hours, including layovers, and she got into Hobart at 7am or 8am. She lasted until 7pm before having to go to bed.

Tracey thinks food definitely plays a big part in it.  With their internal travel within America, they did the same things as detailed above.  They pre-bought as much as they could that was convenient, but additive-free.

What are some ingredients that people should stay away from when travelling?

Jo had pretzels handed out on the plane on her flight from Salt Lake City to LA.  Pretzels are usually additive-free, right!  After looking at the ingredients she saw they were sooooo bad from an ingredient perspective.

Ingredient lists and names of ingredients do vary a little bit, but Tracey looks at it from a colour point of view.  They stayed away from anything bright and colourful or anything that looked really unnatural.  They also stayed away from fizzy drinks, cordials and syrups.

They ate in places that seemed to be as good or as home cooked as possible.  That didn’t mean that those places were perfect ie. Disneyland for four days where her daughters kept asking for fairy floss which she wouldn’t agree to, however, they did give them some not so great choices.

From an ingredients point of view, the numbers are sometimes different per country so it can be hard, but she did know annatto was in those Goldfish snacks.  They’re a biscuit shaped as a goldfish and they’re full of MSG too.  They weren’t good.

Anything brightly coloured will be your biggest hint that it’s not going to be great in terms of additives and preservatives.  Anything really syrupy and saucy, like your jars and packet mixes won’t be good either.

Even though companies are now getting sneakier and writing the names instead of numbers on some things, if you can at least avoid numbers then you’ll be doing an ok job.

Jo stresses that if you are on the plane you can definitely ask for ingredient listings.  People do that anyway because of allergies so don’t be scared to ask and then make your own judgment.  For example, if a melting moment is offered and it’s got 25 ingredients, then you know it won’t be good.  Just like the bag of pretzels that Jo got, she thinks she counted 38 ingredients in that packet!

The one thing Tracey noticed was that after the snacks were handed out on the plane, the kids would start crying and because you know what the awful ingredients do to bodies, especially little bodies, you could see what was causing it.


We can’t finish the podcast without telling Tracey’s Disneyland story.  On the third day at Disneyland, they had been walking all day, Tracey was exhausted and starving and they had depleted all their stocks of wholefoods they had.

They were in a section of the park which was for little kids.  Tracey asked her daughter, Libby, to get her something like hot chips as she was starving.  The first place they went to Libby couldn’t find anything and this gentleman had come over as he was sweeping and cleaning up and so he started talking to Tracey and realised she was from Australia.  He then turns to the table next to them and says ‘oh they’re from Australia too’ and the mum on that table looks over and says ‘I follow you on Facebook’! haha. So then Tracey says to her ‘please don’t watch what I’m about to eat then’ haha.  Libby came back with cheese pizza which Tracey just couldn’t eat so she had an apple instead.  But, the apple was $US4.50 for a bag of sliced up apple with caramel sauce (which she didn’t eat).

Hopefully, you have gotten some great hints and tips from this podcast.

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If you have only just started listening to us, then go back to episode 1 and have a listen through as there are some real nuggets of gold in these podcast shows.  You will learn so much information by listening to them.  Feel free to share it out with your friends and family via the share button on your podcast app and leave us a review as we love reading them.

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