This past weekend, my mom and I drove up to New York to visit Ithaca College. This is the first in a series of college visits planned for the next few months to evaluate the schools I’m applying to transfer to next fall. I was a little nervous for our trip, not because of the college part, but because it was the first time I’d have to stay strictly SCD/GAPS while away from home. Granted, our trip would only be two days. We planned to leave Friday morning, spend the night in Ithaca, attend the open house the following day, and drive home that evening. It didn’t seem like a long time, but I was a little worried. I am still in the intro stages of my diet, and I don’t want to mess up my chances of success by rushing into later stages too quickly or cheating early on.
To put my mind at ease, I did a few things to prepare:
- First, I made a list of everything that I would take with me food-wise. This made sure I wouldn’t forget anything, and that I would have enough for the full two days.
- Next, I researched restaurants in the area to see if there were any possibilities in case we wanted to go out. I used guides for paleo and gluten free options to narrow my search, and found several GAPS-friendly options.
- Lastly, I packed my cooler full of staple foods, took a deep breath, and reminded myself that everything would be okay.
Here is what I brought with me:
- 1 20 0z thermos full of chicken broth
- 1 container shredded chicken
- 1 roasted chicken thigh quarter (recipe here)
- 1 small container 24-hour yogurt
- 1 bottle plain goat’s milk kefir
- 1 package Cabot sharp cheddar cheese slices
I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but that covered breakfast, lunch, and snacks for our first day (driving there) as well as breakfast and snacks for the second day. We ended up eating out twice, once for dinner on the first night and a second time for lunch before we left Ithaca. We went to the same place both times. I got a grass-fed hamburger (no bun) with cheddar and sweet potato fries the first time and cole slaw the second. Technically, the fries and slaw were both cheat foods, but luckily they didn’t make me feel super sick afterwards. Also, I only had a small amount of each, not the full serving I was given. When traveling, I try to follow the 90/10 rule when it comes to illegals (90 percent legal, 10 percent illegal if I have to), or try to stick to paleo foods rather than GAPS which tends to be easier.
Having exhausted the cooler, we stopped at a local co-op before we left Ithaca to restock. I picked up some sliced muenster, cheddar cheese sticks, a piece of grilled salmon for dinner on the road, dried apples with nothing added, and a squeeze-up almond butter pouch. This ended up being more than enough food for the journey home, and I happily unpacked the remainders into the fridge when we got home.
So there you have it. I may have only been gone for a day and a half, but traveling on the GAPS diet is possible! Don’t let fear or your disease stop you from doing what you love or taking advantage of opportunities just because you’re nervous about going hungry. Do your research in advance, and make sure your traveling companions understand that you have special needs when it comes to restaurants. Listen to your body, and don’t test it too much, because it will reciprocate. Stick to familiar foods that you know you can handle (for me, cooked meats and lactose free or fermented dairy products) for the most part, and enjoy the experiences you have away from home.
Now that I see how easy it was for me to stick to my diet while traveling, I’m not nervous for my other college visits. I know what works, and I’m equipped to deal with whatever comes my way. I hope that by sharing this experience, you’ll be encouraged not to let your disease stop you from doing whatever and going wherever you want to. Together, we are strong enough.