The key to successful traveling on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) is preparation. If you plan ahead, you can take some of the stress out of maintaining your protocol while you’re away. Then, you can focus more on all the fun you’re having.
During my recent travels to Austin, for Paleo F(x), and New Orleans, to visit my family, I was able to put these tips for traveling on the AIP to good use. Now, of course, no plan is ever 100% foolproof; but, I only experienced two incidents during the entire trip. These slip-ups occurred when I veered from my plan, and let my guard down. So, yes, it was entirely my fault.
1. Get a hotel with a kitchenette or a microwave and fridge. Although you obviously don’t want to spend your entire vacation or trip cooking, you can set aside a little time to prep a few meals and snacks. In Austin, I made my reservation at a hotel with a full kitchenette. I prepped all of my meals on my first night in town. I was able to store my prepared foods in the fridge. When I was ready to eat them, I just reheated them in the microwave or on the stovetop. I was also able to store a large jug of water in the fridge to refill my water bottle every day.
2. Make sure there is a grocery store near your hotel, or grocery delivery is available. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, do a little food shopping. By planning a menu in advance, you can purchase only those things you need for your entire stay. During my trip, I purchased greens, a garlic clove, a cucumber, avocados, organic ground beef, an organic steak, spinach, olive oil, Pacific Foods bone broth, lemons, and a red onion. This gave me everything I needed for the next four days.
3. Pack some snacks and good traveling foods. For my trip, I packed snacks such as Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato chips, Epic bars, Trader Joe’s fruit bars, herbal tea bags and homemade plantain chips in my carryon bag. In one of my checked bags, I packed a frozen organic chicken breast (for immediate food when I reached my hotel), tins of sardines, sea salt, an avocado, pears, an orange, and a couple of bottles of water. It’s good to have some foods and water available to quickly make a meal once you reach your hotel room, in case you’re hungry.
4. Look up the menus of any restaurants you plan to visit while in town. This is where I screwed up. When at home, I follow this tip every time. In Austin, I just assumed that Picnik Austin would have AIP friendly meals. It did not. There was only one meal that was even remotely close to being edible. I had to remove the tomatoes and switch out the salad dressing. Luckily, I had reintroduced green beans; otherwise, I would have had nothing to eat. Then, in New Orleans, we ventured to St. Roch Market for lunch. There are about 15 different restaurants featured there. I figured I’d be able to find at least one meal there I could eat. I surveyed each menu carefully. Then, chose the dish that sounded like something I could eat. I never asked the person taking my order what the ingredients were. I never expressed my allergies or food sensitivities to her. I just went off the description on the menu. Well, I learned my lesson. I took one bite of the crab meat stew, and I knew, I had just taken a big bite of gluten. I quickly spit it into my napkin, rinsed my mouth with water, and popped two charcoal pills. Because of this, I was able to avoid the horrible consequences that come with my eating gluten. It also taught me a lesson. Always tell your server about your food allergies and sensitivities!
5. Carry charcoal capsules with you everywhere you go. My charcoal pills have saved me a few times. I now carry them with me in my purse. Even if you’re careful to tell your server about your diet, mistakes can happen. The charcoal capsules can then help to absorb the ingested toxins, to lessen your suffering. There are also some other supplements that can break down the gluten molecules after they’ve been ingested. Be sure to check the package for fillers you may not want.
6. Always keep snacks within reach. If you’re hungry and faced with bad choices, you’re more likely to mess up. Making sure that you always have something to eat will make you more likely to succeed at sticking with your diet. Even if I’m just running errands, I keep foods in my purse.
7. Don’t listen to traveling companions who tell you “just one bite” or “live a little” or any other sidelining comments. It’s best to put everyone in check immediately. You don’t have to preach or explain yourself. Just simply say, “No thanks. I eat the way I do for a reason.” The end.
8. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Don’t use your trip as an excuse to miss out on your much needed rest. Travel can put all sorts of stress on your body. Pack your herbal tea, sleep mask, comfy pajamas, neck pillow, or anything else you may need to get a good night’s sleep every night.
9. Don’t forget to move. Even if your main plan is to loll around the beach, take some time to go for a walk. And, if you’re flying, be sure to do some stretching before and after your flights. Some of us with autoimmune disease have blood clotting issues. This can make flying dangerous. Never cross your legs inflight. Also, avoid tight fitting clothing while flying. Get some movement in every day.
10. Pack all of your medications and/or supplements. You don’t want to have to try to find a pharmacy or health food store while you’re trying to enjoy your trip. Make a list of everything you need to pack; and then, check it off as you pack it. I would say to definitely pack it all in your carryon bag, if possible. We’ve all heard the horror stories of lost luggage.
No doubt that traveling on the AIP is not easy. But, these tips can help you pull it off with less stress. Gone are the days of just traveling on the fly. By planning in advance, hopefully you can enjoy your vacation or trip. It’s better to invest the time and effort ensuring you don’t spend the majority of your time away feeling sick and exhausted. Even though I was tired after my travels, I still felt energized and better than I had felt after previous trips. I chalk it up to my preparedness and all of the healing I’ve experienced on the AIP. it’s good to know that it’s all been worth it!
As always, I wish you good health…..and, good food! Oh, and travels!