When I started the GAPS Intro Diet way back in April, I already knew about our family’s travel plans at the end of June. And as the date drew nearer, and I began to ask myself “How exactly am I going to take GAPS on the road??” I got more and more panicked. Just thinking about it gave me mini-panic attacks. And so I put off thinking about it.

Until the Sweetie Pie began to make plans for me. “Do we need to take a fridge? Because we’ll do it. Should we take a camp stove? How about a few extra coolers?” Knowing that someone was on my side gave me some courage, and I made a plan. I had two giant coolers and two big boxes of food and equipment, but by golly I successfully made a 10-day trip into the prairies of South Dakota and ate 100% GAPS Intro the entire time. I feel like I just medaled in the Olympics.

In case the thought of taking your GAPS Diet on the road makes you break out in hives, too, here are some things that helped me out.

1. Enlist help beforehand.

I couldn’t have done it without the help of the Sweetie Pie, who was incredibly patient and supportive, especially considering he was the one hauling coolers and boxes of equipment up and down stairs. We also enlisted the help of his parents, who travelled with us part of the way, since we initially needed some space in their car to make it all fit.

Be sure to explain your situation beforehand to anyone who might consider themselves inconvenienced by your special needs. And do it in a friendly way. Most people really do want to be helpful, if you just let them know how to help.

2. Staying in houses is very helpful.

If at all possible, stay somewhere where you’ll have access to a kitchen. We were in a variety of places on our trip, but I always had access to a kitchen. Even in the bed and breakfast we stayed at, our hostess was very kind and allowed me to use her kitchen (except during her busy breakfast cooking, which is the only time I cheated and used a microwave to warm up my food).

I packed a small pot, a skillet, and a basic set of dishes and silverware and had everything I needed anywhere I was. If you won’t have a kitchen, then pack a few strategic pieces of equipment.

  • a slow cooker, which can be turned on in a hotel room and left to warm up soup or stew while you’re out doing your tourist thing
  • a camp stove, which you could take outside your hotel room and use on the sidewalk. You’ll get funny looks (especially when you’re heating up soup and it’s 105 degrees outside), but just smile and wave.

I also took my juicer, which I was able to use anywhere. Although washing out the juicer parts in the bathtub got kind of tricky.

3. Plan to eat the same thing everyday.

Yeah, it was boring. But at least it was easy. I planned one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for the entire trip. And then I took enough of it to last me for 10 days. Here is what my menu looked like:

  • Breakfast: Sausages, homemade chicken broth, fresh carrot-ginger juice
  • Lunch: Chicken and veggie soup
  • Dinner: Sauteed sausages with zucchini and mushrooms, or turkey burgers with mustard, lettuce, and sauerkraut

Okay, I guess that’s actually two dinner options.

I relied a lot on convenience foods, which were expensive, but were worth it for the mere simplicity of preparation. The only things I cooked ahead of time were the soup (3 gallons) and the chicken broth (1 gallon). I left my home-fermented veggies at home, thinking they might be too unstable for the temperature fluctuations of a cooler in a hot car. I used Bubbie’s sauerkraut with every meal. It’s tasty and produced with real, live probiotic bacteria.

I’ve linked up each of the items above to the food that I used, in case you’re looking for some GAPS-legal convenience foods. A few of them represent minor compromises (combining fruit with meat, some things not organic) but they are about as clean as convenience food gets. I also checked with the manufacturers beforehand to make sure there weren’t any undisclosed ingredients (there weren’t).

4. Eat frequently, and don’t let yourself get hungry.

If you allow yourself to become famished, you’ll be much more likely to just grab the closest food and eat it. Always carry some food with you so that you can snack anytime you feel like it.

I was doubtful at first that I could find any snack foods to take, but I managed to come up with a few. First priority was high quality protein:

  • smoked salmon; It’s hard to find in a GAPS-legal form. Read those labels! Whole Foods’ brand is completely legal, delicious, and affordable.
  • canned tuna; I prefer brands in glass jars since the BPA in the can liners disturbs me
  • beef jerky; I had just about given up on finding a GAPS legal beef jerky, when I stumbled onto Sophia’s website. Sweet Sophia sent me a package of each of her three flavors to try out on my trip. All of them were delicious, and so handy. I took one package on a trail ride with the Sweet Pea, the perfect thing for horseback riding! The other two I tucked into my bag for the days when we had long outings away from home base planned. I enjoyed it so much that I want you to try it, too! Be sure to read the end of this post for a chance to sample Sophia’s jerky for yourself.

Second priority in my snack bag was energy-boosters:

  • coconut butter; I loved these individual squeeze packages for traveling. I also bought some raw cacao nibs, and when my energy was especially flagging I’d drop a few cacao nibs in with each squeeze of coconut butter. Ta-da! Instant treat.
  • dried fruit; Organic, no sugar and no preservatives. I ate more fruit than I would typically allow myself, but it was vacation after all.
  • coconut date rolls; I buy mine in bulk from our local natural grocer, but this recipe looks pretty similar. The ones I buy don’t have almonds, though (still no nuts for me)
  • coconut water; Coconut water is always my go-to product for maintaining energy and hydration. Whenever we had an excursion of more than a couple of hours planned, I filled my water bottle with coconut water.

Between these items, I managed to stay consistently full and maintain relatively normal energy levels. There are tons of other great GAPS-legal snack foods, but since I still can’t have nuts, dairy, or eggs, those products weren’t an option for me.

5. Maintain your supplements and your detox routines as much as possible.

I have two pill boxes, each of which holds a week of pills. These were much easier to carry than a bunch of bottles.

The one thing I didn’t pack, that I think I might next time, was a bathtub stopper. We stayed in two places that had bathtubs, but each time I started to run water for a detox bath, it became clear that the drain leaked. No bath for me.

I’d love to know what tips and tricks others have for traveling on GAPS, or any other special diet. What works for you?

Sophia’s Survival Food, Jerky Chews Giveaway (CLOSED)

Congratulations to syreeta jayne, the winner of our Sophia’s Survival Food giveaway!

Sophia makes the cleanest and most delicious beef jerky I’ve found. She uses hormone-free, locally-grown, 100% grass-fed beef, Redmond salt, and a handful of other spices and flavorings. Each batch is made by hand in small batches. If you’re looking for a high-quality, high protein travel snack, this is it.

Sweet Sophia will send one ounce packages of each of her three flavors (Lemon, Mild, and Spicy) to one lucky reader.

How to enter:

Sophia wants to spread the word about her local partners, so you may gain two additional entries to this giveaway:

** Note that you will need to leave a separate comment for each entry!

This giveaway will be open from Monday, July 16, 2012 until Saturday, July 21, 2012.

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