Okay, so you’ve realized that GAPS is right for you and you’ve gotten started on the right track. You’re starting to see positive gains and life is looking pretty good to you. Optimism has found you and the future is full of exciting possibilities that you’d previously written off as pipe dreams. Things are so good, in fact, that you’ve decided to take the family on a vacation to Disney World.
But then it hits you...HOW DO I TRAVEL WITH THIS DIET?!? Don’t worry, you can do it. You will have to be creative and it will take some specific planning, but it can be done and I will show you how. It’s a little bit like camping, except you can expect the comfort of a hotel bed and shower. I actually got so good at this that I used to brag to friends who thought my commitment to GAPS was impossible that I could get dinner on the table faster than they could go through a drive-thru.
There are a few special issues that we’ll need to address, but let’s just start by taking a look at what you will need to pull this off.
Here it is…how to travel on GAPS diet.
General GAPS Travel Supplies Packing List
- large cooler
- insulated lunch box
- 3-4 thermoses
- portable electric stove top
- ice packs
- stainless steal pot
- cast iron skillet
- cutting board
- stainless steel containers or lunch box kits
- dish soap
- kitchen towels
- paper towels
- epsom salts
Staples for Traveling with GAPS
- salt (Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan)
- 1 dozen eggs
Prepared Foods for Travel
- 2 quarts prepared broth
- soaked and dried nuts
- nut butter pancakes
- homemade cabbage salads
- cucumber sticks
- pepper slices
- baby carrots
- cooked chicken, beef, and/or fish
- homemade sauerkraut
- boiled eggs
- fresh fruit (limited to types tolerated)
How to Pack for Traveling with the GAPS Diet
Start by assembling all the general supplies and staples. Once you’ve got them organized, you can prepare enough food to make it through your first stop where you will have a chance to restock supplies and cook more broth as necessary. This may be 1 day, it may be 3. It depends on your travel plans.
Let’s just say that you are not going to find a resting spot for 2 days time. This means you need to pack enough broth and prepared foods for 6 meals and snacks. Your cooler becomes your refrigerator, and you eat your meals out of your lunch box.
Now that your cooler is stocked with a few staples and tons of really healthy foods, its time to pack you lunch box. Fill your lunch box with an assortment of vegetables, salads, proteins, and fruit (if tolerated). You can also pack good quality cheese from grass-fed cows if you are able to digest dairy. Last but not least, don’t forget your broth!
Getting the Broth while Traveling
Broth is the cornerstone of GAPS diet. You cannot skip it. Start your trip by filling a few thermoses with piping hot broth. Don’t forget to add your egg yolks! It’s okay to use soups, too, instead of just broth. It really just depends on where you are individually in your healing. Use your electric stove top to reheat your stored broth each day. Never use a microwave to heat your broth. Microwaves will destroy the broth (or any food, for that matter).
Be sure to prepare another thermos of tea or herb infused water to drink throughout the day. If I’m traveling in cold weather, I pack hot ginger or cranberry teas. If I’m traveling in hot weather, I pack peppermint water or lemonade. Just a quick reminder here: I make all my teas from fresh ingredients. No tea bags here. Also, sweeteners should be stevia or honey. NO REFINED SUGAR.
Special Issues for GAPS Diet and Travel
In my family, we all ate the GAPS diet because we wanted to be with Aaron completely. We wanted him to be included in meals together to receive the social and emotional benefits that families share during dinner. Because of this, when we traveled we ate our of our coolers and lunch boxes together. We did not eat at restaurants. We went to parks for picnics or simply ate out of the car door at a road stop.
Having said this, I know that there are families whereby only one family member is eating the GAPS diet and everybody else still eats as they did before. At home they manage this by feeding the GAPS child separately, and then effectively “hiding” the rest of the family’s meals from the GAPS child. I’m not here to judge. Everybody has to find their own way.
If this is you, though, your going to find it difficult to have the family stop for pizza while on vacation. Expecting to feed your GAPS child broth, protein, and sauerkraut at the same table as everybody else who is gorging on gluten, dairy (and GMOs) is never going to fly. I don’t think I need to tell you that this scenario is a recipe for disaster.
The Solution for Traveling and the GAPS Diet
You need to have a family meeting before embarking on your journey. Everyone must agree that they will pass boiled eggs, cucumber sticks, pepper slices and almonds for snacks in the car and save the potato chips for later when the GAPS child will not be exposed. When your family is together, you need to prioritize your GAPS child’s needs. After all, remember that GAPS is not forever. Its only for a while to help your child heal. Certainly everyone can get behind this initiative and put the GAPS child’s needs first for the time being. If that is not doable, then I’m afraid you may have deeper issues that the GAPS protocol can address.
As far as restaurants go, you will have to nominate a person to stay with the GAPS child every time the rest of you go out. This is important. It’s not so much that you are trying to leave the GAPS child out of this event. Understand that GAPS kids need time to relax and connect with loved ones. They don’t handle transitions well, and all the commotion of your traveling will likely leave them hyper and edgy.
Adopt the view that you are sending the rest of the family “out” for a while so that you can connect with your child. Yes, someone (likely mom) will have to forfeit the dangerous indulgence of fast food, but it will be for the benefit of the whole family. The GAPS child gets the food AND the focused attention the need, and the rest of the family get’s their time out, too.
Understand that what I am saying is different than just handing the child an iPad or sitting them down in front of the TV. I’m talking about a full hour of one-on-one focused fun. You must dedicate the entire time to engaging and interacting with your child. It needs to be all about them. What the rest of the family is doing during this time should be of little concern. This way everybody wins.
I’d love to hear your success stories of traveling on GAPS. If you have some ideas that I haven’t mentioned please share them!