Traveling on the GAPS diet might seem hard at first. But if you know the right tricks, it is both possible and enjoyable.
My tips for traveling on the GAPS diet
Homemade meals, meat stock, fermented vegetables, 24 hour cultured dairy… how are you supposed to be able to travel while sticking to the GAPS diet?
I’ve done a number of trips while on the GAPS diet, including an international trip to Ireland. I’m here to share with you everything I’ve learned for traveling on the GAPS diet, so you can have success with it, too.
If you’d like all my best tips on how to start the GAPS Diet, check out my post here.
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Traveling on GAPS is possible, and enjoyable
It’s true! The key is proper preparation. I’m going share with you examples of foods I like to prep and bring along, as well as options for making food while you’re away.
My biggest piece of advice is probably the hardest to follow – for me anyway 🙂 Remember to relax and enjoy the trip.
I tend to get all caught up in the details and try to pack for every possible scenario. There are some things you do have to bring along, and like I said, proper preparation is key.
But, being properly prepared will allow you to be able to relax. And once you’ve done your best to prepare, remember to enjoy your trip!
The first thing to think about when planning a trip while on the GAPS diet is the timing of the trip. I highly recommend not trying to travel on GAPS intro, if at all possible.
However, I did do a multi day road trip at one point while on GAPS intro, so it is doable. But if you can, you’ll have a lot more flexibility and enjoy the trip more once you’re on full GAPS. Also, many people feel yucky on the beginning stages of GAPS intro, so being at home during that time is the nicest.
If you need to make any fermented vegetables to bring along, make sure to have those prepared and fermented for the right amount of time before you need to leave for your trip.
Also think about how long the trip will be, so you can make sure to bring along the proper amount of food.
Consider different types of travel
Some modes of transportation offer more flexibility than others. For example, flying limits the amount and type of foods you can bring somewhat, while driving allows you to bring a wide variety of foods along.
If you can, try to choose a way to travel that offers you as much flexibility as possible. If your only option is by airplane, I still have some tips on making that possible.
Also, think about where you’ll be staying. If you can, choose to stay somewhere that allows you access to a refrigerator and kitchen. With access to a kitchen, you can cook just like you do at home!
If having access to a kitchen isn’t possible, think about bringing along items like a toaster oven, crockpot, and hot plate. You can do a lot with those, even in a hotel room.
Packing list for your trip
There are options for buying and prepping some food while traveling, but there are some other foods you’ll need to plan on bringing along.
- Meat stock that is properly made for the GAPS diet cannot be purchased from a store. This is one thing you’ll have to make ahead and bring along. I like to freeze jars of meat stock and travel with them in an insulated bag or cooler. Once you’ve arrived, you can definitely make more meat stock in a crock pot or on the stove. But you’ll want to have some while traveling and to get you started when you arrive. Also, if you’re unable to make meat stock for the entire trip, you’ll need to bring enough for the entire stay.
- Ferments made from vegetables are something that you might be able to find in the refrigerated section of a health food store in a pinch, but it’s far better to bring your own. Many commercial fermented vegetables have been lightly pasteurized, which destroys some of the beneficial bacteria. Whenever I travel, I bring along my trusty jar of homemade sauerkraut. Cultured dairy that fits GAPS criteria is another one that is pretty much impossible to find in a store. I always bring along some homemade kefir or cultured raw cream.
- Fat such as tallow, ghee, or grass fed butter is something you could possibly buy in a store while traveling if needed, but I always feel way more prepared and relaxed if I bring some from home. High quality animal fats are so important to healing, and I like bringing my own from home so that I know it’s the very best that my body is used to.
- Food to eat while traveling is really important. Restaurants just don’t typically serve food that is GAPS legal. (Although, if you’re willing to be specific and pushy, you can make it happen sometimes.) I tend to enjoy the trip more if I bring some food along. My favorite options are boiled eggs, meatballs, muffins, sliced vegetables, fruit, and cheese.
Staples to bring along
Anything else you bring along depends on how long you’ll be away, and how much cooking you want to do while you’re there.
You can definitely keep things simple and eat meat stock, meat, and vegetables for the most part, along with some ferments on the side.
If you want to make some baked goods, you’ll probably want to bring along the flours and anything else that would be hard to buy while you’re away from home.
Keep food fresh while traveling
Fats are shelf stable at room temp, so they pack easily. Just store them in something that will keep them contained if they decide to get soft or melt at warm temperatures.
The nice thing about homemade fermented foods is that they are shelf stable! The fermentation action does just what it has done for centuries: keeps the food safely preserved.
Just keep in mind that ferments kept at room temperature or warmer will probably become active, and could bubbly and leak, so pack accordingly. I like to keep my homemade ferments in a cooler or refrigerator when possible while traveling.
If you start with frozen meat stock, it will stay cold for quite a while in a cooler or insulated bag. This gives you time for an all day drive or flight. The same goes for any perishable foods that you make ahead and bring along.
How do you pack food for airplane travel?
Here is how I pack for airplane travel: I have a large duffle bag and an insulated bag that I use when traveling. In the insulated bag, I put my frozen meat stock, any perishable food I have prepared to bring, and my ferments, along with some ice packs.
I put the insulated bag inside the larger duffel bag. There is some room left in the duffle bag, and I fill this space with non perishable items, like securely packaged fats and other foods that are okay at room temperature. I also include my supplements.
It’s important to pack glass jars so that they cannot break. I’ve used bubble wrap around them. The airline workers tend to be a little rough with baggage!
When I get to the baggage counter, I just check the duffle bag (with the insulated bag inside) like you would any other luggage. I’ve great success with it.
That is how I travelled to Ireland for a two week trip. I brought along bottles of kefir, some sauerkraut, meatballs, and muffins, as well as my supplements. (I also packed some food in smaller amounts to carry on.)
The food I brought was enough to get me started, and once I was settled in I could go about buying some ingredients and preparing my own food. I used the fermented foods through the trip.
Food you can buy while traveling
Thankfully, there are often at least one or two health food stores in most somewhat populated towns these days. One of the first things I do when traveling is to locate the nearest naturally minded grocery store.
For the most part, I go shopping and grab the ingredients I’ll need to prep food while on my trip. If I have access to a kitchen, I’ll cook just like I do at home. If I’m in a hotel room, I’ll use my toaster oven, crockpot, and hot plate to prepare food.
Although it’s best to stick to making everything yourself just like you do at home, there are some purchased options that can work in a pinch while traveling on the GAPS diet.
- Lunch meat from organic, pasture raised animals that lists only meat and salt on the label can work well if you’re really unable to cook and you need to eat some meat NOW.
- Cheese sticks from hard cheese that is organic and preferably pasture raised can also work well in a pinch.
- Fermented pickles from the refrigerated section of a health food store are another option for a snack on the go. Just make sure they’re alive and fermented, and don’t contain sugar or any other unwanted ingredients.
- Vegetables and fruit are a good snack or part of a meal on the go.
Be wary and don’t buy anything processed and packaged that seems GAPS legal at first, but actually contains compromise ingredients. Try to stick to unprocessed and homemade as much as possible.
Things to make ahead and bring
Like I mentioned before, I like to make and bring along some food to eat while traveling, and also to get me started once I arrive. I’ve discovered some GAPS foods that travel well and are easy to eat while traveling.
- Boiled eggs are perfect because they’re already in their own little natural packaging.
- Muffins made from GAPS legal flours are also great, as they are small and easy to bring along.
- Meatball or sausages that are cooked ahead of time are good, compact way to bring along some meat.
- Jerky that you make yourself is another wonderful thing to bring that doesn’t require refrigeration.
- Nuts that have been soaked and dried are a good snack for on the go.
- Yogurt in little individual cups is another great thing to bring.
Equipment to bring along
Whether or not you have access to a kitchen, and depending on what you’ll be doing while you’re on your trip, you might want to think about bringing some of these items along.
- Thermoses to bring food and keep it warm during day trips
- Food storage containers so you don’t have to use nasty plastic ones
- Cast iron skillet so you don’t have to use toxic non stick ones where you’re staying
- Wooden or metal cooking utensils so you can avoid icky plastic ones
GAPS diet recipes for travel
What are your favorite recipes for taking healthy food with you?
Do you have any upcoming trips planned? Share in the comments!
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