Since starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet oven ten years ago I have done quite a bit a traveling. I have vacationed in New York City, driven through the Southwest twice, gone hiking, survived a six day business trip, and gone on several weekend getaways.Sometimes getting something to eat can be a challenge, but for the most part traveling and following the diet has not been a problem.
My favorite place to find friendly food is New York City. Nearly every deli has a salad bar, which makes it pretty easy to get something at any time, no matter where you are. My favorite deli, The Majestic, did not have an actual salad bar, but they made salads to order. Granted I may have had some meat that was not completely legal, but I think I did pretty good overall. If you don’t want to take a chance on meat, there are plenty of other things that can fill out a salad. Nuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs, dried fruit, grapes, and berries are all great salad toppers. Every deli had red wine vinegar and olive oil, so I didn’t have to eat a dry salad. I did have to eat a dry plate of greens at Birdland (ugh), but I had no choice because they required a dinner minimum. Otherwise I had no trouble finding something to eat.
One problem I did encounter was trying to modify my order in a restaurant. I asked for no sauce on a chicken dish I was ordering and the waiter said it wasn’t possible because it would be an insult to the chef! I told him it was for medical reasons and he still seemed reluctant. We were about to leave when he finally agreed to place the order. This was just the restaurant in our hotel. Actually the fancy seafood restaurant we went to a different time had no problem giving me a plain grilled fish kebob. Now I usually just ask for the sauce on the side. Even though I have no intention of eating it, everyone seems happier to include it on the plate (just in case I want to try it I guess).
My favorite way to travel is by car. That way I can load up on a lot more food and beverages. I usually bring a lot of Lara Bars, tuna, nuts, dried fruit, and bottled ice tea. I also will make almond flour cookies or muffins, but you have to be careful with those because they go bad after a few days if not refrigerated.When we were hiking at Canyondlands and Arhces National parks in Utah, I made my own turkey jerky and trail mix. It’s a good idea to brink some snacks when you are on a road trip because there is not always something to eat along the way.
I’ve written a lot about tuna lately because it is an essential for travel. If you have to stop at a fast food place you can always get a green salad and add your own tuna to it. I always make sure I bring at least one packet for every day.
If you are on a road trip having a car at your destination makes life a lot easier. You can more easily get to a more SCD friendly place if you have your own transportation. When I get somewhere I try to locate the best places to find food. I look for grocery stores that have salad bars. The little grocery store in Moab, UT had one, and on the last weekender we took there was a Whole Foods fairly close by. I guess I pretty much live on salads when I travel because I don’t like to eat too much food that is prepared by someone else.
If there is no salad bar then I buy a bag of salad mix, some cheese, and anything else I think might be good for a salad. I make my own dinner in my hotel room. Getting a hotel room with a refrigerator is essential. If you can get one with a stove top you can actually cook some chicken or hamburgers if you want. For snacks I either have what I brought or I buy some fresh fruit. For breakfast I usually have some fruit and a Lara Bar or a homemade muffin if I have any.
On the road getting food can be a challenge and it’s where I usually find myself complaining the most. It’s a pain when you are walking around a gas station convenience store not finding anything while everyone else is grabbing chips and candy bars. Sometimes I end up with just a bottle of water. However, I have found some decent snacks – raw almonds and cheese make a suitable snack, and usually there is unsweetened ice tea if I don’t want water. Subway can make a good stop too. I like to order the veggie salad and then use my own tuna. It comes out good and they usually have oil and vinegar so I don’t have to have a dry salad.
The biggest thing when traveling is getting used to going to the grocery store for dinner. Going to restaurants is not longer a part of the vacation experience for me. In fact I try to avoid restaurants as much as possible. When I’m feeling down about my lack of food variety I try to focus on being able to go on trips and have fun.
What to pack for a airplane trip:
Tuna dry packs – enough for entire trip (these can’t be carried on I don’t think)
Lara Bars – enough for every day – they make a good breakfast
What to pack for road trips:
Tuna dry packs
Homemade cookies or muffins
Yogurt maker if staying in a place with a kitchen and you think you might want to take the time
Paper plates and plastic utensils
Oil and Vinegar
Sea Salt (small shaker)