Before I went on the SCD diet I paid a lot less attention to what I ate, but I had to pay a lot more attention to pain and my flight plans. Landing on a plane trip was painful and would take a day or two to go away. Multi-stop flights or traveling within two days would compound the pain. The SCD diet allowed me to fly without pain, and helped with a lot of other things, like reducing medications, being less grumpy and sleeping better. I am not saying the diet will work for everyone, it just did great things for my life. Less pain, less medications and freedom to travel equals a more balanced life.
When I started the SCD diet, I was concerned that I would not be able to travel because I could never find food I could trust. But my daughter’s college graduation was 1200 miles away and in just 3 months from when I started the diet. So with the same determination that allowed me to start the diet, I figured out a way to make my daughter’s graduation. The first few months of the SCD diet consisted of very limited choices and meals always prepared at home. One goal was to get to the third phase (See my “When I started my SCD diet” blog to explain the phases) that would allow me to eat a salad.
One of the ways I found to provide meals on my first trip was to buy food at Trader Joes or Whole Foods that I ate in my hotel room. Almond butter gave me a lot of protein and fat and fresh fruit and vegetables balanced my diet. Eating at a restaurant was either grilled fish, steak, or burger with a salad. It was tough but I got to see my baby walk across the graduation stage.
Since that time, travel has gotten a lot easier for two reasons, I have advanced on the diet which allowed me to eat more items, and I have learned how to order in restaurants to help avoid illegal food.
Here are a few steps I try to follow to ease travel.
- Book a room with a kitchenette. At least a refrigerator
- Plan one day to cook 1 meal for each day you are there
- Cook your own breakfast
- Check a large piece of luggage
- Bring precooked baked goods
- Carry portable snacks with you during the day. ( In your coat, purse, backpack)
Tell the restaurant you have food allergies. It is not a lie, your gut has a reaction very similar to allergies, or a Celiac’s reaction when you eat something wrong. Be careful how you explain it. I tell them that it is not a severe allergy reaction, the food can touch other food but I just cannot eat Gluten, Grains, refined sugar (table sugar), some dairy (I can eat cheese if it is aged 6 months). This typically brings the chef or a manager out. If they get really lost they bring out a binder with all the ingredients listed in their food.
Do not worry about talking to the chefs, of all the chefs I speak to only about 1-2% act like they do not want to be bothered. The best chefs like the challenge, and they love it when I tell them I can have butter, and spices. Take your cues from the chef’s attitude, if he is standoffish or seems like he is being bothered by your requirements I would recommend you leave the restaurant.
When all else fails I order a burger on a salad. Make certain you tell the restaurant people no croutons, no bread, and no salad dressing. You can have cheese on your burger just make sure it is SCD compliant.
Enjoy your vacations:
Food is not the most important part of a vacation. Traveling now on the SCD allowed me to be part of my daughter’s wedding in Boston, my 30th wedding anniversary in Hawaii and great trips for pleasure or business to Chicago, Seattle, Orlando, San Antonio, Europe and even Copenhagen. Soon I could be exploring Asia. SCD requires some preplanning when traveling but, it is also the reason I can fly now without urgency or pain as the plane descends. I still enjoy a lot of good food when I am on vacation; I am just more involved in what I eat. Bon voyage!