I’ve recently returned from a 2 week road trip spent visiting friends and checking out a couple of places we haven’t stopped at before – it was awesome! There’s just something about road trips that gives me a real sense of freedom – and I love that! We were also catching up with some friends who we hadn’t seen in quite a while and that’s always good fun too 🙂
But – all fun and excitement aside – the first thought that popped in to my head was “food”. And I’m sure I’m not alone here! I’ve been on camping trips whilst following strict AIP so I wasn’t too worried about what food I needed to take for the trip itself, but I was slightly concerned about how I’d navigate eating whilst in other people’s homes. So here’s what I did!
- I baked a big batch of sweet potato and onion – enough to last me a few days that I topped up a couple of times on the trip. As soon as I have that available I feel calmer as I know I can just team that with some salad leaves and tinned fish (both readily available) and have a decent meal
- I also baked this delicious AIP and GAPS friendly banana and cinnamon teacake from Healing Family Eats because it was Christmas and my birthday and the holidays and I wanted some kind of treat to take with me. It stored really well and it lasted about 4 days
- Tinned fish – I bought a couple of tins of wild caught salmon, some tinned sardines and some tinned kippers. These were in case I had to assemble a quick meal “on the road” or if I happened to be at someones house and I couldn’t eat what they had prepared for dinner (although this didn’t happen), they were also useful for breakfasts
- Bananas – just a very handy snack or addition to a meal. I got to a stage where I was losing weight on AIP so I usually eat a couple of bananas each day
- 2 tubs of homemade beef jerky – the king of snacks! Need I say more 🙂
- Baked ham – because Christmas! It’s kind of a tradition to get sick of ham over the Christmas period 😉
- Coconut oil and olive oil – for cooking in friend’s homes, in case they don’t have these options
- Organic herbal tea bags – for when we stayed in accommodation on the trip
On the Road
I am so happy to have Oliver’s Real Food in my life! They offer an excellent alternative to the usual motorway service station fare available – you know who I mean. Whilst there’s not a huge amount from Oliver’s I can currently eat whilst on strict AIP, I just love the fact they are giving people an option for good, fresh, real food, organically grown where possible. What I can eat from Oliver’s is the box of lightly steamed runner beans with rock salt and the Thomas Chipman vegetable chips, and I enjoy those!
In between staying at friend’s houses we also stayed in holiday accommodation. Our first stop was in Bellingen, a beautiful town in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, where we stayed in a “rainforest cabin” with it’s own little kitchen. As you can see, it was the cutest place! Really relaxing and peaceful, and a great place for bird spotting if you’re in to that sort of thing. On the way to Bellingen I’d looked up what shops would be open to buy fresh produce for dinner and breakfast and to add to our supplies, and came across Bellingen Greengrocers which stocks a great range of organic, local fresh fruit and veg, produce and many other items. If you are in the area I recommend a visit!
Whilst Staying with Friends….
As I said, this was my main concern. I didn’t want to offend our friends but I also didn’t want to eat anything that could make me ill for the rest of the holiday. So what we decided to do was to cook dinner for the friends we were staying with, so that took the pressure off them and us. As my boyfriend took it upon himself to do the cooking it was an arrangement I was very happy with! We just did a bit of food shopping on the way to our friends house and if we had leftovers I had it for breakfast or lunch the next day. Win win! If we didn’t have leftovers I would just cook up some sweet potato and some meat (the Mega Meat Balls from Angie Alt’s new cookbook The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook were a fave!) to go with fresh salad the next day.
Keeping it Local
On Christmas Eve, as we were staying at a friend’s house whilst they were away, we were expecting to be having our own quiet Christmas so made sure we had some delicious food available. Again, I googled organic meat and veg stores in the area and came across with this fabulous “retail park”, with Sunshine Coast Organic Meats on one side and Kunara Organic Marketplace on the other – between them they took care of all our meat, veg and fruit needs – plus offering a whole lot more. Christmas had come early!
Then – good luck struck 🙂 we had spent Christmas Eve with friends who had provided a delicious seafood dinner (I can eat that!) and I think they realised that the traditional (English) Christmas dinner they were preparing could become AIP compliant with just a few very simple tweaks – and we got ourselves an invite to Christmas lunch with the family!
We had bought some filler free pork sausages from the butcher we visited on Christmas Eve (seriously, how hard is it to find sausages that don’t have grain fillers or preservatives in them!) so I had those along with the turkey, lots of veg and roast sweet potato instead of roast potato. No Christmas pud, but to be honest, although it smelt amazing, I filled up so much at lunch that I couldn’t have eaten another thing.
We ate out a few times, and in general I found the staff to be very accommodating. In particular, Town Cafe and Restaurant in Bangalow were fantastic. The waiter totally understood what I needed and made the whole process very simple and straight forward (sadly I’ve found that waiting staff can often do the opposite). He also made recommendations, like getting a big portion of the mushrooms, that was absolutely spot on as the mushrooms were the tastiest mushrooms I’ve ever had. Seriously – check them out! Also, as you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been able to add eggs back in to my diet (they aren’t AIP). Don’t hate me!
I also need to mention a positive experience I had in Brisbane – although frustratingly I can’t remember the name of the restaurant. But anyway! I’d been searching the internet for a couple of hours trying to find restaurants that sounded like they might be able to accommodate my “special needs” but hadn’t come up with anything. Anywhere that sounded good was shut for the Christmas holidays. So we decided to just go out and walk around and see what we could find. We came across this little restaurant with a menu that seemed to be fairly straight forward and easily modifiable, so I went in and started explaining about my diet to the waitress there – and she started telling me about the elimination diet she was on, which was waaaaay more limited than AIP! So she got it, and asked the kitchen to make me just a plain snapper fish without the sauce it came with, and a couple of veggie sides, and that was that! I was expecting dinner to be painful (mentally), and maybe even impossible, so that was a lesson to me not to negatively pre-judge situations.
For me, being prepared was the key to the success of this trip. I had my own stash of food that I could eat so I didn’t worry about going hungry. I researched places we could stop and stock up on supplies on the road, I prepared extra food whilst at friends houses to keep myself going for breakfast and lunch for a couple of days, I didn’t stress about it at all and I really enjoyed myself!
I hope this was helpful for you and I wish you happy travels! 🙂 x