Autoimmune Paleo Travels

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Healing diets aren’t always easy, especially when it comes to navigating traveling. I hadn’t had much experience with this until recently, and I kind of got a crash course in it! Unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to make two separate trips to South Dakota within one month, first to visit my grandpa in hospice and then to attend his funeral. I learned some tips from the experiences and wanted to share them with you in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Seek Out Support

I was fortunate to travel with family who supported me and respected my dietary needs. This was particularly helpful considering the sad and stressful circumstances surrounding the trips. Our first trip was quite sudden with little time to prepare, but my awesome sister who is a stay at home mom offered to do some grocery shopping for me since I had to work right up until we departed. I texted her a list of things I wasn’t sure I’d find in South Dakota, and she picked them up for me. In addition to shopping for me, she also researched co-ops in the area.

Scope Out Food Co-ops or Other Natural Food Stores

We flew into Rapid City and went straight from the airport to a co-op that pleasantly surprised us. There were so many great options I had to restrain myself from buying too much! Some of my purchases included fermented sauerkraut and kombucha, lots of fruits and veggies, grass-fed beef, bacon, and snacks like plantain chips and sweet potato chips. We bought a styrofoam cooler and some ice to keep everything cold in the car on our journey to our final destination.

Stay Somewhere with Access to a Kitchen (or at Least a Microwave and Refrigerator)

On our first trip we were very lucky to stay with my sweet grandma. She was excited to have us there and graciously opened her kitchen to us so we could cook whatever and whenever we needed. For the second trip, we stayed in a vacation rental, as more family came to town, and this place had two refrigerators. Bonus!

Plan Your Meals as Much as You Can

I wasn’t sure what each day would bring, so I needed a quick and easy breakfast to allow me to prepare for the day ahead as efficiently as possible. Luckily, I had just developed a recipe that worked great for this! Some mornings, when I had the time, I made bacon to go with, and I usually had some fruit.

Each day I needed to be prepared to have both lunch and dinner on the go, so I brought an insulated lunch bag and an ice pack. Since this particular lunch bag looks almost like a purse, I felt more comfortable carrying it around and taking it into restaurants when accompanying family to their meals. It felt less obvious that I was bringing my own food. Declining food in restaurants and eating my own felt really uncomfortable at first, but it got easier and easier. I tried not to care what other people thought about this!

lunch bag

Drink Hot Beverages

Seriously! Most of my meals were eaten cold, and I noticed this somewhat negatively affected my digestion. Drinking hot tea seemed to help a lot and was comforting. I highly recommend!

Sample Meals

The second trip to South Dakota was easier than the first since I had previous recent experience and therefore a better idea of what to expect. Here’s a glimpse at what I brought with me on the second trip (some of this I brought in my suitcase and some I brought in a separate carry on bag). I bought fresh fruits and veggies and some meat at the same co-op when I arrived.


Breakfast Examples:

Pumpkin Spice No Cream Nor Wheat (prepared the night before)
Bacon or an Epic Bar
Pacific Brand Bone Broth

Lunch and Dinner Examples:

Canned Tuna (packed in olive oil) mixed with Sauerkraut
Salad Greens
Plantain Chips

Pacific Chicken Thighs (comes ready to eat in a box)
Salad Greens
Sweet Potato Chips

Sardines (packed in olive oil)
Salad Greens
Sea Snax

(When I had access to the kitchen…)
Local Grass-Fed Beef Burgers with Mushrooms and Bacon
Salad Greens


Sparkling Water
Lemon Water with a dash of Himalayan Pink Salt
Hot Tea

Snacks and Treats:

Epic Bars (AIP friendly flavors: Bison/Bacon/Cranberry, Beef/Apple/Bacon, Uncured Bacon)
Inka Plantain Chips
Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips
Dang Caramel Sea Salt Coconut Chips
Veggie-Go’s Fruit and Veggie Leather
Happy Day Raw Food Cookies
Barnana Chewy Banana Bites (my favorite flavor was banana/apple/cinnamon)
Sea Snax (original flavor)

Eating this way didn’t make me feel deprived and I never went hungry. Most importantly, I managed to stay on my healing diet the whole time during both trips. I hope these tips help you if you ever need it!

Do you have experience with traveling on a restricted diet? Share your favorite healing diet travel tips in the comments below. 🙂