Ah, summer. When school is out and the weather is warm, how many of us are tempted to hit the road? Whether it’s a weekend trip to see grandparents or an epic, coast-to-coast tour, road trips seem like an essential component of summer.
But if you’re following the AIP, a Hashimoto’s diet, or any other elimination diet for autoimmune disease, a road trip might make you squirm worse than a 300-mile stretch of rest stop-free interstate.
So in this post, we’re passing along our best tips for planning an AIP road trip this summer. Follow along to smooth out your summer travel so you can focus on what really matters!
You’ll often hear us recommend making a plan, and that’s because it’s essential to your AIP success!
Skip the temptation to fly by the seat of your pants. It’s true that spontaneous trips make good stories, but for those of us on the Autoimmune Protocol, the lack of a plan just isn’t a good plan.
Instead, spend a little time thinking through what you’ll need to make your trip a success.
Revisit your route with meals in mind. Are there restaurants that can accommodate the AIP, even if they’re a little out of the way? Try searching the web or the AIP community on Instagram for recommendations!
Can you choose to stop in cities with healthier options, chains you know can make modifications, or a grocery store you know will have a hefty salad bar, like Whole Foods?
Once you’ve planned your route and know where you’ll stop, take a few minutes to follow up.
If you’re trying a new chain or independent restaurant, call ahead or visit their website to make sure they can accommodate your dietary restrictions. Think about it this way: you’ve gone to the effort to plan this much of the trip, and you don’t want to discover they’ve changed a menu or added an unlisted ingredient to a dish.
Trust us, you’ll feel much more confident pulling out of your driveway with a list of compliant restaurants in hand!
It’s crucial that everyone you’re traveling with knows about the dietary choices you’re making to improve your health. Whether you’re hitting the road with a partner, friend, or kids, sometimes advocating for our own health is the most difficult part of the trip.
Why not make sure you’ve had that conversation before you begin?
Start by letting your travel companions know that you’re excited about this adventure. You want things to go smoothly for everyone! That can open up the conversation about your needs and restrictions without a feeling of imposing on theirs.
Though following the AIP is a personal choice, there are ways in which it could affect the others on your trip. Will you need to pack a cooler that could take up extra space in your vehicle? Do you expect to stay in at night, while your friends expect to hit the bars? How much sleep do need while you heal, and what does that mean for your itinerary (or sleeping arrangements)?
The key is to let your companions know up front that you’re following a specific diet to improve your health, but still looking forward to enjoying some time together. Of course, remember that it’s a two-way trip! (see 3 Simple Ways to Support Your AIP Loved Ones for more)
By opening up this conversation, you’ll find out if your travel companions also have any dietary restrictions, expectations or hopes for the trip. Perhaps there’s a restaurant they’re dying to visit, a landmark they want to see or an experience that you can help them by accommodating.
Finally, ask yourself honestly: are my travel companions going to be respectful of what I need? If not, it may be worth reevaluating your plan!
Now, down to the nitty-gritty. A cooler is one of our favorite tools for an AIP road trip.
You’ll need to consider a few factors when packing your road trip cooler.
If you’re just spending a day or two in the car and don’t intend to eat meals out, you might be able to pack a few frozen meals in mason jars. These can be heated up in a microwave at bigger gas stations or hotels. Salads won't even require heating.
Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Wellness details her road trip packing process in her post“The Guide to AIP Road Trips,” which we love. Ellen ofTriple Peak Wellness also details Paleo and AIP excursions on her Instagram and blog, which we recommend visiting for inspiration!
For longer trips, a cooler might keep meals, snacks, or fresh ingredients you’ve stocked at grocery stores along your journey. Fresh veggies, deli meat, cassava flour tortillas, and plantain chips might not be the most exciting meal in the world, but the combination packs well in a cooler and beats scrambling to find compliant meals!
Combined with a little forethought and some restocking opportunities (planned ahead, of course!), you’ll be unstoppable.
We mentioned plantain chips, but finding nutrient-dense, non-perishable, and AIP-friendly road trip snacks is our final essential tip for AIP travel.
First, we love the ease ofWild Zora’s new line of just-add-water camping meals. Even if your trip won’t lead you into the wilderness, these meals are just perfect for fitting in some nutrient dense meals on the road. All you need is hot water! With several AIP options, they deserve a place in your pack.
Of course, any AIP traveler knows that making a meal of snacks is always an option, too. Gone are the days when we had to make our own provisions (though that’s always a fabulous option!).
Now, a handful of our favorite companies are making compliant, travel-ready sources of protein, fat, and fiber. The key? Focus on snacks that will keep you full, and combine protein, fat, and carbs to create a satisfying on-the-go meal.
Some of our favorite road trip-ready snacks include:
Don’t forget to pack any supplements, like digestive support, probiotics, and nutrients, that your doctor has recommended, too.
Daunted by the prospect of finding new AIP snacks for summer travel? Let us do the hard work for you! EveryStrength in Food deliverycomes with a carefully curated selection of AIP snacks, resources, and educational information.
You can customize your delivery with pre-made meals and whole-foods supplements from Vital Proteins, too! And when you subscribe, you’ll find more inspiration inside our member’s portal, too (seeA Peek Inside Our Member’s Portal for more)
In this post, we’ll talk about the principle of nutrient density and a simple exhortation for including more of it in your AIP: eat the rainbow!