I was out of town all day yesterday, and once again I had to figure out how to manage my eating while on the road and doing strict AIP. I am not sure why this has been such a hard thing for me to figure out. It seems simple; lots of people doing Paleo or other diets simply prepare a regular meal or two and bring them in the cooler and stop along the way to eat what they bring. It's not rocket science that a plain salad, some veggies and fruit, and some cold steak or chicken would do just fine on most trips. The only real problem I've had with bringing food that way is having it get too warm, even in a small cooler. In the summertime with temps 100 degrees or more, it gets awfully hot in the car, and my cooler has not kept my food cool for more than a couple of hours. I may need to try a bigger cooler with more ice.
But the *real* issue I am overcoming is this sense that when I go on a road trip, even for just a day, I "should" be able to eat things I don't normally get to eat. I'm not sure when this habit occurred... well, thinking back I can figure it out. When the kids were all little and we were always broke, I HAD to pack all our food when we traveled. We always brought water bottles, fruit, bags of cookies and chips, and sandwiches when we went out of town, and that was fun! But when they got older and my circumstances improved, I was able to afford things I never could before. I could stop for a latte on the way out of town, pull into a fast food chain for a breakfast biscuit instead of eating at home before I left, and enjoy new restaurants for lunch and dinner. I'd always go online and look up restaurants in whatever cities we'd be traveling through so we could eat something new. Yeah, food was becoming my entertainment, and a way for me to remind myself that I was not in poverty anymore. I guess in some ways it made me feel better about myself to be able to eat at nice places. It turned into a habit... an expectation that eating new things at new places is part of the experience of taking a road trip.
I'm getting away from this mindset now, and in a way AIP is a huge blessing because it has forced me to stop eating at restaurants. In the first two weeks or so, I did go out to eat twice, and the experiences were abysmal. And I came out of there thinking, "I am not paying someone to give me a plain chicken breast or a plain hamburger laid on top of a bed of plain lettuce!!"
So yesterday I got up, had my tea with coconut milk and a bowl of plain, steamed butternut squash with cinnamon. I brewed some green tea and iced it for my water bottle, and brought an apple, a carrot, and a serving of plantain chips. I ate those foods for lunch, but of course without protein I was hungry by 3. I decided to go to a grocery store and pick up something to eat. Lucky for me, there was a Trader Joe's nearby. I figured, surely I can find something healthy and with no additives at a Trader Joe's! But you know what? It wasn't so easy. They had lots of things I can't eat, like nuts and processed stuff. I looked at all their salads and ready-to-eat foods, but they all had things like croutons, grated cheese, tomatoes, and spices I cannot have... and unlike general low-carbing, on an elimination diet I can't just pick off the stuff I can't eat. I looked at all the "natural, no preservatives" labelled lunch meats but they all had sugar, dextrose, carageenan, or paprika in them. The only cooked meat I could find that was 100% AIP-compliant was prosciutto. So I bought a small pack of that and some pre-cut melon spears, and I sat in the car and ate my prosciutto-wrapped melon. That held me til I got home. I had some leftover AIP coconut curry with chicken and then biked for 25 minutes.
Feeling good, enjoying these changes, and researching the best way to reintroduce foods when I am ready.
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