Happy New Year friends! As I sit her writing this…
So you are following the Autoimmune Protocol and you want to travel abroad. Can it be done? Yes! Is it always easy? No…but remember it can be done. 2017 has been a big year of travel for me. I went to Italy in April and to London, Paris, and the French Riviera in August. I had never been to the UK or to Europe before so these are my honest tried and true tips!
Snacks: Bring as many snacks as you can fit in your suitcase and carry on. Snacks were a lifesaver on long days where we were stuck on a train or at a train station with very limited options. When you are traveling and you are on a tour or are sight seeing you don’t always have control of where to eat, so always bring snacks with you.
Some of my favorite snacks are:
Sweet Potato Awesome- dill flavor
Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips
Coconut butter & dried fruit
Veggie Go Go’s
Canned tuna, sardines, oysters
You have two options here. Option one- you can make food at home and bring it through security. Then once you are through security you can get ice in a ziploc bag from a coffee shop. Enjoy your home cooked meal on the plane when they serve the main meal.
Option two is to skip the meal. I know this may sound weird but flying up at high altitudes slows digestion. Basically when you land your body will use all of its energy to try and digest the food that you ate while flying. When you are already tired and/or jet lagged you need to conserve your energy rather than use it all to digest your food.
On my flight to London and home from London I pre-ordered a fruit tray rather than a meal or a gluten free meal (note: gluten free meals are hardly ever AIP compliant, I don’t recommend relying on this as a meal option). All I ate on a 9 hour flight was fruit and I survived! I also made sure to drink at least a liter of water. When we landed I didn’t feel nearly as tired as I usually do and that made navigating a new city and train system much easier. I ate a few light snacks when I landed for some extra fuel until we got to our apartment and could hit up a grocery store.
As a general rule I always plan to rent an apartment so that I have a kitchen and can cook. That way I only have to eat out occasionally.
Hands down, Italy was far easier to eat out AIP at restaurants, second place would be London and third place goes to France. I think Italy was the easiest because the Mediterranean diet is quite close to the AIP template. They also cook in olive oil and are very Celiac-aware, so gluten free options are almost always available. In Nice, France there was a lot of Italian influence so it was a bit easier to eat out there.
In London, there were quite a few ready made options at local grocery stores such as Tesco. They also had a whole foods. I was able to buy things like zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice and beet chips.
Here is a photo of my grocery haul in London and a few of the meals that I made!
While we were in London I had the chance to go to an outdoor cinema and the best part was that they encouraged you to bring outside food! Finally I got to see a movie and I didn’t have to sneak in any snacks!
In Paris, there are lots of grocery stores in close proximity everywhere you go. After a short 3 hour train ride we made it to our apartment and headed out to get some groceries. Here is a grocery haul and a few meals that I made while we were in Paris.
I was also able to eat out in Paris at a Restaurant called NoGlu- everything here is gluten free. I recommend calling ahead of time (they spoke good English) and asking if they can make you something. The menu is often set for the day and so if you want to have a salad without their dressing, you will need to ask in advance. Be prepared to eat a lot of salads in France as that is usually one of the only items on the menu that can be made AIP friendly. Ask for olive oil (I added some balsamic vinegar too) and you are set!
The only time that I didn’t stick to an AIP template was in Paris. I tried some fruit gelato (the only ingredients were fruit and cane sugar) and some Macarons from Laduree which are naturally gluten free but include almond flour, icing sugar, and egg whites. After being on a healing diet for over 3 years I was able to enjoy these treats without any issues. That being said, I only ate about a quarter of the gelato and 1.5 Macarons and I ate them on different days. Making sure that the rest of my meals on those days were very nutritious. Life is all about balance, and if you ever go to France then I highly recommend you try a French Macaron. They taste like a little piece of heaven. The Salted Caramel is my favorite!
The next train ride was a bit longer (6 hours) so here are a few snacks that I was able to pick up at a Vending machine at the train station as well as a few I brought from home. I also enjoyed an epic bar, tiger nuts, and some fresh veggies.
When we arrived in Nice, France we again went Grocery shopping. You must eat all of the black olives you can while in France! They are so good! We were even able to take a short train ride into Italy and go to a market. Italian food quality is top notch. So much so that French locals go to the Italian market on a weekly basis to get their produce.
Here are some dishes that I made while we were in The French Riviera:
Near the Nice Ville Train station you can also get a variety of delicious fruit smoothies that are AIP compliant. I also drank a lot of sparkling water with lemon while I was there.
Overall, even though it wasn’t easy to eat out AIP in France, I still had a wonderful time and never went hungry. As you can see, I was able to cook lots of delicious and nutritious simple meals. As always, do not let your AIP diet stop you from travelling. No matter where you go, I truly believe that you can make it work! You will never regret travelling, you will only regret not travelling enough.
If you haven’t seen Big Ben or the Eiffel tower in person then you MUST go. They are totally worth the hype!
Where should I go next? Prague?
XO Meagen Ashley