Of Food and Travel


As I’ve said before, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet has worked wonders on my system. Praise God! Knowing that I can control my symptoms with the kind of food I eat has certainly been a blessing.

However, you may be thinking, “The SCD is fine and good in the home, but what happens when I go out? Or when I travel? How can I stay on the diet when others don’t know what I can and can’t eat?”

Here are some easy tips that will make social gatherings easy and stress-free:

  1. Always go prepared. I never go anywhere without a snackbar, cheese, or other SCD-legal goodies. I eat constantly, so even on short car trips, I need something to nibble.
  2. Ask what is being served. I know this may be embarrassing sometimes, but you just need to get over that. If you are going over a friend’s house for dinner, ask what they’re cooking, what seasonings and spices they’re using, and what ingredients are in those spices. Don’t be shy about asking for details. Your health depends on a complete openness between you and the cook. The same goes for public gatherings. Either ask, or just bring something along.
  3. Save leftovers. My family’s church has a fellowship lunch every Sunday afternoon. On the preceding Friday or Saturday, I try to make sure I set aside enough food for Sunday, so I don’t have to rush to make something before church. I’ve found that leftover veggies don’t always re-heat very well, so I just toss in some frozen green beans Sunday morning.
  4. If you are dining out, emphasize to your waiter that you either must know exactly what’s in something, or that whatever you order must not be seasoned at all. I usually ask my meat to be seasoned with salt and pepper and my veggies to be steamed.

Road trips are a little more difficult, because of the need to keep things cool. I attend a church retreat six hours away in the Piney Woods of East Texas. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so I have to prepare my food ahead of time and pack an entire cooler. The food provided at the retreat is delicious, but “illegal.” Fortunately, there is a refrigerator available in which to store my food.

Plane trips are the hardest. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to take certain foodstuffs, such as homemade yogurt, along on the plane. When my family and I went up to New York last year, I was able to board the plane in San Antonio with homemade yogurt, but I wasn’t able to leave New York with it. Airports are more tolerant of storebought goods, since they are sealed and have labels and ingredient lists.

So that takes care of the plane. But what about when you get where you’re going? It depends, really, on where you go. If you’re visiting friends or family, ask them for help. My aunt bought a yogurt maker and prepared some yogurt to be ready upon my arrival. She also bought some cheese, one of my favorite snacks. After we’d arrived, we went shopping and stocked my relatives’ refrigerators with fruit and other legal foodstuffs. My extended family took very good care of me the entire time we visited.

If you’re flying somewhere new, find a hotel room with a refrigerator, at least, if not a kitchenette, depending on what you can afford.

For any road or plane trip, don’t overdo any one thing. Portioning is very important in any situation, but especially when you are away from home. I went to Idaho for a festival back in 2007 and ate nothing but fruit and steak. Needless to say, I was terribly sick after I came back home. Balancing your fruits, vegetables, and meat will keep your digestive tract in good condition.

Sometimes it will be impossible to make yogurt. For these situations, take probiotics along.

Lastly, don’t forget to drink water. As important as it is at home, to cleanse your body away from home is even more important. Your system may already be a little affected by the change in the atmosphere, your different surroundings, the difference in temperature, etc.

To summarize, be cautious. Ask questions, portion your food. But above all, relax and remember to enjoy yourself.

Do you have any travel tips for SCDieters? Feel free to comment below! I’m always open to new suggestions.

Happy travelling!

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9 thoughts on “Of Food and Travel

  1. I do not follow this diet, but I do have dietary restrictions. I just went to London and Paris a couple of months ago, and even though the food was different, staying hydrated was the hardest. The water is very different there, some people say that you shouldn’t drink the tap water but the bottled water is very weird in consistency and made me feel nautious. It was very hard to get used to, especially because I am constantly drinking water, but I did not get sick. A good tip is to bring a water bottle to fill up throughout the day and always ask for tap water in restaurants :]

    • Thanks for the tip! I never thought about water being different in other places, but it’s true. I don’t drink as much water up in New York because the taste is so different from what i drink down in Texas. 😀

  2. Great advice!

    I find that no matter what I get when I eat out, I have stomach problems after. I’m going to try what you do and ask for the veggies steamed and the meat with only salt or pepper. I feel like the spices are definitely an issue for me (but sometimes really hard to catch on to and the waiter doesn’t usually know..)

    ~Aubree Cherie

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