China Part 1 – Getting There

I got back from China just 3 days ago and boy do I have a lot to share! I went with my boyfriend Hong who was born in China and still has uncles, aunts, cousins and grand parents there. The two of us had gone with his best friend 3 years ago and had a blast. My parents and his parents joined us on the trip (yes we both have great relationships with our families!) and it was my parent’s first time going. I feel like I went for a month since we did so much touring around, so many cities, so many dinners.. It was really only 16 days. I think I will have a few posts broken up randomly so that I can get this all written down without feeling overwhelmed. There’s a ton of pictures to go through so after the posts I’ll share some Facebook albums. I don’t have pictures for the traveling there part, since I was pretty focused on packing and then was drowsy from motion sickness drugs for most of it! There will be plenty coming in the next few posts though.

Flying on SCD
I was feeling a bit nervous about the flight because of food availability. I don’t like airplane food and don’t trust that my stomach will like it either. Some people just don’t eat on the plane, but my flights spanned 16 hours so I knew I couldn’t go the whole time without eating. From my house to the hotel in China, it was about 20 hours. In my carry-on I brought a couple of Larabars, 4 hard boiled eggs, 6 frozen lamb meatballs, some beef jerky, individual snack sized hard aged cheese encased in wax, bananas and apples. Freezing the meatballs ahead of time meant they lasted quite a while at room temperature. They also kept the eggs cool while they thawed out. I highly suggest frozen meatballs while traveling especially for people who are sensitive to eggs. The cheese worked out well too and kept at room temperature for the entire 2 weeks since they were encased in wax.

There’s a lot of food I would have brought if it weren’t for the frustrating liquids restrictions in carry-ons. What I would give to be able to bring my yogurt on the flight. At least what I brought was more than enough to get me through the 16+ hours of travel. I did pack some yogurt and coconut oil in my checked-in luggage for when I arrived, along with enough Larabars to have one each day. I wasn’t going to have access to a kitchen or fridge at all for the first week so I didn’t plan on bringing food for then. The yogurt I finished in the first day there. The Larabars lasted the entire trip. My new favorite flavour has to be the coconut cream pie. I love that it has some coconut fat in it for energy and the flavour is really nice! I don’t normally eat Larabars at home, but rely on them heavily while traveling.

I ate a big bowl of beef stew with zucchini before leaving my house the morning of travel. I ordered the gluten-free airplane meal option which is never SCD legal as they almost always give rice, potatoes and put questionable sauces on stuff. Oddly enough, Hong got fresh fruit with his meals and I ended up trading him some weird fruit cup type food for that. They also gave me margarine while he got butter, so I stole his butter and ate it plain. BTW the margarine was not just vegetable oil suitable for someone with dairy allergies, it was “hydrogenated vegetable oil with milk proteins” blech.

Motion sickness was also a big worry of mine as I get really nauseous on planes. I tried homeopathics, ginger and Sea Bands but nothing worked. The first flight was only 1.5 hours but left me so nauseous and dizzy I couldn’t carry my bags when we landed. For the next 12 hour flight I had to rely on dimenhydrinate known in Canada as Gravol every 4 hours which put me to sleep immediately for at least 2 hours at a time. I really don’t like taking any medication but knew this would only be for flights so I tried not to worry about it too much. My entire flight there was literally sleeping for 2 hours then stuffing my face with the food I brought, then sleeping again. One thing very noticeable, this was my first ever flight without feeling pressure, cramps and gas in my stomach. Flights used to be uncomfortable to sit through but this time I felt nothing other than the motion sickness.

We arrived in the late afternoon and went to the hotel briefly to change. We had dinner that was as close to SCD as possible, with stir-fried plain looking meat and veggies, and a bit of rice which I had done ok with in a test before leaving. After a nice dinner we returned to the hotel for showers and were in bed by 10. I did fine sleeping and didn’t feel too jet-lagged. Traveling to China always seems to be this way. We arrive exhausted in the evening, eat a big meal and sleep through the night. The travel home is a bit harder.

So I made it, safe and sound with a happy tummy ready for the touring ahead. Stay tuned for the next post which covers the sightseeing in Beijing.


I have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since January 2008 to recover from Celiac disease. As part of the diet, I don't eat grains, sugar or potatoes and prepare all my meals from scratch.


  1. Thanks for sharing your details with SCD and traveling. It's helpful to see how you handled it.

    -Paul Stocker

  2. China is near the top of my list for places to visit. Thanks so much for posting about your SCD experience! Quick question – what cheese did you have that lasted at room temperature?

  3. The cheese was Babybel http://www.babybel.ca/en/original.asp

    I got the Mini Babybel Original but they also have Swiss, Gouda and cheddar.

    It lasted not only at room temperature but at a warm room temperature. Most of the daytime there was no air conditioning on (it was only on at night when we were in the room) and it was probably 75-80F. Of course the website says keep it refrigerated and that it *might* last 1 day at room temperature. I say use your own judgment. I didn't get sick from eating at least 5 of them on days 15 and 16 and saw no evidence of mold or spoiling.

  4. Too bad babybel doesn't make a raw cheese. Nice to know they travel so well though! We just had to beg out of a much shorter trip (from IL to CA) in part because of food away from home. It's great to see that it CAN be done, and I'm glad to hear that you didn't get ill from anything you ate. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Welcome back! I found your blog on the day of your last post and was wondering what happened to you!! Great travel tips. I love the frozen meatball idea!

  6. Kat,
    Glad you made it back safe and in good spirits! Can't wait to see your Beijing pics!


  7. Hi Kat – thanks for sharing. I went through hell travelling to Kona Hawaii, I was not allowed to bring any fruit, and they had no GF food! Although I did pack some, it was not enough, so after a total of 12 hours…had major Hypoglycemic crash. The frozen meat balls is a super idea…will remember that for next time, and the hard boiled eggs too! I have emailed the airline twice encouraging them to have some GF options, but no response. Next year, if we go, we will use another Airline, and I will pack more of my own food, thanks for sharing Ina

  8. @ChickiePea: I know! I wish Babybel were Organic and raw, but they are good enough for traveling. I eat only raw milk cheeses when at home. Stay tuned for the post on me getting very ill from something I ate 😉

    @Sara: The frozen meatballs always work well. I've taken them before on trips and am always surprised how satisfying and tasty they are when you're hungry!

    @Shel: Working on the Beijing post, just sorting through pictures right now.. 1000's

    @Ina: I can't believe they didn't allow fruit, that's just nonsense. I do know they don't allow fruit sauces, but a raw whole fruit you'd think wouldn't be a problem. I know some airlines have fruit platter options for meals, that might be something to look for, then just bring your own source of protein.

  9. This was an informative post for me, thanks! I like the meatballs idea. Bummer you get so sick while flying.

    I've been following your blog and enjoying it.

    Looking forward to the China pics. I heard that China is pretty good about having a lot of meat-based dishes. Does that match your experience?

  10. @Adam, as you'll see in the newest post there are lots of meat dishes in Chinese cuisine, but a lot of wheat as well. It is possible to get plain meats and vegetables in most places, but sauces and marinades are questionable.

    I really wish I could find some way to deal with the motion sickness. My naturopath said she has a few more ideas we'll try next time I fly.

  11. For those who stay 100% SCD, the Mini Babybel Original aren't legal. They're aged a short time and still have lactose in them. Someone at pecanbread recently confirmed this.

  12. Thank you for posting that. A quick search on the Pecanbread Yahoo Groups turns this up:

    "Babybel Cheese

    Please take note that Mini Babybel is not a cheese that is matured. It is produced and than shipped to destination after 7 days.

    Hope this helps you.

    Have a great day

    Jane Smith
    Consumer relations"

    Cheese should be aged a minimum of 30 days in order to be SCD-legal. Too bad, because this would have been a handy snack for those who have to stay strict and are traveling 🙁

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