The following is a list of food and supplies I have brought with me while traveling on SCD. Traveling by plane can be tricky with the restrictions on liquids, but it is doable. Some people have reported getting a note from their doctor ahead of time that has allowed them to bring anything in their carry-on, but I haven’t tried this. If you’re traveling by car, staying in a house with access to a kitchen, and doing groceries while you are there, then you’re set! But if you’re traveling by plane and staying in a hotel, well there are a number of things you can do to make the trip easier.
You’ll notice the list is quite long. I don’t bring all these items every time, but I do end up filling my carry-on with pretty much just food and maybe an extra sweater. I haven’t bothered bringing a cooler bag but it might help keep things cold a bit longer. You might want to check online or with your flight carrier if there are any restrictions to what you can bring into certain countries, although I haven’t had a problem with bringing these foods into China, Canada, United States, and England.
As for what meal to order on the plane, I usually ask for gluten-free but don’t eat it. Sometimes I’ll pick out a few pieces of fruit. Once I was actually served a wheat bun with my gluten-free meal. Not sure who failed on that one, but at least I’m aware enough to know there was no chance it was a gluten-free bread (there was no ingredient list on it either). Play it safe and bring food with you. Airplane food tastes gross anyway so you’re not missing out.
- Freeze at least 2 full meals: I usually make a big slow-cooker pot of beef or lamb stew and freeze it in small containers. Easy to pull out of the freezer when you get home and warm up.
- Make yogurt: Even if I’m going to travel for 2 weeks, I make enough yogurt to have a liter left when I get home. It will last 3 weeks even if it is not as potent towards the end of the timeframe. It makes it so much easier when you get home to have some ready made. Make 2 liters, pack one and leave one in the fridge.
- Freeze meatballs and vegetables: This will be for bringing with you, but if you can make lots, make enough to have some when you get home.
- Hard boil eggs: These are to bring with you. Do them the day before so they’re good and cold when you’re ready to leave the house.
- Frozen meatballs: Freeze them so they keep for longer flights and they also help keep other food in your carry on cold by acting like an ice pack.
- Frozen cooked vegetables: This works best if they were steamed lightly and then frozen. Make sure to sprinkle salt on them so they taste decent cold. These also keep for a while and help keep other food (cheese, eggs) cool.
- Hard boiled eggs: Make these the night before and keep them in the fridge until you leave. I have kept them at room temperature while flying for over 8 hours in the shell. It does help to have the frozen food placed in the same part of your carry-on as the eggs. Use your own judgement for how long you wish to keep these unrefrigerated.
- Cheese: Cheese will actually keep at room temperature for quite a while and will stay cold if you pack frozen food around it.
- Butter: I actually brought butter on my flight home from China, salted butter is an awesome snack on its own or can make the vegetables and meatballs a bit more appetizing.
- Whole fruit: Fruit sauces are not usually allowed, but a whole banana or apple is a good snack to bring on
- Nuts: Pack your own, don’t expect airlines to serve nuts anymore and don’t expect to find any in the airport that aren’t coated with something.
- Larabars: Great travel snack, I like the coconut cream pie one the best.
- Beef jerky: I don’t like it, but it is a good snack and keeps at room temperature for the entire duration of a trip. I brought some to China but didn’t end up eating it because I had so many other snacks with me.
- Pemmican: I haven’t tried it yet and will update this when I do, but this would be better than beef jerky because it has both the meat and fat in it. This is truly the ultimate SCD protein bar and keeps at room temperature.
- Nut muffins/brownies: I don’t bother with these anymore but if you prefer nut butter over whole nuts, then make up a batch of your favorite recipe and bring some along. They should keep a couple days at room temperature.
- Yogurt: I pack about 1 liter of yogurt every time I travel. Plastic containers won’t break so they’re always best. I have no plastic left in the house though, so I just wrap glass jars with my clothes.
- Honey: To flavour the yogurt. Or to eat off a spoon. Keeps indefinitely at room temperature.
- Coconut oil: Keeps at room temperature and is great for energy or extra calories. I mix it with honey and eat it off a spoon.
- Coconut butter/spread: Keeps at room temperature and is great for energy or extra calories. I eat it off a spoon. This is not the same as coconut oil, as it has the coconut meat/fiber still. It’s basically pureed coconut meat.
- Nut butter/spread: Keeps at room temperature and is great for energy or extra calories. I eat it off a spoon.
- Broth: Try to make broth that is very concentrated, freeze it as cubes and pack it in containers.
- Dehydrated meals: I dehydrated spaghetti sauce once and it worked so well. Bring a bowl with you to rehydrate it in. I’ll try to get some recipes up soon but just do a Google search for dehydrator meals and you’ll see lots. Stews work well, just cut everything up into small pieces before cooking. I dehydrated spaghetti sauce at 150F overnight until it was the consistency of fruit leather (sticky but not tacky).
- Immersion heater: Great for boiling water or warming up broth. The boiled water can be used for tea or for reconstituting dehydrated meals. Note that most hotels have some way to boil water or you can ask the kitchen staff for boiled water too. But, this little tool is great to have in a pinch.
- Spoon, knife, fork: I don’t now how many times I’ve eaten yogurt by ‘drinking’ it out of a jar, really need to remember to bring some utensils.
- Activated Charcoal: This is great for times you might be exposed to illegals. The folks on the BTVC-SCD and GAPShelp Yahoo groups are very knowledgeable about this one.
- Imodium and/or Pepto Bismol: I stay away from pharmaceuticals when dealing with a sick stomach, but if you’re traveling it’s not always a good idea. Dehydration can get you down pretty fast. Best to pack something to use in an emergency. I think in terms of SCD legal, regular Pepto Bismol is considered ok.
- Fridge: Most hotels around the world have the option of getting a fridge in your room. To me it’s worth it even if they cost a bit extra. If you don’t ask for it when you book, it’s never too late. I’ve had hotel staff wheel in a fridge an hour after I got the room once because I forgot to ask for it. They didn’t mind, and actually forgot to charge me for it. It helps keep the food you bring with you as well as allowing you to bring food back to the hotel that you find while out during the day. Fruit, leftovers from meals, and hard boiled eggs from breakfasts can all be kept for the duration of your trip. Note that in hotel rooms with key cards, sometimes the power will be shut off when you leave the room and take your card out. Try using a library card in its place to keep the power on while you’re out all day.
- Microwave: Not as important as a fridge since everything can be eaten cold, but is nice to have if you want to warm up some meatballs or vegetables.
Have anything to add to this list? I’m always interested in hearing what other people with food sensitivities bring on the plane with them.