Travelling while you are on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is not easy but hopefully the ten tips below will make it a bit less stressful for you.
- Do your research.
Research the place you are going as much as you can. Look up the nearest supermarkets and farmer’s markets if there is some. Confirm the cooking facilities in your accommodation. On a recent trip to Spain we discovered upon arrival that there was only a hob and microwave but no oven for cooking. After the initial panic, I got creative with some lovely salads but I would have been better prepared had I known in advance.
- Prepare some sauces in advance.
This will of course depend on how far you are travelling. If your journey is not too long you can prepare some sauces ahead of time to bring with you. This way you might actually get a holiday! On a recent holiday in Co. Wexford where we travelled by car, I prepared my pesto and barbecue sauces before I left and carried them in a cooler bag. I also prepared my homemade ketchup and some salad dressings. This saved a lot of time on holidays and meant more time on the beach!
- SCD Yoghurt
If you are travelling in the car, just pour your yoghurt into glass jars which you can place in a cooler bag or box and place ice blocks around them to keep them even cooler. If you are travelling by plane then it is difficult to bring the yoghurt (although I did do it once by putting it in a big thermos flask!) then stock up on a good probiotic before you go.
- Prepare a snack bag
Bring plenty of snacks in a bag that you will be keeping close to you no matter how you are travelling. Some of my favourite portable snacks are: Slices of cheddar cheese, olives, tinned sardines in olive oil, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, Parma ham (cured with salt only) almond butter, ripe bananas, dates.
- Stock up on non-perishable food you can eat
There are a huge range of SCD-legal foods available now that were not available before. It’s a great idea to stock up on non-perishable snacks for your holiday. That way, you won’t have to worry about baking when you are away and you’ll always have something in your way in case hunger strikes! In fact I nearly always carry Lara bars or other SCD-legal snacks in my handbag just in case. As always check labels careful for hidden ingredients. I know that only some Lara bars are SCD-legal and other brands such as “Nakd” bars are similar.
- Learn some important phrases
If you are travelling to a country where they speak another language, be sure to learn some important phrases you will need to get by. Handy phrases are: “gluten free”, “dairy free”, “without additives”, “organic” and “free range”.
- Play it safe when eating out
Eating out on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is not easy. There have been times when I have tried ten restaurants before finding one where I could eat. Not fun! In fact this has been the hardest aspect for me of the SCD diet. After numerous times successfully eating out now I can tell you what I have learned. You can ask for a salad for starter and make sure to bring your own dressing with you. For main course I find the safest option to be steak as they is little that can be done to it! Ask for extra vegetables to go with it and just make sure you stress that your diet is refined-sugar free. Beware of caramelized anything! For dessert, you can ask for a fresh fruit salad but make sure to stress that you can’t have syrup with it. Question everything: it is your right. You may be a little embarrassed but your health is more important.
- Bring your essential equipment
I always bring my spiralizer on holidays with me because it means I can prepare noodles so quickly and easily. Ok, it does take up some room in the bag and may mean that I can’t bring all thirty outfits I wanted to, but priorities change! If I am travelling somewhere within Ireland I usually bring my heating pad so I can make yoghurt. I wouldn’t bring it on a plane in case it got damaged. Ever see how they throw those bags on the plane?? I also bring my thermomix if travelling in Ireland. For those of you who have never heard of it, it’s a super-duper powerful blender and all-round kitchen machine. My husband says I love it more than him. Not true, I swear!
- Treat yourself
I usually bake something before I go on holidays: either biscuits, a banana bread or a cake that I can transport easily. It is a holiday after all so you want something nice to enjoy while the rest of the family eats ice-cream and pastries!
- Plan your days
Ok. I know it’s a holiday and holidays are meant to be spontaneous but SCD doesn’t really work that way. Try to plan roughly what you will do each day and how long it will take you. That way you can work out if you need to bring a picnic or you will be home in time for dinner. This makes life a lot less stressful. Looking for an SCD-legal restaurant when your blood pressure is low ain’t fun, trust me!
Finally, and most importantly ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY! 🙂