As I’m sure everyone knows…Disneyworld is the happiest place on earth. I am definitely a kid at heart and it was because of this that I was ecstatic to learn that my husband and I would be traveling to Orlando for a work conference this last month. I thought to myself, I can finally go to Disneyworld and experience all of the magic I have been missing! At the same time, I began to panic thinking about all of the preparation I would have to do and if it would be feasible. After all, I didn’t want to compromise my body and feel like crap the whole time that we were at the park. So it was with that in mind that I scoured the web for tips for people traveling to Disneyworld on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). There wasn’t a lot out there. My hope is to help you when you are in this sort of situation. Although it is important to note that many of these tips fall into the category of traveling on AIP or any restricted diet in general, not just at Disneyworld. Side note: AIP is an elimination diet that consists of no grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar, eggs, nightshades, or nuts/seeds. Please see my page titled ‘What is AIP’ for further information.
1. Plan, plan, plan. When you think you are done planning…plan some more. This was the biggest step in making sure our trip was successful. Think about things before hand so that you do not have to worry about them on your trip. This can include calling your travel arrangements, looking for grocery stores near by, ordering any items online you’re going to need, or even simply making a meal plan.
2. Invest in a sturdy travel cooler that you can bring in the car, airplane, train etc. This was huge. Because we would only have a mini fridge in our first hotel for the duration of a week, I cooked like a mad woman and froze everything so that I could have food to eat throughout the week. Then my husband and I went to the store and bought a ridiculous amount of ice packs to make sure all of my food would last until we got to our destination. Yes, this was a lot of work. But it saved me from feeling sick all week. I cooked the food and knew what ingredients everything was made of and I felt much less stress because of it. I used the Coleman Soft Cooler and loved it.
3. If you have access to a grocery store and kitchen and don’t mind prepping your food at your travel destination, do it! This makes the preparation for your trip less stressful but gives you more work to do while you are there. If it is a leisure trip, this may be the best option! Whatever works best for you and your trip is ideal.
4. Make sure to buy/bring portable snacks. For me that looked like plantain chips, fruit/veggie puree pouches, apples, grapes, epic bison bars , and canned salmon. I even made a big batch of a smoothie and froze it to last for the first couple of days. This was so important for me in not falling off the wagon while I was there and helpful in emergency situations to hold me over. I made sure to put some in my backpack, purse, and luggage so that I would always have these options available.
5. Stay hydrated! Water is so important for your body. Travel puts a lot of stress on the body and staying hydrated helps your body to work at its best. Water improves oxygen delivery to cells, transports nutrients, empowers the body’s natural healing process, flushes toxins, and is found in all tissues of the body. The list goes on and on. Drink your water! A general guideline is to take your body weight and divide it by 2. This will give you the amount of ounces to aim for in a day assuming you are not drinking any diuretics (soft drinks, coffee, caffeinated tea).
6. This ties into the above tip but bring a camelbak and lunch box into the Disney parks with you! I found that I drank MUCH more water than I would have if I had not brought that. Granted, I convinced my husband to carry it around most of the time. What a guy 🙂 As for the lunch box, we packed our lunches and dinners and paid $12 a day for a locker at the front of the park and simply came back when we were hungry to eat. If you save your receipt, Disney reimburses you $5 when you return your key at the end of the day.
7. Make sure you bring any supplements you usually take and consistently take them! This is not the time to mess with your routine as your body needs that extra help even more so when you are traveling. Probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamin D, etc.
8. Do research in advance if you plan to eat out. Most places post their menus online and you can call during non-meal times and ask to speak to the manager about your food allergies and if eating at their restaurant is feasible. Be nice, most people would love to help! At downtown Disney, I found a great food cart that offered grass fed beef sliders. I had this topped with caramelized onions and lettuce and it was a great, easy, and safe meal.
9. Don’t get too upset at yourself if you have a setback. I personally did this three times on my Disneyworld trip. Was it worth it looking back? Not necessarily. In the moment it felt good and I felt ‘normal’. I tried not to let it damper my time there because I did the best that I could in that moment. My advice would be to wait until the end of your trip to indulge. For example, I love popcorn. Especially Disneyworld popcorn. However, popcorn doesn’t love me very much. I would suggest for the avid popcorn lover to wait until their last day at the park to give in if their mind is set on having it. This makes it less likely for you to give in again and again on subsequent days. Of course, if you can resist and know that what you are craving is going to do more harm than good, then by all means…resist.
10. Enjoy your moments. Travel is supposed to be a time of leisure and relaxation. A time to enjoy the people you are with. Practice gratitude by being thankful for what you can be thankful for and practice being present in each moment. Life is such a gift!
I hope you have found my tips for traveling on a restricted diet helpful. What are your tips? I would love to hear them!