I did it!
I survived a ten-day road trip! I’m happy to say that my stomach and gut co-operated and must have appreciated all the effort I put into planning a trip that wasn’t unpleasantly adventurous. It can be done:
Road Tripping with IBS – Successfully!
Here’s my assessment of how each of my plans worked out:
Kitchen on the Road: Most of my supplies worked out really well – if anything I needed to bring a bit more. Using the same spoon for Peanut Butter and then Metamucil was a bit icky, but it worked. Next time I’ll bring 2 microwaveable containers because I was always washing one out each day. Speaking of washing dishes – next time I will definitely bring a medium sized plastic bowl, dishwashing soap and dishtowel. Washing dished in a hotel bathroom (when we didn’t have access to a kitchenette) was challenging.
Usually the cooler fit somewhere near the kitchenette or microwave/fridge stand, and I was able to prepare lunches or dinners fairly well. In the photo you can see the cooler, my lunch kit, some olive oil/condiments and a few groceries. It was a bit messy, but it worked.
Breakfasts – ok, I did get tired of having a rice cake with peanut butter and a banana every morning for ten days. But, it was safe, so I would do this again. Next time I will bring ‘safe’ teabags. At some of the fancier hotels they had packet of tea that were scary blends (Earl Grey Apple? What’s that?).
Lunches – the lunch kit that I packed each morning worked really well. A small container of peanuts, an orange and/or carrot sticks were enough to get me through the mid-day meal. I never had a problem bringing it out at a restaurant (The Husband and The Son ordered off the menu). I had brought along a supply of IBS-friendly granola bars (I’ll blog my recipe sometime in the future) and these were a lifesaver for a mid-afternoon snack.
For drinking, I tried to stick to bottled water. I read somewhere that it’s really important for IBS sufferers to avoid drinking water when they travel – even if it’s ‘safe’, it can be different enough to upset a touchy tummy. I did get bored of plain water and picked up some Lipton’s iced tea powder – it’s made with ordinary sugar so OK for the FODMAO diet. I mixed some into my bottled water in the morning so I could have an iced tea when we were out sightseeing in the afternoon.
Dinners – I had a few different experiences, and survived them all!. When we stayed with family, they were very accommodating and made up simple, FODMAP friendly food just for me. At a fish fry one evening my cousin broiled the fresh fish in olive oil and it was fabulous. I was so very grateful for her kindness 0 she had made extra for me to take back to the hotel. I was able to portion them out and get the hotel to freeze the packets for me. By keeping them in the cooler or the hotel fridge I had 3 more nights of safe and delicious protein.
In restaurants, the chefs card worked some of the time. I was surprised to discover ho many restaurants to not have the ability to provide an unseasoned/unsauced meal. Fries were either coated or cooked in a fryer that wasn’t dedicated to just fries (I have been caught by cross contamination in this way). Fortunately, I was able to get a baked potato and steamed broccoli at a few places, and then just opened my pop-top can of tuna at the table. With a glass of red wine, I really enjoyed the experience of eating out – safely.
Because we were usually able to pop by a restaurant well before dinner, I was able to ask if their menu had any acceptable items. If the only restaurant available didn’t have acceptable menu items, I brought along my little lunch kit packed with microwaved potatoes (I had purchased some mini potatoes just for this purpose) and olive oil mini-carrots, and my tuna or the leftover fish or chicken from a previous dinner (I saved leftovers!). I never had any hassle at a restaurant for bringing in safe food – I did order wine, and of course The Husband and The Son were ordering off the menu. I don’t imagine they’d be thrilled if we all brought our meals in!
As for my Emergency Travel Kit – I didn’t need it. I had it safely stowed in my purse, which took up a lot of room in the passenger seat of the car, but it was reassuring to have it so close by.
Can you believe it? I’m still a little bit in awe of this. It was such a huge relief and a sense of accomplishment and freedom when I finally reached home and realized that road tripping with IBs can be done – successfully!