Lifestyle Guide : "Primal"

Traveling Gluten Free and Grain Free, No Problem!

Traveling with food intolerance can create many challenges and is one of the biggest headaches we have to face.  With a little forethought and good planning, your road trips can be painless, well as far as eating goes that is 🙂

The best thing you can do to avoid problems is to be well prepared.  The first step in becoming prepared is planning ahead and avoiding the problems in the first place.  It all begins with your destination. Are you  visiting relatives/friends, camping,  or staying in a hotel/resort? In this article I will provide you with some tips for road trips that can take the headache out of your journey.

Staying with relative/friend:

Staying with a relative or friend can be hassle free if they are on board with helping you stay faithful to your food restrictions.  The best way to find out is to have open communications with them. Based on these discussions, you should know ahead of time the environment you will be staying and how accommodating your host will be to your needs.  If they are not accommodating, I would recommend the tips that I will be providing for hotel stays and camping.

The following are questions you should have answered before you embark on your trip.

  1. Are you open to the use of your kitchen to make foods prepared for our food restrictions? (remember you will need to make sure it is well cleaned to prevent cross contamination)
  2. Do we need to bring any supplies with like pans, utensils, etc.?
  3. What grocery stores do you have nearby?
  4. Will you be willing to share space in you refrigerator and shelving for us to store our food?

 

Once you know the answers to these questions you will have a better idea of what you need to bring with and what you can get once you arrive at your destination.  A tip that my family uses is to always bring a cooler with.  even if you can share refrigerator space, you may want to bring items you are unsure you will find once you arrive.

Camping and hotel stays:

The larger challenge comes when you either camp or stay at a hotel. Choosing the right location is key.  For camping, if you are able to choose a site with electric hook up, it will make the stay a lot easier.  Here are some more helpful tips.

  1. When booking for a hotel, look for one with a kitchen/kitchenette.  It will cost a bit more but the money you will save by making your own food will even out. Plus you won't have the risk of cross contamination or accidentally eating foods you are trying to avoid.
  2. Get a room with a refrigerator.  If you can't find one in your destination, your cooler you brought with will come in handy.  You will need to refresh the ice in it more often, but it is still manageable to keep refrigerated foods cool. (see why we bring a cooler when we travel) Also, most hotel refrigerators or smaller than normal unless you have a full kitchen.  It's nice to have the extra space a cooler provides.
  3. Bring a slow cooker with you.  Most hotels don't allow toaster ovens, but slow cookers are fine.  You will be the envy of all the rooms around you as the meals you make give off their wonderful aroma.
  4. Make some of your meals ahead of time and bring your meats frozen.  They make a great way of keeping your cooler cold as you drive to your destination without the headache and watery mess of using ice.  Some ideas for this are frozen meats- roast, whole chickens; pre-made and frozen- taco meat, pulled pork, soups.
  5. Bring dishes, utensils, spices and other kitchen sundries the hotel or campground may not have.
  • Plates/bowls
  •  Cups
  • Silverware/sharp knives
  •  Can opener
  •  Garlic press
  • Paper towels/coffee filters
  • Cutting board
  • Cheese cutter
  • Dish soap
  • Wine bottle opener
  • Coffee grinder
  • Water purifier (no need to get bottled water)
  • Salt/pepper
  • Sugar (coconut)
  • Coconut creamer

6. Plan meals ahead of time and stick to the plan.

 

Recently my family had a dance competition t a resort which took us from home for a week.  We had a room with a full kitchen. Here is what we made for the week. All of it was gluten free, grain free and dairy free.

Breakfasts:

Cranberry crostada

Pancakes with bacon

Sausage links with eggs

Sweet potato, sausage, and egg scramble

Omelettes

Sausage onion, mushroom, artichoke and kale egg bake

Sweet potato hash with rosemary and bacon

Lunches:

Taco salad

Tuna salad wraps (coconut wraps)

Pulled pork salad

Egg salad

Bacon hamburgers with green beans

Dinners:

Slow roasted chicken and vegetables

Roast beef with carrots, mushrooms, and onion

Pizza (homemade paleo crust)

Maple glazed rosemary salmon and broccoli

Steak and Greek salad

Chicken tenders with side salad

Snacks:

Paleo crackers

Grapes

Apples

Bananas

Nuts

Coconut macaroons

It takes a little more preparation and planning, but traveling grain free can be easy and enjoyable.

 

Want the menu plan and recipes? Sign up here to be notified of when my menu plans become available this fall.  The recipes and shopping list for the meals in this post will be included in the meal plans.

Paleo All Purpose Flour

 

When people go grain free they may lament over not being able to have breads and bakery items any more.  Thankfully that is not true.  Although it is a bit different to use the flours in a paleo flour mix, you can enjoy the same things you have grown up eating. I think it makes better pancakes than our gluten free all purpose flour.  They turn out a beautiful golden brown and look just like glutinous pancakes.

So you might ask, what is in a paleo all purpose flour?  It is actually really simple.Just 4 ingredients.

  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Arrowroot
  • Tapioca starch

There are some commercially sold paleo flour mixes, such as Bob's Red Mill.  But I feel they are way over priced.  If you purchase the 4 flours in large enough quantities, 2-5 pounds each, it ends up being way cheaper to make it yourself.

Here is where the fun begins.  In some recipes it may work as a one to one replacement of flour, and in other recipes you may have to make adjustments to your liquids. Coconut flour tends to absorb liquids extremely well and is what may make adjusting your liquids necessary.

I tried using the flour mix we have in an old gluten free almond bread recipe we used to make often.  It actually ended up very  runny, so for that one I still need to experiment with that recipe to get the mixture correct.  That will be shared once I have perfected it.  It still turned out well, but I ended up making it with xanthan gum, which can be obtained from grains.  Like the pancakes, it had a beautiful golden brown color to the crust.  We don't make bread often and the 2 loaves went in one day 🙂

 

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Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

 

The first step in becoming gluten free is to get rid of gluten containing foods.  The most effective way is to remove all grains.  That can be a very daunting process for most people.  Taking smaller, gradual steps to being grain free may bring you the most success.  It has taken me over 8 years to get there, so don't worry if this is the route you choose.

In those 8 years, I learned how to eat a strict conventional gluten free diet (still eating grains).  My husband and I came up with a great gluten free flour recipe that could replace regular flour one-to-one.  One of the great things about that is we didn't need any specialized, gluten-free cookbooks.  We just used the ones we had before going gluten free.  The only thing we haven't been able to make gluten free is croissants.  Everything else, we have been extremely successful in using this recipe.  In fact, those who don't know it is gluten free don't even notice.  We even did a whole Thanksgiving meal gluten free and no one knew the difference.  You can get all the recipes we used and more here

My kids say everything tastes better with the gluten free flours.  This is because wheat has an intense flavor and when that is removed, all the other flavors come through. I never noticed the intense flavor wheat had until I eliminated it.  Now foods taste so much more vibrant.  

My husband and I even used the flour to make homemade gluten free baklava.  Now that's a labor of love! First time we made it, it took us 8 hours!!!  I hope you have fun making memories with your family and enjoying your favorite recipes together.

 

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Grain Free Baking Powder

Baking Powder, a simple baking ingredient, right?  We shall see.

Numerous people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance find they are still reacting to their foods even while eating a strict gluten free diet.  I was on a strict gluten free diet for over 8 years and still was not finding much relief from my symptoms.  It can be a frustrating spot to be in.

Many have found more success and better health when they eliminate all grains. I have learned through lots of study and research that grains can illicit the same kind of response on the immune system as gluten does.  (But that's for a different post)

Eliminating grains can be difficult because grains are used as fillers in so many things and a lot of them you wouldn't even think have grains.  Why would you ever question nuts. they are just nuts right?  Nope, most are dusted with some kind of flour.  I find rice flour used a lot.

Another one of those is baking powder. I know, I, never thought of what was in baking powder.  It's just baking powder, right?  Nope.  Do you know what is in baking powder?  I looked it up when I saw that it was not an acceptable paleo/primal food on one of the paleo sites I frequent.  Commercially produced baking powder (unless stated) is made from baking soda and cornstarch.  Since cornstarch is made from corn, a grain, it is not paleo/primal and if you are eating grain free it should be avoided.

When I found this out, I was like, “great, another baking item to eliminate.”  With a little digging on the internet I found a way to make a grain free baking powder.  Now I can provide my family with wonderful baked goods that I know are grain free and so can you. I hope you find it useful. 🙂

 

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