AIP Camping Trip Recap
Perhaps the best part of outdoor camping is the FOOD. That is why camping while following the autoimmune protocol can be quite tricky. But you don’t need to sacrifice vacation, camping, and time spent outdoors. These things are, in fact, great for your health and wellbeing! Therefore, I put together this recap of our recent tent-camping trip. In December, we spent a weekend in Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park. I hope this helps you plan, inspires cooking creativity, and shows you how easy AIP camping can be. Let’s get to it!
A few weeks before our planned trip, I ordered non-perishable, AIP-compliant foods from Thrive Market. I stocked up on Epic bars, sardines, smoked oysters, canned salmon, Sea Snax seaweed, and coconut wraps. On the evening before our departure, I had ready a big bag of Murasaki Sweet Potato Wedges, guacamole, matcha bars, and salmon salad to load up coconut wraps. Cast iron skillet cooking in the great outdoors is priceless! However, I planned simple and cold foods that did not require cooking.
Since my husband and I live in South Florida and were headed to North Florida for our trip, we thought it would be a good idea to check the weather, in case we needed to pack sweatshirts, jeans, and such. To our dismay, we found out the weather was going to be in the 30’s and 40’s! We were currently in 80 degree F. weather, so you can imagine what a shocker that would be. I was totally unprepared, not in the area of clothing, but with the food. Who wants to eat cold food in 40 degree weather, right? Lesson learned: ALWAYS check the weather before prepping food!
So more grocery shopping commenced. I stayed up late and woke up early to do more cooking and prep. Here’s a look at what I packed for our AIP camping trip:
freshly squeezed orange juice
matcha concentrate (about ½ cup of coconut milk, water, enough honey to sweeten, and 1-2 tbsp matcha. Mix some with hot water for a quick matcha latte)
eggs for Cesar
already-prepped/not cooked Carrot Apple & Bacon Hash from Unbound Wellness
homemade carob chocolates (recipe coming soon)
for lunch and dinner
pumpkin chili from The Healing Kitchen
We left home a bit late due to extra cooking, preparing, and some much needed snoozing. Unfortunately, Cesar had work to do during the majority of the weekend. We had to stop at a Starbucks cafe for some WiFi. Did you know there are AIP snacks and drinks available there? Well, at this one I found That’s It bars and bought two. One to have with my matcha tea (order a matcha green tea, no milk, with honey!), and one for later.
We arrived at 7:30pm in the middle of a thunderstorm. Ahhh! We sat in the car wondering whether we should attempt to set up camp or just sleep in the car while the rain poured down. After a little while, we decided to venture out with our tent and flashlights to look for our campsite. The map said it was less than 100 feet from the parking area. After walking down a trail for 15 minutes with lightning flashing and lighting up the forest, and our shoes all soggy and muddy… we turned around, deciding to sleep in the car. We couldn’t find the tent site. (We found out later that it is dangerous to walk the trails at night because gators are on the prowl for critters!) Once we returned to our car, we saw another trail on the other side of the car. That MUST be the one that leads to our tent site! Sure enough, we headed down that trail and reached our site in 30 seconds. Hahaha! We could literally see our car from the campsite. Crazy. We set up our tent in the pouring rain, walked back to the car, and drove to the bathrooms. We were only gone for five minutes. When we returned to our tent, carrying sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and an air mattress… our tent was inches in water. Our camp site had flooded! We quickly scooted around the water, threw our blankets into the tent, and moved it to a little bit higher ground. Instead of going back to the car for anything else, we just hopped in the tent HUNGRY, WET, FREEZING, and not at all ready to sleep at 7:30. It was rough. And I was not a happy camper. Cesar was having the time of his life.
Saturday morning, the rain finally stopped at nine o’clock. Instead of making breakfast right away, we had to drive away to McDonalds for WiFi again, since Cesar had more work to do online. I hadn’t brought coffee with us on the trip, so Cesar took advantage of stopping at McDonald’s and bought some coffee. You’ll see that silly cup in the pictures. By 10:30 we were dressed for the cold weather, digging through the cooler, and warming up our cast iron skillet. Cesar was still working away on his laptop and I was a grumpy pants since I had not eaten since 4pm the day before. When I finally had my matcha in my hands and in my stomach… I was content. Even happy. The whole world looked brighter and better! I fried some bacon, Yucan Crunch crackers, and an egg for hubby. After throwing the apple & carrot hash into the skillet, I sat back to sip my matcha latte and chat with Cesar while breakfast cooked. We took our time eating and cleaning up, then we were off to explore the park.
On the trails, we saw deer and a hilarious armadillo. I walked up behind him to get a good look at him on video, and he was so surprised that he jumped and scurried away. The little video lives on my Instagram profile (@naturallylaurablog). Cesar and I can’t stop laughing at how funny it sounds and looks.
The view from the observation tower is gorgeous. The moment was so serene, so we took quite a long break there to just take in the scenery. We also stopped at the visitor center before turning around to head back to camp. There was a video all about Payne’s Prairie. If you ever go, watch it! It will give you such an appreciation for the park and its history.
Once we returned to our tent, it was time for dinner. The smoky and savory Pumpkin Chili from The Healing Kitchen is the most satisfying camp food we have ever enjoyed! Seriously, make it if you ever camp in cold weather. It was 40 degrees and dropping rapidly. Every five minutes, the temperature dropped one degree. It was crazy cold! We ate that soup up so quickly with some crispy bacon and Yucan Crunch crackers. You can’t camp without s’mores, so we made those with the homemade chocolates, Yucan Crunch crackers, and marshmallows from Sweet Apricity. My husband voted these s’mores better than ones you would typically make. That says a lot.
Around 6pm we made the hard decision to head back home and not spend the night in the park again. The temperature was going to be in the low 30’s and we knew it was going to be torture for us all night. Despite my gloves and layers of clothing, my skin was already burning from the cold and my fingers were stiff. Packing up was a breeze. We basically threw everything in the trunk since the sun had set and it was super cold. Then we were off!
Even though it was a very cold time in Payne’s Prairie… Even though Cesar had to work a lot… it was a pleasure to escape some stress and spend plenty of time in the great outdoors! Nothing is more refreshing than clearing your thoughts and breathing fresh air, hearing the rain on your tent at night, and walking on unpaved trails.
I hope you have gained some ideas to make your next camping trip or road trip much easier! The more you travel while following the autoimmune protocol, the less of a hard challenge it becomes. It actually becomes more of a fun adventure.