Just got back from a few days down in Nashville, TN. It was a crazy trip. I haven’t been in an airport for about 4 or 5 years. Things have changed alot over that time. My original flight out was scheduled for 12 noon. Unfortunately, I woke up to a few inches of snow that day, and my flight was cancelled due to the local weather. I was put on the next flight out which was about 3 hours later. So I had an extra 3 hours to spend in the airport. I had brought some snacks with me - Larabars, Go Raw Trek Mix, Fruit - so I had some munchies to hold me over until I got to Nashville and to eat while I was there if I got hungry between meals. But I decided to check out the food options that were available in the airport, past security, in the gate area, where I was stuck for awhile. I have to say that I was incredibly surprised! Newark Airport rocks the healthy food. There was plenty of fresh fruit available, salads, cut veggies, juices, cheeses, etc., all stuff that was legal to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Even most of the food that wasn’t SCD legal was very healthy - wraps, salads, sandwiches, snacks. I was honestly pretty shocked, but in a good way. Of course, they had a Starbucks with all the pastries, and a cafe selling burgers and fries and typical grill fare, so there were not so healthy options too. I decided to hold on to most of my snacks for the rest of the trip, and had a nice salad with grilled chicken for lunch that day.
I was flying on a Continental Express Jet which was so small that we weren’t allowed to bring typical carry-on luggage onto the plane. It was a little more than a 2 hour flight, so they only served a snack of pretzels and a beverage. I ordered a seltzer water and passed on the pretzels. I was still pretty full from lunch.
Nashville got hit by a pretty bad snow storm while I was there and I was worried that my flight back would be canceled also. Only this time, I imagined delays of more than 3 hours. Luckily, the storm had passed, and my flight back was not canceled, but only delayed about a half hour. So I had time to wander around the gate area and check out the food options. Sadly, the Nashville Airport does not offer the same amount of healthy options to travelers. There was one restaurant in the gate area and one newstand. The newstand had snacks, but I think the only thing that I saw that was SCD legal was a bag of almonds or nuts. Everything else was candy and chips kind of things. The restaurant probably had some salads on the menu, or some grilled meats, I didn’t really check their menu, but they looked like a typical cafe/grill. They also had a small refrigerated case of prepared foods to grab and go, but it was mostly sandwiches and wraps.
They gave us a more substantial snack on the flight back. A trail mix, crackers, pepperoni, spreadable herb cheese, and kit kats. Unfortunately, the trail mix had all sugar and sweeteners in it, and the crackers and kit kats were totally not SCD friendly. The pepperoni and cheese probably also had non-SCD ingredients in them. I looked quickly at the ingredients, and unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact listing of what was in them, but I do remember thinking, “oh, these aren’t as bad as I thought” as there was no corn syrups or MSG type ingredients listed for either. I figured they were probably about 80% to 90% legal, so I spread the cheese on the pepperoni slices and made that into a little snack. I couldn’t believe how incredibly salty it was though.
When flying, I would DEFINITELY recommend bringing snacks or food for the flights. Airplane food is always pretty bad to begin with, and it’s usually completely SCD illegal. It’s much better to come prepared. And if for whatever reason you can’t pick up legal snacks before heading to the airport, try to buy something SCD friendly in the terminal. The options available at the gate areas are much better than anything they will give to you once you’re on the plane.
I remember my first trip after I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis back in 2004. I had to go to Los Angeles for a business trip which meant about 5 hours in the plane each way. I had only been diagnosed about a week earlier and put on meds (Asacol) by my doctor. I was taking the meds, but they weren’t doing a whole lot for me at all. My body still did not want to hold food and anything I ate went right through me. I knew nothing about the SCD at the time. So I stopped eating. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was spend most of the flight in the plane’s bathroom, so I did not eat the morning before my flight or during the flight. Once in LA I also ate very little. I ate what my doctor told me to eat - soft bland foods like crackers and bread. I had about 3 days of a business conference where my days were full of meetings, and I wanted to be able to function like everyone else, so I ate very little the entire time there. I remember having a small croissant or small danish for breakfast one day with some juice. I don’t remember if I ate lunch or not. Dinner one day was some french fries or a burger. And one day we went out to a really nice seafood restaurant for a meal. I remember being hungry most of the time and running on empty. I also remember having to buy a belt because I did not bring one with me, and I had been losing so much weight (from not wanting to eat) that my capris were literally falling off of me. In fact, I had eaten so little, that on the plane ride home, (again I didn’t eat before or during the plane ride) I had started to hallucinate. I could have sworn the person that I was traveling with had gotten up to walk to the back of the plane, but it ends up that they actually didn’t, and were seated across the aisle from me the whole time. And I remember experiencing a few other strange things and thinking “I better eat or drink something once I get home.”
That trip was probably one of the things that made me most not believe what my doctor was telling me. He put me on meds that were not helping much if at all. And I was eating what he told me to eat, but it wasn’t helping at all either. Somehow, I knew there was a better way to do things. Every time I think back to that trip, I am so THANKFUL that it helped to lead me to find Breaking The Vicious Cycle and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Here I am more than 5 years later with no meds and feeling perfectly fine with everything functioning normally. Always listen to your body. It knows you better than any doctor ever will.