I am writing this post in the car, while my husband drives us back from a four day trip in the California desert as I wanted to put together a quick guide about the AIP road trip food that I enjoyed while exploring the beautiful Joshua Tree and picturesque nature around Palm Springs.
Alec and I love to create beautiful memories for Christmas. And instead of buying each other gifts, we carve out time just for us and go on a fun trip. After Chiang Mai, Thailand, Macau, and two yeas in New York City, this year we decided to spend the Holidays stargazing in the California desert!
Since I am currently on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), packing the right food was essential for the success of out vacation, as not only was our destination the desert (not many fancy supermarkets there) but it was also during Christmas, when lots of stores are closed, especially those tiny but extremely resourceful health food stores.
WHAT I PREPARED AT HOME:
The day before we left, I prepared glass containers full of cauliflower rice cooked with sliced turkey, sage and a sprinkle of my AIP Parmesan cheese (find the RECIPE in my AIP Italian Cookbook); baked sweet potato fries; chicken liver cooked wit thyme, oregano and tuna oil (my best trick to not make it taste as much like “liver”) and steamed yam.
WHAT I BROUGHT WITH ME:
- 1 can Aroy-D Coconut Milk
- 1 bag Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1 ziplock bag with a mix of Dandelion Coffee, Carob Powder and Grass Fed Collagen for my morning AIP “Coffee” (find the RECIPE in my FREE AIP Breakfast Plan Ebook)
- 1 bag Jicama Chips
- 1 can Artichoke Hearts in water
- 6 cans of Sardines and smoked Kipper in olive oil
- AIP Trail Mix made with coconut flakes and pieces of dried papaya, jackfruit and dates that I bought at Whole Foods.
- 1 bag Plantain Chips
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My AIP Road Trip Food Journal:
We left early in the morning for Palm Springs and had breakfast on the road: I ate my chicken liver together with some steamed yam and a hot paper cup of green tea.
Our first stop was in the middle of the sandy dunes at the feet of the Santa Rosa Mountains. We had a lovely picnic for lunch, that for me consisted in one of my waffles topped with mashed avocado and a few slices of prosciutto di Parma, together with a side of fresh, organic spinach.
As we were headed to the beautiful Waldorf Astoria Resort in La Quinta, it was awesome to find a very eclectic Ralph’s grocery store 10 minutes before our destination, where we bought a few items that went a long way on our coming adventures: lots of fresh berries, smoked Sockeye salmon, dried Mission figs and a bag of organic shredded carrots.
My afternoon snack was some hand made AIP trail mix, that combined coconut flakes, dates, dried bananas, jackfruit, papaya.
As per our Christmas Eve toast, we poured some coconut-lime ‘Kevita’ probiotic drink inside of champagne glasses and cheered in front of our fireplace (our room was incredible!!).
After relaxing in the hot tub outside of our suite in the chilly weather of the nights in the desert, we went out to dinner at Morgan’s, on of the three restaurants of our resort. The chef was very accommodating and I was able to enjoy the followings:
- Green salad with raw shaved cauliflower, pears and prosciutto.
- Roasted duck breast cooked with an orange and apricot sauce and purple Korean sweet potatoes
- Broccolini sautéed in olive oil and salt.
It was so good I didn’t even feel like I had any food limitations at all!
My Christmas morning breakfast consisted in a bowl of raspberries, blackberries (which I bought at Ralph’s the day before) and a grapefruit I picked from one of the hundreds fruit trees scattered around the resort.
Since that day we went hiking on the Santa Rosa Mountains, right behind our resort, I prepared a quick salad by adding pieces of smoked salmon, avocado and the sweet potato fries I baked at home to my box of spinach and I enjoyed that on the trail. Boy, was it good!!
For dinner I enjoyed the cauliflower rice I borough from home, with some shredded carrots and kipper in olive oil (always make sure to buy “boneless skinless”, even though I have never understood why they would even offer the opposite option… like, who wants that?!)
My first breakfast on Joshua Tree was a great fruit parfait I made layering 4 strawberries, ½ banana and a handful of blueberries with coconut flakes and coconut milk. I paired that with my AIP coffee which I prepared mixing the powder I brought from home with my coconut milk and some hot water.
That day we went hiking on the 49 Palms Oasis Trail. My lunch in the oasis was very tasty: shredded carrots seasoned with 1/2 avocado and some smoked sardines in water, enjoyed with a side of plantain chips. And, as a dessert, some coconut flakes with a couple of mission dried figs.
For dinner we were debating between two options: 29 Palms Inn, a farm-to-table-place that features fresh seafood, grass fed beef and fresh farm veggies and the Joshua Tree Saloon, which we were told serves really good grass fed burgers. We opted for the latter, but unfortunately, given that the grill they use to cook the burgers is the same they use to grill the bread, I wasn’t even able to have the plain beef patty as wasn’t gluten free.
While my husband enjoyed a nice hamburger, I ate the only safe thing I could order: a large side of steamed broccoli that was actually really good. Thank God I eat at home before though, as that side alone would have not been enough!
Before we left the room, I wrapped organic lettuce and artichoke hearts in a few slices of smoked salmon, all of which was stored in my room minibar.
As we started running out of food, on the 4th day we decided to go out for breakfast. Natural Sisters’s Café in the cute (but tiny) downtown Joshua Tree offers great smoothies with a pretty good selection of organic fruit and vegetables. I ordered one of those and a customized salad to go, which I enjoyed later, while we were exploring the national park.
Also, two doors down from Natural Sister’s, there’s the Joshua Tree Health Food Store, where you can get some healthy snacks for the road and there is another great store called Sue’s Health Foods in Yucca Valley, just 10 minutes away.
Joshua Tree National Park was beautiful!! We had a blast taking photos and walking through the picturesque vegetation… and we even saw a roadrunner!!
After a full day of staying out and exploring, that night we headed to Whole Foods in Palm Desert where I was happy to make my own salad with lots of raw veggies, steamed yellow beets and some boiled shredded chicken, all of it seasoned with olive oil and salt. I was also very happy to have found some tasty Jicama Chips that are AIP approved and that really made my dinner yummy!! (There’s just jicama, olive oil and salt in there… I wonder how come I have never seen them before?!)
I hope this guide about my AIP road trip food helped you, not only if you are about to go out in the desert too, but in general as a source of inspiration to create tasty quick meals that are also AIP compliant to enjoy while you are on the road!
If you liked this article, please make sure to share it on your social media and let me have your feedback in a comment below!! I am sure you have precious suggestions that can help others too!!