PrimalCon and Preparing for a Road Trip When You’re Paleo

I’m getting ready to leave for PrimalCon in a few hours and I am super excited. Not only will I be talking to others about how I transformed myself, I’m planning on concentrating on how I have dealt with the litany of doctors I have seen over the years – to date, I have seen about 50 doctors from four different countries for the various ailments I used to suffer from. I continue to visit the doctor occasionally, if only to test their knowledge and spread the word about things like “gliaden” and natural, nutritional interventions as opposed to pharmaceuticals – the go-to of every conventional doctor I’ve ever seen. Perhaps you get to choose the doctor you go to, but as part of the socialized, industrial machine that is military medicine, I don’t. I get to see a new one every time I go to the office. So, I do what I can to be a shit disturber. It’s just what I do.

I’m going to take the time at PrimalCon to relax. I’m bringing my guitar and plan to enjoy the company of my wonderful Primal family, eat everything in sight and eventually let the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach soothe me to sleep. This will be the only vacation I get all year and I’m going to make the most of it.

I was going to say that I’ll be tweeting and blogging from PrimalCon but I won’t. I’m not going to make that promise. Besides the issue of having an internet connection in the first place, I want to concentrate on the event itself and on having fun, playing and connecting with Primal tribe members. Even if I do have an internet connection, I think I’m going to unplug for a few days.

In the meantime, it’s tough planning for a trip. I know that there will be lots of food when I get there, but I have a 9 hour journey each way. In my SAD days, I could stop at a roadside diner or go through a drive-thru, but that is no longer an option. Being Primal or Paleo can be daunting when you’re faced with time away from home, but there are solutions. Here are some things you can do:

    • Bring some lemon or lime juice. If you stop at a restaurant, you can always find salt. Grab some of the little packets to take with you if you can find them. Then, you can make a refreshing sports drink (recipe here) that will keep you hydrated. I find this especially helpful if you’re going to be flying.
    • Make up individual bags of nuts and dried fruit – one for each day you’ll be away. I went to Trader Joe’s and bought cashews, macadamias, almonds, dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries – all my favorites. Throw in some organic dark chocolate and you’ll have a nutritious meal (and a treat!) on hand for when there aren’t any other options. If you have a vacuum sealer, it will keep them ultra-fresh but I do caution you that trying to open one of those packages while you are driving is very, very dangerous.
    • You can also dry some of your own fruit if you own a dehydrator. Organic Kiwi sliced very thin with the skin still on and dried is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
    • If you have the time, make some beef jerky. If you don’t, there are amazing Paleo options available on the Internet if you plan a little in advance. The only two I have tried personally are Steve’s Original Paleo Kits and Tanka Bars. I prefer the Tanka Bars and here’s why:


      The Paleo Kits consist of nuts, fruit and grass-fed meat. They’re delicious, but the nuts and fruit are a little slimy. They taste great (especially when you’re ravenous!) but it changes the texture of the nuts and everything is sticky. I think it’s from the combination of the fat and the fruit. To be fair, I haven’t tried Steve’s grass-fed beef jerky on it’s own, but I’m sure it’s delicious and not sticky at all. You can’t eat the Paleo Kits while holding on to the wrapper, like you can with Tanka Bars. Reaching into the Paleo Kit package results in terribly sticky hands. Tanka Bars are made from buffalo meat and dried cranberries. They’re tender and sweet. I received a sample from Tanka a few weeks ago and I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. They’re a little sticky, too, but you can hold on to the wrapper so your hands stay clean. I’m used to having to tear at beef jerky with my teeth but I could easily bite into the Tanka Bars. My kids loved them too. Both Steve’s Originals and Tanka Bars have quality, Paleo products and both are companies that you can feel good about supporting. I have banners for both companies on the side of the page; feel free to see what they offer. I’m sure you’ll find they have products that can help you with both convenience and nutrition while you’re away from home.


  • Bring a jar of coconut oil. If all else fails, a spoonful or two will tide you over until your next meal. Coconut oil is also great to rinse out your mouth if you don’t have a toothbrush handy. A few people I’ve talked to use it instead of mouthwash and toothpaste. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and tastes great. You can add it to coffee (best with a blender though), put it on veggies at a restaurant instead of the hydrogenated imitation “butter” most places offer these days or use it as a natural, moisturizing sun screen for your skin. Be careful opening the jar if you’re in a warm environment, though. Look to see if it’s melted first.
  • For veggies, there are great kale chips available at most supermarkets. As long as you’re eating them with some beef jerky, you don’t have to worry about the fact that they’re “vegan.” ;) I make my own. My dehydrator is probably the most useful appliance I own these days.
  • Intermittent Fasting. Always an option and sometimes the best choice.

There are lots of options available to the Paleo traveller, if you do a little planning and preparation ahead of time. Most of us have to do that on a daily basis anyway, so traveling isn’t really a big deal when you think about it.

What do YOU like to bring on trips with you? Any tips or advice for the Paleo traveller?


PrimalCon and Preparing for a Road Trip When You’re Paleo — 30 Comments

  1. This year, when I go back home to the UK for a month, I’m going to buy a crockpot. I’m even going to order it in the US and have it delivered to the farm we stay at so it is there when we arrive. I’ll buy meat at the village butchers, throw in the pot, leave for a day’s sightseeing or visiting family and return to a paleo meal when we get home. In the past, the last thing I would feel like doing is making a meal so it would be convenience store stuff or pub grub. When I came up with this idea, you’d have thought I’d invited electicity of somethin’. ;-)

    • That’s awesome, what a great idea. I’ve been traveling with a travel size kettle and a Bodum to make fresh coffee and tea. I hate relying on hotel coffee or someone’s crappy drip machine or (god forbid) instant coffee (=no coffee for me!) Small crock pots are super cheap, try looking for second hand ones in thrift stores in the US, they’re like 4 bucks.

  2. i like the coconut oil idea. Never actually thought about that one before. Typically I bring raw nuts (usually almonds) and for example when I was flying to Austin for Paleo FX I brought 12 hard boiled eggs that I ate throughout the day.

    But I also have begun to practice this motto…”When in doubt go without.” meaning if I am not properly prepared then I simply wait until I can find what I want…that might mean skipping a meal…but I can always find something.

    • I’ve tried the hard boiled eggs, but unless i have salt and mayo, I just can’t stomach them. They’d be great to add to a restaurant salad, though. I also can’t eat 12 eggs in one day, unless they’re deviled. ;)

      • I hard boil my eggs and put them in the pepperoncini juice that I save in the jar. The whites turn yellow from the juice, but you get the yummy flavor and makes boring hard boiled eggs much better. Can use any kind of pickling juice that you save after eating what’s in the jar.

    • Awwwwwesome! And what seasonings do you use in those meatballs? Can I buy them online? *hint hint*
      [Chris and Orleatha make their own amazing seasonings which I get to sample (hopefully!) tomorrow night!!!]
      I’ve made stuff like this, but try to eat it all the first day so they don’t spoil. I like the jerky for the trip home.

  3. Ive been making my own roo jerky- awesome!
    But, it would be nice to have some links to jerky bars that seem as good as the ones you’ve mentioned that we can get in Australia. Any ideas?
    Have a brilliant PrimalCon! I wish I was going! ;)

  4. For our recent Easter road trip, I grilled a steak – cut it up into bite size pieces and kept the container in the cooler. Also a coconut/pecan/raisin “trail” mix along with our favorite freeze-dried fruits ( That got us through the 4-hour car ride to Grandma’s house. Best Primal road trip snacks so far – always looking for new ideas, though. :)

    • I love packing a cooler too but usually by the time I get somewhere my ice is melted. I try to pack for the entire trip and the ride home and that means mostly dried, canned or packaged stuff. I usually don’t have refrigeration when I travel. Trail mix is great!

      • The freeze-dried fruits are our favorites for travel – they are tasty, crunchy and weigh almost nothing. BUT, they are fruit, so I only bring along a few – otherwise the kiddo and hubby would totally pig out on them!

  5. Good stuff, I like to bring bars of dark chocolate with me, when everyone is having those not so friendly desertsI have some chocolate with coffee and heavy whipping cream in the coffee tastes great. But I also do what Dean does if not prepared I go with out.

    • Great idea, Pat. In fact, I just got back from the grocery store and I bought two bars of chocolate. They probably won’t survive the trip down but hopefully I can save one for the trip back! It’s strange, I never used to eat in the car. Now, I take great satisfaction in seeing the look on other driver’s faces when they see me eating carrots or beef jerky while they chow down on fries. ;)

  6. Some other ideas: avocados. Already in their own package. I buy enough for one each day and use the salt and lime juice I’ve brought for my water with them. As long as you have a knife and a spoon, you’re set.
    Also, canned oysters, sardines etc.
    I’m thinking of this stuff now, cause it’s the stuff I’m literally packing this moment!

  7. Hi Tara, I love your blog. I checked it out after reading your success story in Mark’s book. Congratulations, you look awesome! I couldn’t figure out how to email you, but I just wanted to ask you if I could mention your blog? I just started up a brand new blog on wordpress, called primalsevenplan…it is just in the works, it barely has any content yet. I loved your recipe for the homemade “sports drink.” I’ve been drinking it for a couple days now and I think it is really helping to prevent dehydration- so thank you! I just wanted to make sure it was ok to publish your recipe in one of my posts, giving proper credit of course. I’m just new to this whole thing, sorry. I’m not sure what the proper protocol is ;)
    But I did figure out how to link back to your page from my post, so if it’s ok, I will definitely do that!

    • Of course you can mention my blog! Please link and link and link away! :) Normally the proper protocol is to give people credit for their ideas, or quotes, or recipes by mentioning that it is theirs and providing a link to their page so you’re good to go. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who says “no, you can’t increase my traffic.” ;) Thanks for asking, though!

  8. Hi Tara,

    It was great meeting you at PrimalCon last weekend! I hope our paths cross again–you inspired me to make a few diet tweaks. :)

    I tried looking you up on LinkedIn or Facebook, but couldn’t find you. If you are ever in Portland, OR, let me know!


    • I’ll be passing through Portland this summer on my way to Canada, so let’s meet up for coffee! I’ll have the (screaming, tantrumy) family in tow, however… :) I really hope that everything works out for you, please let me know how it’s going. I’m under Tara Chester Grant on FB, hit me up! My FB page is too…

    • Great snacks for a road trip, but the seaweed (which my kids call ‘green chips’) is super messy in the hands of a toddler in the backseat of a car. At least when it dries you can (usually) vacuum it up. :)
      You can also make your own, which is way cheaper than the stuff in the store. Just buy (cheap) regular Nori, cut it with scissors and put some good fat (coconut, olive, tallow, etc.) on it. Then, sprinkle on your favorite seasonings. Roast in the oven for a couple minutes and there you go. Save the silica packets from other products you’ve bought to use when you store it and it should keep for about as long as the store-bought stuff.
      I found a great site that has directions:

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