Busch Gardens on GAPS?!?

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The story of how we managed an overnight, out of town excursion to “Busch Gardens Williamsburg” while abiding by the GAPS dietary protocol.

First of all, I should explain the we have three kids who are at the prime ages for amusement parks: 8, 6, and almost 3. My mother lives about 30 minutes from Busch Gardens in Gloucester County, Virginia (notable for being home to Walter Reed’s birthplace). So in order to encourage us to visit her more frequently, my mother has for the past few years bought our season passes to BG as Christmas gifts.

Since starting the GAPS protocol four months ago, we have not traveled and definitely haven’t done long day-trips that require more than a single portable meal. The planning, prepping, and cooking from scratch (and subsequent clean-up) that GAPS requires is simply too demanding. For the most part,  even in our trendy hometown which has a wealth of farmer’s market-supplied restaurants, most recipes include forbidden ingredients such as grain, sugar, or starchy vegetables. Eating out is not an option-especially during the early GAPS stages.

The original plan was complicated by the fact that we had a late afternoon Saturday soccer match. My kids do NOT sleep well in the car- in fact none of our kids has ever slept more than 90 minutes on any car trip regardless of our start time, their activity level, or the destination. We decided to leave early Sunday morning, do half-day at BG, stay overnight with my mother, half-day at BG on Monday then drive home. That equated to the following meals on the road: lunch(Sunday), afternoon snack(Sunday), dinner(Sunday), evening snack(Sunday), breakfast(Monday), morning snack(Monday), lunch(Monday), afternoon snack(Monday), dinner(Monday). All of the above had to be prepared in advance of the trip with the portions for day 2 frozen so that they could survive the first day in a cooler. It was a bit overwhelming to think about, but the actual doing was not that bad since we’d planned well ahead and had pre-frozen portions of some favorite recipes (see below).

As it turned out, heavy rain Friday night threatend a soccer cancelation and so we adjusted our plan to drive up Saturday. Even though we played the game as scheduled, I was amazed that my wife was willing to break from her norm and was revved up to drive on Saturday. I think the weather had motivated her mind-shift, and in the end it worked out great. the kids went right to sleep once we arrived in Virginia (a couple hours after their usual bedtime). We stayed the night at my mom’s and everyone slept reasonably well. I think we shocked my mother since this is the first time she’s seen us since we started the diet- folks just never know how demanding the GAPS diet is no matter how much you talk about it, until they see us in action firsthand.

NOTE: We have become highly reliant on coolers, ice packs, and Thermos bottle s for toting home-cooked items on our outings.



Dinner (On the road Saturday)

  • Chicken Soup
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Sauerkraut
  • Coconut Date Balls, Lara Bars, and nuts for snacks


Breakfast (at my mom’s )

  • Homemade Sausage (frozen before we left home)
  • Avocado
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Pepper Strips
  • Scrambled Eggs (except for son who is allergic)

Morning Snack (at BG)

  • Coconut Date Balls, Lara Bars, and nuts for snacks

Lunch (at BG)

  • Leftover roasted chicken (we roasted it before we left home, froze it, reheated in the morning before we left mom’s house)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Pepper Strips

Snack (at BG)

  • Home made seed-based-granola bars, Home made dried apple rings, beef jerky, fresh fruit for snacks

Dinner (On the Road)

  • Leftover Meatballs and Squashta (made before we left home, frozen, and reheated at mom’s house in the morning)
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Sauerkraut
  • Coconut Date Balls, Lara Bars, and nuts for snacks

Obviously there was a lot of planning and effort involved in this outing. BG did not let us bring our food inside, but I was able to run out to the car and bring our cooler in close to the gates (we found a great spot with benches in a shady park-like setting). That worked better than hauling all the kids out to the car to eat in the parking lot. All-in-all it was a great trip. The kids were very well behaved. The granola bars and apple rings made for “special treats” for the kids (and parents too!). Don’t let the workload keep you from giving your kids a fun childhood!

GAPS is hard work- no doubt about it. But it does not, and should not, be a hindrance. As my wife reminded me recently, if you are just doing it to do it, going through the motions with a scowl on your face, with no joy or if you are making yourself and others miserable, it may not be worth it.


One thought on “Busch Gardens on GAPS?!?

  1. Thanks – I stumbled upon your blog today – I just learned of the GAPS diet yesterday and it seems I have already started the journey – now I need to leap in with both feet and do this right. I really like what your wife said “if you are just doing it to do it, going through the motions with a scowl on your face, with no joy or if you are making yourself and others miserable, it may not be worth it.” So.. I am joyfully accepting this lifestyle – I know it will help me in the end. If you and your wife can do it with three kids, I can do this for myself. My husband is trying to be supportive – he sort of sees where I’m headed but he doesn’t understand it all – he’s more overwhelmed than I am. He basically feels helpless – watching me have unexplainable symptoms the drs can’t even help me with. At least I feel like I’m doing something – researching and making plans on how to go about my new lifestyle. I’ve already started with Gluten Free/Refined foods free/Sugar Free/Soy Free/Coconut Free/Dairy Free/peanut free/some primal-paleo and God knows what else I’ve forgotten. As of this last “attack” I have determined I need to let go of starches and other grains – (Just when I came to that conclusion, I came across GAPS – right on time) I’ve also been taking probiotics and magnesium – have seen some progress but I need to take it to the next level. I appreciate your blog in showing me it can be done. What a time to be starting this – the holidays…. arghhhhhhh! I’m sure I will wait until January to do the “Intro” Are you a member of Primal Living STL Meetup? I’ve been following that meetup since around May or June – I’m loving all the posts – My twin sister doesn’t seem to appreciate the posts like I do – she just stares at me when I enthusiastically share them with her (I guess not everyone gets the Paleo thing) Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to participate in any of the activities yet because I’m always so sick and weak, but I’m enjoying following all the activities and posts. Someday…… I hope to actually physically participate. Lots of fun people! I have no idea why I shared all this with you – I guess I’m just reflecting and coming to terms with my long term commitment to get well. Writing things down helps me process things. As a blogger, you probably understand that. Well, i’ll be following you. Thanks again. You are paving the way for newbies like myself and I appreciate it.

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