Busch Gardens on GAPS Diet!?!?

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.


2 thoughts on “Busch Gardens on GAPS Diet!?!?

  1. I think this is great. Thanks for sharing. We are at the beginning of the gaps diet but have been doing a gluten-free, low grains, whole foods diet since Sept 2011. It takes SO much prep and planning to go anywhere or do anything, and so few acknowledge or understand this. It’s so nice to see other families making things work. Thanks for all of the ideas and recipes, my kids will love it!

    • Thanks Stephanie. The whole GAPS thing can be overwhelming during the transition, but eventually your family will embrace it as my kids say “our way of eating”. We are just over two years in and have had many successes, and some setbacks along the way. But we are all healthier for having gone through the process.

      Soon I will post a full update, but I can tell you that I myself am 17 lbs lighter, allergy medication-free, stronger physically, and a much better cook to-boot!

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