How to go Camping with Autoimmunity

Updated: May 18, 2019

This weekend I did a thing! We went camping for the first time since my diagnosis and it was great! I would definitely check this one off as a major success. The key was preparation--A little planning and you can do it too.

Booking Your Campsite

When you go to select your campsite there are a few things you want to look for. First, you want to make sure that it has washroom access! I love camping, but I don't want to realllyyyy rough it. Inflammatory bowel disease and no washroom are like oil and water, not a good mix. If you happen to be camping at a beach site, check to see if they have facilities as well. Now that you've selected a campground, you need to actually select a campsite. There is typically a map of the campground that shows each site and where all the restrooms/showers are. Select one that's closer to them so you don't have to walk very far when the need strikes.

Bring All The Things

Our car was PACKED. I brought everything that I would need so it would just be another day... except it would be in the "wilderness". But let's be real, camping at a campsite is really glamping. Here are some things I brought:

This sunscreen by BeautyCounter is great! It totally saved my boyfriend from a bad sunburn, but the reason that I really love it is the EWG certification it has, so I know it isn't toxic. Additionally, it is a physical sunscreen which has plenty of benefits as compared to the chemical counterparts. Chemical sunscreens take the UV rays and convert them to heat in your skin which can be very irritating, whereas a physical sunscreen uses natural ingredients like zinc oxide to reflect the rays to prevent you from burning. There is also a sunscreen spray if that method of application is more your thing. UPDATE: They just released a tinted (it comes in light or dark) spray sunscreen as well! You can get these great BeautyCounter products from my friend Beth of BonAippetit.

Essential Oils

These dōTERRA products were also total life savers! The nice thing about camping in summer is you don't freeze your butt off, BUT that means you have to deal with mosquitos. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of mosquito bites or the many nasty things they could be carrying. So I got the TerraShield Spray and it works AMAZING. I literally walked toward a swarm of flying things and they veered around me, and I didn't get a single mosquito bite the whole weekend. I also think it smells great which is a huge plus! No one enjoys smelling like nasty bug spray. The OnGuard Sanitizing Mist is also great for making your hands feel nice and clean without having to walk all the way to the washroom. If you're in Canada, you can find these products here.

Oils are also great to have on hand incase you forget to reapply that sunscreen and end up with a little more colour than you anticipated. Lavender oil is great for nourishing the skin, and peppermint helps cool it down. You can add them to some aloe and/or coconut oil to help your skin calm down and heal after too much sun. Just make sure you use high quality oils to ensure you get pure oils with the highest therapeutic efficacy.

Gimme All The Food

Remember those digestive enzymes that I mentioned earlier? They have been a huge part of my healing and I literally don't go anywhere without them. I did bring my own food to eat over the weekend, but I knew there was no way I'd be able to resist some potato chips and a roasted marshmallow or two. The enzymes help me tolerate the things I don't normally eat with no discomfort what-so-ever.

So what food did I bring you ask? Certainly not cheeseburgers and hot dogs. I brought some sausage and spinach for breakfast, and marinated some chicken thighs ahead of time (recipe coming soon) for dinner. Chicken is super easy to cook while you're camping. It can be done on a portable grill, portable stove, or even on the fire. One of the many reasons that I love cast iron is because you can use it on just about any cooking surface, including a campfire. Check out my blog post on how to maintain your cast iron to ensure the best cooking experience and longevity of the pan. I also made my Roasted Beets and they were great! They're tasty cold but you can heat them up in your cast iron pan if that's not your thing. Our friends even liked them, much to their surprise. Who takes beets camping, right? So weird.. And you can't forget snacks! Normally I don't snack throughout the day because I do intermittent fasting, but I knew everyone else would be so I should bring something just in case. Sliced cucumbers make a great snack and satisfy that need for crunch. I also baked some paleo cookies which everyone loved.

Intermittent Fasting

Do you do intermittent fasting? How does that work when you're with other people who eat breakfast a good 4 hours before you? Turns out it's actually pretty simple! We brought a french press to have coffee so I made sure to bring my coffee essentials: coconut oil, cinnamon, Vital Proteins collagen peptides, and my frother so the oil doesn't float on top. Having coffee with some fat helps hold you over (especially when you're smelling everyone else's eggs and bacon) until it's time for you to eat. Then, when they have lunch, you have breakfast! Simple as that.

Have Fun!

The most important part! I know it can be scary and stressful, but sometimes you just have to go for it, anxiety be damned! It's easier than you think and it'll all work out in the end. Happy Camping!

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