Paleo & AIP in Hawaii

Hawaii FB

So holy cow you all, I have been a totally terrible blogger. With the craziness of my spring and then all of the kids that I nanny being out of school for the summer and my second trimester summer fatigue I have been cooking for survival and sleeping during all downtime. However, I do actually have things to share. Back in May my husband and I went on a huge trip to Hawaii! This was by far the biggest trip I have been on since going AIP and to say that I was a bit nervous about it is an understatement. Not only would I be traveling for almost 24 hours on a plane I would be eating away from home for over a week and shopping at unfamiliar stores. Plus I had been having severe morning sickness for the weeks leading up to the trip so that was an added complication. However, all of my planning paid off and my worry was unfounded because we had an absolutely incredible time!


The travel was by far the most intimidating part of the trip planning for me. I haven’t flown since going AIP and we were going to be traveling for almost 24 hours. We had to drive about an hour and a half to the airport at 5am, take one flight that lasted about four hours and another last lasted about seven hours and then finally a third that was about an hour. I ate breakfast before getting to the airport so that I wasn’t hungry at the start. For the plane I took my small lunch cooler with some prepackaged watermelon, two precooked hamburgers, two uncut avocado, and two sandwich bags with sweet potato salad. I bought these ice packs because they are under 3oz each and I put them together in a quart sized Ziploc bag to avoid any issues going through security. Then, in my backpack I packed plantain chips, small packets of almond butter (not AIP, reintroduced), apples, some lara bars (Not AIP, reintroduced) and some Hail Merry Macaroons (Not AIP, contains reintroductions). I picked up some plastic forks and some salt in the airport and bought some big bottles of water and even some coconut water. TSA gave me no trouble and everything went very smoothly.


The Big Island:

The kitchen in our Big Island rental
The kitchen in our Big Island rental

As is always the case when traveling on a restricted diet, it is easier to stay in a house with a kitchen than in a hotel and in our case it was also much more economical. We stayed in a great little two bedroom rental that we found on Home Away that gave us lots of space, privacy and a great kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a hotel or resort. On our way home from the airport we stopped at Island Naturals, a natural foods grocery store that is literally 2 miles from the Hilo Airport. Here we got enough food to last us through our first 24 hours, as well as some staples like pastured eggs (reintroduction) local fruit like papaya, olive oil, and uncured bacon. After getting some sleep and recovering from travel we went to the local grocery store, KTA, and stocked up on

Lunch at The Volcano House
Lunch at The Volcano House

everything else we needed including local produce and grass-fed local meat. Our breakfasts mostly consisted of papaya, protein and some occasional eggs. Lunches were salads and fruit which we would pack in a cooler provided in our rental home and take out with us on our excursions. One day we went out to eat for lunch at the Volcano House Restaurant in Volcano National Park. I was able to get some plain chicken and some veggies, but honestly it was more about the experience of eating lunch while looking at the volcano. I would highly recommend eating there during the daytime because it wasn’t

Us on the ATV tour of the Waipio Valley... So Much Fun!
Us on the ATV tour of the Waipio Valley… So Much Fun!

crowded and we got to sit right at the window without a reservation, whereas for dinner they get very crowded. For dinners we mostly cooked out on the grill at our house and enjoyed

dinner at home after running around doing fun things all day. We went on a snorkel cruise over a coral reef, saw a sea turtle on a black sand beach, visited the volcanoes, drove through lava fields, went on an ATV tour of the Waipio Valley (highly recommend)  and did a lot of exploring.



After three full days on the big island we took a little morning flight over to Kauai. After we landed and got our rental car we went over to Costco which is right by the airport. A lot of the other paleo bloggers had recommended going there, but it really didn’t work for us. We weren’t staying long enough and it was only the two of us so it just didn’t make sense to buy that much food. I bought a case of coconut water and that was about it. Instead we went to papaya natural foods and just bought our groceries there. It was a little pricey but they had everything we needed plus a natural smoothie bar that we enjoyed getting smoothies at a few times during our stay. We stayed at another Home Away rental in Kauai. The house was lovely and private and it had a big grill and a patio. The only cooking issue was that ranges are not allowed in small houses on the island so we had a microwave, a toaster oven, a slow cooker, and a few hot plates but no regular oven and range. Honestly I could have done a much better job of cooking with what we had, than I did but by this time I was in full vacation mode so while we did cook our breakfasts and lunches same as on The Big Island we went out a little more for dinner.

Our rental house in Kauai
Our rental house in Kauai
Uncovering the Kalua Pork at the Luau
Uncovering the Kalua Pork at the Luau

One night we went to The Smith Family Luau which was something we had planned for a long time. It was a fantastic experience. Right when I bought our tickets back in the winter I emailed them about my dietary restrictions and multiple times they emailed me to confirm and to explain how they would handle my meal. The grounds and the show and the music were fantastic and when it came time to eat they made sure to bring me all compliant meat and vegetables which included the incredible kalua pork that is the centerpiece of the whole event. I would highly recommend it as an activity if you visit the island. On our last night we also went out to have a fancy dinner at the

Just me having a great time!
Just me having a great time!

Tidepools Restaurant, which is part of a resort on the south side of the island. They were also very accommodating and we had a lovely time. In terms of activities we visited many beaches, and my hubby even took a surfing lesson!

When it came time to sadly say goodbye to the tropical paradise we so enjoyed I prepared much the same way I did on our trip over, I packed burgers, roasted sweet potatoes, avocados, and snacks and again no one gave me any trouble.

I could not be more thrilled with the way this trip worked out. I did a lot of research in preparation for it, but it all paid off and it went incredibly smoothly. Hawaii is definitely a great place to go if you are nervous about traveling on AIP!

AIP & Paleo in Hawaii


Jesse St. Jean

Jesse St. Jean

I am many things: a wife, a daughter, a sister, a nutritional therapist, a dog-mom… and I’m an autoimmune warrior.

One Comment

  • Good for you Samantha! I travel to Maui every 2 years and find eating Paleo (and even AIP) easy! There is a WF right near our condo and fresh food is everywhere. It certainly makes traveling feel easy and possible – even with “restrictions” in diet. Your trip looks like it was fantastic! Hope you are well!

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Nutritional therapist Jesse

Hi, I'm Jesse

I empower women autoimmune warriors to reclaim their health by teaching each woman how to make the right food choices to heal her body while confidently owning her journey so she can live a vibrant life with chronic illness.


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