Thursday, February 4, 2010

Traveling Gluten Free - more now than before

   Traveling gluten free can be a challenge, but it CAN be done. I have traveled more frequently now than before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Planning is the essential key even if it is the spur of the moment.

 My most recent trip was to a condo in Florida for ten wonderful gf days. The condo itself had no claim to be gluten free, but was one of my safest trips thus far. My traveling companion was my daughter, Jenna, who also eats  gluten free as well. Our plane tickets were purchased 3 days before we left - a last minute escape for rest and relaxation in Dec '09.

I located grocery stores in the area and then called to ask what gluten free products they carried, or asked them if they stocked specific gf products that I knew I wanted. This helped me comprise a list of what I could buy easily in the area. Some gluten free items we use were not available, so I packed and brought those items myself - on a plane no less! I never leave home without Che'Be' bread for a quick and easy pizza crust and Rice Works rice chips!

The airlines still permit you to carry food items,  and I take advantage of that. My beautiful Vera Bradley duffle can handle plenty of gluten free food items, and do it in style. In my duffle, I carry snacks, my lunch in a Vera Bradley soft sided cooler, and also what I could make for dinner incase I didn't make it to the grocery store upon my arrival. One of the worst feelings a person with celiac disease can get is anxiety from having to find safe gluten free food when you are hungry....traveling in an unfamiliar area and unable to eat safely would cause anyone to feel that way, but having celiac disease or gluten intolerant you can be emotionally devastated.
So make sure you have plan A & B ready!

We had the luxury of a Publix grocery store one block away, and a Winn Dixie grocer 2 blocks away so we could walk anywhere we needed to for fresh everything, plus the added benefit of some exercise. We also used the grocery store cart to bring items back to the condo. Now when I hear grocery cart wheels grinding on pavement, it brings a smile on my face and a memory to my mind. :)

Even though we made our every meal, I did check which restaurants were in the area and those that would accommodate us - before we arrived. There were many in the area, Pizza Fusion, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and others that had a gluten free menu plus other restaurants that graciously offered to serve us, but we chose to make our meals everyday... somedays we even grilled outside too!

In keeping things safe and gluten free in the kitchen of the condo, I had aluminum foil handy and parchment paper. I covered any baking pans offered to be used in the condo with foil or parchment paper lined in the bottom just to be safe. I also used the foil on an outdoor grill as well. Several other item that came in handy was olive oil, plastic silverware and don't forget paper plates if you like.

We took several day trips to the beach and each time packed a goody bag for a picnic. The Vera Bradley small soft sided cooler came in handy for this adventure. I would freeze a bottle of water to use to keep things cold. One day we had rice chips with avocado while watching the waves and feeling the warm sun. Yet another day we had a basket of fruit and left over chicken legs from the evening before. Your choices are never ending if you plan ahead!

Anyway, the reason I write this today is because I want you to know you CAN still travel, and eat gluten free - safely! Don't be afraid, go ahead, take a few days away for rest and relaxation, you will be glad you did  -

gluten free style

1 comment:

  1. Great article NGH,
    I totally agree it's all about planning, an issue those not on restrictive diets can avoid. But, as you point out, some wonderful moments came about as a result.

    Covering the pans is a great tip I'll pass on to friends.