Sunday, October 18, 2009

Traveling Gluten-Free, Take Four

How many trips does it take to learn how to travel gluten-free? This weekend was my fourth trip out of town since going gluten-free, and while I'm certainly no expert yet, I've learned a few things since my first few traveling experiences. When I went to San Diego for my sister's wedding earlier this summer, it was a gluten disaster. Within days of arriving, I had given up trying to eat gluten-free. While in the long run, it helped me make my ultimate decision to give up gluten for good, it also taught me how not to travel gluten-free.

This past weekend, I was in Ohio for my fifth wedding in five months. I didn't do everything right, and I might have had a moment or two of gluten panic, but as far as I know I made it through the weekend gluten-free. Here's what I did, and what I've learned:
  • Have a complete breakfast the day you leave. Even if it's 5:30 in the morning! I started my day off with a hard-boiled egg, a green smoothie, and my hearty apple cinnamon waffles. It's a little bit more than I normally eat for breakfast, but it kept me going for the rest of the day.


  • Bring more snacks with you than you think you'll need. You can always bring extras back home with you. I find that I generally don't pack enough because I don't want to spend the extra money on gluten-free snacks. Then when I run out, I end up spending even more money (and time) than I would have otherwise. On this trip, I brought some tried and true snacks, like:







  • Mary's Gone Crackers crackers
  • a bag of nuts and dried fruit
  • I also tried a couple of new snacks. Some were instant favorites. Others didn't quite make the cut. Sadly, Nana's No Gluten Ginger Cookie was a dud. My experiences with store bought gluten-free cookies haven't been all that wonderful to date. But this one looked so soft and chewy that I was really excited to try it. Unfortunately, it wasn't so much soft and chewy as it was soft and crumbly. Most of it crumbled in the bag, and the ginger flavor was too overpowering.




  • On the other hand, this brownie from Frankly Natural Bakers was a winner. With an almost fudgy chewiness that I loved and the bite of chocolate chips, it was a perfect treat. I like to bring my own dessert to events like weddings when I know everyone else will be eating cake, so this is definitely something I'll be buying again.


  • Since eating healthy on the go is always a challenge, give yourself at least one healthy meal by making a salad to take with you for your first day. My lunch on Friday was a broccoli slaw salad, crackers, and a carrot-apple-ginger juice I got at a juice bar.



  • Let your hosts know about your dietary needs ahead of time. Accomodations can't always be made, but when they can, you'll be grateful for it. I asked the bride and groom ahead of time about the possibility of a gluten-free meal at the wedding, and it turned out that the caterer's wife has Celiac Disease, so making me a gluten-free meal was no problem. So I ended up with my own delicious gluten-free meal (Thanks Jess and Danny!!).


  • Take advantage of naturally gluten-free foods. I grabbed some bananas from the hotel, was always able to get fruit and veggies, and had eggs for breakfast. There was also cheese everywhere I went. While not necessarily the best food for my waistline, I was grateful for it when I needed a little protein boost.










  • And last but not least, trust the grocery stores to have gluten-free items. Gluten-free food has definitely become more popular recently. I've noticed a gluten-free section just popped up in the Key Food near me, and at the Kroger in Ohio, there were a bunch of great options. Now that Betty Crocker makes gluten-free cake mixes, I imagine you can find something gluten-free anywhere you go! I got an Amy's pizza with rice crust, which I had never tried before because they're a little pricey. But since I was on vacation, I figured I could spend the money. It was really good, although the crust was a little dry, and for over $8, I think I'd rather try my hand at making my own crust. But for a meal when I'm away from home, it was perfect. And since I'd been missing pizza lately, it was exactly what I needed.

3 comments:

Farty Girl said...

Great post! You are so right about... well... EVERYTHING! :) I agree with you about the Nana's and the Wacky's. Nana's looks like it's going to be soooo good and then... it's just not. Wacky's is one of the best gluten free brownies out there.

When traveling, snacks are necessary. So is spending money. If you want to be healthy, that is. I been trying to make larabars from scratch. It is NOT easy. :) Curly Top has a great recipe... but it's so hard to pulse the nuts and dates to the right consistency, before they turn into butter.

Your friends were so nice to help you out! It's pretty amazing how cool people are about dietary restrictions.

fartygirl said...

Right here!

http://curlytopbop.blogspot.com/2009/07/farabarlarabar.html

HealthyMom said...

Very well written. I am sending this to my friend who just found out she has celiacs disease.
Healthy Lifestyle
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