Travel Tuesday: Traveling With Gluten Intolerance/Celiac

 

Originally posted in 2014

For the past two weeks, I’ve been traveling. I’m finally home now and even more exhausted than before I left! We went on a cruise which was great but prior to leaving, I had terrible anxiety over food!

Disclaimer: I haven’t been officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease although I have symptoms. I don’t call myself a Celiac however for the purpose of this article, I will refer to all Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerant as Celiac.  Okay? Good. If you have gluten issues, allergies or digestive troubles, keep reading!

 

I have some tips for those of you who have food allergies that render you unable to eat anything and everything. And let’s face it, when you’re on vacation, part of the fun is eating out, right? But when you have serious issues with certain foods, the joy of chowing down escapes you. There’s nothing worse than watching your entire family enjoy a meal full of gluten when there is nothing you can eat and your stomach is rumbling.

That is exactly what happened to me at the airport prior to leaving. We waited until we reached the airport to have dinner and lo and behold, there were two places to eat, both heavy on the gluten. My family ate hot turkey sandwiches smothered in cheese while I had a bowl of lettuce. By the time we arrived in Seattle, I was ravenous.

 

 

I walked through the Seattle airport with my phone out, googling “Gluten-Free Eating At SeaTac” and discovered that Wendy’s offers a few things, specifically the chili and baked potato which was gluten free and delicious in a pinch.

Before leaving for my trip, I packed several snacks that I could easily throw in my pack or backpack and eat quickly and conveniently.

*several single serve packs of Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter. This not only satisfies the craving for something sweet like chocolate but has protein which I knew would help keep me full.

*Blue Diamond Almond Thins. A handful of these will keep the hunger pains away for a little while. They are quite tasty and good to grab for a quick snack.

*Enjoy Life Snack Bars. I tossed some of these in my bag and I often keep one in my purse when I’m home. My fave is the Cinnamon Bun.

*Grab and Go Almonds. I do have a nut allergy but thankfully I can eat almonds and peanuts although Im not supposed to consume peanuts on my FODMAPS diet! (What’s FODMAPS? Go here to learn!)

*Bakery on Main instant oatmeal, Apple Pie flavor. I knew we’d be staying at hotels that offered a continental breakfast which is usually yogurt, fruit, pre-made eggs, waffles and breads. Since I try to avoid dairy, I knew I would have nearly nothing available to eat so I brought these packets of oatmeal with me. This was a smart thing to do….I ate every packet I brought!  It was handy to have this at the airport for my early morning flight when I wanted breakfast but again choices were very limited. I just needed a cup of hot water. I will not risk oatmeal anywhere due to cross contamination of oats and wheat.

 

 

I opt to order salads when I am out but always double check to make sure the dressing is gluten free. It’s really hard for me to speak up at restaurants and do my whole “I have a severe gluten allergy/Celiac” spiel. Which is where the Find Me Gluten Free app comes in. Its an app for the smartphone which finds restaurants that offer gluten free foods near your location. This was a lifesaver. I wasn’t accidentally glutened AT ALL during my two weeks away.

Here’s where I ate while in Seattle:

Denny’s, here I requested fresh cracked eggs. I wasnt sure about the hashbrowns, I had read conflicting reports on gluten content. I ordered red skin potatoes instead.

Bob’s Burgers and Brew, this is where I had a hamburger with a gluten free bun which I have not eaten in over one year! It was heaven! They fry their french fries with breaded fish so I had to say no to the fries. Ate salad instead.

Red Robin, got a lettuce wrapped burger and fries. I usually don’t eat red meat but was craving burgers this trip.

Garlic Jims, got a gluten free pizza which was amazing!

BJ’s restaurant, while I usually strive to avoid chain restaurants while I am on vacation, I made an acceptation because I knew that Red Robins and BJ’s offered GF foods. I had a salad with oil and vinegar (go for the red wine vinegar because balsamic can contain gluten) and a pizza.

We ate at an Italian restaurant where I had gluten free pasta- the name escapes me but I had found it on my Find Me Gluten Free app. I took a chance on a Vietnamese restaurant and ordered a bowl of pho which is normally gluten-free made with chicken broth and rice noodles.

 

On the cruise:

We sailed on the  Celebrity cruise line. Before we left home, I made sure to let them know that I was gluten free (this probably falls under ‘special needs’). There was a notation by my name so our dining room waiter knew and could help me with my choices.

The menu in the dining room has notations next to each entree so you know if food is gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian. There were always gluten free choices, though not many. They have really good gluten free bread so I was able to enjoy that. For dessert, there was usually only one option if you were gluten free. I would love to see more gluten free options on the menu because the choices are very limited. I guess you can always ask for specially prepared food but I personally hate to call attention to myself any more than I have to!

I always asked for fresh eggs for breakfast. Places that serve a large volume of eggs usually use an egg mix which contains gluten.  I stuck with eggs, fruit, gluten-free toast every morning.

There are many, many options…but not if you are strictly GF. However, there is always something you can find to eat. I didn’t venture out of my comfort zone. Once I knew something didn’t make me sick, I stuck with it.

 

Lunch was tricky. Things are not labeled clearly so its really hard to know what sauces contain gluten and I didn’t even try to find out if the cold cuts were gluten-free, same with the hot dogs. I went with what I knew- my dark leafy greens, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes – this was my lunch every single day. There is an area that serves spa foods and I found some nice little gluten-free stuff there, plus they make juices and smoothies.

I hope in the future, Celebrity will make notations of GLUTEN, DAIRY, WHEAT, NUTS next to each questionable food option in the buffet. There may be a small number of Celiacs out there who go on cruises but we do matter and we don’t want to get sick, especially on vacation! It would be great to know that the fries were cooked in a dedicated fryer, same with hash-browns and if the cold cuts contain gluten, is the bacon gluten free? How about salad dressing? Ice cream?

In closing, if you have Celiac and are traveling, planning ahead is a must.  You just have to get online, check out the airport food courts, pack snacks, do your research, call the cruise line if you are cruising and ask questions. You cannot fly by the seat of your pants like everyone else and eat whatever you stumble upon. Sad but true, however, I always remind myself that it could be much worse!

 

No Comments

Leave a Comment