Guest contributor: Holly Bradich. www.mindfulvitality.ca Instagram @mindful_vitality
The thought of travel used to excite me, but once I found out I had Celiac disease and had numerous other food allergies, the thought of travel made me anxious and stressed. I needed to know how I could be a gluten free traveler ?
- Would there be anything there that I could eat?
- Would I accidentally eat gluten and be sick for my whole vacation?
A few tips for gluten-free traveling
Having been gluten-free for 13 years, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years that I use and have found to help me personally, so I thought I would share them with you!
- Plan ahead: do your research and pick out vacation destinations and restaurants that offer gluten-free options and that have been reviewed by gluten-free diners. I was happily surprised to discover that Italy and France are both very gluten-free-friendly, and most groceries stores and even “pharmacias” (drug stores) offer an amazing assortment of gluten-free foods. Fun fact: one reason Italy is so gluten-free friendly is that they have a very high rate of Celiac disease; in fact, every child gets tested for it before they enter school! (1).
- If you can, try to stay somewhere that has a kitchenette or full kitchen, that way you have the option to cook some of your own food. Less eating out means less chance of eating gluten or foods cross-contaminated with gluten.
- If you’re going somewhere where you don’t speak the local language, print out some handy reference cards to give to your server to explain that you have Celiac disease and what that means for kitchen staff. I printed mine from http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/
These saved my butt a few times!
- Pack your own gluten-free food: depending on whether you’re driving or flying and whether you’ll be crossing borders, what you’ll be able to pack may vary, but in general you can usually pack:
- Protein or granola bars (pick bars that are low in suar and high in fibre)
- Homemade healthy muffins
- Crackers and nut butter
- Veggies and hummus
- Be prepared in case you accidentally get gluten. Take all your gut-soothing supplements (and medications if necessary) with you. Tip: keep one of each of these in your purse/travel bag so you always have something on you, just in case!
My favourites are:
- Peppermint capsules: ease cramps, bloating and pain. Such as IBgard
- Digestive enzymes: Now Super Enzymes and Metagenics SpectraZyme Gluten Digest
- Probiotics (shelf stable): Progressive HCP 30
- Laxative tea: Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move
- It’s important if you get accidentally eat gluten to have a bowel movement to excrete the offending food, so if you happen to get constipated make sure you deal with it ASAP.
- Ginger or peppermint tea and/or candy
- Heating pack
- Pepto Bismol and Immodium (for emergencies only)
Don’t let your Celiac diagnosis limit you from travelling. Now that you’re equipped with these handy tips, get out there and explore the world!