Last spring I ended up in Emergency Room three times in a week with the worst stomach ache I’ve ever had in my entire life. My parents thought it had to be my appendix or gall bladder. After numerous tests, the doctors could find nothing wrong and sent me home with painkillers. A week later, the pain was so unbearable and I began vomiting blood (sorry if tmi) and this time I was admitted into the hospital for four nights. After extensive testing, and thousands of dollars in medical bills (sorry Mom and Dad), it turned out that I have a gluten allergy.
Rosie, my Tibetan Terrier, took great care of me after my hospital stay
Since then we’ve learned to eat gluten free meals as a family and it really isn’t the sacrifice we were afraid it would be. But traveling gluten-free is a totally different story. Breads, muffins, pastas and pastries seem to haunt me no matter where we go.
So if you have a gluten allergy and are planning a trip, here are five helpful tips that have made a great difference for me personally:
- Plan ahead– half of my suitcase is filled with gluten free snacks–protein bars, crackers, nuts, popcorn, microwave pasta bowls, even a loaf of gluten free bread.
- Airports are a total nightmare so look for the places that sell yogurts, chicken salads, fresh fruits, or order a burger without the bun. Notify your airline ahead of time and see if they can prepare a special meal for you. We’ve had luck with this on Delta. In fact, they even had extra snacks prepared just for me.
- Download the app http://www.findmeglutenfree.com/ It will find nearby restaurants that are gluten free and even show you the menus.
- If traveling abroad pre-print restaurant cards in the country’s language. http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/ is the best site I’ve found for this.
- Even if there doesn’t seem to be anything gluten free on the menu, ask. Some restaurants in foreign countries will have gluten free options but just don’t put them on their menus.
Yes, I’m not going to lie–missing out on bread and pasta has not been easy, but I honestly feel so much healthier and I appreciate what I can eat. Now where’s the nearest ice cream shop–no cone please!