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The gluten free traveler

Welcome to part two of my healthy traveling series! If you are gluten sensitive or have been diagnosed with celiac disease, you will want to read this special segment, all about eating gluten free while traveling. Whether you’re taking a road trip, or flying around the country, here are some gluten free traveling tips from my personal experience.

1-   Pre-pack some gluten free snacks for the ride. I always do this, whether I am driving or flying. If I am driving somewhere for several hours, I will even pack gluten free sandwiches so we do not have to worry about stopping for lunch. Some of my favorite gluten free snacks include: apple slices or fruit of any kind, dry roasted and salted almonds, LARA bars, carrot sticks, and Trader Joe’s organic popcorn with olive oil. This first tip may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many times I have forgotten to pack enough food!

2-   When eating out, ALWAYS tell your server you are allergic to gluten, and ask if they have a gluten free menu. Even if you feel you are not totally “allergic”, if you indeed want to eat 100% gluten free, it is pertinent to do this. The restaurant does not want to be liable for any possible reactions and therefore works extra hard to ensure there is absolutely no gluten in your meal. If there is no gluten free menu available, and the server looks at you as though you have 2 heads when you ask (in other words, they don’t know what you mean…yes, this happens!), the safe bet is always to order a salad or cooked veggies, and to use oil and vinegar for dressing as opposed to prepared dressings which may contain gluten.

3-   If you have no choice but to eat at a Pub, Bar & Grill, or a diner, where gluten free choices are slim to none, here are some bar favorites which are gluten free, most of the time:

  • French fries/potato chips- These are simply potatoes and oil. Steer clear of the seasoned fries and chips, as these seasonings may contain gluten. Ask your server if these items are seasoned.
  • Burger, without the bun- Most pubs have, at the very least, beef burgers. Sometimes they will even have turkey or portabella burgers. Watch out for veggie burgers, they are often made with bread crumbs or contain some other form of gluten.
  • Rice- As usual, ask your server how the rice is cooked, and if it contains any seasonings. Usually all rice is gluten free if there are no additives.
  • Salad/side of veggies- If the pub you are at offers a side of veggies you are in luck—these are usually gluten free (again, if cooked without added seasoning mixes or bread crumbs). And salads with oil and vinegar are a good staple as I mentioned earlier. No breadsticks or croutons with that salad please!
  • If you’re at a diner, eggs/omelets- I always find diner omelets delicious, and they are almost always gluten free. What is great about these is you can add whatever you like to make them your own, they are filling, and they still taste good even without the bread factor. With omelets you can really go to town!

4-   If you are attending a pre-planned event, such as a wedding, rehearsal dinner, or any type of party, be sure to be prepared in the following ways:

  • Mentally prepare yourself for a situation where you may not be able to eat as much as those around you. It really stinks when dinner consists of a buffet, where the only thing available to you is a side salad and some green beans, and everyone else gets lasagna and cake for dessert. But unfortunately, this is just how things are when we “gluties” attend an event.  When I first began my health journey I was very disappointed and almost felt left out in these situations. Now, I am proud of my healthy eating habits, I feel great, and I am used to being in this sort of situation. So remember, if it is not worth it to you to suffer from an allergic reaction even short term, do what you need to do for your health and know that whatever it is, it is right for you!
  • Physically prepare yourself for this situation. In other words, grab a bite to eat at a restaurant or at the hotel before the event, so at least you will not be starving the entire night, if in fact there is not much available to you. If you do not have time for that, carry a travel protein shake with you in case of emergencies. Seriously! I do this every time I travel, and I have had to utilize this tactic many times. I recommend the Arbonne vegan protein shakes, which are gluten free and can easily work as a meal replacement. I have been in situations where dinner consisted of pasta, breadsticks, and veggies tossed in bread crumbs, dessert was cake, and the only breakfast items available to me the next morning were pastries and fruit! Fruit is great and all, but it sure is not filling. This doesn’t happen often thank goodness, but when it does, I am prepared with my meal replacement shakes. When I travel, I make sure to bring at least five or six with me just in case.

 I hope these tips have helped you in your gluten free travels! They are tips I live by, and I travel quite a bit, especially for events. If you want to know more about this topic, feel free to comment below, or visit my Facebook page and message me directly. I welcome any feedback and suggestions. Have a wonderful and gluten-free kind of day!

Contributor: Andrea MacLaughlin – Hair Designer / Health Advocate