So my husband and I were down in Southern California visiting family (just a one hour flight) and although I was pretty well prepared food-wise, trips like this could bring terror to someone who is just starting out on a gluten free diet.
Leaving home when newly diagnosed as gluten intolerant can be a daunting thought to a lot of people. I recall the first time I had to travel – all I could think about was, “What am I going to eat?” “What if the family I’m visiting makes something for dinner that I can’t eat?” “Where can I buy gluten free food items?” A bunch of thoughts like this went through my mind. Before the trip I even looked up locations for Whole Foods in the state I was visiting to see if they were within a decent driving distance. My Mother-in-law mentioned that there were a couple of stores that might carry the foods I was looking for. As soon as we landed we visited some of these stores where I did find a lot of the food I could eat. I bought a bunch of it so I wouldn’t run out during my stay. Ahhhh. I felt better. My anxiety had vanished.
On this past trip, I brought some gluten free turkey slices, some cheese, a Lara Bar, and some fruit with me on the plane. My husband had also packed some salami (Columbus brand) that happened to be gluten free as well. Day 1 was very good; I had some turkey slices to stave off my hunger after our flight, but we weren’t going to dinner until about 6 hours later. We had to go to the wine store and get some wine for dinner so we also bought some olives and some crackers for my husband. We went back to our hotel and had olives, salami, and some cheese (and my husband had some crackers).
Day 2 was a little different.
I was at a family member’s house most of the day for a baby shower and then into the evening. Although there were some gluten free dietary food choices, like spinach salad and cheese, everyone else at the party were enjoying sandwiches, pita bread stuffed with hummus and cucumbers, cupcakes, etc. I was satisfied with the salad and cheese but when it came to dinner that was another story. Actually it was kind of a funny story to tell. So the conversation was about whether we should go to the pizza place or Vietnamese for Pho or go to the Chinese restaurant. Well, one of the family members can’t have dairy. Her boyfriend can’t have yeast. I can’t have gluten, corn, or white rice. Everyone was concerned with each other’s sensitivities. It was decided that we would go to the pizza place because it was the closest and I could get a salad (which I was totally fine with) and the person with the cow dairy sensitivity and her boyfriend with the yeast sensitivity could both get spaghetti. Problem solved! On the flight back I ate the rest of the turkey. All was good.
I would highly recommend traveling with food that you can pack yourself. But don’t fret, you can get gluten free food at almost any store these days. And if you can’t, you could just pick up some fruit to tide you over until you can find another store in the area that may carry the items you need. More and more stores are carrying gluten free food options – and it’s only getting better.