On the Road

   Travel is one of the greatest challenges for anyone with dietary constraints and gluten-free is not universally understood as yet. Restaurants are beginning to take notice and the better ones have staff trained regarding most permutations of food allergies and sensitivities. If your food server does not speak ‘gluten’ then you are better off with a plate of salad sans dressing. Even a topping of grilled chicken, seafood, or veggie might be contaminated with a grilling sauce.
   Any person who travels at all knows by now that they must travel defensively and plan to take care of themselves. This is really true whether or not you have food sensitivities. It doesn’t matter if you have only the most common of health needs; it will cost you a great deal extra unless you provide for yourself ahead of time. Cost can be in terms of currency or in terms of physical misery.
   A personal travel strategy is to pack at least one Larabar for every day of the trip. These are made of dried fruit and nuts without any gratuitous ingredients or preservatives. They are perfect for me but may not work for everyone. Another strategy has been to get a dry salad-to-go and add canned chicken or other protein back at the hotel room in order to have a gluten-free meal. Not exactly fancy dining but safe is better than fancy. And always in the car, purse, or carry-on baggage there is a plastic knife, fork, and spoon. For a longer trip the checked baggage will include one of those paper thin silicon cutting mats and a very small sharp knife.
   Rita suggests that one of her ‘shopping points’ for evaluating potential travel lodging is the presence of a small refrigerator and microwave in the room. Even inexpensive motels may provide these amenities but you need to ask and be sure that your room reservation includes these items. When necessary she will upgrade to extended stay facilities with a fully equipped mini-kitchen.
   A list of addresses and maps for grocery stores and restaurants obtained via an internet search is priceless. Also check to see if the grocery has a website giving some indication of which one might have the greatest variety. Once arriving at destination my first stop is usually at a grocery store for fresh fruit, cheese, nuts, gluten-free canned soup, and/or baked goods depending on the duration of the visit and the selection at the store. Others traveling with you will be grateful to pick up a few items so they will not be at the mercy of a vending machine. Restaurants that post an online menu and highlight their special diet options are very high on my list. I usually print out those menus along with the maps.
   If traveling by auto a small cooler allows for greater variety and certainty. Celery is one of my favorite health foods and it holds up surprisingly well. A stalk or two every day seems to provide just the right something that my system requires.
   Another intriguing notion for travel by auto is to bring a Crockpot. At least one family with gluten sensitivities finds that is a sure and economical way to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle and it makes me curious to try it.


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  1. […] The Gluten-Free Edge On the Road […]

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