Perhaps it’s because I lived overseas for 6 years of my youth, or that new experiences breath life into my wandering gypsy soul. Whatever the reason, there are so many elements I love about traveling. I can’t imagine my life without travel. Luckily, my husband is always up for a traveling adventure too. We’ve road tripped down to Florida and Georgia, up to Canada and back, flown to Vegas and the Dominican, we go camping, to the beach, love music festival and taking the kids to amusement parks. The best part is, we didn’t starve or get horribly ill on any of our adventures. Do you know why? We planned ahead.
It’s takes minutes to google amenities in a local area. There are also several free apps like “Find Me Gluten Free” to help you navigate your food choices along the way. We never leave home without snacks! Especially if we are going on a road trip, to the beach or camping.
If you are flying, call the airline directly and tell them you have a food allergy. In most cases you are able to board the plane first and might get specialty seating. This can be a huge help when you are traveling with children.
I recommend being a PITA (pain in the @$$) when traveling. Ask! Ask! Ask a thousand questions if you feel the need to. It’s your health and family’s health at risk. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. No one wants to stab another person with an Epi-pen or trade in their lounge chair for a hospital bed. Those aren’t the vacation memories we are aiming for. If you have any doubts about a food or location DON’T eat the food! There are always grocery stores to fall back on.
The best rule of thumb at a restaurant is to ask for your food “dry” without seasoning. Ask them to wrap your food in foil before cooking to prevent cross contamination. Meat and fresh veggies are usually a safe bet. I ask for a little olive oil and fresh herbs as seasoning. The higher quality a restaurant the more accommodating they will be. Most franchise restaurant food comes pre-seasoned, frozen and loaded with MSG.
As much as we like to travel, we also like to host events. When hosting an event or party I don’t broadcast that most of the foods I’m serving are gluten and dairy free. If it’s a family affair it’s also nut, shellfish and soy free. I find that people expect allergy friendly food to taste bad. Surely it must! I like to surprise them with the “allergy friendly bomb” after they tell me how wonderful the taco dip is. “It’s dairy free.” Or that the meatballs are gluten free, or the peanut butter frosting is actually made from sunflower seeds. Since you tend to start allergy friendly cooking from scratch, I find that it actually taste much better because it’s FRESH!
On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to reserve the allergy friendly foods for those who need them. If that is the case, I label it and set it on a separate table with separate serving utensils. Be mindful of cross contamination whenever you have a large group of people and variety of foods together.
When attending a party, I always bring something to share that I know I can eat too. We always take gluten free, dairy free cake for my daughter. If it’s a pizza party or there will be macaroni, I take substitutions. This is extra important when you have small children. You don’t want them to feel left out, or pointed out because they eat differently. A simple phone call or text to the host and packing a little bag can make the world of a difference to a kid.
For more survival skills on living allergy free click here to download my Ebook, “What Do You Eat?”