I’ve got a special treat for you this morning! A guest post from the impossibly lovely Gillian from Battle of the Bites. I bonded with Gillian earlier this year at a Chobani blogger event where we became fast friends over glasses of pinot, chatting about our mutual love of travel, healthy eats & Lena Dunham. The twenty-something trifecta. 😉
Today Gillian will be writing about a topic that affects many of us, gluten-free or not, traveling with food allergies. With the holiday/vacation season quickly approaching (hello winter in Canada!) it seemed like a great time to chat about some of the ways you can satisfy your wanderlust without cheating on your happy belly! Enjoy!
I have a travel addiction and a gluten-allergy.
These things do not necessarily go well together. When travelling, we’re constantly being thrown into new situations, trying different kinds of food, and risking what I love to call “getting glutened”.
When I have gluten, in any small amount, my stomach blows up like I’m pregnant, I get sick to my stomach, suffer from terrible cramps and sometimes end up bed ridden. As anyone with a gluten allergy knows, it’s not fun, and it’s not smart to “cheat”.
Luckily the world is becoming more friendly to Celiacs and the gluten intolerant. Even Paris, my favourite bread and pastry loving city, is opening up gems like Helmut Newcake, a high end patisserie devoted solely to gluten-free goods and dishes.
When I was in Berlin this summer I went out for Thai food and was handed an entire gluten-free menu. I was so happy I could cry. I wanted to go back to the same restaurant every day.
When I’m not so lucky to stumble upon a miracle like this, the following tips are always helpful:
1. Booking your flight – most flights offer a gluten-free option. I often book
through expedia which doesn’t provide meal options and choose to bring my
own food (also for the sake of health and taste). I’ve learned that I can easily
get through airport security when flying to Europe with my big boxed salad
from Whole Foods.
2. Packing snacks and staples – this is an obvious but important note. I tend
to pack a ton of protein bars, nuts, protein powder, and some chocolate.
The protein bars are great for layovers or when you’re wandering around
a city lost and unsure of your meal options. If I’m going somewhere for an
extended time I’ll sometimes pack gluten-free flour or my favourite pancake
3. Language barriers and eating out– if you don’t speak the language, explaining
your allergy at a restaurant can be complicated (I tried in German, “Nein
gluten?!”) Gluten-free restaurant cards can be very helpful in getting
your point across clearly– there are 54 languages available (http://
www.celiactravel.com/cards/). If you speak the language, it’s always a good
idea to call ahead and warn them of your allergy.
4. Finding a place to stay – If your allergy is very serious there is even a gluten
free hotel guide – http://www.glutenfreehotelsguide.com/ – for hotels
that will cater to your gluten sensitive desires. Personally, I like to rent
apartments through Air BnB where I have access to a kitchen. If I’m staying
in a regular hotel I’ll ask that the mini bar be emptied so that I can fill it with
snacks and fresh produce.
5. To the market we go – one of my favourite things about eating gluten-free
Is that it can mean eating more real food. I like to go to markets and stock
up on fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, olives, wine…whatever the local
delicacies (without wheat) are, I have to try it. Hunting down an organic
store also tends to be helpful in finding a great array of gluten-free products.
With these tips I’ve managed to travel with a happy belly through many cities.
I have a whole chapter on eating gluten-free in Paris in my upcoming book, so stay tuned on more info on how to eat crêpes and éclairs in the city of love (and pastries)!
Gillian’s current book The Guiltless Gourmet is available for purchase here and it is full to the brim with swoon-worthy gluten-free, whole food based recipes. The perfect Holiday gift for the G-Free folks in your life. Enjoy!