Monday, January 26, 2009

Travelling Gluten Free

I’m heading off to Calgary next weekend to visit my brother and sister. I’m not sure who I’ll be staying with (my brother is a better cook, but my sister’s place will be cleaner), but regardless, I’m pretty sure that eating gf will be easy (and totally different from the last business trip I took where I shoved gf bars, bread, and a jar of peanut butter in my suitcase because I knew the conference food wouldn’t work for me).

Since my siblings are both athletes, though, they tend to eat pretty close to natural – no preservatives, no added (potentially gluten-containing) weird ingredients, and not much in the way of commercially prepared food. They make pretty much all their food. There are 2 benefits to that – they know what’s in everything (making it easier to calculate things like amount of protein, carbs, etc) and it’s cheaper. The obvious benefit for me is that I can easily tell what’s gluten-free.

So eating at their houses shouldn’t be a problem. My brother even suggested that I send him out a few recipes (he gave me a gf cookbook for Christmas) and he’ll make some things for me ahead of time, or at least have the ingredients for them. I love my family!!

The last time that I was out there was my first visit since being diagnosed. So I checked online with the Calgary celiac association for some local restaurants/stores that cater to the gluten free community. I do this before I visit anywhere. A few minutes of research before travelling can save me from starving! Plus, we get to try restaurants that others have reviewed, and sometimes find really great bargins – like finding out that certain places have gluten-free factories with stores that sell at a discount (think factory outlet shopping for gf food).

Anyways, there is a Chinese food place close to where my brother lives that does GF and MSG Free Chinese food – but they aren’t open Mondays (which is when we tried to go last time). So we’ve made plans to go on Friday night – or at least to order it. I haven’t had really good Chinese food in ages, partly because I was diagnosed with an MSG allergy about 5 years ago, and that meant I was missing out on a lot of my favorites, and partly because it’s hard to find GF Chinese.

They also have a GF bakery about a ten minute drive away, called Earth’s Oven, I think. I really like some of their stuff, especially the desserts. They also had a ginger cranberry bread last time that was delicious!

I’m not even worried about airport food so much – both airports have Tim Hortons, and the yogurt and berries is GF.

I love travelling, and I’ve been finding it more of a challenge since being diagnosed. It’s not bad within Canada and the US since everyone speaks English (or French, but I speak that so it’s no problem). I’m a little concerned about travelling overseas or to South America, where I won’t speak the language. I was hoping to head to the Andes this summer for a hiking trip with a friend of mine, if I can get the time off work. But I’m a bit concerned about my food issues.

How has everyone else found travel to places where you don’t speak the language? Easy? Hard? Do you print out phrases explaining that you can’t have Gluten so other people understand your issues?


jacobithegreat said...

They have these dining cards that you can purchase that explain everything in different languages. That might help.

H.Peter said...

When in Calgary, please visit Victoria's bakery in Cochrane.

When we travel, we plan a bit ahead, but mostly wing it. China is great, so are some parts of Europe where we go to.