It’s hard enough to have celiac disease at home when you can control a lot of things, but when you are traveling around the holidays, staying healthy seems impossible. Everyone wants to see their family over the holidays and traveling is often a necessary part of that. Here are some tips to help you travel successfully so everyone, even the person with celiac disease, can have a nice time.
Traveling with Celiac Disease? Here Are a Few Tips
Tip 1: Plan Ahead
There may be some elements of the trip that you won’t be able to predict or plan for, but as much as possible, plan and think ahead. That includes a number of different elements that will follow in the next few tips, but put on your thinking cap and step your way through the entire trip so you know as much about what will happen as possible so you can plan for it. It’s never a good idea to take off on an adventure spur of the moment with someone in two who has celiac disease. It can be downright dangerous to their health.
Tip 2: Pack Food
If you are traveling by car, you can pack a cooler with items you know the person with celiac disease can eat. Pack things like cheese, plain yogurt, gluten-free deli means, pre-cut veggies and other favorites. You’ll want to be able to keep perishables at a safe temperature so stop for ice if you have a long drive. You can also pack a bag or two of dry goods that include canned foods, nuts, and seeds, popcorn, corn chips or Three Bakers Snackers. These are good for meal supplement, side dishes, and snacks.
Tip 3: Call Restaurants
If you are going to be on the road for any length of time or you know you’ll be eating out with family when you arrive, call the restaurants and ask about gluten-free options they provide. You’ll want to check into cross contamination issues as well because if they cook something gluten-free with something that was used to cook a gluten-filled item, the person with celiac disease can still get sick. Sometimes, that kind of contamination is even worse than eating something with just gluten in it. The more prepared you can be with restaurant choices, the easier it will be to pack the right foods and the right amount of foods for the trip.
Tip 4: Create A List
Whenever you travel, having a person with celiac disease along takes more packing planning. Create a standard list that can help you recognize the go-to items you need to have on hand for last minute packing. Having a list of things they enjoy and that are gluten-free can help reduce the packing stress as you prepare for your holiday travel.
Tip 5: Express Appreciation
When relatives, a restaurant, or anyone else during your trip answer your questions politely (as they should) or go out of their way to accommodate the person with celiac disease in your family, express your thankfulness to them so they know just how much it means to you. Not everyone is willing to be helpful and not everyone understands your ailment so when you find someone especially thoughtful and helpful during your journey, make sure you thank them as much as you can so they are more willing to go the extra mile next time or for the next person they encounter.
Tip #6: Recovering From Contamination
There’s no denying, holiday potlucks can be stressful. Even if a contributed dish may not necessarily contain an ingredient with gluten, it could have still be prepared in a manner from which it could have been contaminated. Or, perhaps Aunt Sue put just a spoonful of wheat flour in the casserole, because, after all, it isn’t like its bread! The fact of the matter is, few people truly understand the magnitude of a celiac diagnosis.
So, if you happen to get “glutened” there are a few things you can do to recover:
- Go lie down
- Stay hydrated
- Consider using activated charcoal
- Heal your gut with bone broth
Learn more about recovering from gluten contamination here.
Holiday travel isn’t easy for anyone, but when there’s someone with celiac disease in your family, it can be even harder. Plan ahead to make the travels as simple and easy on everyone as possible.