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I am a 32 year old Canadian woman who was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 20. These are my stories and misadventures in living and playing with a gluten free diet. I have been gluten free for 12 years! I have had people ask me a lot of questions regarding Celiac disease and I really want the chance to talk to other celiacs/people that are new to this gluten free thing. I am not a medical doctor and my blogs are a first person perspective. I do not wish to diagnose anyone or speak on behalf of anyone but myself. I love to cook and bake and share awesome food with all the people in my life.View all articles by Vanessa Oakley
Celiac.com 08/06/2013 - I recently went camping with a good friend of mine and her boyfriend. This was a last minute trip that I knew I was kind of going solo. I have never been camping without a partner or at least a tent mate. So this was the first time I only had to think of me. How cool is that?!
I start every out of town adventures the same way—I make a trip calendar to plan out my clothes, meals and supplies (If I could only show you guys all the lists I make!). I find that when I'm camping there is a level of community in the supplies and food department. I forgot forks, no worries buddy I brought extra. Try this, I made it myself or I brought too many hot dogs, eat them. This can be dangerous for a celiac. No one wants to be the guy that has to read everything in sight before they touch it. Or maybe you do, that's cool too—be yourself. I have always subscribed to the theory that if I don't know what it is or what's in it, I simply say "no thank you," even if it kills me to say no, and makes me think about how yummy that thing could have been.
The day before I went camping I took my list and headed to the grocery store. When I got home and packed I was pretty happy with my haul. I know that I have a lot—more than enough to feed myself for the trip, including snacks. I am self-sufficient…as long as they have some sanitizer and some biodegradable soap for dishes. But I had everything else I needed...I hoped.
To my delight and surprise my lovely friend and her lovely boyfriend had over-packed in the food department with stuff that happened to be gluten-free. I know that some things she would have packed with me in mind (thank you Lindsay!), but other things were as much a surprise to her as they were to me. Between the both of us we all ate like kings that weekend!
It is a bit difficult to write about gluten-free trials and tribulations when everything works out. Where there is no worry about cross-contamination or drunken mix-ups. I was the only person to bring out "bread." I found some hotdog buns that looked promising. They got toasted over the fire in a wire basket thing and were so good!
There are, of course, some things to look out for when you are camping. Be aware of a stove top or grill if you have things like that at the site. You never know what someone else cooked on that, even if it's just meat it may have been seasoned with things that contain gluten. Also, don't mix up your hotdog stick with someone else, unless everyone also has gluten-free dogs. Don't borrow shampoo or face wash. There are so many things that can have gluten in them!
I definitely learned some stuff about myself on this trip. I learned that I am lucky enough to have surrounded myself with good caring, thoughtful people. I love camping and I never knew how easy celiac disease would eventually become for me. Did I mention that I am also terrified of spiders!
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