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Everything Revolves Around Food!
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It seems like my whole life revolves around food. Meetings are always planned around breakfast or lunch. I either don't eat or bring my own food. I am traveling a lot for work too so that invovles a lot of planning. We are having a lunch meeting today and they initially let me pick the place so I picked a restaurant that I know I have a lot of safe choices at. Then they decided to go somewhere else. I hate how stressed out I am about what I can eat. It's making me obsessed. I don't know how people do this that are constantly on the road, going to friends house, have lunch meetings, ect.

And it turns out that I am SUPER sensitive. Last week I ate a Zone Bar that said gluten free and within a few hours I had the rash going and by that night I had ulcers in my mouth. Now I still have the ulcers, my joints are aching, I have a headache, not to mention all the digestive distress. I couldn't figure out where I got glutened then I checked the wrapper of the "gluten free" bar and it said made on shared equipment with wheat. That was the only new thing I ate last week so it had to be from that :angry:

Every new meeting invite or trip just makes me want to sit at my desk and cry. And for the next 5 weeks there are 2 or more days a week that I'm traveling. Last week one of my consultants was actually mean about it and tried pressuring me to going to dinner with them at a place that I knew I could eat nothing. I ended up eating beef jerky from the gas station for dinner.

I'm just really frusterated at the situation and not sure what I can do to not make it so difficult and to not feel like such a burden. I haven't found an easy way to travel with food and I haven't found a lot of places that I can eat that do not make me sick. And with how much I travel I am really not willing to experiment with what is "safe".

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Ads by Google:

http://www.healthychefcreations.com/order.html

http://www.purefoodsfreshstart.com/

The two links above are for mail-order meals that claim to be gluten-free. I have not screened either one, but it may be an option for you - order them for hotel delivery?

There are some great threads on here about travel and food.

Personally, I stopped thinking if food as something I find in a restaurant. It's something I find at a grocery store. So, perhaps you can develop a travel routine that involves a stop at a grocery store to grab basics at your arrival destination?

Also, personally, I've learned to eat something I've stashed (jerky, bar, fruit, veggies, nuts) before I go out in a situation that is high-risk, do I don't feel as panicked. I make better decisions when I'm calm.

If you frequent the same destinations, you can build a repertoire of safe restaurants and/or hotels. It does take time.

If you are in your home town (and going home daily), try baking some sort of super-super high protein/veggie bar or muffin that you can stash at the office.

I know in the beginning you feel like there's a giant blinking neon sign in your forehead. It gets better with time.

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Last time I travelled I ate a lot of salads at restaurants (with no dressing) and a few pieces of totally unflavored chicken cooked on a grill. At that time I also couldn't eat soy, corn, or dairy, so a plain baked potato was also an option.

Room service turned out to be my friend. They had a shrimp cocktail that I could eat. Well, there was soy in the sauce so I ate just the shrimp almost every night. One night with a baked potato, I was so hungry! The people in the kitchen were very kind and checked ingredients for me (I called when it was slow, around 9pm). I also nada bag of nuts and a few pieces of fruit.

The smart phone helped me find a place for breakfast. Turns out Bob Evans has gluten free options. I don't recall the details, but I think I ate eggs and bacon. You could probably eat more there if you could also eat soy and corn.

Generally, the higher quality restaurants do not use processed ingredients and you will be able to eat there safely. It doesn't hurt to call ahead to find out. So, quality restaurants, room service, ... All expensive options. We gotta do what we can. Frankly, I'm surprised that gas station jerky doesn't have gluten in it!

Good luck. It does take practice.

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I travel way more than I would like to for work. I usually drive, which helps - and I can be gone for as long as a week at a time.

I bought myself some nice glass tupperwares with locking lids, and I make a quinoa dish (mix quinoa with different veggies, whatever looks good, sometimes some olives, maybe some lemon juice and avocado) that can be eaten hot or cold. Preportioned for the week, that's my lunches done. With some fruit and nuts, I've got snacks (maybe some chips, too, if I'm working hard). Breakfasts are often gluten-free cereal with rice milk (I always try to pick hotels with mini-fridges, which also often have microwaves) or gluten-free bread with peanut butter, honey, and a banana. Dinners can be tricky, and I always travel with a bowl, plate, and one set of utensils, so I'm prepared to microwave some beans and spinach and rice, or a gluten-free frozen meal with some added veggies.

BUT eating on the road has never been about eating "well" for me - I've always watched lots of my colleagues eat out for every meal, and even before diagnosis I traveled with the plates and utensils and ate a lot of meals in my room, both to save money and because I felt better (and if I've worked with you all day, no offence, but I need some "me" time!).

Preparing meals at home in advance takes some time, but not much - quinoa cooks quickly, and I often make enough to also have Sunday dinner (and, truth be told, to leave some prepped food for my husband, to make sure he has something healthy to eat, too!).

Next time they insist on eating somewhere you can't safely eat, just bring your prepackaged meal with you. Either they'll be embarrassed about their rudeness and realize you really can't eat there or they won't - and they may not, if you've already had to resort to gas station food for a meal. The reality is that you have to be in charge of what you eat, and the only way you may be able to do that consistently when traveling, at least with other people, is to bring food along.

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I feel your pain! Yes we can and must find ways to work around all these hassles, but I admit there are days when I just want to vent about it...grrrr. :angry:

That said, I never, ever leave home without a cooler. My cooler is my friend. I must always pack food when I go to conferences, wedding etc. If I don't, I've learned the hard way that I will go hungry. :(

And the extreme backup is ALWAYS a gltuen-free bar in my purse! I get "Kind" fruit and nut bars at Starbucks and am never without one.

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I'm just really frusterated at the situation and not sure what I can do to not make it so difficult and to not feel like such a burden. I haven't found an easy way to travel with food and I haven't found a lot of places that I can eat that do not make me sick. And with how much I travel I am really not willing to experiment with what is "safe".

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Thanks for all the tips! I wish I could drive because I would have a cooler packed with food. The problem I'm having is that I fly and haven't been checking a bag. I guess I could start checking a cooler with my food for the week in it then just make sure the hotels have a fridge. The tip about needing a fridge for medicine is great!

I just got back last night from another work trip and I brought "GoPicnics" with me. It wasn't great but they do not need to be refridgerated. I think most of my frusteration is just from how often I'm traveling. I thought it was going to be about 2 days a month and for 7 weeks in a row it's 2, 3, or 4 days a week! And I'm not going to a normal city where I can get stuff. If anyone is familiar with south south Louisiana where all the gas and oil companies operate that is where I'm going... I need to start stopping by a grocery store before I leave New Orleans and pack a disposable cooler.

And on the beef jerky thing- I make sure to check the ingredients every time. Even the same type/brand can have wheat in it. I find "safe" jerky about 50% of the time.

Thanks again everyone!

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Thanks for all the tips! I wish I could drive because I would have a cooler packed with food. The problem I'm having is that I fly and haven't been checking a bag. I guess I could start checking a cooler with my food for the week in it then just make sure the hotels have a fridge. The tip about needing a fridge for medicine is great!

I just got back last night from another work trip and I brought "GoPicnics" with me. It wasn't great but they do not need to be refridgerated. I think most of my frusteration is just from how often I'm traveling. I thought it was going to be about 2 days a month and for 7 weeks in a row it's 2, 3, or 4 days a week! And I'm not going to a normal city where I can get stuff. If anyone is familiar with south south Louisiana where all the gas and oil companies operate that is where I'm going... I need to start stopping by a grocery store before I leave New Orleans and pack a disposable cooler.

And on the beef jerky thing- I make sure to check the ingredients every time. Even the same type/brand can have wheat in it. I find "safe" jerky about 50% of the time.

Thanks again everyone!

Uhm, yeah. Very familiar with south LA.

If you fly into NOLA they do have at least one whole foods.

Read the travel tips threads. Some people do pack coolers full of food and check it into baggage. You can buy hot plates that will plug in at the hotel. I've seen mini crock pots, too.

You really are up the creek (or should I say bayou) down there. NOLA has good gluten-free options, but unless you find a good hotel or resort south of the metro you are probably out of luck. I'd look for a hotel with a kitchenette.

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It will get easier. I remember the first trips I took after going gluten-free. I was so hungry and miserable; I didn't pack enough food and had no chance to find a store to go shopping. Learn what fuels you best and pack extra of that. I used to be the kind that could get by with just a carry-on bag. Now I check a bag filled with food. I'm grain-free, dairy-free, and soy-free by necessity and paleo/primal by choice. In case of no fridge, I take pouched/tinned tuna and chicken, Tanka Bars (bufffalo jerky), and sometimes dried beef (soak it to get some of the salt out). I figure how many meals I'll need and add a few more just in case packages. For veggies I bring a bag of broccoli florets or other hearty bagged veggies. Sometimes I bring a package of romaine lettuce. This last trip I took an avocado and some yellow squash. These veggies don't need refrigeration and hold up well to being bounced around. They also can be eaten raw if necessary. If I don't take my mini grill, I use the room's coffee maker to heat water and blanch the veggies in very hot water. Sometimes I pack baby food pouches of squash and yams. I take salt, pepper, a plastic container of olive oil, maybe spices, sometimes hemp milk. These are all things that don't need refirgeration, can be eaten as-is, and travel well. Most times I end up eating better than my coworkers. I've taken instant mashed potatoes but won't again. TSA opened my taters looking for drugs maybe? I ended up with potato flakes all in my clothes and papers. I scope out grocery stores and Super Walmarts before I go but don't count on having time to go.

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I know exactly how you feel about this stuff. When I first meet coworkers, I generally just tell them I have a really bad allergy -- for some reason, people seem to understand that better. It's only later that I explain the full situation, when I've gotten to know them. I am always 100% compliant with my diet (I've found celiacs who cheat on the diet in front of others are not taken seriously) and if I bring a bread-like food to eat, I make references to it being a gluten-free version, so that it's in the forefront of their minds when it comes to us eating somewhere. When planning meals, I find that most people, rather than being malicious or insensitive, have just forgotten about it until I remind them. I always pack a meal when I go out, and have it in my purse with eating utensils, etc. That way, if there is nothing at the restaurant I can eat, I have food ready. Some people feel so bad (or embarassed by this) that they find a place I can safely eat the next time around. I always pack real meal items and extra snack bars, etc when travelling, and pre-plan grocery stores where I can get food at my destination. It all takes planning ahead -- which seems to be out of fashion in our culture. It will get better.

Remember: if you pack gluten-free bread, you can buy sliced meats and cheeses and vegetables pretty much anywhere and make sandwiches on the road. Also, you'd be surprised how long a lot of things last and remain tasty without refridgeration. Try jarred pesto, hard cheeses and jam/nut spreads. Also, lot of grocery stores will deliver to the hotel in big cities.

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