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Vacation
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I am new to the gluten free life and my family is driving to Florida in a few weeks. I am a little concerned about having to stop and eat. I am going to pack some safe snacks, but worried about the restaurants along the way. Does anyone know any good,safe places to stop to eat in the states? Thanks.

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You can pack more than just snack, for just in case there isn't somewhere safe to eat. I guess I have it easy on the west coast out here because I have In N Out. If you have a large cooler, you can bring things like fried chicken, fruit salads, and veggies. Probably enough to last two days at least before it gets funky. (Not sure how long you'll be driving.) You can also always pick up things like chips and fruit (overpriced but safe) at convenient stores along the way.

As for safe fast food, I highly recommend Wendy's as long as you stop during non-peak times and the workers speak fluent English. It is very important that whoever is preparing your food be able to understand very well exactly what you are talking about. Wendy's generally has dedicated fryers for french fries, but never order them without asking first. Frostys are gluten free. You can look up on their website what is and isn't safe. If you order a baked potato, tell them not to cut it open, who knows where that knife has been and it has gotten others in the past. If you order a bunless burger, it is important to stress to them how serious your medical problem is and that they change their gloves before touching your burger and that they not use any condiments such as ketchup or mustard or allow the burger to touch any other surfaces. Some will call that paranoia, I call it avoiding explosive D on a road trip. (I've watched them dip a knife into the mustard and slather it on a bun. No thanks putting that on my burger.)

Maybe someone more familiar with the Florida area will have more local suggestions for you.

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I make the trip to Florida every year too. There are mostly fast food and buffet type restaurants on the interstates. Stay away from paces that have buffets, they are never a good idea. Careful at fast food places. I always pack a cooler for me. If you have something you want heated, use a microwave at a gas stop. They all have them now. If you do go in a restaurant with your family, bring something in with you. It's not worth getting glutened, especially on a long car ride.

Good luck

Colleen

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If you have a smartphone, download the free app "Gluten Free Registry" - it will pinpoint your location and give you all the places nearby that have gluten free menus or items. They will also provide you will reviews of other people's experiences with those establishments. It's been a lifesaver for me!! Enjoy your vacation!!!

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    • Well, I have never cruised on Carnival, but I am sure they can accommodate you.  I assume that you have already alerted them that you require gluten free meals.  If not, please contact Carnival immediately. Here are my own tips.  Some folks eat off the buffet line, but not me or hubby except for coffee/drinks and baked potatoes (jacketed) and fruit that we wash in the restroom (people touch everything!)  Okay, I am OCD, but my last glutening which occurred the previous summer made me sick for three months (GI tested my antibodies to prove it).   When we board, I go to the buffet restaurant ASAP and ask to speak to the Head Waiter (they are usually there greeting customers and often trying to up sell to specialty restaurants.   Let them know you have celiac disease and must be gluten free.  They may try to tell you that each dish is clearly marked gluten free, but really?  Who's to say that some other passenger is not going to switch spoons (or I have seen passengers wandering around with serving spoons...I kid you not!  The staff usually will  go downstairs and fetch a gluten free meal for me from the main dining room's kitchen as there is usually a dedicated area for allergies.  We have to wait up to 20 minutes or so but it is worth it.  Starving?  Get a baked potato wrapped in foil until your gluten-free meal arrives.  Now, do not do this every single time.  Those folks have to go down several levels to fetch food and you don't want to be a pain.  But if the main dining area is closed, they need to make an effort to keep you safe.  On our last cruise, we were advised not to eat anywhere but the main dining room and that included room service (they are not trained to handled allergies).  My headwaiters have sent goodies (prepackaged gluten free rolls and cookies for us to keep in our room.  We can always grab whole fruit (I wash it first) to snack on.  I bring gluten-free non-perishable items with me to eat while at port in case we can't find anything (which can be often).  Again, when we get back to our ship, we contact our headwaiter and he/she can prepare some snacks until we have dinner.   Be grateful and not picky.   We eat all meals in the dining room (or at least as much as possible).  Our headwaiter had a few other celiacs on our cruise this summer, so they prepared some gluten-free waffles, etc. for our breakfast!  What a treat!  At breakfast, we'd have different waiters, so our headwaiter would always instruct our waiters each and every time!  They even let me tour the kitchen and showed me the allergy section.   The only time I did not feel safe was at the buffet.  We once ordered gluten-free pizza and I realized (I watched) that that restaurant didn't really have the gluten-free thing down), do I called him on it.  Got the manager etc.  So, be careful.  Other cruises made us frozen Udi"s which was just fine with us.  They covered it up in foil so that we would not get any cross contamination from their pizza oven. So, have fun!   Tipping?  We prepaid our gratuities, but we gave our headwaiter an extra $200.00 for his time.  For us, it was well worth the service and safety of our food.  It does not hurt to slip some of the tip ahead of time (like after your first meal!)  
    • <strong>Celiac Disease & Gluten-free Diet Information at Celiac.com. Gluten Free Diabetes ::The 3 Step Trick that Reverses Diabetes Permanently in ... View the full article
    • I had a biopsy done (2 samples, 1 on a lesion and 1 next to lesions), and also more bloodwork done. All came back negative. However, I only had been eating gluten for 2 weeks prior, and it took a week of gluten for lesions to reappear. I also used a topical steroid off and on (1x a week approximately) for a month or so before testing. The dermatologist told me to stay off gluten though, and said she wants to do more allergy testing (her next open testing appt is in 6 months!!). I know I'm not the DR, but I dont think it's allergies...without a doubt, my skin begins clearing about 2 weeks post gluten-free diet...this is without changing anything else in my lifestyle. And when i had to go back on gluten before my biopsy, it took about a week, but did reappear. Now, about 2 weeks post biopsy and gluten-free, it had begun clearing until i worked outside all day in heat, humidity,  sweat etc and it has definitely irritated all the places that were healing (not new breakouts, just aggravating what was going away!). All that being said, i have a friend who is an MD( who's hobby is to attend conferences on skin conditions!), and she has told me that without a doubt, I have celiac/DH.  I think I just feel like I need test results and paperwork to show for it...especially to show family members who are unsupportive (gross understatement!) of the extreme changes I've had to make!
    • Sorry ! I have never cruised before.  Just wanting to follow your topic.  Good luck! Have a great,  safe vacation.  
    • Hi there, I hope you're all having a good day! I'll be heading on a week-long Carnival cruise shortly and had a few questions: -What is the tipping protocol? I've prepaid gratuities, but feel like the food request will warrant something extra. Should I tip the headwaiter? Hostess? Regular waiter? Chef? Those cooking at, say, the sandwich or pasta bars? If so, how much is appropriate, and should I tip at the beginning of the cruise, the end, or split it up? -It looks like the main dining room will be closed during lunch hours on most days. Any recommendations on safe bets for midday meals? I'll be on the Carnival Sunshine, for what that's worth. Thank you so much for any information you can share!  
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