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  • Janice Schroeder
    Janice Schroeder

    Gluten-Free Road Trippin’

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Summer 2019 Issue


    Caption: Image: CC BY-ND 2.0--transparentman

    Celiac.com 07/27/2019 - I used to love road trips. As a kid in the back of my dad's station wagon, fighting with my brother, feeling the wind whip my hair, stopping at all those dumb roadside attractions. When I didn't have to pee every five minutes and didn't have to worry about what I ate. Ah, the good old days!

    Those days are a distant memory. Since Mr. gallbladder went "kablooie" I have spent my life making sure I know where every bathroom is within a 20-mile radius. Adding gluten and dairy intolerance to the mix gives a whole new meaning to gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!

    Any time we would go visit my in-laws at their fabulous river house in Virginia, as soon as my hubby would say, "we are getting in the HOV lanes", my heart would drop with a sickening splash into my stomach. I would make sure to eat a light lunch. Something I thought wouldn't upset my delicate tummy. Scrambled eggs maybe, or dairy-free yogurt. Nothing to drink but a few sips of water. Then, praying to the saints of traffic and digestion, off we would go.

    Meanwhile, the little gremlin who resides in my stomach-you know, the one with the pitch fork would inevitably start dancing and chanting, "road trip, road trip, she's on a road trip" as he cackled with glee. As traffic came to a complete standstill, it would begin. The rumbling, churning, and and that uh-oh feeling of impending doom. So far my luck has held out. But I still dread HOV lanes.

    Like most people with gluten intolerance, I am most comfortable in my own kitchen where I have total control over what I am cooking. I always do some checking ahead on restaurants that are gluten-free. Ah, but add dairy free to that and your options quickly dwindle. 

    I make sure I bring a variety of gluten-free snacks with me just in case I have to " break glass in case of emergency". It’s always easier when you are traveling on an interstate. But if you are taking the “scenic route”, it becomes a bit more of a challenge to find a safe place to eat.

    The best website for finding a gluten-free restaurant state by state is Find Me Gluten Free.

    Here are some tips that can help you to have a safe and pleasant road trip:

    • Bring a cooler for sandwiches, fruit and possibly a road-trip home-made dinner. I use one that plugs into the 12V outlet in my car. Most newer cars still have this option, even though they no longer have a cigarette lighter.
    • Book a room with a kitchenette, or at least a microwave. You can cook safe meals or bring a home-cooked meal to heat up. Homewood Suites is a great option.
    • Make hotel reservations ahead of time to make sure you are not staying in the middle of nowhere where there are no dining options.
    • Call or email restaurants ahead of time to get allergen information. Email is better because you can print the allergen information to take with you. Some have this information available online. But when you have more than one food intolerance, you need to be a rocket scientist to find something that is safe. Follow the KISS rule
    • whenever possible.
    • I would suggest that fast food be completely avoided. There are too many additives and too much possibility of cross-contamination.
    • If you are visiting relatives, bring your own food if you can. It’s really complicated for those who don’t have gluten intolerance to “get” what it entails.
    • Enjoy Life has wonderful snacks free of the top 8 allergens.

    Even with all of these challenges you can have a great, gluten-free road trip. All it takes is a bit of planning and lots and lots of luck.

    I can feel that wind in my hair now!


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    That is exactly how I feel.  I dread any type of traveling.  Even an hour up the road.  I just don’t eat while traveling.  Too much to risk.  We do not eat out at all.  I feel bad for my husband because it means we are homebodies.  But like the writer of the above article I just feel better at home in my own kitchen.  My husband sometimes meets coworkers for breakfast and that’s fine with me.  But I do miss the luxury of dining out.  

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    Great tips! 

    I have also travelled with my Instant Pot so I can cook in the hotel even when there are no options (or none I can afford) with a kitchenette. Heading out on a wilderness adventure soon where we will do this again. 13 meals away from home, and only 4 at preselected restaurants that can handle gluten free. The rest will be from our cooler and instant pot. 

    Happy trails!

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    Guest Happy Tummy

    Posted

    It's also important when traveling to be extremely aware of triggers. Those "healthy" alternatives that can seem so innocent, yet can be horribly rough on the digestive system. Like apples, a great source of fiber, but hard to digest; as well as cashews, blackberries and apricots. I have Celiac with constipation IBS; so grapes, while being much healthier option than sugary snacks, can cause gas and bloating. I received the IBS diagnosis after still complaing of stomach pain and discomfort even though I was gluten free. Now when traveling I also follow the FOB map given to me by my gastroentlologist. Also be very careful to check ingredients on travel size lip balm, sunscreens, lotions, travel size toothpastes, wipes and denture creams. Gluten loves to hide under many different names and in the oddest places. Happy Travels

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    I can relate to 20 miles bathroom issue but after nine years gluten free I no longer have that problem, so I can drive for hours. I always have gluten-free emergency food in the car and the grocery stores are my gluten-free restaurant. 

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    I can identify with the above articles!!  Since I was a teenager I was always clutching my gut in pain after eating out.  Then my gallbladder was enlarged and stopped working in my 30s..after gallbladder surgery all hell broke loose for 20 years and I felt like a prisoner to my body.  The moment I ate any food in the morning, or ate 3 bites of a raw apple or eggs cooked in any way, the serious gut pain ensued and I had 3 minutes to find a washroom before all hell broke loose.  My doctor at the time told me I was the unlucky few who has IBS and just have to live with it...so I did!! 

    For 20 years I told myself I was lactose intolerant and bought foods accordingly...it helped somewhat.  Unknowingly, I also lost part of my immune system called IGA from 20+ years of antibiotic use (6 months every year) from chronic sinus infections and sore throats.  Upon having gallbladder removed, sinus surgery 3 years ago (had a broken nose since a young child and didn't know it),  it took some convincing to get that surgeon to take out my tonsils last year (even though they looked normal)...I was convinced 25 years ago that my tonsils were the culprit for my continuous sore throats every year from Oct. to Aoril).   

    The surgeon told me he only took out my tonsils because my immune system was attacking my skin.  Two years ago (while taking yet another antibiotic) I broke out in tiny red spots all over my body that quickly turned in to thumb nail sized sores...it turned out to be gutate psoriasis and I had to convince the dernatologist to send me to the hospital for controlled UV light treatment instead of taking small doses of chemotherapy treatment that she subsequently wanted me to take.  I finally convinced her to book me for UV treatment, which nicely cleared up my skin.  

    Since that moment, I knew that eating any gluten caused the guttate psoriasis to come back on my face and back.  In the last two years I went to see a Naturalpath (who had a degree in biochemistry and Masters degree in nutrition), and she said I had leaky gut syndrome and must never eat gluten or dairy products again (no more lactose-free products)...only plant based milk.  She gave me some powder to take home and for the first time since I was a teenager, I experienced no gut pain.  After finishing that powder 6 weeks later, the gut pain was starting to come back.  I went to a doctor who specializes in leaky gut and after doing lengthy blood tests he said I have Dysbiosis and treated me accordingly.  A lot of people who have digestive issues have Dysbiosis and don't even know it according to this medical doctor.   Dysbiosis is when bad microbes enter your body through intestinal walls and plays havoc with your digestive and immune system.  Dysbiosis feeds off of sugar so I have to eat like a cancer patient...no gluten, dairy, manufactured sugared food or starches.  I do cheat on the last two, but my body tells me when I over do it.  I can now say that I finally can feel normal at age 52, without having gut pain snd running to the bathroom.  

    My advice to people who are gluten sensitive, find a  medical doctor who believes in leaky gut syndrome and get tested.  

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    13 hours ago, Guest Cam said:

    Great tips! 

    I have also travelled with my Instant Pot so I can cook in the hotel even when there are no options (or none I can afford) with a kitchenette. Heading out on a wilderness adventure soon where we will do this again. 13 meals away from home, and only 4 at preselected restaurants that can handle gluten free. The rest will be from our cooler and instant pot. 

    Happy trails!

    I was thinking the same thing - the Instant Pot gives so many options for cooking that I felt it would be a nice compromise on vacation.  I'll pack a tote with all the necessities for making the meals I choose and the local groceries will get my business.  Would love to eat out some, but I haven't had good luck with that - maybe near some larger population centers it will be possible.  

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    I buy some certified gluten-free meals and let them thaw as needed.  I like Amy's and Saffron Road.  Gives me a wide variety.  I never eat them at home so they have that "something different" feel.  If there's a microwave, that's even better.  But when traveling, I don't want to cook since I prepare 3 "from scratch" meals a day (or batch cook" when at home.

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    Guest Jen in Charleston, SC

    Posted

    My husband and I had to travel often this year after I was diagnosed with gluten and soy intolerance.  A challenge for sure, and I agree with the author’s suggestions.  We also took the electric Cuisinart Griddler than can be used for many meals from burgers to omelettes, and more to use in kitchenettes when we rented spots through airbnb. Best sixty dollars we have spent in a while since we don’t need to worry about cross-contamination using it. 

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    On 8/6/2019 at 12:21 PM, Guest Shari said:

    I can identify with the above articles!!  Since I was a teenager I was always clutching my gut in pain after eating out.  Then my gallbladder was enlarged and stopped working in my 30s..after gallbladder surgery all hell broke loose for 20 years and I felt like a prisoner to my body.  The moment I ate any food in the morning, or ate 3 bites of a raw apple or eggs cooked in any way, the serious gut pain ensued and I had 3 minutes to find a washroom before all hell broke loose.  My doctor at the time told me I was the unlucky few who has IBS and just have to live with it...so I did!! 

    For 20 years I told myself I was lactose intolerant and bought foods accordingly...it helped somewhat.  Unknowingly, I also lost part of my immune system called IGA from 20+ years of antibiotic use (6 months every year) from chronic sinus infections and sore throats.  Upon having gallbladder removed, sinus surgery 3 years ago (had a broken nose since a young child and didn't know it),  it took some convincing to get that surgeon to take out my tonsils last year (even though they looked normal)...I was convinced 25 years ago that my tonsils were the culprit for my continuous sore throats every year from Oct. to Aoril).   

    The surgeon told me he only took out my tonsils because my immune system was attacking my skin.  Two years ago (while taking yet another antibiotic) I broke out in tiny red spots all over my body that quickly turned in to thumb nail sized sores...it turned out to be gutate psoriasis and I had to convince the dernatologist to send me to the hospital for controlled UV light treatment instead of taking small doses of chemotherapy treatment that she subsequently wanted me to take.  I finally convinced her to book me for UV treatment, which nicely cleared up my skin.  

    Since that moment, I knew that eating any gluten caused the guttate psoriasis to come back on my face and back.  In the last two years I went to see a Naturalpath (who had a degree in biochemistry and Masters degree in nutrition), and she said I had leaky gut syndrome and must never eat gluten or dairy products again (no more lactose-free products)...only plant based milk.  She gave me some powder to take home and for the first time since I was a teenager, I experienced no gut pain.  After finishing that powder 6 weeks later, the gut pain was starting to come back.  I went to a doctor who specializes in leaky gut and after doing lengthy blood tests he said I have Dysbiosis and treated me accordingly.  A lot of people who have digestive issues have Dysbiosis and don't even know it according to this medical doctor.   Dysbiosis is when bad microbes enter your body through intestinal walls and plays havoc with your digestive and immune system.  Dysbiosis feeds off of sugar so I have to eat like a cancer patient...no gluten, dairy, manufactured sugared food or starches.  I do cheat on the last two, but my body tells me when I over do it.  I can now say that I finally can feel normal at age 52, without having gut pain snd running to the bathroom.  

    My advice to people who are gluten sensitive, find a  medical doctor who believes in leaky gut syndrome and get tested.  

    I have had several of the same symptoms and I am 49. I found out I have hyperoxaluria. You may want to look into a low oxalate diet. I am gluten free, dairy free and low oxalate. It is difficult to get the right information since research is limited on the topic (not all of us have kidney stones or kidney disease). There is a wonderful, research based group on yahoo and one on facebook. Look for Susan Owens, she has researched oxalates and autisim, but it is the same oxalates affecting many, many others with symptoms such as ours. 

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    Guest I love road trips

    Posted

    I love road trips now that I have learned to make sandwiches with gluten-free bread and bring them in a cooler along with gluten-free yogurts and other gluten-free snacks.  My motto is always be prepared!  Sometimes when we are traveling to see relatives it looks we are getting ready for the Lewis and Clark expedition, I am taking so much gluten-free stuff with us, but it's always worth it.  I make sure I always have safe food to eat and my family doesn't worry about me because I either bring what I need or I go out and buy what I need once I arrive at my destination.

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  • About Me

    I started blogging (https://glutenenvy.blog) in May 2015 after suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for over fifteen years. I discovered that by eliminating gluten, then dairy, from my diet decreased my IBS symptoms significantly.  I also developed nut allergies two years ago.

    I have since become an expert and advocate for a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle, to support and help those who have struggled with side effects and health issues related to both gluten and dairy foods.

    Blogger, recipe developer, product tester, reviewer and guest blogger, I continue to help others while maintaining my gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free lifestyle. I hope to continue to grow and evolve and to be able to spread the word about the challenges and the rewards of a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle.

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