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Hello,

This is my first time posting to this board. My daughters were both recently diagnosed with celiac. We are getting used to it. It's so much easier to control on the home front, trickier when we travel. We suspect we've gluttoned our youngest, who seems to have it much more severely, via cross contact a few times. Dish towels, sponges, cutting boards etc. while visiting family. They go to extraordinary lengths to accommodate us food wise, it's the environmental piece that feels insurmountable right now.

What are your best travel tips when visiting family or going on vacation when you want to cook in a kitchen? We love to cook, food is a big deal to us. Do you bring your own items? If so, what do you bring? WOuld love to hear how other approach this. Thanks!

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If you are traveling to your destination by car, pack a bin for gluten-free dedicated kitchen ware.  I visit my parent's a lot.   I have a bin kept at both my parent's house and their lake house.  I keep in in the closet so that the rest of my extened family does not use it and it is clearly labeled.    We use toaster bags, a small frying pan, spatula, colendar, etc.  I use paper plates to cut things, lots of paper towels, parchment paper (baking and/or counter barrier), aluminum foil (for oven or grille), etc.  If most items are washed in the dishwasher, then those would be safe (excluding porous items).  At the lake house forget it.  I re-wash or use all paper goods and cups.  I can not trust all those kids to keep my family safe.  At my parent's house there are fewer cooks in the kitchen, so we can let our guard down.  If the chip bag has been opened, we do not eat it.  We have a gluten-free shelf in the pantry.  At the lake house, we keep food clearly marked for us and out of reach of little munchkins.  Not that we don't want to share, but we need to have food on hand for the celiacs!  I supervise all food prep and we go through the buffet line first.  No seconds!  Again, cross contamination is a huge issue when you have 20+ people crammed into a house.  

Again, I either make the food or supervise.  I do not even trust my mother or sister-in-laws.  Unless you live the gluten free lifestyle, you do not get it.  Mistakes will be made.  

We also do not eat out often, unless it is 100% dedicated or we have read glowing reviews by celiacs on sites like "Find Me Gluten Free".  If the extended family goes out, we order a drink and sit back and enjoy the company.  We always carry food around.  Lots of planning, but it is well worth it.  Pretty soon, everyone adapts.    The goal is to visit and have fun!  

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Thank you so much for your response cycling lady. This is so new to us. Great tips in here and I agree with your goal. I want my girls to live their lives and enjoy their food without worrying it will make them sick.  This is super helpful.

If anybody else has different types of solutions, please share away!

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Oh.... I do bake with all the kids.  We just make gluten-free versions.  They love it.  Parchment paper is your friend.  gluten-free dough tends to stick.

 Don't have the necessary tools?  Find a Dollar-type store.

Purchase Mayo and ketchup that come in squeeze bottles.  I even  buy sour cream that way.  No "double dipping" occurs.  

 I always pack a collapsible cooler too.   I keep a cooler in my car all summer.  Perfect for bringing home cold foods from the store.  I fill old milk containers to make my "ice blocks".  I toss in my cuter cooler to keep in extra cooler  (cooler within a cooler) since I live in a hot climate.  

Dang...I need to stop.  I guess I am procrastinating.  I have five marching band uniforms left to alter and frankly, I am sick of it!  But the kids are worth it!  

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I probably bring less than I should, but it's just for me (I'm the only Celiac in my family) and I'll just not eat, or eat a banana and have a glass of wine, if I don't feel comfortable with what's there.  It's harder when it involves your kids and them feeling left out.

That said, I bought a cheap plastic colander in a bright color, and really thin bright colored cutting boards that I take with me when we travel to anyplace with a kitchen.  I will hand wash spatulas, spoons, etc. and any pots or pans to be used (extra points if stainless -- I won't bother with a truly rutted non-stick surface that might have gluten lurking).  Occasionally, I've brought our small stainless skillet with me.  If I cared about toast, I'd bring toaster bags, I might bring or buy parchment paper.  If I don't know that the cook really knows the rules, I watch the prep like a hawk...

And always have your kids take the food from the shared bowls, etc., first.  That means they can't go back for seconds, but it's the only way if they're sharing a meal.

In my opinion, and I don't know how old your kids are, it's best to not try and give them analogues to every food being offered.  You can get really twisted up in trying to re-create the foods that everyone else is having so they don't feel left out, instead of showing them that they have their own, good, choices.  That they can have fun just by being there for the meal, even if they don't get to eat it.  I have a teen with allergies who will be out in the world solo soon and I don't want her dwelling on what she can't have, but understanding that the shared meal is about the people and the conversation, not necessarily the specific foods.  I want her to be able to travel in strange lands and get invited to people's homes, without the hosts being afraid they will have to de-gluten the whole place.  But I'm big on teaching resiliency.  Probably not the kind of advice that you were looking for ;-)

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On 8/22/2017 at 1:49 PM, Renee Piazza said:

Hello,

This is my first time posting to this board. My daughters were both recently diagnosed with celiac. We are getting used to it. It's so much easier to control on the home front, trickier when we travel. We suspect we've gluttoned our youngest, who seems to have it much more severely, via cross contact a few times. Dish towels, sponges, cutting boards etc. while visiting family. They go to extraordinary lengths to accommodate us food wise, it's the environmental piece that feels insurmountable right now.

What are your best travel tips when visiting family or going on vacation when you want to cook in a kitchen? We love to cook, food is a big deal to us. Do you bring your own items? If so, what do you bring? WOuld love to hear how other approach this. Thanks!

I agree with cyclinglady. I don't have the same plan for every place we visit. Every place presents it's own challenges, so I spend a lot of time planning meals everywhere we go.

My mom is not really a cook and when she does cook, it's rarely with flour. So I use her pots and pans and clean them well. I buy my own sponge, dish towel, cutting board there. Use butcher paper on the counter and a lot of paper towels to wipe off the counters.

My in-laws live in the mid-west. I'm pretty sure everything there is made with flour. :) My sister in law uses her wood block kitchen table to roll out her pie crusts. So, the whole thing is literally covered in flour. I barely eat in her house when I am there. When she's baking, I go outside.  I eat frozen meals, beans and rice out of a can, Chex cereal out of paper bowls, and a lot of bananas. 

I did travel to the East this summer and thought of one easy thing (it may not be practical for every trip though). DC had a completely gluten-free restaurant and it would have been so nice to have our hotel on that block. Then it would be convenient for me to just walk down the block for one hot meal a day. The rest of the family could still go out to a variety of food.  I wouldn't have to eat out of a can for the whole trip!

I do have a plastic travel box for car trips. It has paper bowls/plates, paper, towels, a set of silver ware, a paring knife, spatula, spices, single use packets of mayo and mustard, cutting board, can opener, measuring cups and a skillet. I take it with me camping, hoteling, to cabins. Then I buy some food depending on my needs/type of trip we are taking. 

Traveling and socializing is definitely the hardest thing about having celiac. Remember that life is about the relationships we have and not as much about what we eat - it is very important to keep reminding your kids.

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9 minutes ago, TexasJen said:

I agree with cyclinglady. I don't have the same plan for every place we visit. Every place presents it's own challenges, so I spend a lot of time planning meals everywhere we go.

My mom is not really a cook and when she does cook, it's rarely with flour. So I use her pots and pans and clean them well. I buy my own sponge, dish towel, cutting board there. Use butcher paper on the counter and a lot of paper towels to wipe off the counters.

My in-laws live in the mid-west. I'm pretty sure everything there is made with flour. :) My sister in law uses her wood block kitchen table to roll out her pie crusts. So, the whole thing is literally covered in flour. I barely eat in her house when I am there. When she's baking, I go outside.  I eat frozen meals, beans and rice out of a can, Chex cereal out of paper bowls, and a lot of bananas. 

I did travel to the East this summer and thought of one easy thing (it may not be practical for every trip though). DC had a completely gluten-free restaurant and it would have been so nice to have our hotel on that block. Then it would be convenient for me to just walk down the block for one hot meal a day. The rest of the family could still go out to a variety of food.  I wouldn't have to eat out of a can for the whole trip!

I do have a plastic travel box for car trips. It has paper bowls/plates, paper, towels, a set of silver ware, a paring knife, spatula, spices, single use packets of mayo and mustard, cutting board, can opener, measuring cups and a skillet. I take it with me camping, hoteling, to cabins. Then I buy some food depending on my needs/type of trip we are taking. 

Traveling and socializing is definitely the hardest thing about having celiac. Remember that life is about the relationships we have and not as much about what we eat - it is very important to keep reminding your kids.

I do about the same thing, Butcher paper, paper towels. Microwave cookware (bowls, omelette makers, steamers), a small griddle (covered griddle with sides and a lid is a multi cooking life saver), knife, spatula, and plastic utensils. IF for extended excursions like a few weeks I might suggest a microwave, rice cooker/steamer combo, and a small toaster/oven combo. I have a mess kit for going out like this. Small excursions I get away with a meal prep kit and pre fixing foods. Long trips...my mess kit goes with me and I have a mini fridge I load up with my own gluten-free baked goods, sauces, egg whites etc. strap it to the wheelchair/cargo ramp on my car and take it with me. Going to be honest I have a entire suitcase just for my mess kit. I think of it like camping when I leave the house. I set up a camp like kitchen for my gluten-free safe cooking zone when I go somewhere like a hotel, relatives etc.

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You can travel internationally (land or cruise) with a little planning, restaurant translation cards, and grocery store visits.   We found places that we will want to re-visit as they had a good understanding of celiac disease and the gluten free diet (e.g. Italy and the Scandinavia countries).

Last summer, we visited family in Poland.  Like here, family gatherings were all about food.  Even though they are just learning about celiac disease, my relatives went out of their way to purchase gluten-free foods for me.     

At home, we visit family (as I described in my earlier posting) or travel in our gluten-free Motorhome.  No matter where we go, we always have access to a hot meal.  

Again, it is all about the experiences and relationships and not the food.  

 

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Renee,

I just wanted to chime in my appreciation for your great question. I will find this helpful in the future as I am able to travel more. I have  only done small trips or rentals with a kitchen where I bring my own cooler, toaster, utensil and skillet 

happy travels and best wishes to your girls

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Wonderful topic and the answers are great ! I am trying to put together the smallest/lightest travel kit possible. As suggested, I bought all the same color to make it easier. 

So far, I realise that I am missing a few paper plates, a small cutting board and paper. This is for carry on travel only. I am curious though if anyone has anything to add. Also, those of you who bring their own sponge to clean the dishes, do you throw it out after? Maybe I'll just bring a few Jcloths. I just bought a bunch of food grade silicone stuff including a sponge. the collapsable colandar can also be used as a steamer. Inventive! I'm going on my first trip. Trying to remain calm and collected and...prepared, but also want to have this kit ready at all times. This will make me feel more able to be spontaneous. I suddenly love the idea of having a camping car just to have a gluten free one! brilliant!!!! 

travel kit.jpeg

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1 minute ago, healthysquirrel said:

Wonderful topic and the answers are great ! I am trying to put together the smallest/lightest travel kit possible. As suggested, I bought all the same color to make it easier. 

So far, I realise that I am missing a few paper plates, a small cutting board and paper. This is for carry on travel only. I am curious though if anyone has anything to add. Also, those of you who bring their own sponge to clean the dishes, do you throw it out after? Maybe I'll just bring a few Jcloths. I just bought a bunch of food grade silicone stuff including a sponge. the collapsable colandar can also be used as a steamer. Inventive! I'm going on my first trip. Trying to remain calm and collected and...prepared, but also want to have this kit ready at all times. This will make me feel more able to be spontaneous. I suddenly love the idea of having a camping car just to have a gluten free one! brilliant!!!! 

travel kit.jpeg

>.> My kit is a bit more I have a duffel bag of stuff. I bring my own pan and a induction cook top, mixing bowls, knifes, the OXO omelette turner is multi use, and a trovolo jar scraper...again multiple uses, and plastic disposable utensils, some Big Axe Seasoning Blends.
If I know they will have a microwave I omit the cook top and bring nordicware microwave omelette maker, measuring cups, a Nordic ware grill plate with splatter cover, steamer, and bowls, along with the knifes, seasonings, and utensils. I also tend to bring a roll of butcher paper to do my prep on and a small cutting board.
>,< My inner chef deems I be able to cook from scratch everywhere with local find of produce etc.

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20 minutes ago, Ennis_TX said:

>.> My kit is a bit more I have a duffel bag of stuff. I bring my own pan and a induction cook top, mixing bowls, knifes, the OXO omelette turner is multi use, and a trovolo jar scraper...again multiple uses, and plastic disposable utensils, some Big Axe Seasoning Blends.
If I know they will have a microwave I omit the cook top and bring nordicware microwave omelette maker, measuring cups, a Nordic ware grill plate with splatter cover, steamer, and bowls, along with the knifes, seasonings, and utensils. I also tend to bring a roll of butcher paper to do my prep on and a small cutting board.
>,< My inner chef deems I be able to cook from scratch everywhere with local find of produce etc.

Your inner chef is right! amazing products! thanks for the details. I am drooling over the spices!!!! I bought all these items (in my photo) today at an xmas market in Lausanne, she also had jar scrapers. The cool thing is that she has small sizes of everything. great for carry on. I am curious though what use is a jar scraper. I cook, I almost never bake. I used to use a jar scraper to scrape bowls of mixtures. I might get a roll up cutting board to put on top of the counter or maybe a small one is more useful. I just fear contaminating my stuff. Butcher paper is a great idea! She also had lids for pots and pans. If I really can get the hang of this and make the smallest most efficient/light kit, I might go on tour again one day or travel again. this is just for a 4 day trip between my physio appointments, but I am so excited! I am tired of feeling like a shut in!

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2 minutes ago, healthysquirrel said:

Your inner chef is right! amazing products! thanks for the details. I am drooling over the spices!!!! I bought all these items (in my photo) today at an xmas market in Lausanne, she also had jar scrapers. The cool thing is that she has small sizes of everything. great for carry on. I am curious though what use is a jar scraper. I cook, I almost never bake. I used to use a jar scraper to scrape bowls of mixtures. I might get a roll up cutting board to put on top of the counter or maybe a small one is more useful. I just fear contaminating my stuff. Butcher paper is a great idea! She also had lids for pots and pans. If I really can get the hang of this and make the smallest most efficient/light kit, I might go on tour again one day or travel again. this is just for a 4 day trip between my physio appointments, but I am so excited! I am tired of feeling like a shut in!

The Trovolo Smaller one, the hard eggish shaped side can be used to cut into stuff and scrape, the cuppish side is good for scraping the edges of bowls, mixing stuff, folding dough, and scrapping the bottom of dishes, they pair will with the microwave cookware and and can be used to scrape food off and out of them when finished cooking.

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1 hour ago, Ennis_TX said:

The Trovolo Smaller one, the hard eggish shaped side can be used to cut into stuff and scrape, the cuppish side is good for scraping the edges of bowls, mixing stuff, folding dough, and scrapping the bottom of dishes, they pair will with the microwave cookware and and can be used to scrape food off and out of them when finished cooking.

Thanks Ennis!

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