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Advice For A Family Visit

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Sometime in the next month or so, I'll be driving about 8 hours to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Tennessee -- I was wondering whether anyone had advice for how to deal with visiting family. They're pretty cool and openminded people who I doubt will have any resistance or issues with my eating needs, but I want to both protect myself and not be too much of a burden as a houseguest and, of course, I doubt they fully realize the extent to which I need to be cautious.

Does anyone have advice or stories about dealing with this sort of thing? Is there an old thread I should check out? Pass it on!

Oh -- I should add that they live in Knoxville -- I should do a search to see about restaurants -- although I doubt we'll be doing a whole lot of eating out!


Erica

Inconclusive blood test results

Positive Enterolab results

Positive dietary results

gluten-free since 2/10/06

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Guest nini

when we traveled to Florida last year to visit my mother in law and my dad and step mom, I packed a cooler full of quick easy to prepare food and several grocery bags full. I also knew that I could go shopping at the local Health food store or Whole Foods if I needed to. We ate out at Outback, Bonefish Grill, Whole Foods salad bar, and my favorite Mexican restaurant in the whole wide world. El Adobe in Sarasota Fl. They were very helpful in telling me the ingredients and assuring me how the food was prepared and with the help of my spanish language dining card I was able to communicate well with the kitchen.

I think it just takes a fair amount of planning. Make sure you have enough for you for snacks and quick meals on the run, make bags of trail mix to snack on or have fresh fruit to snack on. Make sure you have copies of the gluten-free menus for McDonald's, Wendy's, Arby's, ChikFilA and any other place you might pass along the way... The gluten-free dining guide has been a lifesaver to me, you can order it off the Celiac.com store. As far as cooking in someone elses kitchen is concerned, it can be done, but you may want to be hypervigilant about cleaning beforehand and don't use wooden cutting boards, wooden spoons, scratched teflon pans or things like that...

So that's my advice, plan ahead and have fun!

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We've stayed at my in-laws many times since I've gone Gluten-free Casein-free, and I don't actually even take any food with me. I do grocery shopping while there, and generally help with cooking and what not. (Joint meals with them will often be gluten-free and CF-able while I'm there.) It helps that they eat (since I've known them) very similarly in the whole, natural foods vein. I stick with pans that are not prone to contamination, bring my own wooden spoon or use metal utensils, and while I'm there, they're careful about keeping the bread on one side of the kitchen. Heh... I guess they're not mandatorily dependent on wheat either, though it's ordinarily plenty present in their diet. :)

How does this help you? Well... think about how similarly to you they eat, in practice, if not the specifics. Think about how their kitchen is laid out, and what is available to you to use. Think about what stores are in the area, and how you might want to eat. Hehehe... I suppose I could be conscise and just say "plan it out". :) The answer depends so heavily on how you eat and how they eat that it's hard to say. Since I can rely on getting all the gluten-free food I need from even a tiny local market (just by sticking to produce/meat/etc.), I may have a different answer from someone else who relies upon different things. That said, I may also bring some of my hard-to-find favorites along, like a hot cereal, boullion, or grain.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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Guest cassidy

I am very careful so I usually make a big meal like lasagna and freeze it in individual portions and bring it with me to microwave. I always help prepare the main family meal so no one really minds if I'm eating different food. I think it would be more stress than it is worth for me to try to make a gluten-free meal for everyone using someone else's pans and things. I guess it depends on your comfort level. My family (my husband's) isn't very helpful and the kitchen is usually covered in bread crumbs with cherrios all over the floor - tons of little kids.

I would look up health food stores in the area and see if they have any big ones where you can buy some stuff there. I always like going in new health food stores because you never know what you will find. I will see something and remember reading a good review about it here and get excited.

You can always snack on things like fruit that you can pick up at any grocery store.

It really just depends how comfortable you are about eating out and making food in a kitchen that contains gluten. My mom's house is completely gluten-free so when she comes to my house I have to remind her that there could be gluten places and be careful.

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