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alamaz

First Trip gluten-free - Any Tips?

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I'm back from my first gluten-free vacation and I have to say it went better than I anticipated. I traveled to Miami, FL and stayed at the Loews hotel on South Beach. The hotel is great and I was able to order lunch every day perfectly gluten free. On the menus they ask guests to inform servers of any food intolerences so they seemed to be aware of the various allergies that exist. One day I ordered a bunless hamburger and subbed the fries for fruit because the fries shared a fryer with the fried seafood items. The rest of the time I ordered a chicken ceasar and had no problems. Breakfasts we just did fruit and Lara Bars and coffee so I can't say how they would accomodate a gluten-free breakfast.

For dinners we went to Emeril's, Evolution and Pacific Time. For all three meals the servers were aware of gluten and what was entailed. I was impressed! All of these restaurants are free standing and more expensive than I typically would frequent but since we were on vacation we splurged. I was nervous about the dinners because South Beach is always busy and packed but all the servers were able to confirm with the chefs that meals were able to made gluten-free. At Evolution when dessert rolled around the server said "I'm sorry but the chef has said none of the desserts are gluten free except the sorbet" which was served on top of a glutenous cake of some type so when the table declined to order dessert the chef sent out some yummy gluten-free pineapple sorbet on the house for me while the rest of the table was sent a different flavor sorbet that wasn't gluten-free. Very cool :P

I had a hard time finding gluten-free recommendations in Miami so I hope this helps some people who plan to go there. South Beach is definitely not cheap but the "girls" go there every year for a long weekend so I couldn't miss the trip on account of my new "issues" and am glad I did it. I feel a lot better about being diagnosed and still living some type of normal lifestyle that includes dining out from time to time.

Thanks for all the tips. All my snacks were consumed by the whole group while down at the beach all day so not only did it come in handy for me but every one was impressed at how suprisingly good most of the gluten-free things were

Amy

Well, next week I'm traveling for the first time gluten-free. I'm planning to take some Lara Bars for snacks but I can't seem to put together a list of what else I should take to help make the gluten-free part a little easier. Can I take Immodium in case of a glutening? We're going to be at the beach so that last thing I want to do is run back and forth between the beach and the hotel because of the big D!!!

What types of snacks do you guys bring?

What medications can/should I bring?

Do dining cards really do anything?

Does any one have recommendations for restauranst in South Beach and/or Miami FL?

Thanks!

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Imodium definitely works for me. Make sure you get the caplets. I heard at one time the liquid either had gluten, or was "produced in a facility" with gluten ingredients. Not sure about the chewables.

I always bring some gluten-free bread with me in my suitcase. If you're staying in a hotel, some hotels will provide you with a mini fridge for free if you just ask. Then you can go to a grocery store, you can get some sandwich and salad stuff and at least have that.

I also bring some Thai Kitchen Noodle Cart things. They're kind of like the old gluteny cup o' soup. It comes in a plastic box that is used to cook the noodles. The rice noodles just have to sit in hot water for a while to cook, then you drain it with the drain holes on the lid and mix in the seasoning packet. Most hotels' hot water is ridiculously hot and is usually hot enough to cook the rice noodles no problem. Thai Kitchen also has soup bowls that are pretty good.

Also if you're staying in a hotel talk to them about any restaurants they have on their property. They may be able to accommodate your diet.

The dining cards are great. I have the Triumph ones. The basic American card has English on one side and Spanish on the other, which comes in handy since you're visiting somewhere that has a big spanish-speaking population. Make sure you point out the section about cross-contamination (second-hand gluten).

I've had a really good experience with the cards. It seems to be much easier for people to understand when they read it themselves. When they hear it it doesn't seem to stick as well. It's a lot of stuff for someone to remember when two seconds ago they may have never even heard of it.

Let us know how everything goes.

Nancy

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I also always bring bread and some peanut butter. Lara bars are good too, a well as other nut/snack mixes. Progresso chicken and wild rice soup is gluten-free and only needs a microwave and a spoon. If you're flying, do not bring liquid medicine on board with you - they took my Pepto last time! It's safe in your suitcase, just not for carryon.

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thanks. a small jar of peanut butter would work to put on apples and bananas. i didn't even think of that. i'm not able to eat lots of gluten-free baked goods right now so bread is not an option unfortunatley. maybe i'll take some rice cakes.....it looks like i'll have two suitcases- one with clothes and one with food! :lol:

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Also research the area and see what dining option are there in case you want to venture out, see if there are any health food stores along the way you can stop at. This way you can see what products are out there that maybe are not carried in your area.

Bring your favorite crackers along.

Immodium <---my lifesaver

Fresh Fruits are always great snacks.

Glutino pretzels. Mmmm

your favorite gluten-free snacks this way you always know there is something you will like.

When we go to the shore for a few days I bring leftovers from home with me and heat them up in our beach condo. It has saved a lot of money too, because we eat at the hotel and then we are not hungry on the boardwalk where prices have sky-rocketed.

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You might consider buying a small Styrofoam ice chest when you get to Florida. The ice needs to be changed everyday. This would allow you to bring cold food such as gluten free chicken nuggets. I make them at home, freeze them and pack them in my check in suitcase in a soft sided lunch box with blue ice.

Call your hotel and ask if there is a microwave available for your use. If there is, you can make food at home, freeze it and pack it just like the chicken nuggets. I do this with pizza and baked potatoes. I also bring along or buy on arrival paper plates, bowls, and plastic plates.

Also, for breakfast I bring along gluten free cereal.

Yes, you are correct - one suitcase for cloths and one suitcase for food. I also research stores online that sell gluten free food. Buying food at my destination lessons the amount of food I need to bring along. I first look to see if there is a Wild Oats or a Whole Foods in the area.

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The most important thing to remember is...your rules about food should not change just because you are in a different place. Everyone has their own way of coping with a gluten-free lifestyle, but my rules are:

1. Never eat anything unless I'm 100% sure it's safe

2. Don't rely on restaurant food - make my own food whenever possible

3. Carry my own food around if I'm going to be away from my own kitchen for any extended period of time.

The third rule is key while traveling. Make sure you always at the very least have an energy bar and some almonds and a piece of fruit (or something similiar) with you wherever you go so hunger does not tempt you to eat someting that might be unsafe.

Have fun :)

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