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Luisa2552

New Celiac Traveling Next Month

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I think I'm in the 'freak out' stage of celiac disease. When I first found out and went gluten-free, I thought, no problem. But a month and a half into it and I'm freaking out. I still am having symptoms from time to time (that are worse than before :( ) and almost everytime has been from eating out. I'm afraid to leave the house without a bag of Lara bars! Next month we're heading to Mexico for a week. Beans haven't been sitting too well with me lately so I'm afraid all I'll eat is fruit and rice!

I just want to stay home! ANY advice will be greatly apreciated.

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Hi,

I used to live in Mexico and spent 2 months there this summer visiting my boyfriend, so I can help you with most of the things you need, especially if you're traveling to the central or northwestern parts of the country. Let me know if you have any questions about more specific things because I don't know if you have any other allergies or needs.

Are you going to be staying in hotels, with a family, on a cruise ship, or at an all-inclusive resort? Where exactly are you going?

I would highly recommend bringing a stash of Lara bars with you as those are not available down there. There are a lot of foods that you should be able to eat because they're gluten free, but I don't know how healed your gut is or if it was severly damaged. What are you eating in your home? I might be able to give you a few ideas for foods to order and a few phrases in order to be able to explain to the waiters in a way they will be able to easily understand (I know there are cards, but that doesn't always have the same impact as a few words that relate the feeling of being glutened to food poisoning).

I'll repost an earlier response that I wrote to a different person below for you. Like I said, let me know if you need more help or information.

Ezme

I ate a lot of corn tortillas, chicken, beans, fruits, veggies, consomme (veggie soup), enchiladas, rice, tamales, rajas, strawberries with cream and sugar, meats, gorditas, eggs, yogurt, and ice cream from La Michoacana which has locally made ice creams. I only had problems with getting glutened once and it was at my favorite restaurant. They made quesadillas estilo de DF (they make the quesadillas differently in Mexico City). I was watching the girl make the fresh tortillas and because the masa or corn meal mixture for the tortillas was too firm, she poured a bunch of wheat flour into it and mixed it together. I was really sad. I also had to avoid the mole because in some restaurants they added bread to it in order to thicken it up.

My advice would be to use corn products whenever available like tortillas and chips and to enjoy the variety of fresh veggies and fruits and cheeses. Things like chilaquiles (tortilla chips or hardened corn tortillas with salsa, cheese and sometimes an egg), fruit, consomme (nothing with fideos or noodles), jello (I'm not sure why they love jello so much), ceviche, tacos, and things like that should be safe. You should also try some pozole (hominy soup) if you get the chance. It's my favorite (they usually have green with chicken or red with pork).

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Hi Ezme,

We're going to Playa del Carmen and staying at an all inclusive resort. I WISH we were going to my in-laws in central mexico. It would be so much easier! I'm only a month or so in on the gluten-free diet. I'm still having abdominal pain (I'm still not convinced it's because of celiac disease, but that's another story) so I'm real careful what I eat. The last week since I've had this pain flare up (and any time I do) I eat plain, unprocessed foods- chicken, fish, fruit and veggies, egg whites. I figure I'll be able to do that at the resort? I'm still not sure how to tell them to cook the meat and so forth. I have so much more research to do. I was doing so well then suddenly feeling very overwhelmed :( . i do plan on bringing lots of my safe snacks with me (I LOVE Lara bars-even before celiac disease!). Will I have a problem getting them into the country? My husband speaks spanish so he can do a lot of the translating for me (my spanish is rusty) but he doesn't really understand celiac disease and honestly, hasn't taken the time to find out. I've been on my own trying to figure this whole thing out. My doctor is also of little help. These boards have been my lifesaver :)

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Hi Sara,

I think you'll probably be okay at the resort, but you're going to have to chat with the kitchen manager and cooks if possible. If you can make them understand that wheat = food poisoning type symptoms, they will probably understand. My soon-to-be in-laws didn't understand it until I told them it was like comiendo comida envenenada. Then they understood.

The kitchen shouldn't have a problem preparing everything plain for you. If you need to, you might want to have them cook the food in aluminum foil or foil packets to ensure a lower risk of CC. Make sure they know that plain means no salt or Magi seasoning (it's got soy sauce in it). You can bring foil in your luggage. You should also have no problem with the Lara bars. I used to take a suitcase of food with me when I went and never had a problem. You cannot, however, bring meats (jerky is ok), dairy products, or fresh fruits and veggies. I always bring fruits and eat them on the plane and leave any leftovers ON the plane. If they see it in your hand at customs, they can get pretty testy. I would also recommend bringing a jar of almond butter because you can spread it on warm tortillas for breakfast or a quick snack. My body is much happier with almond butter as compared to peanut butter; peanuts tend to have molds and things growing on them that can upset the body.

There are a bunch of the celiac websites that have their information in Spanish. You could always print some of those out to take with you. I can help find some for you if you need me to. If at all possible, I would call the resort in the next week and find out what the menu options are so that you can pack extra food if you need it, but they should be able to cook plain foods for you.

Let me know anything else you need. My boyfriend wasn't very excited about learning about celiac, but I just kept mentioning things and had things I printed off the internet and highlighted sitting in clearly visible places in the house. The kitchen table and bathroom seemed to work the best as far as him reading them.

And before I forget, don't freak out! That will stress you out more and make your stomach worse. This is doable, it just takes a little practice.

Ezme

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