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julandjo

Traveling For Work And The Hotel Can't Accommodate Me - Help

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So I have to go to Chicago for 3 days next month. I called ahead to the hotel my work is putting us all up at, and our conversation did not go well. The coordinator said they were "very well acquainted" with Celiac disease, ha! She said that surely I would be able to find some safe things on the buffet. I said I did not feel comfortable with that as the risk of CC is too high and I'm ridiculously sensitive, to gluten, dairy and soy. She seemed very put off by this and said maybe the chef could make me a separate meal. I asked about their cooking methods - do they have a separate prep surface, or separate place on the grill? No. Well could they use a separate pan to make my food please? No. She said they're "too small of a hotel to be able to do that kind of thing". All cooking surfaces, even pans, are shared with all ingredients.

I'm freaking out here - I have to fly in so it's not like I can bring 3 days worth of food. And I won't have a car to go buy any. What on earth do I do?


Dx'd with Celiac June 2010 via positive biopsy. I got tested because both of my kids (3 and 5 years old) have multiple food intolerances, with gluten being the worst offender.

Free of: grains, dairy, soy, legumes, nightshades, nuts, fish, eggs, pork, citrus and tropical fruits (latex allergy), stone fruits, melons, squash, strawberries, flax, cruciferous veggies and celery.

Yes, I'm HUNGRY.

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So I have to go to Chicago for 3 days next month. I called ahead to the hotel my work is putting us all up at, and our conversation did not go well. The coordinator said they were "very well acquainted" with Celiac disease, ha! She said that surely I would be able to find some safe things on the buffet. I said I did not feel comfortable with that as the risk of CC is too high and I'm ridiculously sensitive, to gluten, dairy and soy. She seemed very put off by this and said maybe the chef could make me a separate meal. I asked about their cooking methods - do they have a separate prep surface, or separate place on the grill? No. Well could they use a separate pan to make my food please? No. She said they're "too small of a hotel to be able to do that kind of thing". All cooking surfaces, even pans, are shared with all ingredients.

I'm freaking out here - I have to fly in so it's not like I can bring 3 days worth of food. And I won't have a car to go buy any. What on earth do I do?

Where in Chicago will you be? If you aren't comfortable posting that openly, feel free to PM me. Hopefully I can find you a grocery store nearby.

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So I have to go to Chicago for 3 days next month. I called ahead to the hotel my work is putting us all up at, and our conversation did not go well. The coordinator said they were "very well acquainted" with Celiac disease, ha! She said that surely I would be able to find some safe things on the buffet. I said I did not feel comfortable with that as the risk of CC is too high and I'm ridiculously sensitive, to gluten, dairy and soy. She seemed very put off by this and said maybe the chef could make me a separate meal. I asked about their cooking methods - do they have a separate prep surface, or separate place on the grill? No. Well could they use a separate pan to make my food please? No. She said they're "too small of a hotel to be able to do that kind of thing". All cooking surfaces, even pans, are shared with all ingredients.

I'm freaking out here - I have to fly in so it's not like I can bring 3 days worth of food. And I won't have a car to go buy any. What on earth do I do?

Get a room with a fridge and microwave first of all. Bring as many gluten-free snacks as you can and some things that are easy to cook in the microwave in the room. Secondly, is this just for breakfast or are you eating all your meals at this hotel? Breakfast is usually easy for me if the hotel has a good buffet. I get a couple hard boiled eggs still in the shell (or package if they are packaged) and some fruit in the peel like a banana or an orange. Juice is usuulay safe too so I drink several cups of juice if I'm really hungry. If you are stuck there for a conference for all your meals see if you can find out how much time you will have for meals. Scope out if there are any restaurants near the hotel with gluten-free menus. Also find out where the nearest grocery stores are. If you won't have time to leave the hotel to go to a restaurant during meal breaks, get some gluten-free take out (places like Red Robins have a "To Go" option) or prepare a gluten-free meal in your room the night before. That way you only need to slip away and get your meal in your room. If you don't think you will be able to leave during meal times then take a small insulated lunchbag. If you take some gluten-free bread with you can shop at the grocery store the night before for cold items like lunch meat to make sandwiches. No time for shopping, then take all dry shelf stable things-- Lara bars, gluten-free pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, gluten-free rice noodles that can be rehydrated with warm water in the microwave. Your meals will be boring and not supper nutritious, but at least you won't starve or get sick and it's only three days.


A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred. Proverbs 15:17 (CEV)

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I think you need to talk to your boss. They cannot expect you to go 3 days on Lara bars only. Actually, looking at the list of things you can't eat, its rough for you at home in the best of circumstances. If you were in a wheelchair, they wouldn't expect you to stay somewhere with no elevator. Or a diabetic to eat donuts only for breakfast.

Chicago is a big city. Maybe there is a place you can walk to & either buy grocery type stuff or a restuarant that would be safe. google gluten free Chicago.

Does the hotel have a microwave you could use? A mini fridge? You might have to check your bag, but maybe you could bring some soups or cold cuts or something and your own bowl and spoons. I was going to suggest bread and PB but I see you can't eat nuts.

This is tough. You should not be forced to make this trip if your company cannot gaurantee your safety.


 

 

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So I have to go to Chicago for 3 days next month. I called ahead to the hotel my work is putting us all up at, and our conversation did not go well. The coordinator said they were "very well acquainted" with Celiac disease, ha! She said that surely I would be able to find some safe things on the buffet. I said I did not feel comfortable with that as the risk of CC is too high and I'm ridiculously sensitive, to gluten, dairy and soy. She seemed very put off by this and said maybe the chef could make me a separate meal. I asked about their cooking methods - do they have a separate prep surface, or separate place on the grill? No. Well could they use a separate pan to make my food please? No. She said they're "too small of a hotel to be able to do that kind of thing". All cooking surfaces, even pans, are shared with all ingredients.

I'm freaking out here - I have to fly in so it's not like I can bring 3 days worth of food. And I won't have a car to go buy any. What on earth do I do?

I have to go on these types of trips about 3 times a year. I think you should call and speak to the chef directly. It has worked out well for me every time except for one. I always tell them that I can have simple things like a salad with chicken on top, plain baked potato etc. I explain that I need things prepared in a clean pan etc. and that I don't eat from buffets due to people cross contaminating things, but they can prepare mine before they put the buffet out and cover it with plastic wrap.

I am finding that it is more difficult for them to do dairy free/soy free than gluten-free.

If the chef agrees to make things for you, ask for his or her email. Send a follow up thank you in advance, and remind them of your needs, keeping it as simple as possible.

I would also see if there are any chain rest. near the hotel.

These situations are always stressful. I bring some snack foods, just in case.

I hope it works out for you!

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Oh, sorry I did not read your siganture. My suggestions were based of a Gluten free Soy Free and Dairy Free diet which you mentioned in your post. Grain free, egg free and nut free is harder, but it shouldn't be impossible. You just may have to plan ahead a lot more. Plain chicken can be cooked in a microwave if you really have to. Take a glass pyrex type dish for microwave cooking and there are several things you can do if you know the proper settings (lo not hi, etc). What do you eat at home? Anything liquid like homemade soup won't go through the airport, but anything solid can be brought through. I know because my parents have brought things like cakes and cookies on planes (post 9-11), they did have to hand carry them. So if there's anything grain free you can bake before hand then you should. how long is your flight? Things like carrots or other hardy fruits and veggies should be okay in an insulated bag (no ice pack allowed but the insulation should help) for a short flight. Call and ask before your fly of course.


A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred. Proverbs 15:17 (CEV)

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I would pack an extra bag with shelf stable food. No, it's not ideal, but backpackers carry their own food with them, and it's definitely doable. You might also look into the public transportation system for getting you to a grocery store or see if there is anything in walking distance (which the hotel can hopefully help you with).


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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I am based in South Africa and have found that when the hotels or restuarant manager wont accomodate you a quite word with the chef who is always trying to feeding people successfully will result in some very interesting and safe foods.

I have been knowen to take my own pan and say please use this for my food - weird but I like being alive

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It sounds to me like you need to talk directly to the chef at the hotel. I can't imagine they can't come up with a clean pan to cook some simple food.

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It sounds to me like you need to talk directly to the chef at the hotel. I can't imagine they can't come up with a clean pan to cook some simple food.

I agree it wouldn't hurt to try to talk tothe chef directly. Someone just workign the front desk may have misunderstood what you meant by "separate" pans and cooking surfaces. You are not asking for them to buy a brand new pan and only use it for your food, you are asking for them to clean the surfaces prior to preparing your food and and prevent cross contamination. A chef should know how to do this better, but do be sure to be as specific as possible when you talk to them.


A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred. Proverbs 15:17 (CEV)

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Take cans of tuna(I know soy is an issue-Costco tuna is soy-free, at least according to the label) and a can opener. Dump the drained tuna on a salad or eat as is. In the absence of mayo or salad dressing, I use salt an pepper, lemon juice or vinegar and olive oil as a dressing. Some places have individual packets of lemon juice. Maybe the hotel could at least provide a salad? and then you could doctor it up.


Me: GLUTEN-FREE 7/06, multiple food allergies, T2 DIABETES DX 8/08, LADA-Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, Who knew food allergies could trigger an autoimmune attack on the pancreas?! 1/11 Re-DX T1 DM, pos. DQ2 Celiac gene test 9/11

Son: ADHD '06,

neg. CELIAC PANEL 5/07

ALLERGY: "positive" blood and skin tests to wheat, which triggers his eczema '08

ENTEROLAB testing: elevated Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA Dec. '08

Gluten-free-Feb. '09

other food allergies

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Hey.

I had the same problem about 2 years ago - I was in Chicago for a few days and was nervous about my food prospects.

Depending on where you are, there is a Trader Joe's just off the Magnificent Mile. I ended up going there and stocking up on safe foods.

Hopefully no matter where your hotel is, you will be close enough to get to a store which can cater to your food needs.

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Are you staying in downtown Chicago? I was there recently and I found it the best place of everywhere on my trip to eat gluten free. I'm not sure from your list of things if you would eat at Chipotle, but there were lots of those in the Loop and I would sometimes pick it up for later. For groceries there is a Trader Joes off Michigan Ave and a Whole Foods not too far south. I ate at PF Changs and Ben Pao; maybe you could get something to go?

I spent a month in the US and I carried a lot of food that didn't have to be refrigerated. It was ok so long as I could eat a proper meal every other day or so. Having a fridge made a huge difference so hopefully they can accomodate you there. You don't want to live off lara bars though. I found that just the thought of that made me not want to eat them at all so I ended up bringing about 30 home with me.

Good luck, I hope it works out. Even if you don't trust the kitchen, they should be able to help you with a fridge.

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Thank you so much everyone for your replies! I sent a follow-up email to the coordinator after my phone conversation. I told her what I can and cannot eat, and what measures would need to be taken (i.e. wash the pan and utensils before making my food) to keep me safe. I said that if they cannot safely accomodate me, I truly appreciate knowing that in advance, and that I can manage things on my own with a little help - a fridge and microwave in my room, and a nearby grocery store. It's 3 days in this hotel, with all meals being eaten there, ugh. I haven't rec'd a reply yet... we'll see how it goes. I'll be staying at the Embassy Suites O'Hare, if anyone is familiar with that area.

Again, thank you all so much. I had myself all worked up this morning about this and I knew exactly where to come for level-headed advice. :D You rock!


Dx'd with Celiac June 2010 via positive biopsy. I got tested because both of my kids (3 and 5 years old) have multiple food intolerances, with gluten being the worst offender.

Free of: grains, dairy, soy, legumes, nightshades, nuts, fish, eggs, pork, citrus and tropical fruits (latex allergy), stone fruits, melons, squash, strawberries, flax, cruciferous veggies and celery.

Yes, I'm HUNGRY.

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Thank you so much everyone for your replies! I sent a follow-up email to the coordinator after my phone conversation. I told her what I can and cannot eat, and what measures would need to be taken (i.e. wash the pan and utensils before making my food) to keep me safe. I said that if they cannot safely accomodate me, I truly appreciate knowing that in advance, and that I can manage things on my own with a little help - a fridge and microwave in my room, and a nearby grocery store. It's 3 days in this hotel, with all meals being eaten there, ugh. I haven't rec'd a reply yet... we'll see how it goes. I'll be staying at the Embassy Suites O'Hare, if anyone is familiar with that area.

Again, thank you all so much. I had myself all worked up this morning about this and I knew exactly where to come for level-headed advice. :D You rock!

I had a look at their website and it looks like you'll automatically get a fridge and microwave which is fantastic. So much easier than hotels that only have minibars.

But I don't think there will be any grocery stores nearby. Not without taking a cab, or maybe one of your colleagues would be driving. But you could pack a lot of food in your checked luggage to keep you going. If you froze stuff and put it in a cooler bag in your checked luggage, it should last well for the flight. Or even just packing fruit and veges so you can make salad. It seems weird packing food in checked luggage, but the airlines don't have any problems with it, nor with a sharp knife. It's just carry on that's a problem. Hope it's a good trip!

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There is a Jewel supermarket and a Dominick's supermarket both within five minutes driving distance. (I'm not sure of the roads there, especially if you're able to walk nearby or not.) Jewel has a serviceable amount of gluten-free stuff. Dominick's, I'm not sure about -- it's pretty much the only local supermarket that I haven't hit yet since going gluten free. There's also a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods, but they're much further away -- twenty minutes to half an hour. There's a Target about ten minutes away.

Oh! I just thought to look for a Meijer. There's one about fifteen minutes away. I think that someone high up in the company must have celiac relatives or has celiac themselves because I found a lot of good stuff there, stuff I didn't find even at Whole Foods.

Cabs are pretty easy to call, especially so close to the airport.

Hopefully this will help you! Good luck!

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