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Katrala

4 Day Hiking / Camping Trip

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I was diagnosed with Celiac last week via blood test and have an endoscopy tomorrow to confirm.

I'm a middle school teacher and each year I take my students on a 4-day, 3-night trip to an outdoor education facility. We spend the week hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, etc. All food is provided by the facility in a dining-hall like setting. They do make arrangements for special dietary needs - especially kosher, vegetarian, etc.

As a teacher, I'm able to bring a small amount of my own food if desired (there isn't much room and students aren't allowed to bring any food with them at all.)

I am very new to the diet and am very nervous about the trip. I know that the cooks there would try to do something for me, but the preparation and such is likely to be an issue.

So.. I need to pack food. And as little as possible that has to be refrigerated. There is a mini-fridge that I can use, but it is also in use by others and I don't know how much room I'll actually have.

Can anyone give me ideas about what to pack? When eating from a buffet, should I just stick to fresh fruits / veggies and avoid everything else?

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When is this trip? I ask because I recently went gluten-free and eased myself into it. First I cut out all obvious foods containing gluten for a few weeks, am now contacting manufacturers to get more specifics and am slowly replacing everything in my kitchen that isn't going to work anymore. Is there a chance your trip will fall during the transition period?

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Well, I would definitely be bringing a loaf of gluten free bread and some toaster bags. Don't use shared butter and condiments though. If you can, try and get those little single serving packets of butter and jams. Or at least a small jar of jam.

Also, breakfast cereal, tinned tuna, tinned salmon, tinned beans, corn tortillas, corn chips and salsa, gluten free snack bars, trail mix, rice cakes...

Will you have access to a microwave? If so you can get single serving sized packets of rice that you can zap in the microwave for 2 minutes. You could bring some cans of gluten free soup. And you can make baked potatoes and cook corn in a microwave.

Maybe bring your own bottle of salad dressing. Then you can get the kitchen staff to serve you plain salad and add your own dressing. A bottle of gluten free soy sauce might be a good idea too.

See if you can find some gluten free convenience meals that don't need to be heated up. They would be good for hiking. These are the ones I get in Australia http://www.stdalfour.com.au/gourmettogo.htm They come with their own dressing, salt and pepper and fork. I don't know if you can get them in America but I bet you can find something similar.

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Also, be careful eating scramble eggs at a buffet. Apparently cooks sometimes add pancake batter to keep the eggs fluffy.

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How about gluten free beef jerky, string cheese, individual Gluten Freeda oatmeal packets, lara bars,etc? These items would not take up a great deal of space. Also, you can check out minimus.biz. They sell individual travel packets of gluten free soy sauce, salad dressing, etc. Would the kitchen be able to prepare hard boiled eggs for you?

It sounds like a fun trip!

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Thanks for the replies.

I wasn't planning on transitioning myself in, but I can see where that would work.

My husband and I have spent the last week reading up on the diet and going through our kitchen.

Bringing my own cereal and such is a great idea. I didn't think about salad dressing. I know there is usually salad served there, along with fresh fruit with almost every meal.

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I always take Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch "Almond Crunch" bars with me on all trips. They are a great back up when there seems to be nothing safe to eat. They have "gluten free" right on the box.

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I always take Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch "Almond Crunch" bars with me on all trips. They are a great back up when there seems to be nothing safe to eat. They have "gluten free" right on the box.

I see so many gluten-free snacks that have nuts. I already have a nut allergy so those are out but they look good! Thanks!

Do you know of any other brands that are typically gluten-free.

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I may be going against the grain here, but if I were just recently diagnosed, and I felt I could get through the day w/o stomach (diarrhea) issues, I might just stick with the regular food program this year. Including what I eat before the trip. Then start up gluten-free in earnest immediately after.

By the time it comes around next year, you will have a handle on it. You will have a year to get ideas on what you can eat and how to prepare it. That time will make a huge difference in how easy it is for your to "pack your own".

Plus, you will also have enough time with the next class to get them to understand what celiac is, and they will have seen you decline certain foods already. Otherwise, this class may have watched you eat the same thing they did all year, and "suddenly" have to have special meals when you are on the trip, when they can't. Needless to say, that can trip a elementary school students "that's not fair" trigger lightning fast. :)

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My students have watched me lose 70 pounds this year. They know something isn't right. And they are older (not elementary.)

Stomach issues are part of why I'm hoping this will work. 3 hour hiking expeditions don't go so well with diarrhea. :(

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Thanks for the replies.

I wasn't planning on transitioning myself in, but I can see where that would work.

My husband and I have spent the last week reading up on the diet and going through our kitchen.

Bringing my own cereal and such is a great idea. I didn't think about salad dressing. I know there is usually salad served there, along with fresh fruit with almost every meal.

_____________________

How to do salad dressing that does not need to be refrigerated.

Take 2 cruet bottles, or a clean new plastic picnic condiment dispenser, like for ketchup.

Put extra virgin olive oil in one.

Put gluten free vinegar in the other one, such as pure apple cider vinegar or balsamic.

Sprinkle on salads as needed. Add salt, pepper, dried herbs, or optional sweetener. This is a good application for sweet 'n low (the pink stuff), which can be easily carried in your purse, fanny pack, or even wallet.

Restaurants: almost always have oil dispensers, or can put some in a little dish for you. If you cannot trust the vinegar (watch out for flavored malt vinegars) ask for a slice of lemon wedge. Lemon and oil on salad is very good.

But about that salad - salad bars are fonts of cross contamination because of how and what containers are used, and the plastic spoons. Better that you check and see if they can put your salad in a bowl directly from the kitchen. The fruit, you can always rinse off, if in doubt.

________________

Re the upcoming lack of refrigerator space. This is where you have to be polite but firm about making others let you safeguard your health. If they cannot provide refrigerator space, then you should bring an ice chest and store your perishable food in that. The kitchen should give you ice for it, or you should be allowed to go purchase what you need. I went on a trip once where there was supposed to be a little room refrigerator for me, and of course the hotel did not have it once I got up to the room. Unless I changed rooms. No. I had carefully packed mostly non perishable food for myself, "just in case," but I needed it after all, because I did not research the area well enough, and I discover that the hotel staff thinks that we should only take cabs when we go out, for safety purposes, and that this is not a good area to find gluten free foods, let alone regular ones. At all. I ended up using the little ice storage container that came with the room, with a plastic bag to keep the food dry, and I kept that little stash of stuff cold for 3 days - good thing, because then they ripped me off for the last buffet meal (oh, I was torqued at that point. One of the wait staff went back into the kitchen and mercifully fetched me some fruit and individually packaged, safe cream cheese cups, after I explained that I had to eat something and could not touch the muffins). Then I got stuck in the airport situation from ****, (of course there is nothing to eat in airports) with mobs of other people waiting in line for hours because they were canceling flights, including mine. It took me 18 hours to get home, and I did it on that fruit and cheese the sympathetic buffet lady provided, and the leftover hard boiled egg I had nursed along all that time with ice, and trail mix in my backpack. Of course, because I had agricultural/biological residue on me from eating a banana, I got all the extra special security attention.

The lesson of this, is never let yourself get locked into a captive situation without having enough food to subsist on. You may need to be healthy and energetic enough to stand in line or hike for hours, lugging about your suitcases or backpack, without getting sick.

The other lesson is, always drive to your destinations as much as possible, because airports have lots of rules now where they confuse the idea of safety, with acting like it's a national emergency crisis, if, G*d forbid, your carry- on, gluten free necessary food morsels are not dehydrated. And they are getting more and more ridiculous with the carry- on bags, on two crowded flights I had stewardesses attempt to force me to check my legally sized and inspected bag after I finally made it on to the plane after going thru all the security routine, which I refused to do because my gluten free food and me needed to arrive at the same destination at the same time.

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I travel several times per year for work, often to places where there is no grocery store nearby, no fridge, no microwave, and no choice. For the trip I just got back from, we were away for four days. I recently discovered Tasty Bite foods. They're non-perishable Indian dishes. A lot of the Tasty Bite dishes are gluten, dairy, and soy free, but some are not. They have pre-cooked basmati rice, potatoes, eggplant, lentils, chickpeas, etc. that are beautifully flavored. I added pre-cooked chicken (in pouches) that I found at the grocery store next to the tuna to make the meals more substantial. They made my tummy happy for the whole trip! Pouched tuna and chicken are good sources of protein for those physical days. Have fun! Sounds like a great trip!

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You may want to put in your sig line that you have a nut allergy -is is just peanuts or tree nuts or everything ?

If you can eat sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, you may be able to mail order gluten free ones (watch out, as I have had a lot of trouble finding uncontaminated sunflower seeds in regular stores and even health food stores, way too many run on shared lines) and mix up your own trail mix of dried fruits, chocolate chips, seeds, and popcorn or rice cake chunks.

You could probably also make your own snack bars, but this is going to take a bit of research. Try googling "gluten free nut free snack bar recipe" and see what comes up. You can also use poppyseeds and soaked, pre cooked a bit whole millet in recipes, besides sunflower seeds. What about coconut, or is that out, too ? Amaranth is a good gluten free flour ingredient to use in these recipes, as it seems to be naturally mold retardant. I can make a high protein/fat nut bread with extra seeds (sorry about that nut part ) with amaranth, that lasts a week in the fridge without molding.

What about buckwheat ? This is also a seed. You can't eat it raw, too hard, but it can be ground up and used in recipes as a gluten free flour, or cooked as a cereal in the microwave with water, as can quinoa.

Polenta in a tube ? Can be sliced and heated up, topped with safe tomato sauce and safe pepperoni, and some cheese. So can a corn tortilla.

Corn tortillas do not need to be refrigerated, and that and rice cakes can pretty much be the easiest bread subs for a week.

And you may want to get a dehydrator, or research recipes for jerky. I've seen gluten free jerky, but it's pricey. Hormel gluten free pepperoni is a wonderful thing. Some hard salamis are also okay, but research. Some rice crackers with pepperoni/salami and cheese is compact, high fat, and makes a good travel meal.

If you are going to cut back on carbohydrates, remember to replace them with good fats and protein, to give you the fuel you need to keep going.

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Enjoy Life makes bars that are gluten free as well as nut free (and free of all 8 major allergens actually).

Even though you are allergic to nuts you could make a trial mix out of things you can have like dried fruit, raisins, craisins, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips (they may melt if it's hot though), banana chips, Chex cereal, gluten free pretzels etc.

Lots of types of chips are safe (corn chips or potato chips).

gluten-free bread is an option but to be honest in my experience it needs to be refridgerated. Rice cakes would keep better if you are not going to have fridge space or a cooler. You can spread then with sunflower butter (if you can have it) or just get the different flavored ones (make sure they are gluten free).

Old Wisconsin beef sticks say gluten-free on the package and are shelf stable I think.

There are lots of snacks you can take, do make sure you take enough food so you are not stuck risking the salad bar. If you have to eat the salad ask if you can get it straight from the kitchen instead and either prepare it yourself or watch them prepare it so you can ask them to do things like change their gloves (if they were just handling bread or something) and make sure they don't accidently put croutons on the salad and take them off before giving it to you. I would also ask that they have things available like hard boiled eggs (still in shell) and bananas so you can be sure you are not getting cc. Those scrabled eggs might not have flour in them but they may be cooked on the same griddle that just made french toast or pancakes or near the toaster. I helped in a kitchen at a camp one time and they had a bunch of multi-slot toasters on a shelf above the griddle...I shudder to think of all the crumbs that probably fell in the food cooking as we took the toast out of the toasters.

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Thank you so much for all the ideas - they are so helpful!

There is usually fresh fruit available at breakfast, along with breakfast meats such as bacon, eggs, sausage, etc.

The fruit they offer is often pre-cut in a big bowl. With kids moving back and forth (and dragging biscuits across it,) I can already see it being a problem.

Right now I plan on bringing Chex and some apples / bananas for breakfast time.

I'm not a huge snacker throughout the day but with everything that's been going on I like to always have something handy in case I'm feeling lightheaded, etc. I've had a tendency to get dehydrated in recent months - mainly because I sometimes avoid eating while teaching so I don't have to run to the restroom, which lets me be able to teach, but has made problems even worse.

I will definitely be bringing my own salad dressing and hard boiled eggs are a great idea! That shouldn't be difficult for them to prepare.

Again - thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Items like salads and cut fruit, I would ask the kitchen to set aside a small bowl for you so that it doesn't even hit the buffet line.

If you like Ranch dressing, Hidden Valley makes individual sealed servings so that you don't have to refrigerate them (We use them when we travel).

If you take a loaf of gluten-free bread (for four days, I don't think it has to be refrigerated), you can toast it in the kitchen's toaster with a product called "toasta bags" or one called "toast it bags". They are a sleeve that you put your bread in and will protect it from the toaster. They are washable/reusable. I got mine from amazon but there are other locations. I can't link to amazon because they spamed this board but here is another site just so you can take a look.

http://www.mykitchco.com/NoStick-Toast-It-Toaster-Bags-NEW/M/B0012XGM92.htm

Ensure is gluten free but people on another thread said they preferred Boost instead.

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It's amazing how much I've learned in the past 4-5 days!

I leave in the morning for the trip and I think I'm pretty much ready. I don't think I will be doing an amazing job nutrient-wise, but this is the best I could manage as someone new to the diet.

On a positive note, I realized today about 3:30pm that I wasn't trying to find a way to close my eyes for a 15 minute nap and I didn't have to take a short nap before driving home!

Here's what I've come up with. If anyone has any last-minute ideas on how I could make this a little healthier (I will be doing a lot of hiking / climbing / etc. and will need energy) I'd love to hear it!

Breakfast

Rice Chex

Yoplait Yogurt

Apples

Lunch / Dinner

Hormel Chili (don't really like it but figured I don't have time to complain)

Amy's Frozen Meals

Loaf of Udi Bread (not sure what I can put in it, but we'll see)

Tuna Fish

Progresso Chicken-Something Soup

Apples

Snacks

Tortilla Chips

Bagged Popcorn (amazing kettle corn I found that is made gluten-free locally)

gluten-free Crackers

Spreadable Cheese

Apples

I'm hoping the kitchen may be able to boil an egg for me, but we'll see. Also, they may have bananas available as well as some other uncut fruit.

While I don't think it's overly healthy (and I hate eating so much "quick" food) I hope it can get me through 4 days.

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I just got back from the trip and learned that you can live off very little.

The trip was in Alabama, in the middle of the storms, and fortunately we are all safe and sound (very thankful for strong storm shelters.)

All of my frozen food was ruined and I lived off Nutella, a loaf of Udi's, and canned tuna for 3 days, but with everything else that happened, I couldn't complain.

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I'm glad you are all safe and sound, and I hope your families are, too!

I wanted to add that I recently had to take 12 kids to camp in a similar set up for 2.5 days. I imagine you will be doing this trip again so I thought I'd give some input on how we handled it.

They normally serve meals that are entirely based on gluten and sugar (pancakes, sausage with gluten, flavored yogurt, canned tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, flour tortillas, "beef" taco filling, brownies, cookies, koolaid, chicken nuggets, etc).

Myself and 3 of the kids in the group are on the GAPS diet, so obviously that wasn't going to work. In the past, the one girl who has been on the diet longer was allowed to bring her own food. She was just given a small refrigerated space and not allowed to have anything heated. She basically went hungry the whole time.

This year I had myself, my son, and my daughter to worry about as well. Not only did it not make sense to let the poor girl starve again, it was logistically stupid to bring separate food for all 4 of us.

Getting approved for bringing real food was a beurocratic nightmare, but we did accomplish it! At first they told me I couldn't cook anything. I offered to add a certified kitchen parent volunteer. They wouldn't allow that because they said it would be too crowded. Total BS. I offered to send prepared dishes that could be cooked in the oven by kitchen staff. They said that was too much work and illegal. Then I offered to bring my own crock pots and manage it myself. They said staff had to prepare all meals. I said, OK, have staff prepare us a meal, but first I need to be given at least an hour with them to educate them on safe preparation techniques. That was definitely out.

At that point the director of the program got curious about what the big deal was, why I was being so crazy about contamination and special prep being needed. She was like, so what is this special diet for, anyway. I explained my son's surgery and hospitalization, my daughter's tourette's, the other girl's eczema. I explained how sick my son gets from even a tiny exposure, how he gets pains in his legs that make him not want to do anything, and explained the basics of what we were eating. She said maybe she'd be able to find a way for me to manage my own crock pots and get some refrigeration space... BUT:

They said me and the other kids would have to eat outside the dining hall so they wouldn't be liable if we got food poisoning. I said the reason we go to camp as a part of our club program is the community experience, singing songs in the dining hall, being a part of a larger group. I told them about how my son thought he hated camp because he's felt so awful there and since he feels so much better on the diet decided to try it one more time. I explained the diet we are on is for healing the damage done by our past diet, and that going off it means backtracking on our progress.

At this point the director realized she might be getting into an ADA issue. She started backpeddaling about how we don't exclude kids because of finances or disabilities yadda yadda and she'd get back to me.

Sure enough, we were able to sign wavers, bring our own food, and eat in the dining hall with the other kids.

I brought:

boiled eggs

homemade yogurt

homemade applesauce

Bubbie's sauerkraut

applegate farms hot dogs (for everyone, for the cookout)

carrots, onions, (and potatoes for other kids not on the diet - this was for foil pack on the fire cooking)

tallow (for cooking foil packs)

meringue macaroons (to sub for when the other kids had s'mores)

orange curd (to sub for when the other kids had s'mores)

beef stew full of veggies (turnips, beets, carrots, homemade stock, stew meat)

thermoses with chicken & veggie soup for first night

We ate well :)

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Thanks for that list! That will be helpful in the future!

Yes, I take this trip every year.

Since I'm the only one who couldn't eat the food, I didn't want to put the kitchen out. For the first day (and what normally happens) I have access to a microwave, so that is very helpful.

The last night they were nice enough to boil some water for me so I could make myself some soup from a packet that I had brought.

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