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  1. This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of Celiac.com's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity. Celiac.com 07/17/2010 - My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. What a wonderful experience! The resort itself was beautiful but the people working there made the vacation special. Prior to our arrival, I contacted the General Manager, Jeremy Mutton, advising him of my dietary requirements. He promptly responded that I would be taken care of without any problems and had informed the appropriate staff. Upon our arrival, I was greeted by the Executive Sous Chef, Seanette Brice, and the Food/Beverage Manager, Sieon Wintz, who catered to all my dietary needs. I was so impressed by their knowledge of celiac disease and how they took the necessary precautions in having all of my meals prepared. There are 9 or 10 restaurants on the property – most of them we dined at and they all were aware of my gluten free needs – the chefs would actually come out to speak with me prior to each meal – they often made a little something extra for my plate. The Italian Restaurant carried gluten free pasta; the pizzeria on the beach had a special pizza made for me with no cross-contamination; French fries were made in a dedicated fryer; desserts were made especially for me. Fresh fruit was plentiful as well every day. All meals/snacks were excellent. Seanette even offered to pack me a lunch the day we went into town to shop! I highly recommend visiting this resort for a relaxing, gluten-free travel experience. I did ask if all Sandals resorts catered to gluten-free needs, but they could not speak on their behalf – each destination would have to be contacted. The website is: www.sandals.com (Resort – The Royal Bahamian)
  2. Celiac.com 06/07/2010 - Traveling with celiac disease/gluten intolerance is a challenge and I suspect many of us would rather stay home than risk getting sick in a foreign country. Well, our family had been planning and having to put off a trip to visit friends in the beautiful Abacos, Bahamas for three whole years. And…finally the trip was only a week away when the fear of getting sick from other people’s food began to rob me of my excitement. We all know that food intolerances present multiple obstacles when it comes to travel. The problem is that over the years my list of food intolerances has grown to embarrassing proportions. Besides gluten intolerance/celiac disease, I can’t have dairy, sugar, honey, caffeine and many, many additives. In addition, I have to be cautious with citrus, nuts, raisins, and bananas. Consequently, sometimes when I go places I feel I have only two choices: starve or get sick. And, I was scared to death with the trip finally imminent, that I would inadvertently eat something wrong and spend our long-awaited five-day vacation in bed. However, as I thought about the trip, I realized my two biggest obstacles were somewhat psychological: 1. Fear. We know what it’s like to get sick; we know how long the recovery can be, so fear can keep us bound. When I’m fearful, I pray. God wants us to have an “abundant life”, and avoiding new experiences due to fear of inadvertently eating something that makes me sick squelches a full life. 2. Embarrassment. I tell my husband that if people really knew all that foods I have to avoid, they might think me delusional. But, when I add that they can’t dip their bread knife in my jar of mayo, their thoughts are confirmed. Ten years ago if I had gone to someone’s house who had Sharpie- labeled jars with “Jennifer-only”, I would have thought they were insane. Thankfully, I am learning that staying healthy is way more important than a little embarrassment and now I just tell people how it is. If they draw incorrect conclusions, so be it. My goal is to stay healthy and live life with energy! So, this trip, I decided that fear and embarrassment would be replaced with "proactivity." 1. My husband emailed our friends the foods I could eat (if you focus on what you CAN eat it doesn’t sound as bad as listing the endless foods you can’t eat) and even explained the “double-dipping” rule. Bless him! 2. I packed all my hard-to-find staples that travel easily. These include: Fearn Brown Rice Baking Mix, Quinua noodles, Silk Soy Milk (the non-refrigerated type), Mary’s Gone Crackers, a small jar of Hellman’s mayo and Polaner All Fruit Jam. 3. We rented a place with a kitchen. For me, this is a must. Once we arrived, our friends took us straight to a grocery store so I could purchase the perishable foods we’d need, and then we were set to cook at our vacation spot. What a wonderful five days! We snorkeled reefs and a blue hole, we swam to a deserted beach, we climbed a lighthouse and hiked over rocks surrounded by incredible views. We saw endangered parrots, we ate fresh-caught fish, and best of all, I never got sick! Fear wanted to keep me home, but prayer, preparation, a supportive husband, and understanding friends allowed for the most glorious five-day trip I can remember! And, this too-many-foods-to-list-intolerant lady is already planning her next trip…without fear!
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