Tag Archives: Gluten Free Travel

Top 5 Celiac Disease Resources

top5celiacdiseaseresourcesAre you or a family member newly diagnosed with celiac disease and looking for the best gluten-free resources from reliable sources? These five celiac resources will help you live a happy and healthy gluten-free life.

1. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has many excellent Printable Guides, including the brand new Getting Started Guide, which is a comprehensive 48-page guide to everything you need to know!

2. The GlutenFreeTravelSite has thousands of user-submitted reviews of restaurants, cruises, colleges, and more. You can easily search online or download the free app called Dine Gluten Free.

3. When you need to know if a prescription or OTC drug is gluten-free, Gluten-Free Drugs is a reliable resource that is continually updated by a clinical pharmacist.

4. When you have a question about celiac disease or gluten-free life, the Celiac Listserv is one of the best places to get answers.

5. Stay informed of the lasted gluten-free news and new products by reading Celiac-Disease.com, one of the best gluten-free blogs with many posts by blogger Kimberly Bouldin.

What are your favorite gluten-free resources? Post a comment below, and view the list of gluten-free NuGo bars.

 

This entry was posted in Gluten Free, Gluten Free Resources and tagged , , , , on by .

Tips for Enjoying Gluten-Free Holidays, Wherever You Choose to Dine

The holidays tend to create anxiety for many people following special diets, including the growing group of people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It’s no wonder, since so much of our culture today seems to revolve around socializing while eating. Whether it’s accepting an invitation to a holiday dinner party, attending a work luncheon, or hosting family for a festive dinner in your own home, there can be challenges to safely following your gluten-free diet. But with a bit of thought and advance planning, you can avoid getting “glutened” – and feel like you’re a full participant in the event.

Hosting the Meal Yourself
This is probably the most sure-fire way to ensure your meals will be gluten-free. Whether it’s a holiday cocktail party, dessert party, or sit-down family meal, YOU are in control of the planning, shopping, and preparation of the food. And with the wonderful gluten-free foods available today, you could easily offer up an entirely gluten-free spread, and no one would even know! You’ll be happy to know that if you are comfortable preparing a full holiday meal yourself, there are many holiday favorites that are easy to prepare gluten-free.

If hosting something on a large scale seems overwhelming, by all means make it “pot luck.” Prepare a few key dishes yourself (things YOU like) so that at least you’ll be able to eat your own culinary creations. Even if your guests bring things that are off limits for you, you won’t have to worry about cross contamination, since the food brought by others was prepared elsewhere and shouldn’t need to come into contact with your gluten-free items (just be careful of sharing serving spoons).

Accepting an Invitation to Someone Else’s Home
This can be one of the more intimidating options, since you don’t want to be sick – but don’t want to feel rude or left out if there’s nothing safe for you to eat. The best solution is to offer to bring a few of your own favorite items as part of the meal (your host or hostess will greatly appreciate this!). Ideally, this would involve a casserole or other main dish, a couple of side dishes, and dessert. If it’s a family member’s home, you may even have some say in planning and preparing the menu. In all likelihood, your host will welcome tips to convert favorite recipes into gluten-free favorites! Even something like homemade gravy can easily be thickened with cornstarch instead of flour.

Desserts can often present the trickiest part of the meal, but try to think outside the box. Consider “crustless” pies, crème brulee, pumpkin custard, or flourless chocolate cake (you’d be hard pressed to find someone that would turn THAT down!) Gluten-free cupcakes are always a hit with kids, and basic gluten-free sugar cookie mixes are relatively easy to find (or make yourself) if you’re a fan of traditionally decorated holiday cookies. Chances are, whatever you bring will be tastier than the gluten-filled options, and there won’t be any leftovers!

Dining Out
While we’ve always dined IN for Christmas, our family has actually dined OUT for several recent Thanksgivings. One year after attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, we dined at a very celiac-friendly Italian restaurant called Sambuca (OK, so we got our turkey fix the next day with a traditional, home-cooked meal!). And this year, our extended family voted to give ourselves a much-needed break and go OUT to Wildfire restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. We selected this restaurant based on their careful attention to their gluten-free diners. We confirmed the gluten-free selections before making the reservation, and what a treat it was! Virtually every item of the menu was either gluten-free or could be tailored to be, down to the gluten-free stuffing and gravy, gluten-free croutons on the salad, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

If you’re with a group of friends or colleagues that will be selecting a restaurant for a holiday get-together, don’t be shy about your dietary restrictions. There’s nothing worse than having to forgo most of the food while your dining mates gush over how great the meal is. Speak up and suggest one of your favorite “gluten- free friendly” restaurants as a good choice. A quick search on a site like GlutenFreeTravelSite will help you find GF-friendly restaurants (both chain and independent) in any town or city.

So whatever your choice – eating IN or eating OUT, dining gluten-free over the holidays can easily be done without feeling deprived, left out, or overworked!

About the Author: 

Karen Broussard is the founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite, a popular website that helps the gluten-free community find safe places to eat in their area — or wherever they travel. It includes thousands of user-submitted REVIEWS of restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, B&Bs, and cruises – both in the U.S. and around the world. Karen launched GlutenFreeTravelSite in 2008 — several years after her son Ryan was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at a very young age. She and her family found that dining out and traveling could be a real challenge for people following gluten free diets, and she wanted to provide a place where the gluten free community could go to share their experiences first-hand with others who also love to dine out and travel. 

The dining and travel reviews on GlutenFreeTravelSite are organized geographically and can be searched by state/country — or more narrowly by town/zip code. Visitors to GlutenFreeTravelSite will find many other helpful resources, including a section of the site devoted to national and regional restaurant chains offering Gluten Free Menus, a page of Colleges reviewed from a gluten free perspective, a page outlining the gluten free policies of all the major Cruise Lines — with links to reviews of each cruise line submitted to GlutenFreeTravelSite, a page listing Camps for gluten free kids, and many gluten free Trip Planning Resources. Other features of the helpful site include a monthly Featured Review (and contest!), a Blog, Articles, and Interviews with Chefs. You can follow GlutenFreeTravelSite on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

This entry was posted in Gluten Free, Guest Bloggers and tagged , on by .

Gluten-Free Travel Tips from a Globetrotter

A longtime fan of NuGo bars, which coincidentally I first came across while traveling, I was happy when they asked me to write a post for their blog – on, you guessed it – traveling as someone with both celiac disease and a severe food allergy to shellfish.

First of all, a celiac or food allergy diagnosis is initially overwhelming. I mean we have all been there and it does throw a bit of a wrench into your lifestyle until you get up to speed. There is a learning curve for the newly diagnosed but I am proof positive that it does get easier as time goes on.

Traveling can seem like a daunting challenge because not only do you have to deal with eating out in a new location that may be unfamiliar, but there’s also the getting there and back which depending on where you are going could prove to be a significant chunk of time. So, with Celiac Awareness Month upon us and the summer travel season about to kick in, I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that I have picked up as I have literally circumnavigated the globe as a celiac and food allergic traveler.

The most important tip that I can give is to plan before you go. This will help to alleviate unnecessary stress when you arrive at your destination. I like to go online and get a lay of the land if you will of where I will be visiting. I look for restaurants and grocery stores near where I’ll be staying that are gluten-free friendly. Be sure to also check out any local celiac or food allergy support groups that might have websites as they often provide a host of information at the local level. Trust me, having a lay of the land before you go will make your trip all the more smoother. When you arrive at your destination, talk to the hotel staff or concierge for local recommendations. You’d be surprised what great local tips they can provide and I have even run into a few that were fellow celiacs and had some fantastic recommendations for me.

Planning also involves looking at things like airlines and hotels as some do a better job in catering to travelers with dietary restrictions. If you are flying, go to the airline’s website or call them to find out if they offer a gluten-free (or other special meal type) before you book. This is a must on long-haul and ultra long-haul flights and less important on shorter domestic hops. At the hotel level, more and more hotels are catering to guests with dietary restrictions and a few even have formal programs in place to ensure that guests with special needs can dine without worry. Fairmont Hotels with their Lifestyle Cuisine Plus program does a particularly good job.

Packing is equally as important as planning in my book – and by packing I mean in the food/snack department. Tip number two is to always take along what I like to call a gluten-free contingency pack. This usually contains a range of food items that I can snack on if I am delayed, my gluten-free meal on a flight didn’t make it onboard or is not really to my liking, or I just feel like a treat while enroute to or at my destination. I typically include things like pretzels or chips, something sweet, and of course snack bars – guess which ones you’ll always find in my bag? The good thing about a contingency pack is that you can tailor it to your specific trip and make it more comprehensive for longer journeys and smaller for quick hops. I also like to throw some larger snacks or treats in my checked bag to enjoy at the hotel when I arrive at my destination. More often than not you’ll be able to find a host of great items at your destination but sometimes you might just feel like relaxing after a long journey and it’s nice to have something ready to nosh on.

The final tip that I can offer is to get out there and enjoy yourself. Do not let celiac or another food restriction limit your lifestyle. Will everything always go as planned – likely not. Even those of us that have been doing it for a while still have things go wrong from time to time but look at them as learning experiences. The more often you get out on the road, the more comfortable you’ll become traveling with special dietary needs and it will just become second nature.

About the Author:

Michael De Cicco-Butz

Hailing from New York City, Michael is perhaps best known as his gluten-free alter ego Gluten Free Mike a global advocate for celiac disease who pens a very popular eponymous gluten-free website and blog. He and his site have been featured on MSNBC.com and the TodayShow.com discussing luxury travel from a food allergic perspective. Michael has made it his personal mission to share his experiences on his gluten-free journey to help others navigate and make the most of their own journeys. Diagnosed with celiac disease more than ten years ago (and shortly thereafter developing severe shellfish allergy), when the gluten-free landscape was very different, he understands how confusing, overwhelming, and isolating it can be when first diagnosed.

He lives by his mantra of Living Well, Gluten-Free, No Apologies and does not let celiac or his food allergies limit where he goes or what he does. He has travelled the globe as a celiac taking full control of his food restrictions proving that by making smart choices and asking the right questions anyone can get out there and enjoy all the fabulous tastes and places our world has to offer — just gluten-free.

A foodie through and through, you’ll often find him dining out at both gluten-free and non-gluten-free restaurants and has created a Quintessentially New York Gluten Free dining guide on his site that follows him dining gluten-free at some of the most iconic restaurants in New York City. He also loves to cook and has adapted many of his favorite recipes to be gluten-free.

Read Mike’s blog, Gluten Free Mike, follow him on Twitter @glutenfreemike and Pinterest, and like his Facebook page.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Gluten Free, Gluten Free Resources, Guest Bloggers and tagged , , on by .