The Cook Awakening

Food Sensitivities To Go!

June 16, 2013
Posted in: Food Sensitivities, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges

I wrote this article a few years back, and posted it on the old blog. It’s timely! So many of us are traveling sometime over the summer. Here it is, edited and updated. Enjoy.

The posy my youngest picked for his teacher on the last day of school.

The posy my youngest picked for his teacher on the last day of school.

Some helpful hints on traveling with diets outside the cultural norm. A little planning can go a LONG way.

Here are some things that work for my family when we’re on the go.

Supplements: If they’re part of your regimen, don’t forget them! A day or two off your regular doses of vitamins and other helpful nutritional powerhouses might be okay, but I find if we try to go too long without we get into trouble. If your bottles are too bulky, count out what you need into snack sized Ziplocks and label them with permanent markers.

Air travel: If you’re flying, the snacks offered will not be health friendly. We don’t even look at the packages anymore, just say a polite ‘no thank you’, and ask for a glass of sparkling water or acceptable juice. It’s a good idea to ask to look at a can before the juice is served, sometimes there are strange additives in canned juices. For longer flights, you can order special meals, but they will not cover cross sensitivities. Bring what you can to supplement what your obviously can’t eat on the tray.

Remember – no pastes or liquids are permitted on airplanes! Fresh veggies and fruit, boiled eggs, whole avocadoes, some acceptable crackers, cheese if you tolerate it, nut butter, hummus or healthy meat sandwiches are all things that work for us. The pastes (hummus and nut butter) will need to be spread on the bread or crackers ahead of time. They count as pastes.

Road trips and car camping: Bring your cooler and pack it with the things you usually eat. Make double meals for a week or two prior to your trip and freeze the second half. You can use the frozen meals to supplement the ice in your cooler for a couple of days, and once thawed, they’ll be good for a few days after that.

Back packing: This will take more planning. Most prepackaged dehydrated foods are packed with hidden additives that will ruin your day. Rice pasta packs well, and all other permitted grains, and you can buy plain dehydrated vegetables or make them yourself to make into soups. Bring some coconut butter or cream in a plastic bag for added richness and energy. Healthy meat jerky and nuts are good protein options. Remember to read labels with an eye for gluten and artificial additives.

Hotels: Look for places with at least a refrigerator. If you can afford a place with a kitchenette, go for it! The money and headache you’ll save yourself in having to negotiate restaurants for every meal, or trying to create meals without access to any equipment will be worth it.

Staying with family: Ironically, this can be the most challenging situation we deal with when traveling. One would think it should be the easiest – you’ll have a kitchen available to you, people you’re looking forward to seeing will be there to take care of you, usually a familiar environment you’ll be settling into.

But let’s face it, most of us didn’t grow up knowing about our food intolerances, or how to eat healthily. And most of our, or our spouse’s family members haven’t gone through this nutritional process of change with us. If you’re lucky your family wants to help and understands the importance of the changes you’ve gone through. But many of us have families that don’t understand, and think you’re making much ado about nothing. That ‘a little cookie won’t hurt, how can you deprive your child of treats. It’s vacation time!’ can undermine months of work you’ve done with your family.

Not to mention that we’re entering the zone of firmly entrenched family patterns here. It’s not just about food, it’s about your relationship with your or your spouse’s family members, and their spouses, their children…. These can be complex waters to negotiate. You’re introducing a change in the current, and the water will resist, will keep wanting to revert back to it’s original pathway.

This takes planning and sensitivity. Call ahead and explain clearly that things have changed, that you or your child(ren) are sick in various ways, or have been diagnosed with allergies. That you’re feeling so much better since you’ve made the changes that your health care professionals have recommended. Keep it simple and matter of fact. Ask for support.

Offer to cook for yourselves. At the very least request an area in the refrigerator and pantry to keep safe products for your family to supplement meals that contain items that are off limits. Because I have cooking skills, a tack I have taken is to offer to shop for and cook dinners for the whole family. It has ruffled feathers a few times, but when I’ve explained how complex our family’s needs are, often people are happier handing the reigns over to me.

If these kinds of requests meet strong resistance, and you can afford it, you may want to consider staying in a hotel and keeping your visits with family more in your control. I realize this may be challenging, but you have the right to take care of your family’s health. I’m going to say that again. You have the right to take care of your family’s health. Keep time spent together around meal times to a minimum, and plan your time together during the days.

And pack your own lunches.

Above all, enjoy your vacation!

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2013 at 9:42 pm and is filed under Food Sensitivities, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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