That’s right. The Gluten Dude is taking a vacation! (Put away your tears…I’ll still be posting while I’m away.)
That’s the good news. The other side of the coin is that it’s my first real vacation since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. And I must admit…I’m feeling a tad on the nervous side.
When I go on vacation, I like to…ummm…how do I put it? I like to partake in the spirits and immerse myself in the pleasure of good food. Ok, fine. I like to party.
But the fact is the one thing you lose the most when you have celiac is spontaneity. Even in my home town, everything’s gotta be planned. There is no wingin’ it. But 1000 miles away in unfamiliar territory is posing a bit of a mental challenge for me. How do I plan my gluten free vacation?
First off, it’s a long travel day. I’m leaving the Dude ranch at 4:30am and won’t arrive at my destination (I sound like my navigation system) until about 8 hours later. And that’s if there are no delays. Breakfast at the airport? Forget about it. A quick slice of pizza waiting for a cab? Uh…nope. A gluten-free meal on Continental? Now that’s funny.
And then of course there are the three meals per day, which on vacation is really blended into one long day of eating.
So what’s a celiac to do?
Well, for starters, depend on Mrs. Dude, as I always do. Here’s a sample of what we are taking with us on the trip. And yes, that is my own sponge. (Sad…isn’t it?)
Not pictured is a six pack of New Grist beer which I’m in the process of bubble-wrapping for my suitcase.
(By the way, if you’re new to this blog, please don’t judge me based on this post alone. I’m actually a real healthy guy. Honestly. But when in Rome…)
Secondly, plan ahead. Way ahead. I’ve already spoken to the housekeeper and made them quite familiar with the do’s and don’ts of celiac disease. When I asked them to make sure they serve my food naked, they hung up on me. Then I called back and explained what I meant (no sauces, etc) and they were very receptive. But even then, I’ll watch them like a hawk while they cook. One bad meal and my vacation is shot.
Lastly, educate yourself. Do not assume you’ll find things while your there. It could make for a long, hungry vacation. I have been on all of the celiac websites I know trying to find celiac-friendly restaurants where I’ll be. I’ve read reviews on TripAdvisor. I’ve reached out to some fellow bloggers. I’ve made lots of phone calls. I will be prepared.
All in all, it will be a “different” kind of vacation than what I’m used to. A bit of freedom will indeed be lost.
But it’s the new normal, I’m grateful for the opportunity and I simply can’t wait.