It isn't a no-brainer, travelling with Celiac Disease. When it comes to hitting the road, I have half a dozen more boxes to check than my non-Celiac friends or fellow travellers. It isn't a no-brainer, but it doesn't have to be brain-drain, an emotional strain, or a dip into self-neglect.
I enjoy most when I'm well-fueled and well-rested.
So recently, I road-tripped rather madly -- like a hare out of fox's lair, really. I was moving, and then moving again, and then on-the-road to hit two Expos in-between re-settling in Boston. Yes, that part was insane.
But my strategies for being-on-the-road, fed, and gluten-free safely, were sane, not insane.
A few things I've found key to traveling on the road well are as follows:
Tumble free -
- Make a list of all things you're worried about, and cross out the ones that are a) out of your control and/ or b) really not priorities.
For example, traffic will be out of your control. On the other hand, having a sack of non-perishable food so that I don't need to risk a possibly unsafe eating establishment is very much in my control.- Bring music, audiobooks, or a few grounding cherished objects. Seeing Totoro hanging from my rearview mirror, and having music I love, can make the difference in a trip-down-a-stairwell kind of roadtrip, and a trip-down-a-rainbow experience.
Let go of the bits and pieces you can't control, and the little things that niggle, but aren't deadly or trip-threatening (or life-threatening -- important, that).
- Have one friend or support contact either a) in the car or b) on the speed-dial.
For example, I had a dear friend and mentor whom I could call if I got too exhausted, needed some guidance, or felt out of my depth. Also, if my GPS went out. Very important. If I don't have a map or GPS, but I do have a mobile phone, I can always ring a friend who can get me directions. Also very important: Have a person who understands Celiac.
Eat breakfast. Always.
I started 3 of the 4 fourteen hour drives I made in the last 5 months at the beautifully god-maddeningly early hour of 4ish am. Not coffee, mates. BREAKFAST.
But how to pack a solid breakfast that's car-compact and gluten-fee? I made night-before smoothies. A huge smoothie, packed with Garden of Life Plant Protein, sweet potato, banana, nut butter -- that could get me through hours. It's also easy to pour into a shaker cup or thermos, and can be sipped safely while driving.
Pack a Snack Seat
If you're not carting a carload of passengers, make the passenger seat the seat for a snack or meal sack. Have a couple of meals, pre-packed in bentos or glass containers. A few bags of crisps -- Way Better Snacks always sits on my seat, along with apples, nuts, some nut butter usually -- Artisana, and NUTTZO. (Also, a heap-load of homemade nut butter cookies and a few travel packets of Garden of Life Plant Protein.) Be sure you've enough food for a day (perishables) and perhaps 2-4 days non-perishable depending on the length of the trip.
Sometimes, my boot/trunk looks like half a pantry. But it keeps my gut safe from cross-contamination, saves my pocketbook the drain of eating out, and keeps my head from spinning, time-wasting, worried, on the desperate Celiac WHERE CAN I EAT AND DOES IT HAZ GLUTEN-FREE FOODS? wail.
Take Time to Scout Out Rest Stops Ahead
This isn't just food-stops. Though food stops are highly important -- certainly use Find Me Gluten Free, and Google Maps, and local friends or Celiac groups (such as NECO) to scout out markets and gluten-free establishments. But take time to scout spots to rest. Look for parks along the way where you can stretch your legs, and breathe.
I powered through most of my last trips, and though I fueled well enough, I didn't feel quite so well since I wasn't doing the easy-does-it mind-and-emotional-nourishment bit.
Celiac is an autoimmune disease. It may be triggered, from the start, by stress. It is certainly exacerbated by stress. Even those who don't have an autoimmune disease need rest and support. So plan it in. You'll also (oy, I have found this personally) make much wiser choices around food, and every other area, if you're taking time to pause.
'Tis called self-care. It works. It makes the fueling really fit, and stick.
It isn't a no-brainer travelling with Celiac Disease. There are a lot of things I need to plan ahead, that many other people don't.
But it can be a no-strainer.
I can tumble free, instead of power-through, and enjoy the ride.
|More roadtrip staples: I've just discovered NOW Foods|
makes whole food products, gluten-free.
Tea is a must on the road.
As are these heaping-good
raw pumpkin seeds