When you commit to a way of life, going back to how things used to be can be hard. Maintaining a certain diet or avoiding certain ingredients can be especially difficult if you travel a lot. Gluten is a particularly tough ingredient to avoid. Gluten is found in wheat, which is typically a big part of our normal diet. However, recent studies have suggested that gluten can have many disadvantages for a wide range of people. Celiac disease is the most common disease caused by gluten. Other disorders caused by gluten are gut inflammation, intestinal permeability, and damage to the gut biome. If you are strictly avoiding gluten, traveling to a new place with different food options can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Here are some ways to maintain your gluten-free diet while traveling.
- The internet is a blessing; you can use it to easily find out find out if nearby restaurants can accommodate gluten-free meals. You can also search restaurants ahead of time so you know where you find gluten-free meals before you arrive or during your travel.
- Ask the hotel you stay in if they have refrigerators and microwaves you can use.
- Packing dry nutritious items like energy bars and nuts is a good idea to fill up on in case there is not a gluten-free option readily available.
- You can search for groups nearby you that support gluten-free diets and ask them for suggestions or you can simply ask restaurant owners if they serve gluten-free food.
- In airports, look for yogurt, salad, grilled chicken, plain hamburgers and other gluten-free standbys at the airport.
- If you are traveling to a foreign country, print out your gluten-free needs in the language of the foreign country that you are traveling to. This will help convey to them the kinds of food you need and help them better cater to your needs.
- There are many restaurants that may not have gluten-free options on their menu but can provide something if asked.
- Avoid most condiments, especially soy sauce.
For people with Celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis, the effects of straying from a gluten-free diet might not be instant but they have delayed effects that can have long-term consequences. Slacking on your diet should not be an option, so preparing gluten-free biscuits, hummus or sandwiches for a shorter trip is a great way to stay consistent with your diet. Away from home, internet and research will be your best friend. Stick to the basics of your gluten-free diet—fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, unprocessed products—and you will be able to enjoy your travels to the fullest.
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