Wednesday, February 9, 2011

0 My Own Culinary Challenge: Eating GF on Travel

UPDATE (I moved all the details of my week under the jump break)

Here I am at Saturday, traveling home after a week of working in Florida. I gave myself a Culinary Challenge at the beginning of the week to continue eating gluten free, and to use the tricks in my books to work around the difficulties of eating gluten free in the South without a kitchen. Cliffnotes: 

I had a successful week of eating gluten free out of a hotel, and for those who don't want to read the in depth details of my food endeavors for the past week, here's my advice on achieving what is seemingly impossible:

  • Breakfast tips: Keep it simple and try to eat things you know can't include gluten; fruit, yogurt, bacon, eggs. Avoid oatmeal. Be weary of omelets, they can be made with pancake batter or other ingredients that include gluten. Which leads to the next tip...
  • Don't be afraid. If you're at a restaurant and are unsure whether something is gluten free, ask you waiter. If they give you a weird look when you use the word gluten, ask them if the food includes wheat or flour. 
  • Avoid all battered foods.
  • For lunch, go for items such as salads or grilled fish or chicken. Not only does it avoid gluten, but it won't weigh you down for the rest of the day. 
  • Dinner. Enjoy it, but aim for menus that have vegetables, rice, or proteins that aren't fried. 
  • Blue Bell ice cream. BEST ice cream in the south. Except for flavors like Cookie dough. 

I hope this helps anyone else who has to eat gluten free, but travels for work or vacation. Happy weekend!

For deeper details into the foods I ate this past week, follow the JUMP.

As I write this, I'm flying in a plane traveling to Florida for work this week. Since I'll be in a hotel for the better portion of this week, I won't be posting any original recipes this week.

Instead, I plan on achieving my own Culinary Challenge; how to survive on a gluten free diet while traveling. For this i hope to attempt to enjoy food i eat, and  not just live off of salad for a week. My dietitian gave me a few methods and tools to assist, so I plan on putting them to use this coming week.

Breakfast: My flight was in the morning, so I ate gluten free cereal in the morning before leaving.

In general, make sure you eat before leaving for an airport or flight, since normally all airplane snacks consist of some form of wheat. Best example is the gourmet biscuit they offered us, where the only ingredients were wheat, sugar, oil, and leavening. Needless to say I did not eat it...

Lunch: After making it into JAX, we went to a seafood bar for lunch. I avoided anything with the word fried or battered, and had a salad with rice and roasted chicken. They offered a free chocolate cake for dessert, but I had to turn it down.

Dinner: TGI Friday, which has a large variety of options that are gluten free. I had a petite sirloin with mixed veggies and broccoli. 

Breakfast: For breakfast I ate from the complimentary menu at the hotel. Normally at hotels they'll have a wide range of breakfast foods. Weds. morning, I had fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, and yogurt. When eating breakfast at hotels, here's some tips:

  • If you want to eat cereal, research if any of the cereals are gluten free (Google is a wonderful resource) before eating any of them.
  • Waffles and pancakes are surely no go's, but avoid eating any oatmeal as well. Aside from oats being on the questionable list for gluten free diets, you can't be sure of what's inside prepared foods. 
  • Speaking of prepared foods, avoid pre-made omelets. Even though you may think they wouldn't include any wheat, they could. IHOP is the best example, since they combine pancake batter in all of their eggs. 

Lunch: We went back to the same seafood bar, so I used the same strategy as Tuesday, but instead had some pork loin. And once again avoided the cake. RED VELVET CAKE. from the south. Sigh...

Dinner: Japanese Steakhouse. One of the easiest ways to ensure a gluten free diet is to eat healthy. Veggies are always a good go-to. For dinner I had grilled chicken, mixed vegetables, and white rice.

Breakfast: Same type of complementary breakfast as Wednesday, same strategies applied.
Lunch: Grilled chicken with corn and french fries. If you have french fries, make sure they are not battered or beer battered (especially if eating them in the south).
Dinner: Sushi is another relatively safe choice when going out to eat. You just have to be conscious of the if any of the main ingredients are fried. 

Dessert: Ok, so my heart belongs to the food of the south. Dutch chocolate Blue Bell ice cream, possibly the best creamery in the south... 
Breakfast: We had to be at work before the complimentary breakfast, so I went the route of some fruit, yogurt, and mixed nuts I bought on Thursday.
Lunch: Had a really good omelet in this small local diner. One tip I have when buying stuff such as omelets and such at restaurants, check with the waitress if they use anything like flour in the food they make. I asked the waitress if they used pancake batter in their omelets (I'm looking at you IHOP), and she said no.
Dinner: Grilled chicken with rice and broccoli. 

Breakfast: Same as Friday
Lunch: This is probably the least healthy meal I've had on travel, but since I was waiting at the airport, I resorted to eating various snacks.

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