Going on a travel adventure might feel intimidating if you’re gluten and dairy free. I totally get that because I used to feel that way too.

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I used to do my best to “avoid” certain foods, but at that time I didn’t connect the dots that they were the culprits of my malaise.
I used to find myself crying on route back to my hotel room or sometimes suffering even a day or two after from the debilitating cramps and digestive upset I experienced. Throw in some fatigue and intense anxiety and you have the perfect combo to ruin a vacation. But I didn’t know back then how connected the food I ate was to my symptoms. Because this happened so often, I even remember trips by how I felt, instead of the actual trips themselves.

Over time I started living by my values instead of my “lack” mentality of what I couldn’t eat.
Instead I started focusing on how I wanted to experience my travel adventures. I was clear I didn’t want to miss out anymore, either because I couldn’t leave the room, or wasn’t able to be fully present since I was so distracted by the way I felt. I wanted to show up fully present and feeling good so could experience the trip and not my symptoms. This led me to stop “avoiding” the foods, and fully commit to eliminating them completely. This is the motivation that keeps me on track at home too.

Recently I just spent a glorious vacation in Italy.
I wanted to share how I stuck to eating the foods that work for me even in a foreign country that serves A LOT of bread and cheese! I also attended the most fabulous wedding which included two events where I had zero control of the food. As well as being 100% GF and DF, I also eat a Paleo based diet since eating this way keeps my gut happy and me feeling my best.  This means I don’t eat beans or grains (with the exception of occasional rice). More recently I’ve eliminated a few Lectin foods as well since I found through testing, my immune system was not happy with them.

Right about now, you must be either wondering, what the hell DID she eat? Or you could be thinking, thank god you don’t have to have me over for dinner!
I posted some of the fabulous mouthwatering meals below from the trip so you can see I DID eat well and I wouldn’t be the worst dinner guest either!

This is how I did it. You can too.

Keep things simple.
Stick to protein and veggies without sauce as it’s always safest to eat whole foods in their natural form. There is always fresh fish, meat and vegetables everywhere you go.

Always ask.
Even it means googling GF and DF in another language, don’t be shy. I was surprised at how Senza Gluten and Lactose friendly the whole county was. We even found dairy and gluten free gelato!

Get creative and stay open-minded.
When at an event, eat what you KNOW is safe and skip the passed hors d’oeuvre’s no matter how tempting (unless you know for sure what’s in them). Ask the staff if they can serve your meal without sauce or discretely tell them you’re GF and DF and many times they will serve you a safe dish without anyone else even noticing. Always have a snack in your back that you can enjoy in the bathroom stall!!

Always travel with your own food.
When you get stuck without choices while on the road, always have some food handy to enjoy. I can’t tell you how many rest stops, we’ve picnicked at with our canned fish, paleo crackers and plantain chips. Believe it or not, finding stops with a view to enjoy a great lunch, has been a fun part of road trips!

Practice gratitude.
Be thankful for the abundant list of nourishing foods you CAN eat and don’t focus on what you’re avoiding. Remember how good you feel when you eat food that agrees with you.

I’m not perfect and I paid the price.
I did indulge in a few GF treats and I did pay the price, since my body doesn’t like grains. Instead of beating myself up for “causing” and “inflicting” this on myself, I practiced self-compassion and forgiveness and remembered how much fun I had enjoying it at the time. I was gentle with myself when I needed some unplanned recovery time that caused us to get a later start than planned.

This self-compassion goes a long way. There used to be a time in my life when I started saying no to events and weekends away so I wouldn’t have to deal with being the odd one out, too many bathroom stops, feeling embarrassed or scared of being judged. It was way safer to stay isolated never knowing how I would feel or if I could eat when I did go out. Or worse, if I had to leave distressed from an “attack” while I was out, and had to get home. Aside from doing a lot of investigative work to uncover my triggers, I also have done a lot of mental and spiritual work to get rid of the fear that comes with living like this for so many years. I still experience these symptoms on occasion and it’s a very real reminder of just how far I’ve come and how great I feel 90% of the time.

I would encourage you too, to invest in yourself and find the triggers that are making you miss out on what you love, so that you too, can enjoy travel adventures with ease and live the life you desire.

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