Travel with Food Allergies

I hate being cold like no other thing. I am a complete wimp when it comes to winter. Every winter, to save himself from hearing me ask how much longer until spring for at least one week, Mike takes the whole family with him to get his continuing education hours somewhere warm. He picks February if he can because this is the month where I am undoubtedly the hardest to live with. 


This year we escaped to the magical land of Disney World for five fantastic days of warmth. Actually, standing in lines with throngs of people is probably not my first choice for a vacation, but we have three kids and I promised not to complain as long as it was above 65 degrees. 

We did have fun. We laughed like crazy and even tolerated waiting for 75 minutes in line for the new Harry Potter ride pretty well. A friend of mine, who I met at a Homestead Event, happened to be a travel agent for Disney. It was a completely better experience to have her set up everything than to try and navigate it ourselves as we had done previously. We sailed through.* The only hard part was the food.

Our daughter has been gluten free for a year now and doing great. I followed her lead and have felt remarkably well for the last year. I have even learned to cook meals my family mostly likes that have no gluten in them, use real food, and are low in sugar. I surround myself with healthy living blogs. I like pages on my Facebook and Instagram accounts that support this lifestyle. I read books by doctors who lay out the science behind why we feel so much better. In my world, gluten free and healthy has become almost normal. And so I was completely unprepared for the gluten free desert I found ourselves in this week.

It wasn't so much that we couldn't find things that were healthy, it was the sheer overload of things that weren't. I swear 90% of the food was saw had gluten or sugar in it. My husband and boys went crazy! They were so happy to be away from our normal diet that I am surprised one didn't end up in a coma. Max saved forty dollars for the trip and spent every last bit on cotton candy, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, and Skittles. I watched him thinking my parenting attempts may have backfired in a big way.

Cecelia and I found salads and meats, and thank God French Fries are technically GF if they aren't fried in batter. I do have to credit Disney. They will cater to any allergy in their restaurants if you ask. You can also bring your own food or drink into the park. This is not the case at Universal. The first stop we made was at the grocery for decent snacks to stuff in our backpack. The problem was that we ate many meals on the go, in airports, and one in a food court at a mall while I got my phone fixed. The reality I had created at home was nowhere to be found. 

I felt like I entered a sci-fi movie where all the real food had been replaced with crap in every direction. Mike kept saying, "It takes time for stuff like this to enter mainstream. Two years ago you didn't know anything about it either." He is right, but I kept looking around at all these overweight kids and sick adults and thinking, "Do we have time?"

Anyway, I tried to take it like it was, a vacation. Everybody, including Cecelia and I ate way more junk than we normally do. I am glad however to be back to our normal. Our normal is what makes vacations so outrageously indulgent. And just when I had given up, we walked by this sign in the Atlanta airport:

Gluten Free bagels. Ahhhh! There is hope:)


*Laurie Smyda is the travel agent we used. She saved us so much time and money I have to do an unsolicited ad for her!