Traveling on a restricted diet (gluten free, dairy free, and any other combination)is tough.
I totally get it. I have done it for the past 8 years since my daughter has some food intolerances.
Dietary changes play an important role when you are trying to manage and reverse your chronic illness. It is one of the most effective ways of addressing the root causes of your chronic illness. But this usually means that daily life can become quite challenging.
And today, I am focusing on the issues that people face when traveling on a restricted diet.
Because this is one very common issue all my coaching clients face. And I am here to tell you that it is possible to enjoy and look forward to your trips.
However, you do need to plan ahead.
You can watch the video below to know about the time we had an unusual dining experience in a 5 star hotel. As a matter of fact, it ended up shaping the rest of our stay there and we had a lovely time!
Your mind holds the key
But here’s the thing.
You will always need to plan ahead. You will need to prep for your trip so that you are not stuck if your travel plans go haywire.
And one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that your approach and mindset really matter. You see, when you look at this as a challenge, it becomes much easier to deal with this.
How you look at this challenge will decide whether or not you will succeed at this.
So, if you take the view that you are being deprived of these foods then that’s what it will feel like. And even if you get plenty of substitutes or alternative options, you will not be able to enjoy your trip.
However, if you approach this challenge through the lens of nourishing your body, everything changes.
So where do you start?
Start with finding out about the place that you are going to.
For example, if you are going to a city, you will usually have many options for food apart from where you are staying. And at the very least you will have access to supermarkets and stores. This will give you a fall back option to make a quick meal if you need to.
For example, when I used to travel anywhere in India about 5 or 6 years ago, I used to always carry small cartons of soy milk because they were not available. Now they are available almost everywhere!
However, if you are traveling to a small, boutique, the availability of groceries and other food options may be an issue. However, local and seasonal produce is usually available in these places. But you will need to plan ahead and get in touch with the hosts/staff before you travel. This way you can get healthy home style meals made from local produce.
The bottom line is that you will have to prepare and plan for your travel in advance.
How to prepare for travel
One important aspect of good planning is to make a list of foods that you want to keep with you.
These are typically foods that will satisfy your hunger for a snack or a quick meal while traveling. This is especially handy on a flight or in the car.
I have found over years of traveling that it’s usually the snacks and breakfast that become a problem. If you are off wheat, milk, and eggs, breakfast options can really become limited.
This is why I recommend that my clients carry some alternative food options., Foods like millet-based cereal, gluten free bread, non dairy milk. There are plenty of options available for snacks- roasted makhanas or fox nuts, air dried vegetables, roasted millet puffs.
I actually have a list of grocery and snack items that will make it super simple and easy to do. This free guide is called “Nourish your body shopping list for groceries and snacks” and you can download this by clicking here.
Another suggestion that I have for my clients is to call ahead and get some sense of the menu and restaurant options.
For eg, if they have a good Italian restaurant that you may want to visit, then you can carry your own gluten free pasta. And once you give them the correct instructions, they can make a dairy free option for you
5 ways to travel with ease
And finally, putting all of this together for you so that you can travel with ease
1.Call ahead and speak to the chef about the kind of menu options that will be available for you. Also find out what kind of flexibility they have in terms of making food the way you would like to be made (dairy free, gluten free, nut free etc)
2. Find out about the local cuisine, availability of food substitutes and anything else that will help you decide what to pack with you
3.Pack some healthy snacks and breakfast options so that you have more options
4.Develop a good rapport with the chef and the servers especially if you are going to be staying at the hotel for a while. You will almost always get surprised by what they will are willing to make for you
5.Keep an open and curious mind and be open to trying the local cuisine keeping in mind your food choices. You may be surprised how many more options you actually have
If you would like a copy of the free guide (list of grocery and snack items) to make all of this easy and doable, click on the link here.
Don’t overthink it. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally first. And then take the first step towards making travel fun and enjoyable again.