Recently we traveled to Switzerland and France because two of our sons like to climb mountains and they had the goal of climbing the Matterhorn in Switzerland and my husband and one son planned to climb Mont Blanc in France. I went along because I wanted to support the climbers and enjoy some really beautiful places!
I have written previous posts about traveling while on a special diet which can be found here if you are interested. I learned (and confirmed) some things on this trip, hence the reason for this post. Here’s what I learned:
- Use ice in resealable bags to keep your food cold, not Blue Ice. This time I tried to take Blue Ice in addition to ice cubes and due to travel delays and missed flights the Blue Ice thawed enough that it was confiscated in security at the London airport. (Remember to always Mind the Gap while in London! 🙂 )
- I found out that I really preferred to put my food in resealable baggies that I could throw away when the food was gone. On this trip I took both baggies and small plastic containers to hold my food. I found I disliked carrying around the dirty, empty plastic containers once the food was gone. I decided if I wanted plastic containers once I was at my destination I could always buy some if the unit we rented didn’t have any available for use.
- Before you travel, look up whatever words or phrases are pertinent to your food intolerance situation in the language of the country you are visiting. It is important to communicate to a waiter your needs and it is important to be able to read food labels. I didn’t do that and ended up with some food I couldn’t eat at a restaurant.
- Use online reviews to find accommodations close to a grocery store. In both towns we were less than a five minute walk to the store which made for very easy grocery purchases. I bought frozen vegetables for ease of preparation during our travels and while I was glad that was available, I learned that I really prefer fresh vegetables over frozen! One thing that is helpful with frozen vegetables is that you can usually see what the package contains even if you can’t read the language. Of course if you have significant allergies, make sure you know what those words are in the language of the country you are visiting and check for them on the food label!
- I’m partial to my own brand of dish soap…it seems to clean better than what I find when I travel elsewhere, so I bring my own in a small plastic bottle. It keeps me happy in the kitchen and that’s worth it! 🙂
A couple of other tips that have nothing to do with food intolerance issues but have everything to do with travel are:
- Try to pack everything into a carry on bag and keep it with you. My clothes were packed into a carry on bag but because my husband had a larger suitcase and needed to check his, I checked mine. Due to our travel delays and switched flights we didn’t see our luggage until two days into our trip. I don’t think I will ever check a bag again!
- Wear shoes you can run through an airport in. Bring ointment or Advil or something to use for the shin splints you will get because you ran 1/2 mile through the airport!
- Always notify the security department of your bank before you travel. I had notified my bank. Twice. Once while still at home and once while traveling. But, apparently the security part of my bank hadn’t gotten the message (eye roll) so my debit card was held (yes held–read eaten) by the ATM machine in France and I couldn’t get it back for a day. Even when I did get it back it was unusable for my bank had decided it was in the hands of some thieves instead of in my hands!
- Always travel with two credit cards and two debit cards in case one gets lost, stolen or in my case your bank thinks you are not you but are a thief.
- Bring your toothbrush with you (and even a change of clothes if possible) in your carry on bag if you plan on checking your luggage. If your luggage gets delayed, it will make life better, cleaner and less smelly.
- Always keep any necessary medications with you in your carry-on luggage. Always.
- Know how to dial the phone number of whatever lodging you are staying at. I ended up standing in front of our lodging in France without a way to get inside. The door was locked and there was a key code lock on the door, which I didn’t know the code to. I tried calling the number I had for the accommodations and got a recording in French, which was not helpful to me. I ended up going to a nearby hotel and asking someone who spoke English how I could dial the number. He helped me and I was able to contact the owner of our unit and get the code for the door. I will check out HowtoCallAbroad.com before I travel oversees again!
Due to travel issues, we ended up in London (not part of our original itinerary) at the breakfast hour. We were still hours away from our final destination and I was hungry. I was presented with various options such as corn flakes, wheat cereal, wheat bread, yogurt, and oatmeal. I chose to eat wheat since it had given me the least problems of all the foods I had trialed. I was happy that my initial reactions to the food weren’t all that bad.
I was able to cook breakfast for myself each day but ate out at least once per day. I did take some diamine oxidase enzyme supplements in case they helped with the histamine issues that I have with animal protein. I ended up eating wheat most days, some yogurt (mostly made with bifido bacteria) and some milk and fresh cheese. I had good energy which I was grateful for but I did experience headaches most days and a feeling of agitation at night. So I suspected I was getting too much histamine and being exposed to other foods that weren’t working for me. I’ve not had the feeling of agitation since I’ve been home, which has been really nice.
What was most surprising though was the appearance of red spots inside my cheeks. They didn’t hurt but my throat got sore towards the back and that is when I looked inside my mouth. I had never seen anything like it before. My husband, who is an orthodontist and looks inside mouths every day had not seen anything like it either. I don’t know if it was viral caused or due to the foods that I was eating. I was really sorry I didn’t have our office camera to take some photos of my mouth!! I will retest some of those foods shortly to see if the sores reappear or not. And I will be discussing this event with my doctors later this month.
Our boys did make it to the top of the Matterhorn, but the route to the summit of Mont Blanc was closed due to rock slides and falling rocks. Overall it was an awesome trip and I’m glad I was able to tag along. I wish you happy and safe travels wherever life takes you! And may the food you eat always work for you and make you feel well!