Travelling with Coeliac
July 10, 2014
A recent road trip through Spain woke me to the perils of eating on the road. This is not the first time I have travelled since I was diagnosed, but it’s the first time I have had gut issues. Perhaps it was my own fault for being lax so not preparing enough in advance. Not only did I not prepare enough food for my eight hour journey, but I failed to have my Betaine tablets to hand. On previous excursions, I have prepared cooked chicken, and Gram flat bread, or a large flask of soup. This time, there was just a small amount of soup, and a packet of pork scratchings. I reckoned I would be okay, as it’s just an eight hour drive to the ferry, and then a 24 hour crossing to the UK. The food on board was not too bad, so I could last until then.
Unfortunately, I decided to load up on nuts along the way, buying several packets of various types from service stations. This was my downfall, as I usually only eat nuts if I have soaked, and de-hydrated them first. Obviously, manufacturers of packet nuts do not bother with this malarcky, so eating them was a risk. The thing is, I had eaten packets of nuts before and been okay. This time, I went over board, and ate a lot. I was okay at first but later on that night, my stomach told me how stupid i’d been, and diarrhoea, sickness, and sulphur burps followed.
This lasted for almost a week; on and off. The usual symptoms of a Candida attack of lethargy, weakness, blocked sinuses, and even stiffness in my right knee all came back to haunt me. I had been a lot better recently, with even my knee back to virtually full movement. It really is deflating when all your hard work is wasted because of a seemingly innocent mistake.
I tried to tell myself that maybe this was die off, but the sulphur burps were the major give away that it wasn’t. Foul tasting burps are a sign that food is not being digested properly.
If I did not have coeliac disease, then the usual sandwiches would have sufficed. You could say that being more informed now as to the health benefits of bread (or rather lack of benefits) is a good thing; this doesn’t make it any easier to find food whilst out and about though.
Thinking like an early traveller is the key. Before the days of service stations, and fast food, packaged snacks etc. travellers had to think in advance how they were going to eat on their journey. They would either prepare food before hand, or forage along the way. As foraging for food by the side of a motorway may appear odd behaviour to onlookers, preparing before hand is the way to go. First of all get your self a rice cooker (if you can get a mains supply along the way), or a gas camping stove. I have set these up in hotel rooms, ferries, or in the back of the car. There are plenty of different foods than can be made in advance, then reheated. You can prepare soups, boiled eggs, chicken drumsticks. Even veg’s can be cooked before hand, and brought with you.