Kalimera my fellow travelers! The hardest part about eating gluten free on a vacation is dealing with cross contamination so I compiled a list of tips I picked up traveling in Greece. When I decided not to eat gluten in solidarity, I realized it's so easy to accidentally gluten other people's food. It's not just the knife that someone else used to butter their "regular" toast, it's the butter container which has the crumbs from the knife that went in for a second helping to cover the rest of the toast. It's seemingly impossible to keep your food gluten free when traveling with others who eat gluten. A few tips I found on my vacation help you keep your sanity and enjoy your trip:
1. Use disposable plates and utensils when possible. That way you avoid crusted on gluten remnants as well as any contamination that may be left behind on the sponge or in the dishwasher.
2. Keep your food in a small cooler in the fridge. If you have a refrigerator, keep a cooler full of gluten free cookies and bread in there. People will really have to go out of their way to put their gluten covered mitts into your bag of gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Also, keep one or two dips and spreads you want in the cooler.
3. Have your own bottle of a beverage. Who can resist the urge of drinking out of the bottle. Certainly not you, so you can understand when others do so without thinking of the gluten they contaminate the bottle with when they put their lips on the rim. Put aside a liter of your favorite and give people a heads up that it's yours by putting it in the cooler.
4. Bring along bars and meal replacement drinks. You don't have to be a wet blanket in the instance you can't find a dish at a restaurant that looks gluten free. These will tide you over and keep you from getting too hangry.
5. Learn to change the conversation quickly from gluten at restaurants. Keep it short and sweet, don't dwell on the details. When you have a chance to find a market, head to the gluten free section. A gluten free loaf of bread comes in handy at restaurants when they serve bread before the meal or as an accompaniment to a chicken salad.
6. Use your best judgment but remember that you are the keeper of your health and others may accidentally serve you something with gluten. While it my take a long time to cope with that fact, understanding that you are ultimately responsible for taking your health into your own hands, especially abroad, will make you a happy traveler!
7. Have fun and meet lots of new people. Remember that vacation is a time to relax even though it's hard to break out of the usual routine. Hopefully these tips will keep you from screaming at your fellow travelers and binge eating that baklava that everyone else in the car is swooning over. Cheers!