Holiday Truly #Gluten Free Strategy

As I have just returned from a fab week resting, walking and swimming and sailing (with dolphins, oh yes) in Madeira, with only one reaction to show for it, I thought I would write down the strategy I used to enable me to go on a lovely holiday abroad despite our restricted diets.

It was all in the planning so here is a quick rundown (suitable for EU countries, by the way – non EU countries restrict what food you can take):

2 weeks before: ordered plenty of meat, nuts and fruits to make sure I had enough in. Froze the meat. Made sure I had mayonnaise in the cupboard. Ordered some So-Lo red wine for a treat (blog post to come on this).

2 days before: get eggs, tinned fish, dates and apricots etc delivered from Sainsbury’s.

1 day before: make plenty of muffins, a date loaf, a sandwich loaf, a big bag of mixed fruit and nuts, a box of granola, boil 12 eggs. Packed the wine in bubble-wrap and wrapped it in the beach towels – was fine. Pack mayo, 2 x tinned fish and a couple of bags of dried fruit for emergencies.

On the day: bought a bottle of champagne on offer in Duty Free for another treat!

For breakfast, I had a muffin or granola with locally-bought honey and a boiled egg with some salt (bought sea salt there but this was lucky, I may take some next time). Sometimes I had 2/3 pieces of the sandwich bread toasted with honey. I was lucky to find a non-ascorbic/citric acid range of juice in the very well-stocked supermarket and used that instead of milk of granola. Had I not, I had asked the owners to put a blender in the villa (sounds posh, was one bedroom!) and would have blended some berries/apple.

Lunches were eggs or tinned fish with loads of fresh salad ingredients, particularly red onion, tomatoes and peppers. If going out, I had taken a sandwich box and freezer block and we made coleslaw and I took egg or cooked beef strips to go with it, plus a muffin or two.

Snacks were muffins, a piece of date loaf or nuts and fruit (loads of lovely fresh fruit there; we rather gorged on papaya, pineapple and melon).

Tea was my meat – I took 2 steaks, some beef stir-fry strips and some beef mince. I had that with veggies, making the tomato sauce with lovely fresh tomatoes. And a glass of red – yay! Other days, I had fab fresh local fish. I had taken enough meat just in case as sometimes don’t you find it hard to find fresh fish even so close to the sea?!

Desserts were fresh fruit with broken up muffin or date loaf and honey.

As I said, this worked well. I only got served by a waiter three times the whole holiday – twice with sparkly water whilst P had a pint and once with fresh mango juice which was delicious.

The one headache I got, was my own fault. At 3am (!) when we were setting off, P had put two glasses of juice out; one apple with ascorbic acid and one pineapple with none. Guess which one I drank, not being compus mentis at that time of the morning…? Even though I spat it out as soon as I realised, by the time I was on the plane, my back had gone into spasm and a migraine that lasted the first 2 days of my holiday had started. Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid. Although, (I will whisper this), I am starting to find the migraines are much much milder than they were – is my leaky gut starting to heal, I hope so?

All in all much more successful than most holidays – it pays to be in control as much as you can. Sure, it would have been nice to eat out, but I had deliberately booked a high-up villa with gorgeous views right next to the crashing waves and, absolutely honestly, I don’t think we would have found anywhere as nice as our terrace/balcony anyway.

More details of where we went etc for your interest in the newsletter any day now. Meantime, hope that gives you some inspiration and hope.

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9 thoughts on “Holiday Truly #Gluten Free Strategy

  1. It sounds wonderful, Micki – who, indeed, would want to sit in a stuffy restaurant when you could be on your balcony overlooking the views…..
    Your planning also sounds just great and I am sure will be hugely beneficial to others aiming for a reaction free holiday. We’ll put a link to your post on our forums.

  2. sounds amazing!!! It must feel absolutely wonderfull to be in control! Just a silly question tho: did you pack the meat with you on the plane? How did that go? Just wondering, I’d love to go on holiday sometime again, but the meat and fish might be an issue histamine-wise..

    • Yes it might be an issue there for you, but you can do the other stuff. Meat was in sealed vacuum packs, double-wrapped in a bin bag with a couple of freezer blocks to keep it cool. I put it in my case so it kept cold in the hold rather than in a warm cabin. OK to transport meat for personal use in EU, but always best to check with specific airlines. Let’s hope we can get you well enough for holidays again, then.

  3. Brilliant Micki! I still really struggle on holidays. I suspect that my issues are perhaps not all food related but am determined to conquer it eventually. A week away in England and I’m fine. Go abroad and the skin breaks out. Glad you had such a fab time though. Sounds idyllic.

  4. […] in my I-am-determined-to-have-good-holidays-and-still-stay-well series! Check out the last one in Madeira if you missed that […]

  5. We are just looking into booking our honeymoon with the kids for next August and I found this. Until reading this I had thought that perhaps I might be much less sensitive by then and hence we have been looking at all inclusive resorts. Perhaps we should be looking at a self catering villa instead? For safety? Then I can take food etc and be more careful? I guess I just fancied a proper break from all the cooking, esp with taking 3 kids for 2 weeks too!

    Madeira sounds lush! Dolphins, sailing and biking sounds great too. Can you let me know where you went and whether anyone has any other advice. I’d like to avoid a reaction on my honeymoon if possible!

    • You couldn’t really get much more unsafe than an all-inclusive place, I wouldn’t imagine Debbie! Much as I REALLY understand that break from cooking need, would you rather spend most of your hols feeling ill? I would go self-catering and if you choose to eat out then do so and risk the consequences. Harsh but sadly true. The place we went to in madeira wouldn’t suit you because it was only 1 bedroom but, when we go again, we are going to try and get a villa/apartment in old town Funchal, the capital as it was gorgeous and they had fab markets every day!

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