Coeliac Travel Difficulties

I like to be positive about travel and life with coeliac disease, and of course it’s good to make the most of what you have and be grateful. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy though. This week I’ve been completely out of my comfort zone.

We couldn’t find somewhere to stay in Hampi island with self catering (also can’t seem to find any veg/food markets apart from fruit stalls) so I’ve been eating out everyday which makes me really anxious as I never can tell if the waiter has a 100% understood the severity of cross contamination or what does and doesn’t have gluten in and it feels like a gamble everytime.

Well meaning friends & family in England can find the strictness of a coeliac diet hard to grasp, so of course strangers in a foreign country who have never even heard of coeliac are going to struggle to get their heads around it. Even places in the UK, with it’s food safety laws, that claim to be gluten free can forget to put warnings on their menus about deep fryers used for gluten and non gluten foods etc so it’s no wonder I’m left feeling paranoid whenever I eat out!

Yesterday I was so tired and hungry that I suddenly felt really left out in the restaurant watching everyone around me literally break bread and dip it into each others curries, sharing across cultures and enjoying food together whilst I was scared of what was on my own plate not being sure whether it was safe or not.

So, I let myself be a bit sad about it, got an early night and this morning I’ve taken myself out for breakfast. I’m drinking fresh fruit juice, tea and have just ordered a rice pudding with raisins – all things you pretty much can’t go wrong with gluten wise!

I’m overlooking beautiful paddy fields with vibrant, rich green shoots growing beneath the palm trees and ancient rock formations behind. Ill get lots of fresh fruit for lunch with some nuts and seeds then I will clearly and calmly explain celiac again tonight at a restaurant and get an omelette and salad. It will all be okay and I’ll have a lovely time and be well fed.

Because I know eating out can be difficult I’ve fit my travel plans around my gluten free diet and next week will be going to stay with an ayervedic doctor near Mysore through “workaway”. He has said I am welcome to eat and cook gluten free at his place. This will be considerably better fitted to my needs!

So, sometimes it does get hard. Sometimes I do question how realistic it is to globe trot as a coeliac. But where there’s a will there’s a way and we can definitely find ways to make it work.

I look around me at the breath taking beauty of this place and I’m glad I pushed my comfort zone and dared to travel without being held back by a health condition. Like many challenges in life, it’s well worth the highs and lows.

With love from India x

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