On the final 300 mile leg of our over 2,500 mile journey across the Eastern side of the United States visiting friends, family and national landmarks; It dawned on me just how much we’ve grown as a family. When we started this food restriction journey several years ago – I would have panicked at the thought of a multi-day, multi-state vacation. Straight up freak out, “I’m not capable of miracles” temper tantrum. I would either spend countless stress-filled hours and loads of unnecessary money planning for every possible (and impossible) situation to make it happen or I’d flat out say no; it’s not happening. Either option was neither healthy nor happy for any of us.
We’ve truly come a long way from where we began… and as I reflect – there are 5 themes that rise to the top. These themes are true not only in trip planning, but apply to living with food restrictions in general:
- You can’t always get what you want – Life is a series of compromises. And while I’d love for every meal to be an unforgettable experience of flavor to satisfy my immediate craving – at the end of the day – food is fuel. Eating for nutrition is far more important to sustain energy, mood, performance and long-term health.
- Quality matters – Indeed, we are what we eat. And when we’re eating for energy, mood, performance and long-term health; then it just stands to reason that eating the best quality foods will give you the biggest and quickest returns. Clean eating: whole, natural foods with minimal/no processing are best. Whole grains (brown rice and quinoa are some of our favorites), baked, steamed, grilled or raw fresh-organic produce is an easy choice. Check out the recipes on theCORIEstory.com to help you in planning!
- Communication – While not everyone lives with food allergies, people (for the most part) care about YOU and want you to be comfortable and happy. Be clear on what you can and cannot eat (perhaps suggest replacements) with friends, family or establishments you’re visiting – but do so respectfully. I’ve found that most people love the challenge of prepping food for our restricted needs… and if they don’t – they almost ALWAYS don’t care if I make something myself. Seriously!! The key is having the conversation upfront.
- Be prepared – I truly love the Boy Scout motto – “Be Prepared”. In this case, Be Prepared means simple, travel friendly foods to support you in a pinch. Oatmeal, breakfast bars, fresh-organic fruits and veggies dipped in either home made of store bought hummus or guacamole is some of my must haves.
- Give grace – No matter how hard we try to control a situation, we simply cannot (and should not!). Allowing grace (forgiveness) to everyone, especially yourself, when mistakes happen will help your overall happiness and those around you. This last road-trip, I brought along Shaklee EZ-Gest – a digestive aid that helps alleviates discomfort associated with eating food. This will forever be in my “Be Prepared” and “Give Grace” kit for life in general and especially on our travels. The fact is… mistakes happen (both planned and unplanned). Having a digestive aid on the ready makes “life” comfortable for everyone. 🙂
This vacation is the first excursion we’ve intentionally planned multi-state sleep stops as well as multiple stops on our point-to-point journeys; taking in the supremely diverse geography and cultures of our great nation. I was particularly encouraged to find health food stores and grocers with several gluten free, dairy free and organic options in small town USA. I have a newfound respect for GPS navigation and Google’s search capabilities. Most of all, I’m super proud of my family for taking on this challenge. Life with food restrictions may have a negative ring to it – but the reality is – it has truly been a blessing. These 5 themes are guideposts we use on our journey with food restrictions, while we keep trying till we get it right.
My hope is that you will be encouraged, be brave and be adventurous on your journey. Most of all, keep trying till you get it right.