I hear two sides to driving in the desert. First, there's the crowd who says, "There's nothing for miles", and I also hear people say, "It's a beautiful landscape."
It's picturesque on the surface, but below the surface you'll find a vast, amazing and brilliant world to explore.
Deserts are filled with millions of organisms of greens and tans, just staring down at you from their dry, hightop perches above the desert landscape. Its like they are all little versions of Yertle the Turtle from the Dr. Seuss storybook, looking down upon the cars as if to say,"I rule all that I see!".
Moving traffic is the entertainment of the hills and plants surrounding the highway on I-15 in southern Arizona, waiting for the observers in their vehicles to notice the patches of grasses, sagebrush and Joshua trees standing on the landscape. Each patch of greenery is a thriving community of microorganisms, small reptiles and plants. Millions upon millions of these little "islands of the desert" surround the road - contrasting the natural world to the strip of modern world, winding its way through the vast expanse of the desert.
Hiking through the desert is a fun, exciting and exhilarating outdoor experience you will want to have at least once in your life. Sage-scented air swirls around rock formations, and if you know where to look, certain spots have rock art from indigenous tribes dating back hundreds to thousands of years. Art from pre-historic tribes who marked their territory, where they buried their dead, or drawing pictures of the day-to-day activities such as hunting.
The desert offers much to those who stop to look. Take your time, close your eyes, and experience what this fragile location has to offer. Then open your eyes and see the beauty which falls across the landscape.
Insist on Your Choice of Restaurant
Do you really need to be selfish when it comes to eating out? YES, mainly if you have limited choices because of your dietary restrictions. Feeling bad because you think others are loosing out? Drop that feeling of guilt because that other person wouldn't feel the same about the situation if they were in your shoes.
People who aren't GF don't understand what we go through, they think it's silly or our digestive discomfort isn't that bad, and we should just put up with it. Seriously? When is the last time anyone enjoyed having pain and stomach cramps for three days because they ate a doughnut? Maybe some twisted masochist, but for the rest of the living comfortably crowd, we would instead feel good and eat good food, just like everyone else.
Take that gluten-free app, your restaurant guide, or your friend's advice and insist you eat at the restaurant which you CAN eat. The person that says "Well, hey, they have salads!", tell them the last time you checked you were not a manatee.
Be your gluten-free selfie-and own your GF status! Be bold, fearless and insist on your choice of eating establishment because, after all, your tastebuds need to be satisfied just like everyone else!
#2 Find a Gluten-Free Restaurant
Finding a GF restaurant may not sound hard, until you try to look for one, especially in a rural area. Cities have more food choices, and you can easily find a gluten-free option in a town, but what about less populated areas?
One of my favorite tools to find gf restaurants is Find Me Gluten Free App. Jason Elmore, creator of this app, is celiac. He decided to make the app after being frustrated about the difficulty of finding food that is safe to eat when you are eating out.
To find out more about Jason and how he created the Find Me Gluten Free App,
I really enjoy a great road trip. This means an extended weekend or a planned multi-day trip which involves stopping and eating at places I've never heard of. That can be as easy as brushing a furry knot out of my long-haired cat when I'm not sure what's available in the next town, especially when I'm in the middle of nowhere. I've found a few ways to lessen the hardship of gluten-free on the road.
#1 Carry food with you at all times. Yes, and bring a superhero along with you as well (is Captain America available?). This can be easy if you find out what you like and keep it on hand. My suggestion: gluten-free protein bars and cookies. I really like protein drinks (single-serve powder is most accessible, although it can be costly). I take the protein from my bulk container and double bag the protein. This keeps costs down but gives me a few meals to hold me over until I find a safe restaurant to eat at.
Always bring yummy snack foods with you for the ride. Gas Stations do not have many gluten-free offerings, except for Oregon and California. These are the only two states which I have found more than 2 or 3 safe snacks to eat.
My favorite gluten-free snacks are KaPop Snacks, Deliciousness Foods, and Jai Mix. I've interviewed each of these owners on my podcast, and I would feel safe eating these snacks, even on vacation! They are reliable and do not use any gluten in their products or their process.
Remember to not carry chocolate with you on your road trip, chocolate melts, and makes a mess. Be cautious of coconut oil, as this will quickly melt in your car!
Check back for your next gluten-free on the road trip next blog!
How to Avoid Gluten when you are eating while traveling
If you’ve had celiac disease for a while, you already know how to avoid gluten. Accidentally ingesting gluten could be a sign, however, that you’re not being as careful as you should be.
So, what should you do to avoid another accidental ingestion in the future? Here are some simple steps to start implementing now, if you haven’t already:
All Food is NOT Created the Same. Your favorite pre-packaged snack in the United States or Canada may not have the same ingredients in Germany or Mexico. When traveling internationally, NEVER assume the ingredients are the same in different countries, unless the packaged item you are eating is from a company which creates EXCLUSIVELY gluten-free foods.
Always check food labels. First look for the label “certified gluten free”. Products with the certified gluten-free label are safe to eat for celiacs. FDA only allows packaged foods with less than 20 parts per million of gluten to be labeled as certified gluten-free. Here is a reference for helping you understand what to look for on a label. Some sneaky gluten ingredients are: MSG (monosodium glutamate, modified food starch (unless it says corn or potato, assume its gluten) and maltodextrin (a modified food starch)
Keep a gluten free kitchen. You may need to keep separate utensils and cookware to avoid cross-contamination at home. You could also ask your travel companions to eat gluten-free the entire week so as to avoid cross-contamination if you are using a shared kitchen when you are on vacation.
Label food packages. If some of your family members don’t follow a gluten free diet, make sure everything is labeled so they know what they can and cannot touch. Items such as toasters, cutting boards, pots/pans, and other kitchen utensils need to be kept separate at all times. An easy way to do this is to
Have you ever trekked across country in your car? I mean REALLY driven across country, living in your car for several days, taking breaks and staying at hotels and an occasional Air B’n’B ? Now, try a multi-day road trip with four cats, three children, two snakes and a bearded dragon! Yes, that is an experience of a lifetime - and I know because I created THIS experience when I moved from Florida to Utah, and it was the most memorable road trip experience. And right about now you are probably saying to yourself, “this woman is crazy”, you’re right (and my family would agree with you); but the point is, there are many experiences to have while on a road trip, which you wouldn’t get via another transportation.
The road trip you are most likely thinking about are the leisurely vacation types, without the carload of animals and add a SO or a good friend or your family. Driving leisurely down scenic byways
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.