First off, if you haven’t read Part 1, go ahead and do that. It will explain how my family prepares for travel.
So here’s what really happened while I was in Cancun…
When we landed I was a little discombobulated. I had thought that my email and phone call prior to coming down would have covered me for the trip without having to do extra work.
Assumptions will cost you a heavy price. I knew it was best to not get hungry and come prepared. When we arrived we were handed a fruit drink as well as offered olives and some nuts. I initially took a sip and then did a double take since not all drink mixes are free of gluten or other allergens. I had some olives and some nuts which seemed relatively innocuous… Only to find out after tasting that one of the nuts definitely had a gluten coding. Thankfully, I put it delicately into a napkin and immediately took activated charcoal and a digestive enzyme called Spectrazyme. I considered myself cautioned from that point forward…
Our suite at this particular resort included a complimentary minibar. This is where some advance knowledge of allergens translated into the language of the country you are visiting is useful. Clearly, I was glad I had prepared and brought snacks “just in case”.
I realized for my peace of mind and enjoyment, it would be a good idea to speak with someone regarding my food sensitivities and allergies while on their “campus”. I was provided a letter and given assurance that there were options available to me as long as I presented the letter each time that I went into the restaurant. I was more concerned about how I would navigate the buffets…
I walked down to the buffet the first night, with my letter in tow, and asked to speak to a chef or a manager who could help me navigate. They were extremely kind; they took the letter and proceeded to get the chef who walked through each station and let me know what was in each of the items. I was able to remember which items would be OK. Luckily for me, there was a wide selection available. Even greater than I had originally imagined… It never hurts to ask!
By doing a little prep work and speaking to the right people I was easily able to manage and avoid allergenic exposure while eating at the resort restaurants and buffets. The biggest challenge was when we went off site to Tulum. I hadn’t gotten sufficient information before leaving and wrongfully assumed that a snack would be provided on our excursions. Sadly, the only thing out of the “snacks” I could eat that were provided was an apple and a bottle of water. I was thankful a friend had brought money and we were able to get chicken, vegetables and guacamole before boarding the bus.
The next excursion I was better prepared for; I brought beef jerky and some Holy Crap! hot cereal. It worked well enough.
Here are some of my meals and snacks:
I had some alcoholic beverages. I stuck to wine, tequila, and rum. All of these are gluten-free and dairy free. I was obviously not hundred percent sugar-free :-).
I also “cheated” by having a few corn chips on the last two days with the guacamole. It was not a staple of what I ate because
I also “cheated” by having a few corn chips on the last two days with the guacamole. It was not a staple of what I ate because corn is one of my allergens although lesser, I did not want to “tip the scales”.
And once again as I mentioned before, I was really glad that I had brought some snacks with me so that I could have a treat like a piece of chocolate since most of the desserts were completely off the list for me :-).
Tips for when you arrive at your destination:
Contact the reception desk and ask them the best way to handle managing your dietary needs while you are there.
Become familiar with your allergens names in another language if applicable.
Bring treats and snacks that are non-perishable in the event of an offsite excursion where there are a few unknowns. These treats are also helpful in place of a dessert that you cannot have.
Make sure that you also bring your digestive enzymes, activated charcoal and a good sense of humor. A good attitude knowing that sometimes life happens and your flexibility will certainly help you in recovering if you do have a cross contamination.
Once you get home though be as strict as possible to help support you when you go back to the stressors of your daily life. Just sayin’.