Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day One and Traveling Gluten Free

Traveling gluten free hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it still isn’t easy but I definitely feel like I’ve learned a lot from past mistakes.

Since I was traveling to Vermont to essentially perform – run a race – I knew it was going to be extra important to stay fueled properly.

So in the midst of my luggage:

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I made sure to pack some easy food items:

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8 pouches of Almond Butter that are small enough to make it through security. Once I was able to carry on an entire jar of almond butter; another time I had to throw the entire jar away. I’m not really sure what the TSA rule is on nut butters, so now I just pack single-serve packets. I bought these at Whole Foods, but I’ve also seen them at Harrris Teeter and Target.

I also packed a few food bars:

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I am obsessed with these Beard Brothers bars. I picked this up at my favorite running store, Bull City Running.

My first flight this past Friday was at 7am, which meant I was up at 4 to shower and get ready. I was hesitant about security since it was Memorial Day Weekend, so I wanted to give myself extra time. I HATE feeling rushed and anxious about missing my flight, so for me, it’s always best to just arrive earlier than most.

When I arrived at the airport at 5:45, I hadn’t even had coffee yet. But I thought I might sleep on the plane, so I held out. When I reached my connection in Philly, I ate the above food bar and had my first coffee of the day.

In Philly I met up with my first Cabot Fit Team member, Deanna of Teaspoon of Spice. We had a lovely time gabbing about food (seriously I LOVE food bloggers!) and before I knew it we had arrived in Vermont!

Deanna and I were greeted by two more lovely Cabot folks:

From left to right: Kelly, Me, Regan, and Deanna

We had a quick lunch, which honestly wasn’t even interesting enough to photograph. I had a burger – NO BUN – with no fries or salad. Literally just a patty of meat on the plate.

Do you ever walk in to a restaurant and just know that you can’t trust them to make gluten free food? That was the feeling I had with this place, so I stuck to the easiest possible option and warned the waitress that I had a severe allergy to wheat. No bread could touch my food.

That typically works, and I had no reactions after eating my burger. Yippee!

After lunch, Kelly and I made a bee-line for the closest health food store. She and I both knew that the weekend was going to be go-go-go, and we needed to stay on top of eating well.

I bought more almond butter, bananas, gluten free cereal for breakfast, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and 2 1/2 gallons of water:

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I considered buying ALL of the Cabot Whipped Crème I could fit into my purse….

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but decided to hold off. Don’t get me wrong, I could have polished off three of these babies in no time, but I knew we were heading to an event that afternoon and I didn’t want to risk a sugar headache.

Plus it was hard to justify the cream as  “fuel”.Winking smile

After the grocery run, I settled in to my hotel for an hour or so and then headed down to meet the rest of the Cabot Fit Team….and of course, the VAN!

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100% – I would TOTALLY drive this van everyday. I mean, how cute is all that plaid?! We were all so excited to see the van, and being Instagram fanatics, had to take a million pictures of it. Seeing the van was almost an event in itself – it should have been on the itinerary:

4pm. See Cabot Van, Squeal in Excitement, Take tons of pictures, Eat Cheese

After the van excitement, we headed to Lake Champlain Chocolates South End Kitchen, a classroom and cafe attached to Lake Champlain Chocolates. As soon as I walked up to the table I got excited:

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there was CHEESE everywhere!

Craig Gile, a Cabot Cheese Grader, walked us through the aging process and taste profiles of my FAVORITE cheeses.

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We tasted a few new Legacy Collection cheeses, which I had been lucky enough to find earlier this month at my local Harris Teeter. My favorite:

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The White Oak Cheddar, Y’all know I snagged this bar and tucked it in my purse! I LOVE this cheese! I’ve bought a few bars since the first time I tasted it – it’s SO creamy.

Craig also talked about the stringent guidelines used for each batch of milk before the cheese was made. It was really interesting to learn all about my favorite cheese. And we talked about how the blocks become lactose free in the cheese making process AND how they are all gluten free!

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In fact, when I first fell in love with Cabot years ago, it was initially because it was a co-op. Having worked at a co-op, I love the business model. Everyone working together and sharing in the profits, no one getting more than their share. And obviously I fell in love with the taste. But since going gluten free, it’s been SO NICE to know that I can eat Cabot Cheese without any worries. The ingredients are simple, stated, and gluten free.

After eating ALL the cheeses, we enjoyed a light supper at the South End Kitchen. The sweet gal that took my order was super knowledgeable about gluten free, and explained everything that went into the roasted chicken.

Fact: I RARELY eat chicken in restaurants due to marinades. You never know what’s in a marinade!

But, she went through every detail with me, so I felt confident in my food choice:

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Maple rubbed chicken breast, mixed greens, red onion, shaved fennel, carrot, radish, and rosemary walnuts. Dressed with Citizen Cider Vinaigrette.

OMG that dressing! Those walnuts! I literally ate every. single. bite. It was so tasty!

And I thought about that salad the rest of the trip – In fact, I’m dreaming about it right now.

As I’m sure you can imagine, by the time we finished supper, all the bloggers were POOPED! It had been such an exciting day, and it was just Day 1!

Tomorrow, join me for Day Two and a moment that I call every Gluten Free Person’s BEST moment.

Disclaimer: Cabot Cheese paid for my travel to and from Vermont, as part of the Cabot Fit Team. However, I was not compensated for my opinions of Cabot Cheese and my absolute LOVE of Cabot is genuine….and bordering on an obsession.