So, this weekend I had my first large group camping experience eating gluten free. Why is this so key for me? Because there are no quick stops that can be made if something is forgotten and there is little room for substitutions from other people’s food.
Let me tell you how this went down. First, I got well prepared with the food for me, my fiance, and my friend traveling with us (who is also gluten free). I was quite proud of myself for getting so well prepared. I baked cookies, made homemade tortilla chips, had my gluten free bread, snack bars, etc. Everything seemed well planned out, until we got to our camp site, and there was no GF bread with the food. I’m still not exactly sure where my bread went, as I couldn’t find it when I got back home either, but it doesn’t really matter. Once we were way out there, that’s where we were, bread, or no bread.
Boy was this dissapointing. I had a moment of feeling upset with myself, thinking that it was so stupid to forgetmy bread. But, this feeling could only last a moment, because the truth is, I was not going to go hungry without my bread, I just needed to make a few minor adjustments. Plus, being upset is not the way to spend a camping trip when you are in beautiful Colorado in the mountains right next to a glimmering lake.
My first method of compromise was how to eat my hot dog without a bun. I made an interesting choice that ended up tasting great! I put some black beans in a bowl and cut my hot dog up into it. Then I added some of my homemade corn chips, and threw in a piece of Harvati Cheese. To top it all off, I added a little mustard…and what do you know…I had a meal that actually tasted great! It might sound strange, but it sure got the job done.
Meal number two without bread. So, second day, the plan for lunch is sandwiches. This is where I bummed off another friend who was camping with us, as we did not bring lettuce. I have learned that a sandwich wrapped in lettuce can be just as good as one with bread. So, I took that lettuce and used it as a wrap, with some roast beef, swiss cheese, tomatos and mustard. Ended up being that I didn’t need bread to be satisifed! The rest of the meals didn’t need bread anyways, and I have to say that I never went hungry.
However, despite all of this, I did find myself at risk for cross contamination at one point. Sometimes, when out having a good time, you may find yourself forgetting to ask all the questions. A friend of ours had some delicious hummus dip, that was gluten free….at least orginally. I was offered some and read the label which was gluten free. I was happy to try it and had one bite on a corn chip. Right as I took this bite, I realized I hadn’t thought about what else had been dipped in it. I immediatley asked my friend if any pita chips or something of that nature had been dipped into it. To my dismay, his eyes got big as he realized, that indeed dipped pita chips had been dipped in the hummus. I immediatley decided that this was not safe for me, and did not have anymore.
I started worrying that I had been glutened, but then realized that worrying wouldn’t change the situation, and that I just need to remember to always ask about cc issues and if I’m not sure, then I need to not share that food. I decided not to dwell on it because I couldn’t go and take the bite back, but decided I can use this as an ongoing learning experience. The truth is now that I’m not sure if I was glutened or not. I did have some stomach issues while camping, but this is usually the case for me, just being out of my natural environment and not having accessible facilities. So, I figure I’m not going to stress over it, and just use it as a reminder not to assume something is safe when sharing just because the label says it is.
As for the rest of the trip, I had the best time! You can’t beat being in nature on a beautiful weekend. Hiking, swimming, campfires, roasted marshmellows, campfire homemade chili, playing with my dog, and spending quality time with good friends are things I value and enjoy, and being gluten free will not stop me from doing the things I love! I will continue to learn, and be more prepared, and next time, use a check list so I don’t forget my bread!