Food Allergies As Holiday Frustration?
Imagine you arrive at your holiday destination you have been looking forward to for months and on day 1 you are confronted with food allergies and food intolerances in your family.
Those nasty unexpected things like food allergies that can screw up your idea of the perfect start of you well earned quality family time. I use the word idea purposely. Because I found out it that is just what it was. In our mind we make up that vacation has to be perfect, but vacation is like any other day in life. You have to take care of the most important things in life first. And well if you have food allergies and intolerances popping up that’s kind of in the category urgent.
So we, the Dutch Nomad Family, arrived in our home country after 24 hours of traveling that it took us from Bali. Within 48 hours Thijs started showed symptoms of food allergies, which affected his skin and caused itchy eyes.
We already know cheese is a no go for us. Can you imagine this being the case for a Dutch Vegetarian! But as with everything, you do get used to it and at some point the joy of eating this Golden Delicacy doesn’t match the negative effects on your body.
So after only 2 days of leaving our home in Bali Thijs started developing a rash around his mouth, which over the next 2 days spread all over his face and later his arms and legs. While dealing with ignoring a jet-lag, the cold, catching up with friends and keeping a business running, my fogged mind and off balanced body where working hard on observing food intake and comparing it to Thijs’ normal diet.
It may not be a surprise that the big change was the amount of candy, ice cream, bread with “hagelslag” and “beschuit with muisjes”. My kids do get candy, ice cream and bread back in Bali, but that would be in the form of an organic fruit lollipop, energy balls, sugar free candy, 80% dark chocolate, 1 slice of sourdough or black rice bread with almond butter and occasionally a vegan ice cream.
When I got to this point of realization it became simple, but also hard. Why hard? As I said earlier it takes some time to get into a rhythm a again and than you have to deal with an issue on top of kids wanting to play, eat and enjoy the stuff they don’t normally have. However, something being a challenge has never been an excuse. So I talk to friends, share on Facebook and start finding places I can buy gluten free foods.
I just want to take time here for a sec to sympathise with all moms who have gone through this and are confronted everyday with food allergies and related issues. I’m proud of you that you found your way through all the food labels that almost always says traces of gluten, nuts and seeds. Unbelievable even in the organic health shop this disclaimer is on the oats!
As you I found my way through all the labels and found gluten free products. So I bought gluten free breads, crackers, vegan cheeses and spreads. Stocked up on fruit and raw vegetables suitable as snack and felt ready to start our road trip. I also started using TripAdvisor to look for Vegan Restaurants. This actually has brought us to some awesome unexpected places during our explorations and has made us meet lovely like-minded and inspiring people.
Having our travel food supply in order I realised I needed to do something about the symptoms of Thijs his rash as well, so I got a prescription from the doctor.
Parallel I search in the awesome database of Integrative Nutrition (my health and lifestyle tribe), watched a module on food and simple preparation by Joshua Rosenthal. Totally inspired by his “simple cooking” approach I feel empowered to pull this of during traveling as well. Grateful for the reminder of letting the kids help me with food preparations I get the feeling this food challenge it’s becoming a family effort and joyful experience instead of a weight on my shoulder.
A little side track confession from my side: it always surprises me how I can forget my normal patterns so easily when I board a plane and get into traveling mode.
A week into our travels I can now say that the frustration I felt in the beginning has developed to accepting and surrendering to the circumstances. As strange as it may sound it turns out Thijs his allergy actually gives me the opportunity to gather new experiences and connect to people on the subject I love most in life: the relation between health and lifestyle and the role of food in that.
I feel here lies one of my biggest tasks as a mom, educating my kids on food and the effect on it on their body. Unexpectedly this subject has become a part of our holiday itinerary, but as we love exploring, this will for sure provide us with new fun nomadic experiences.
As we were in Paris, I made Thijs and Isis aware on how they feel after they consume some of the local food. And believe me, they have to think hard when I ask them to put the pleasure of eating a croissant in perspective to life experiences like going to the summit of the Eiffel Tower. I commit myself to educating my kids on the value of a happy and healthy lifestyle and how it will affect the way they feel and therefore what they will accomplish in life.
Enjoy Local Foods, Eat Wise and ‘Bon Appetit’!
Inge, Tom, Isis and Thijs aka Dutch Nomad Family