Hello! My name is Quinn. I am an avid traveler and have backpacked across South East Asia and Europe. I am grateful to have already traveled to 30 countries. I also enjoy road trips, camping, photography and I LOVE food. In April 2011, I discovered that I had a severe gluten intolerance. I actually found out a measly three days before I embarked on a month long backpacking trip around Italy – that’s right, the land of pizza and pasta! Seriously I thought, ‘is this some kind of cruel joke?’ Having already traveled across SE Asia, Western Europe and Scandinavia, I knew how important it was to eat local foods in order to fully enjoy and immerse yourself in the local culture. What would I do now that I couldn’t eat freely? But thankfully, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was able to fully enjoy my trip to Italy, instead of staying curled up in bed with excruciating stomach pain. I had to teach myself about eating a gluten free diet while in Italy. It actually couldn’t have been a better place to learn. From that day forward, I vowed that I would never let my gluten intolerance get in the way of traveling the world.
So I keep traveling…gluten free. I know how much planning it takes me before embarking on a gluten free trip. I want to share my experiences, be they good or bad, so that other people can gather the courage to step out into unknown cities and countries and safely eat gluten free. Sure it’s a scary thought, but if you do your research and know what to look and ask for, there is amazing food around the world that you can still enjoy!
A year and a half after going gluten free, I started getting a lot of stomach discomfort and bloating. By process of elimination, I discovered that it was soy that my stomach no longer could handle. Since then I have gone strictly soy free, guar gum free and have heavily limited my xanthan gum intake. My stomach is much healthier & happier now!!
My mission is to focus on naturally gluten free meals around the world. I try to avoid restaurants that have separate gluten free menus with substitutions scattered across the page to accommodate people with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. You know what I mean: order the burger without the bun, get the grilled chicken without the sauce and order the steak with steamed vegetables instead of the sides that were originally supposed to compliment it. While I am happy that there is more awareness and generally it is easier to eat out today than it was even three years ago, I personally prefer to stick to naturally gluten free foods. When I order a meal at a restaurant, I want to taste it in its entirety, exactly how the chef envisioned it. That’s why I prefer to go to restaurants where the chefs know exactly what is going into their dishes, choosing to use fresh local ingredients.
While traveling, I am still able to enjoy the city I’m in without being strictly limited to a hotel’s menu or the granola bars I packed from home. I want to immerse myself into a local culture. Part of enjoying the culture of the places I travel means eating the local food. I want to show you that it is possible to eat local dishes while you travel. Sure there will be some specialties that are full of gluten that you need to avoid (in those cases I make my boyfriend Ryan taste them to describe them to me!). But there is a whole world out there with amazing foods to discover, don’t limit yourself because of your food restrictions. It might be difficult at times, but it sure is worth it!
Note: The writing on this blog is my own opinion. I am not paid to advertise for any restaurants or products.