Being a Fussy Foodie

Food intolerance on holiday

Being a Fussy Foodie – whether you have a food allergy, food intolerance’s, are picky about what you eat or are just trying to eat healthy – is difficult enough but when you go on holiday well this can be a challenge. So I thought I would share my holiday food intolerance eating experiences.

A couple of weeks ago I packed my bags for 7 days of late sunshine in Madeira (Portugal). Usual items of clothes you might expect to find, a bit of suntan lotion, a few good reads and in the bottom of my bag some staples… I resorted to not taking soya milk due to the weight, instead hoping that the lovely people of Madeira might have some Fussy Foodies in their midst. However I did pack a packet of sliced Rye Bread, some oats cakes and a supply of seeds and nuts to keep me going.

This might seem extreme but one of the hardest things so far in my Fussy Foodie journey, apart from eating out, has been travelling, especially when you get hungry and need a quick food fix. Last year when I was being extra strict with my food intake (feeling the healthiest I ever have), I travelled with some friends to Morocco, and really struggled on one day to find anything I could eat, so my day consisted of an avocado and some olives. I was so excited when we got back to our friends house in Spain and could whip up a huge Fussy Foodie friendly curry, I still remember it now as I was so excited to get some good food in me.

Amazing food markets

Amazing food markets

Anyway back to Madeira.  Whilst we were away, we stayed in a self catering apartment for most of the trip and a few hotels whilst we travelled to an island (Porto Santo). I was absolutely delighted when we got to the Madeira supermarket..of course lots of fresh fruit and veggies, always expected in Mediterranean countries, plus lots of fantastic soya and gluten free items. I think at one point I was jumping about I was so happy.

Madeira is Fussy Foodie friendly

Madeira is Fussy Foodie friendly

So after the different experiences I’ve had on recent trips away, I have compiled my top tips for coping with Food intolerance on holiday:

  1. Check out local foods where you are going, so you have an idea of how your trip will be food wise. A lot of cultures have tons of bread and rice in their diets so if you are avoiding or cant consume these it’s great to know in advance.
  2. Make sure you know the translation of keywords and take a list with you. For me the most important word was sugar. I’m just wishing now that I appreciated how different Portuguese is to Spanish. My limited Spanish just didn’t help me. The list of keywords is great in shops and restaurants to ensure you get exactly what you need.
  3. Take a small stack of supplies. Anything you know you will need, and pack in main luggage my hand luggage was searched over and over and I am sure it was because of the crazy amount of mixed seeds I had in my bag.
  4. If you have really tricky requirements I would go self catering or be staying somewhere you know is happy to cater for you. Eating is important for health and happiness and it’s important especially when you are trying to relax to be able eat what you need to.
  5. Speak to someone local where you can to see if they are going to have foods that you need e.g soya milk, rye bread. Most European countries I have been to have catered fantastically and I have in most countries found a few new things to try. In eastern Europe though and Africa this was a little more tricky.
  6. Overall be prepared – believe me there is nothing worse than hunting around for food in a foreign country when you’re hungry.

Having a food intolerance on holiday can be a challenge but if you go prepared and know what to expect you can relax, enjoy those precious holiday moments and find surprising tasty treats along the way.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Claire
    December 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Good tips mate – I particularly agree with learning the key food words, since being lactose intolerant I’ve made sure I know the word for milk, cream, cheese etc wherever I go to make sure I know the food I’m eating is lactose free. Plus it means you learn the basics of a new language which is always important when you go away I think.

    I remember that trip to Morocco and you really did survive a whole day on an avocado and some olives, I don’t know how you did it! That curry back at Marks was incredible! I think that was when you were first really getting into making indian and I couldn’t believe how good it was and we seemed to be eating for hours too! WOW!!! Homemade indian everytime! Who needs Sonali! :o) x x x

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