I have just returned from my holiday with my family. It was definitely difficult trying to maintain my fructose free lifestyle while living at other people’s houses. I didn’t have as much control over the food that I was eating, but I learnt to deal with it and I now have strategies in place for difficult situations.
I think that the thing that I found the most difficult while I was away was that we were eating out for at least one meal per day. It was usually lunch, but was sometimes morning/afternoon tea or dinner as well. Meals such as lunch and dinner were relatively easy. I would usually have a sandwich or something similar for lunch. The only thing that I was careful to avoid was sauces. This was relatively easy as I would just ask that they made mine without sauce. The dinners that we had out were similar to lunch. I think the thing we had a couple of times was fish and chips. I just avoided the tomato and tartare sauce and the aioli. I can honestly say that I didn’t really miss them that much. However, the one thing that I found really difficult was morning/afternoon tea. I don’t drink coffee, and the only tea that I drink are herbal/green teas. So there was nothing for me to drink that was worthwhile spending money on(I don’t think that bottled water is worth spending $3 on). In the past I would have had a milkshake, or a hot chocolate. Obviously these are both out now. And then everyone else would have a piece of cake, or a tart or a biscuit as well. I definitely felt left out then!
The things that I learnt while away are:
1) Always bring a bottle of water wherever you go. Not only does this save you from spending a fortune on bottled water, but it gives you something to drink when everyone else is drinking their coffee/tea etc.
2) Pack a plastic container of nuts, or baked chickpeas, when you are out and about. It gives you something to snack on when other people are eating things that you can’t. It is also good to snack on nuts etc so that you aren’t tempted to eat junk when there are no healthy, or fructose free, options available.
3) Offer to cook your hosts dinner. Not only is this good manners if you are staying at someones house, but it also gives you the chance to ensure that there aren’t any hidden sugars in the food you are eating.
4) Bring your own – because I wasn’t sure what would be available at the places I was staying in I brought a container full of the muesli that I made. So I just had it with milk in the morning. Easy! Although I did get a few weird looks like I suspected.
5) Learn to try new things – Unfortunately I ran out of said muesli after a few days. This left me with nothing to eat for breakfast. In the past I would have bought some other cereal, but my options are now limited as basically no muesli or cereal is low in fructose. One morning it was either starve or eat what was on offer. So i decided to try Vegemite, which is something that I hadn’t eaten since I was a child, and had turned up my nose at it since then because I didn’t like the salty taste. But I gave it a go and surprise, surprise I actually enjoyed it. And I didn’t starve. Bonus!
6) Don’t bother telling people who don’t want to hear it how much sugar is in something. I found they generally don’t appreciate it! I will write more about this at a later date.
7) If you fall off the wagon, get back on – One day I was suffering from a terrible migraine. Something that I am quite familiar with. Usually I take some mercyndole, have a sleep and then wake up craving sugar for some reason. I would then indulge myself and eat whatever sugary treats I could find. This was the first migraine that I had had since I starting my new lifestyle. Unfortunately when I woke up there was an open bag of jellybeans from the chemist on the cabinet in my room. There were 2 left and I ate them both. They were so sweet to me, but it just made me feel like more (sound familiar?)! So I went downstairs and found some baklava in the fridge. I ate a small bit and then went back to sleep. When I next awoke I again felt like sugar, but resisted the urge to eat any more. It took me at least a day to stop feeling like sugar all over again. I was really disappointed in myself, but I haven’t looked back since then.
So those are my tips for surviving a trip away from home. Let me know if you have any more. Sorry for being out of action for so long! I promise to be way more regular now that I am back at home.