On Wednesday, I left on a 6:15 a.m. flight from Denver to Baltimore with the final destination of Buffalo, NY. I venture home two times a year: once in September for my nephew's birthday, and again at Christmas. We celebrated Jake's third birthday. I even had my own gluten-free, dairy-free cake, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Traveling as a gluten-free eater can be difficult if you're not prepared. Restaurants and food stops in the airport are full of bagels, muffins, and dairy-filled caffeine options. I woke up at 2:30, made myself an egg sandwich, and was out the door by 3. It takes about an hour to get from my house in Boulder to the long-term parking lot at DIA, and then half an hour to get from the parking lot to the Southwest check-in.
I went through security and headed to Terminal C. It was 4:50 a.m. I wandered over to Caribou Coffee and spent some time looking up ingredients on their website while I waited for them to open. I wanted to make sure I didn't gluten or dairy myself in my early morning travel exhaustion. All of their chocolate contains dairy, so I ordered a simple soy latte. I thought about getting something from McDonalds. I wanted a hashbrown, but those are full of gluten. I decided that one hashbrown wasn't worth it. I meandered to my gate and before long, it was time to board. Despite a small, double shot latte, I slept for the majority of my first flight.
Southwest still provides snacks. I was sleeping when the flight attendant came around, but she left me some peanuts and crackers. I ate the peanuts, avoided the second, gluten-filled snack, and ate my chocolate brownie Lara Bar (I always have a bar in my bag).
In Baltimore, I didn't have to deplane. I stretched my legs and waited for the rest of the passengers to board the flight. It's a short flight from Baltimore to Buffalo. When I landed, my mom, sister, and nephew were waiting for me. We waited for my bag and then headed to the Mongolian Buffet.
Although this plate looks unsuspecting, I ended up glutening myself. One of those oh-so-delicious rolls had a piece of fish hiding behind some crab. That fish was marinated in soy sauce. I ate the rest of my sushi and continued to live despite ingesting wheat-filled soy sauce.
After letting our lunch sit, we cut the cake. My mom and sister got a fancy Spiderman cake for my nephew. With all its blue frosting, I was pretty tempted,
We found out after cutting the cake that Spidey's eyes glow!
The next venture during my time home was Thirsty Thursday. Every Thursday, my dad goes to sign-in at a local club. Drinks are a must.
Friday, we went to visit my uncle. I try to see him every time I come home, but especially in September. That's when the best fruit in the world is about ready to be eaten! Although my uncle wan't home, my dad and I headed out back to satisfy my craving.
I filled a bag with purple grapes and we headed home. One of the perks of being home is a freshly-stocked kitchen!
My mom made gf veggie soup (Tim Horton's mug),and I made a gf, df grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Lunch heaven!
My last night in Dunkirk, we ordered pizza. There are very few restaurants in town that offer gluten-free options. Blasdell is one of them. My parents enjoyed a normal cheese and pepperoni pie, while I had a gluten-free dish all to myself.
I couldn't let the fun stop there. About a block from where we live is a local ice cream shop. As a kid, my friends and I would walk down to the Big Dipper and get slushies, shakes, cones, and arctic swirls (the better version of a McFlurry). Since I didn't get dairy on my pizza, I figured my body could handle a little ice cream.
I wasn't sick to my stomach that night, but by the time I got back to Boulder on Saturday, my body was ready to return to my normal eating habits.
That meant Chipotle! It's my tradition to get Chipotle whenever I get back from DIA.
I ended my hometown dietary challenge by indulging in a gluten-free, dairy-free burrito bowl with chips and guac from Chipotle. Although my eating habits weren't the best while in Dunkirk, I survived. I didn't eat a delicious pumpkin muffin from Tim Hortons, or any of the seasonal baked goods they're offering right now. Yes, I glutened myself a little, but if I ever moved back to western New York, I am confident I would be able to survive as a gluten-free individual.