Traveling with Celiac Disease: O’ahu, Hawai’i

Celiac Disease (CD) can be a real pain in the ass when it comes to traveling. From bringing food onto an airplane, to making sure the CD-sufferer has safe food and snacks throughout the entirety of the trip, it becomes a real ordeal to travel. Some destinations are way more Celiac-friendly than others. This means that a lot more prep and research has to go into any trip.

Our rules for safe Celiac eating:

  1. 100% dedicated gluten free facilities are always the best.
  2. Restaurants with dedicated food allergy areas and protocols are second best.
  3. Restaurants with airborne flour are a hard no. Looking at you, non-segregated pizza spots.
  4. Other restaurants that are confused when Celiac or wheat allergies are mentioned is a hard no. These places are extremely risky.
  5. Every restaurant that is not 100% dedicated gf gets questioned on how safe they are, and the order noted it is for a Celiac and gluten-allergic eater. Gluten-allergy doesn’t exist, but more people recognize the severity of an allergy versus Celiac Disease.

We recently traveled to O’ahu to celebrate our cousin’s wedding, and it was a treat! Perusing Find Me Gluten Free got me very concerned about what I’d be able to eat since it didn’t seem like a lot at first glance, but being located in an extremely touristy area worked to my advance in finding safe food.

We stayed around Ko’Olina in a villa with a full kitchen. All of the resorts around us had restaurants that could reliably accommodate CD, but we kept heading back to Aulani (Disney). Character dining, buffet, Disney! 🐶

Hawaiian Airlines: Breakfast

Hawaiian Airlines breakfast box

Breakfast box!

Surprisingly, we actually got breakfast on our flight to Honolulu. The yogurt was actually gluten free, and the silverware wrapped in plastic, so the cross-com risk was minimal. I stayed away from the grapes, granola, and the wrapped onion corn cake thing, just in case.

(The cake smelled really good, though!)

 

ABC Store/Island Market by ABC

Island Country Markets by ABC Stores in Ko'Olina

Taken by Yelper T. Anthony N.

Unfortunately no pictures from me, but the Island Market in Ko’Olina was surprisingly well stocked for cooking at the villa. They stock fresh vegetables, eggs, and steak… While also stocking gluten-free bread, drinks (ok maybe I wouldn’t splurge for a $10 orange juice carton but hey), snacks, and pineapple Dole Whip.

Other ABC Stores also stock gf snacks. They’re all over the place, so it’s a safe spot to stop by for a quick refuel. Safe snacks are marked with a “gluten free” sign.

 

Aulani’s Poolside Food (Off the Hook & Papalua Shave Ice)

Disney’s Aulani resort has a number of on-site restaurants and eateries, including some poolside options that are a tad less expensive.

Unfortunately no pictures of this either, but I got a bomb set of kalua pork tacos in corn tortillas with pineapple salsa and avocado with a side of fruit. The food options I had were burgers with gf buns, tacos, salads, and flatbread. Nothing from the fryer unfortunately, but with that many options it wasn’t at all an issue.

The shaved ice from Papalua is gluten free. I didn’t inquire about getting the condensed milk at the time, but the shaved ice by itself was pretty darn good. 🐠

 

Aulani’s Makahiki Character Breakfast Buffet

 

Character breakfast was a real treat at Disneyland, but I found that Aulani’s character breakfast was just as good. Disneyland’s Mickey waffles win out for being mochiko based, but Aulani won with an eggs benedict — something I never really had a chance to have before. In this buffet, the chef will walk you down the buffet and ask you what you want to eat. Food came directly from the back with allergy sticks on them. It was a really good variety!

The show was also cute, and it was totally worth it. Loved hearing the auntie sing and go through the different routines. We had a visit with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy at our table. 🙂

Aulani’s Makahiki Dinner Buffet

 

Non-character dinner, and that’s OK! My only complaint is that this buffet is totally aimed at the seafood lovers. I got to have a lot of different foods for dinner buffet, which was totally awesome. Same thing as breakfast: chef walked me through the line and asked what I wanted. I’ve never had poke and some of the other foods before, so I got a plate. (When we went to Disneyland’s Storytellers Cafe for dinner buffet, they couldn’t accommodate me at the time and I went for a meal instead. So it was nice to have another buffet style meal.)

Meals I received:

  • Rice, mashed potatoes, prime rib, and fruit
  • Pasta bolognese
  • Poke 🙂
  • Ham & prime rib
  • Sushi
  • Glazed salmon, pork chops, some other beef thing
  • Tapioca pudding w/ mango and fresh fruit on top
  • Pineapple & watermelon

 

Dole Plantation – BBQ Corn

No pictures of this one either, but there’s a stand right outside of the Dole Plantation building that has BBQ corn. I pestered them enough times to figure out that yes, it is gluten free, no, they don’t deal with gluten in the stand, and that they use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce if you get that corn.

 

What I missed

There were multiple restaurants that I missed in Ko’Olina that were Celiac safe: Ama’Ama in Aulani, Longboards at the Marriott, and one at the Four Seasons. Ama’Ama has a beautiful view of the sunset in the evening, but with the amount of food and leftovers I had it just didn’t make sense to spend more $$$. There were also a few restaurants in Waikiki itself that were Celiac safe and you can find those on Find Me Gluten Free that I also skipped for the above reasons.

 

TLDR

Get a place with a kitchenette just so you’re not spending a lot of money, but otherwise, O’ahu was totally fun and safe for this Celiac sufferer.

A quick primer on spelling Celiac Disease

 

Something I’ve seen all around the interwebs is the mispelling of the autoimmune disease, such as Celiac’s Disease or Celiacs Disease. Let’s quickly make a correction!

The real spelling of the disease is:

Celiac Disease OR Coeliac Disease

The reason it’s spelled as such is thanks to Aretaeus of Cappadocia, who named the condition a few thousand years ago “koiliakos,” coming from the Greek word “koelia,” which means abdomen (Guandalini, 2007). The word was translated into Coeliac, then is now known as Celiac in some parts of the globe. Both spellings are correct.

However, the disease is not named after a person, so Celiac’s Disease is incorrect.

Celiacs Disease is also incorrect, but you can call a group of Celiac Disease sufferers Celiacs in normal conversation.

Reference:

Guandalini, S. (2007). A brief history of celiac disease. Impact: The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center Newsletter, 7(3), 1-2.

How To: Make Colonoscopy Prep Easier

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Colonoscopies, the step-child of procedures that no one really wants to discuss or talk about or even get. The one where the prep is far worse than the actual procedure itself. The one where you have to drink some real nasty prep or drink a few litres of fluid. That procedure.

One of the procedures that are actually incredibly important for someone to get in their lifetime. It helps doctors to see, up close and personally, what’s going on in your lower intestines. A pill cam might be able to zoop right through, but you can’t get the same kind of look without doing a colonoscopy.

Getting one as a young Celiac definitely gets comments from your surgery staff. “You’re so young!” said the nurse right before I went to sleep. It’s not my first or will be my last rodeo, folks. It also doesn’t have to be hard!

Since I failed my first prep horrendously, my husband and I looked around for tips and tricks for making the rescheduled exam easier. Here are my tips after the cut.

Continue reading →

How To: Gluten Free Pain au Chocolat

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My petit pain au chocolate (too thick!)

Puff pastry. I never had the opportunity to play with it before I was diagnosed, but thankfully they’re starting to come out with GF puff pastry sheets so you don’t have to suffer through attempting to make it. French Picnic sells a 2-sheet pack of GF puff pastry for $13. I bought mine from a local Whole Foods.

Leadbetters GF French Pinic Puff Pastry

Leadbetter’s French Picnic GF Puff Pastry (from Good Eggs)

It was easy to work with: let it defrost, roll it out (which I didn’t do and regret), cut some rectangles, fill the center and fold upon itself. Brush egg mixture on while you’re doing this.You treat it the same as regular puff pastry and can just follow a regular puff pastry recipe to get the same results.

I didn’t roll my puff pastry out and found that it was way too thick to really eat. It was very buttery and flaky, which I didn’t expect, and found that it was also made from Cup4Cup.

The GF Puff Pastry is pretty expensive but it’s definitely worth it for a homemade gluten free breakfast or treat.

How to… Stock a Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen

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updated 12/28/16

Since I was diagnosed last year, I’ve found that Asian recipes are hands down the easiest to convert to gluten-free than many other types of cuisines. A lot of recipes only require some minor replacements, if any, which makes it so much easier to stress out less!

As always, double and triple check the label to confirm gluten-free status. This list is always growing! You’ll also see it’s a lot of Korean stuff… sorry. 🙂 There are also affiliate links for any Amazon products.

Here’s a list of items that are really fundamental to the Asian kitchen:

Tamari Soy Sauce: just to get this off the list, soy sauce is first. There are a few different brands now offering gluten-free, from San J to Kikkoman to others that you’ll find in some Japanese markets. You’ll commonly find San J or Kikkoman at regular supermarkets, though.
Here’s a black-label San-J available on Amazon.
[Fun fact: 조선간장 (Joseon Ganjang) was made from soybeans, salt and water — no wheat!]

Mirin/mirim: [either hon (true) or aji] A must in any Asian kitchen, you will be able to easily find a gluten free mirin/mirim. Not the same as sake, has a lower alcohol content.

Sake: Alcohol. Also easy to find, and should be easy to find gluten free. You will want both mirin and sake.

Sesame Oil: Used in a lot of things, easy to find gluten free.

Gochujang: Red Pepper Paste. This is the toughie. A lot of gochujang is made with wheat nowadays, unfortunately, but is similar to soy sauce in that it was originally GF. There are some more nowadays like Chung Jung One and Wholly Gochujang, but it’s tough pickings. I plan to attempt to make this from scratch soon. [12/28/16 edit: Chung Jung One recently responded to my review on Amazon saying that it’s tested and is GF]
Here it is on Amazon: Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce 7.5Oz.(Pack of 2)

Oyster Sauce: Another one that’s somewhat hard to find, Lee Kum Kee makes a gluten free oyster sauce that looks to be pretty reliable. May be found at Whole Foods or another local crunchy supermarket.

Doenjang: Soybean Paste. The process of making doenjang typically makes soy sauce, this is extremely hard to find GF. Wholly makes a GF version, though. [12/28/16 edit: It tastes just as good as the non-GF version, so buy it up!]
Here it is on Amazon: Wholly Doenjang

Gochugaru: Red pepper powder. Easy to find GF, a lot of bags will be purely the red pepper and nothing else. I use a pepper powder + orange zest mix I found at the Korean market with no issues. Can also make from scratch with dehydrator.

Vinegar & Rice Vinegar: Filipino food uses a LOT of the regular vinegar, and you can’t go wrong having rice vinegar on hand. Both of these are easy to find and GF.

Noodles are another story, which I haven’t had a chance to really look at yet. I’ve seen some japchae noodles stamped with gluten free at the Korean store but haven’t confirmed if actually GF or not.

photo credit: JapChae via photopin (license)

How To: Gluten Free Tonkatsu

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For a while after I was diagnosed, I gave up making tonkatsu, one of our favorite weekly dinners (that also tastes good a day after). I tried making it again with Aleia’s gluten free bread crumbs but it just wasn’t the same.

However, one day at Sprout’s, I came across this…

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Kinnickinnick’s Panko Style Bread Crumbs

Kinnickinnick’s has had a pretty good track record for taste, so I really really really wanted to give it a shot. I took this home, flour’d some pork with Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 gluten free flour (not the beany one), used this panko, and BAM! It was PERFECT. Husband doesn’t usually care for my GF food, but this worked out perfectly.

All you’re doing is following the basic tonkatsu recipe, except exchanging out some core ingredients (here’s Just One Cookbook’s if you need pictures):

  1. Obtain pork chops and free from packaging, mix up egg(s) — mix up about one for every two or three chops
  2. Heat up oil
  3. Dust pork chops with gluten-free flour — make sure to cover entirely on both sides
  4. Dip pork chops in the egg mix
  5. Cover entirely with gluten-free panko
  6. FRY! Until it’s a good brown and crunchy color

That’s literally it. Top it off with Bulldog tonkatsu sauce and you’re all set to yummy. 🙂

Freebie: Food Diary Planner Insert

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Maybe I just haven’t found the right one, but food diaries tend to suck for what I’m trying to keep. Either there’s not enough space, or the focus is on things like calories and nutritional details, while I’m trying to figure out what foods are causing responses. It sucks.

I’ve made a food diary insert that is an 8.5 x 11 and isn’t too color heavy. There are a bunch of lines if you’re a snacker … like me. 🙂

Download it here (PDF):

Food Diary Planner Insert

Since this is my first time, I’m open to any comments and critiques on how to make this darn thing better. It looks really boring, but hey, look at this blog … fits the theme.