Archive for SWH Series: Road Trip USA

Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 7-10]

Days 7-10– Tuesday, October 27-Friday, October 30
Los Angeles, CA


Los Angeles was new and exciting for me, though I don’t think I could ever bear the traffic. I was thrilled to spend time with my cousin and his family because I hadn’t seen in almost 8 years.

I explained my dietary limitations to them, but I had to cheat when they took me to an Argentine restaurant for tasty veal Milanese (breaded veal). After that, I think my cousin was under the impression that I wasn’t following my plan, because he would take me to sandwich places and bring home pizza. I’m not the pushy type and I was their guest, so I kept quiet and enjoyed what they offered me. The point is that I made the best of what I could and stuck to my plan when I had the chance.

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Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 6]

Day 6 – Monday, October 26
Saint George, UT to Los Angeles, CA
6 hours in the car


The hotel food selection was sub par in the gluten-free department once again, so I ate a hard-boiled egg and a snack bar for breakfast as we hit the road. On the drive through Las Vegas, Katie and I spotted signs for the World’s best Gyros at The Mad Greek in Baker, California and we are determined to find out whether or not this is true.

I tried the Gyro on a Greek salad, and while the portion was enormous and pretty tasty, it was a bit pricey for fast food and I’ve had better. So much for the World’s best Gyro… there’s a lot to live up to when you make such a bold statement.

From there it was a quick drive to Los Angeles where Katie dropped me off so that I could spend a few days with my cousin, his wife, and their three young boys before I headed down to San Diego. They showed me around the area and then took me to West Coast staple In-N-Out.

I had a “Protein Style” hamburger (lettuce around the burger instead of the bun) and french fries. They cut the potatoes right in front of you and there’s no gluten because nothing else at In-N-Out is fried. It was delicious!

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Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 5]

Our Road Trip series went on a bit of a hiatus due to the holidays, but it’s back!  So how did our fearless nutrition correspondent fare after the last we heard from her?…Find out in the entry below dun dun dun…

Day 5 – Sunday, October 25
Snowmass Village, CO to Saint George, UT
8 hours in the car

We started the day by walking the dogs around Aspen on a gorgeous day. On Katie’s quest for coffee, we were referred to a place described as having “great hangover food” called Johnny McGuire’s Deli. I had their Huevos Rancheros-fried eggs and homemade salsa served on corn tortillas (no cheese, no sour cream). I wasn’t hungover but it was definitely great! On the road, I snacked on yogurt, a snack bar, and apples. Oops, I forgot to eat a meal somewhere… The drive from Aspen and into Utah is one-of-a-kind. Even though I have flown to California from the Northeast before, I had never driven further west than Chicago, so all the changes in scenery and landscape were really stunning up close.

I spotted a Chili’s as we were getting off the highway for the hotel in St. George, so I checked out their gluten-free menu before ordering Chili’s To Go. They have very informative Allergen Information page on their website, with specialized menus dedicated to each of the eight major allergens. I ordered a half rack of the Original Baby Back Ribs that came with broccoli and carrots, and snack on an apple and almond butter before bed. Yum!

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Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 4]

Day 4 – Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Lincoln, NE to Snowmass Village, CO
11 hours in the car

The breakfast selection at the Motel 6 was almost entirely wheat-based: cereals, bagels, muffins, etc. I grabbed an apple and Katie, the dogs, and I were on our way. I was feeling pretty happy about bringing those nuts and snack bars right about now. We entered beautiful Colorado and our lunch stop was Wendy’s and I was blown away by their gluten-free selections. I learned my lesson and used my handy, dandy, internet-capable phone to check what I could eat beforehand. Wendy’s website has an up-to-date, well-organized page dedicated to their menu items without gluten. I decided to make up for not eating much yesterday and ordered a cup of chili without cheese and a baked potato! What can I say? I’m a soup and chili kind of girl.

I am full until we get to my family friend’s apartment where we’re staying in Snowmass. Katie and I wanted to take advantage of the kitchen to make a home-cooked meal and there happened to be a grocery store very close to the apartment. I restocked on snacks for the road before we dined on grilled chicken, brown rice, and, you guessed it, soup! Pacific Natural Foods has great gluten-free broths and soups. Katie and I tried the Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup and we loved it (even though it is dairy-based… sorry Stephanie!).

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Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 3]

Day 3 – Friday, October 23rd
Chicago, IL to Lincoln, NE
8 hours in the car

Woke up early, had some scrambled eggs, and left for Nebraska! My snacks and lunch consisted of a snack bar, almonds, and a banana. It’s hard to remember to eat when you’re sitting still all day, driving through cornfields, but I’ll try to improve on this tomorrow. The only nearby eatery was a Quiznos across the street from our hotel in Lincoln where I planned to get a big meal to make up for not eating that day. Planned is the key word here because things didn’t go quite as I imagined.

Me: “Are any of your soups gluten-free?”
Cashier: “What?”
Me: “Are any of your soups gluten-free?”
Cashier: *blank stare*
Me: “Do any of your soups not have wheat or barley?”
Cashier: “You want wheat?”
Me: “No, I can’t have wheat…”
Cashier: “Soooo, you want a sandwich?”

I spotted another employee and waved them over.

Me: “Are any of your soups gluten-free? Or do you have a binder or booklet that lists the ingredients in your soups?”
Employee: “I don’t know, but I can give you the bag the soup comes in. It says something on there that I can’t ready because my eyesight isn’t very good.”

He went in the back and came out with a half-congealed bag containing a serving of tomato basil soup. All right, we’re making progress here! Until I looked at the bag and read, “PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw in microwave for…”

I had read enough. I settled on the Classic Cobb Salad that comes with grilled chicken, which seems like a good choice. Back in my hotel room, I Googled Quiznos’ gluten-free items and found an “allergen table”. The only menu items that don’t have gluten are the salad dressings and the fruit parfait. I chalked it up to their salads coming with flatbreads on the side until I noticed that even the Honey Mustard Chicken Salad that doesn’t come with flatbreads is indicated as having gluten. Further research on blog posts on celiac.com say to stay away from the grilled chicken strips at Quiznos. I’m not sure about the reliability of these blogs, but there isn’t anything else in the salad that COULD have gluten. What’s gluten doing in grilled chicken that isn’t marinaded? And what else is in the chicken? Lesson learned: we are not going back to Quiznos on this trip.

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Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 2]

Day 2 – Thursday, October 22nd
Chicago, IL

Katie and I decided to break up the trip by spending a day in Chicago.  Unfortunately, it rained all day so we stayed around Whitney’s apartment since we couldn’t take the dogs anywhere and things can get messy when they are left alone in a new place.

I had some Yoplait Light mixed berry yogurt for breakfast and chili leftovers for lunch.  I met up with a family friend at a wine bar for dinner, where I was hoping to eat a small snack.  All they had were pizzas, cheese plates, and fried food.  Needless to say, my snack was a glass of wine…it’s just like eating a handful of grapes, right?

Luckily, Whitney and Katie had made delicious gluten-free pasta primavera full of broccoli, tomatoes, red peppers, and onions for dinner when I got back!

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Road Trip USA: Nutrition Edition [Day 1]

Day 1 – Wednesday, October 21st
Bridgewater, NJ to Chicago, IL
12 hours in the car

Ready, set, go!  I packed an assortment of apples, nuts, and Stephanie-approved snack bars, and I had a filling breakfast of scrambled eggs with feta and gluten-free toast before Katie and dogs picked me up.

We drove through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and stopped at a Panera in Ohio of lunch to getthe Fuji Apple Chicken Salad without cheese.  It even came with an apple for later!  I was hoping to get a gluten-free, casein-free soup, but none of their daily offerings fit the bill.  The cashier was friendly and helpful enough to bring me a binder that lists all of their menu items along with any allergens they contain.  Despite the limited menu for me, it’s great that they have that information handy.

Late on, Katie and I were received in Chicago with delicious, homemade turkey chili courtesy of our hosts, Whitney (friend from New Jersey) and Joe (her boyfriend and the cook).  End of Day 1 and so far, so good!

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