I am back home after a long weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods. It was a relaxing weekend with great weather. I enjoyed spending time in the sun by the lake, being out in nature, reading, relaxing. My return home is only brief; I am here for one day before I head out on a 9.5 hour road trip. I’m driving across the Midwest, just me and my dog Bella, to visit my family. Also, my youngest cousin is graduating from high school and I am looking forward to attending his graduation party.
For most people, this trip would not be a big deal. It is a pretty straight drive, lots of scenic country. And in the past, for me, it also was not a big deal. I have always enjoyed road trips. But all that changed when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and later that year, celiac disease. Now the trip is a very big deal and requires A LOT of planning. Firstly, one of the most dangerous situations for a type 1 diabetic to be in is being the driver on a long distance road trip. This is not my opinion; this is what I was told by my endocrinologist, and I have also read in my diabetes books. There are many factors that affect diabetes- sitting for too long, heat from the sun beating down on you through your car window, managing food, sleep deprivation, stress, and also trying to regularly check your blood sugar during the drive. Not to mention, driving alone, if I were to have a low blood sugar episode, there would be no one to help me. In fact, there is a stretch that I drive that is so remote that not only are there no homes, gas stations or civilization, but there is also no cell phone reception. So if I were to run into trouble, I’d have to hope another motorist would stop to help.
Additionally, being celiac makes it essentially impossible for me to stop for a bite to eat along the way. That's okay, though. I save money (and eat better!) by bringing a cooler and packing healthy snacks that are gluten free, such as hard boiled eggs, homemade tuna salad, and gluten free turkey sticks. The only issue is that the cooler does not keep food cool the entire 9 hours, so I must bring some food that does not require refrigeration that I can eat later on in the drive. I started purchasing Go Picnic’s gluten free boxes, as they are shelf-stable and have a nice mix of finger foods I can eat while driving. I also bring plenty of fruits, nuts, juice boxes and glucose tabs to treat low blood sugars, and plenty of water.
The goal on the drive is to maintain stable blood sugars that will keep me safe while driving- not to high and definitely not too low, stay hydrated, stay AWAKE driving by myself, and stay nourished with good food. I do not drink caffeine, never have been a caffeine drinker, so I rely solely on getting adequate sleep and taking good care of my health to keep me awake and alert. Caffeine is a drug that I’ve seen too many (or should I say MOST) friends become addicted to and they rely on it to get them through the day. I have never wanted to follow that path, so I stay away from it.
I am looking forward to a safe and fun trip! I will have loved ones calling me along the way to check in, and my sweet dog Bella is good company. I also had my oil changed, my drive belts changed, and my car checked by the dealership to make sure it’s good to go for the long 9 hour drive.
I’ll be staying with my mom when I arrive at my destination, and one thing I won’t have to worry about at her place is cross-contamination with gluten. My mom is ALSO celiac. She was diagnosed by an endoscopy a year and a half after me. So her house is 100% gluten free also. This makes life easier, as I do not have to pack pans and cooking equipment like I normally have to if I stayed elsewhere. She is not dairy free, nor does she follow a Paleo diet like I do, so I generally do pick up some of my own foods to prepare while I am there. This time, I am bringing my Make Ahead Paleo cookbook (by Tammy Credicott) so I will have some yummy, easy recipes to prepare during my stay. I know my family will like the food, as well. Her recipes are quite good. My current favorite is her Chicken with Balsamic “Cream” Sauce and Mushrooms recipe. OMGoodness, it is so darn good.
I’ll blog more once I arrive. Until next time!