Deposits sent, invitations went out, flights are booked…. Bride to be- diagnosed with celiac disease.
Last summer, we were going through the process of planning a wedding. There are so many decisions to make and this can be a very stressful process if you let it. For us, a tropical destination wedding was the way to go from the very beginning. There are so many beautiful options to chose from it was hard to decide. Craig’s mom recommended Sapphire Now in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. It’s an all inclusive resort with a beautiful beach and pool just south of Cancun. What more could we ask for?
After most of our guests had booked their trips, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This glorious all inclusive resort we chose now became a concern for me. Besides the bridal shop ordering the wrong wedding dress, this was my only source of stress through the entire wedding planning… go figure! What the heck was I going to eat? To be honest, I put off thinking about it until two months before the trip. I let myself acclimate to the gluten free lifestyle and focused on the day to day concerns. When I was ready, I turned to the internet for support. I searched threads to see if fellow celiacs have visited this particular resort and what their experiences were like. The reviews were not consistent so I knew it was going to be an interesting trip but I stayed positive and hopeful.
There was a lot of good advice on the internet. There are translation cards for a gluten free diner that you can give to the server in every language.
Being the distracted bride… I forgot my translation cards at home and they were still in the printer when I got back. When you are the bride, your feet really aren’t on the ground and you aren’t exactly thinking straight. We had 40 people flying in from all over the country with various travel issues which is another post entirely… If I were thinking straight, silly me could have printed them while I was there. It never even crossed my mind!
Other tips I read were to pack your own snacks. I used a lot of precious suitcase space to make sure I wouldn’t starve. I brought snacks which included protein bars, cereal, peanut butter, pretzels, protein powder, and crackers. Besides the liquid (alcohol) aspect of my diet… that’s mainly what I lived on for 6 days.
If you’ve read About Me or my other posts, one thing you may have realized is that food is important to me. For those 6 days in Mexico, food was put on the back burner. When I get ‘glutened’ I am not able to function and I was concerned it would effect my trip and more importantly, my wedding day. I wanted to avoid getting sick at all costs. I avoided it so much, I barely ate. I don’t recommend going about your travels in a similar fashion because when it was over, I was hungry.
Breakfast each day we ate at a buffet style restaurant and for a celiac, this experience can be daunting. I walked through it the first two days torturing myself by looking at what I knew I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t help it. It’s like staring into the sun. I didn’t take a chance and brought cereal with me each day while everyone else had what we used to call- “A Shmorgy Borgy”, better known as a shmorgishborg.
There were about six restaurants to chose from for lunch and dinner and the menus varied. My experiences were hit or miss and not being able to speak spanish made it all the more interesting. Good thing I started eating meat a month earlier because there weren’t many options for a vegetarians. It wasn’t an easy decision and you can check out my post here. The first night at dinner I explained my allergy to the waiter and ordered a plain steak with nothing on it to avoid sauces or marinades. When my plate arrived, it had two tortillas resting right on the plain piece of meat. This was discouraging and Craig was becoming impatient. When he gets frustrated, it seems to relieve my stress for some strange reason. It was an east fix and the waiter brought me a new steak sans tortillas and it was free of gluten.
The next night, I had a completely different experience. The waiter and I were able to communicate very well regarding my allergy and I was brought an even more delicious dish that included a filet and fresh veggies. That was the only meal I ate the entire trip. It was amazing and I felt comfortable that my waiter understood my dietary concerns. From what I hear, I wasn’t missing too much as far as the food goes but sometimes it’s hard to tell if people are just trying to make me feel better.
There are other things to consider when in another country such as alcohol and excursions. Alcohol wasn’t really an issue for me because they had wine and Smirnoff vodka and I just varied what I mixed it with. I definitely avoided the frozen poolside beverages just to be safe. As far as excursions, we went on a deep sea fishing charter for 6 hours one day. When we got to the dock there was a deli to buy lunch and drinks. My trusty protein bars came in handy because this deli was not gluten friendly nor did I want to take away from the experience trying to navigate the menu. Remember when I said earlier that I wasn’t really thinking straight? Well, when we were on the boat, the guys were asking who wants a beer and handed them out. I got as far as looking down at the beer in my hand to realize that I couldn’t have it. I didn’t open it or sip it… but talk about a disappointment that I didn’t have another option than beer. It was probably for the best because it sure was rocky out there and my new father-in-law can attest to it! I didn’t let my celiac woes get the best of me and that was a good thing because the charter was so much fun! There were so many fish on the line that everyone had a go. We were catching sailfish left and right that measured up to 7 feet! I can’t wait to do it again.
Puertos Morelos was absolutely beautiful and I will never forget our beautiful wedding on the beach. Celiac disease could have gotten me down if I let it. Food was nit my focus for once and this vacation was more about the experience and the amazing family and friends that traveled to share our special day.
It may sound cliche, but the wedding itself was magical. Every detail that came together was more beautiful than I could have imagined. It was the best day of my life because I married my best friend.
Now for some proof….