Summer of 2010 was one of the most unique experiences of my life—I spent 22 days on a bus travelling from Atlanta to San Francisco with 39 other teenagers, thanks to ETGAR 36, with the underlying quote: “Nothing can be hated until it is first understood” –Leonardo da Vinci. We hit countless historical sites and museums, while hearing from speakers that represented both sides of social issues affecting America including the following:
-Gun control/ gun rights
-Food availability/federal aid
Now, how does a diabetic-celiac high school student live hotel-to-hotel, bus to foot for twenty-two days? I came to really love sunbutter, pretzels, and space food. Yes, space food. At the time, I hadn’t heard about GoPicnic meals [mentioned in an earlier post!] so I needed something quick and easy that could last in the heat without refrigeration. So, my mom found gluten free freeze-dried meals. All I had to do was add hot water, which I found at any restaurant we stopped at and any hotel breakfast bar, and boom. Food. Was it particularly delicious and satisfying? Eh…not so much. Did I let the fact that I lived on space food and non-perishables keep me from having a life-changing experience? You all likely know the answer by this point.
At the time, I had never travelled alone and managed all of my health issues without support. By the time we finally reached Denver, a family friend met me in a park where we’d scheduled a stop for some free time where I got a meal that I scarfed down as if I hadn’t eaten real food for weeks…but actually…—the salmon, and potatoes, and fruit, and brownies…oh man, I’ll never forget what it was like to have a real meal after all that time. Thanks, Yvonne! My mom had also arranged for the bus to take a few more grocery store stops than the average summer so I could stock up. I had a whole upper storage cabinet on the bus for Brianna food, which of course I ended up sharing with everyone!
Probably the coolest encounter I had on the trip that will be important info in my next post is who I met at a little gluten free pizza stand in Los Angeles. While waiting for some real GF food, I started chatting with another person waiting in line, Daniel. Daniel turned out to be a diabetic celiac university student from Denmark in the US to run a marathon! We met up again the next day for a nice little gluten free treat—Dove Ice Cream bars! —and continued a long term, long distance friendship that resulted in my going to Europe where he and his family would take me on the trip of a lifetime before college started, which I’ll describe the whole next post!
So, the majority of my US travel was on this bus trip, where I did not find restaurants I could eat at and learned to live the ever-so-familiar non-perishable diet of backpack foods. However, I have been to many US cities with family and on separate solo travel where I did find great stops! Chicago, being my hometown, has allotted me endless restaurant recommendations. Here are some of my favorite spots:
Feel free to message and ask for any particular cuisine or location recommendations! I have tons and tons I’ve loved, liked, and hated, as well as determined that they were not entirely gluten free! However, the easiest place by far is Bountiful Eatery. This little, adorable restaurant is 100% gluten free, and a casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot for some quick grub! Yes, you heard it, 100% gluten free. Order anything off the menu. No questions! What a relief. Check out their website or Facebook: Bountiful Eatery Website.
Finally, I’d like to briefly note the restaurants in Ann Arbor that are gluten free, though the majority, as mentioned, are downtown in a nicer area and cost a bit more than the average college meal budget!
–Melting Pot Fondue, also in Chicago!
Take it easy, but take it.