1. How will my husband with Celiac Disease be able to find gluten-free options and eat safely in other countries?
2. How will I maintain my current exercise routine while being on vacation?
3. Will I be able to indulge in delicious cuisine without compromising my nutrition?
4. How will I pack for ten days in a small backpack!?
Our first stop was a 2.5 day stay in Paris, France. Filled with breathtaking landscapes, ornate buildings, and quaint cafés, Paris' beauty instantly superseded my expectations. Our first day was spent mostly touring around the city, capturing famous sites like Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, and the Pantheón; cheering to a few glasses of wine in outdoor cafés, and fighting our jet lag with a few shots of espresso.
To answer my first question, finding gluten-free options for my husband was surprisingly very easy and convenient! Before we left, I looked up several gluten-free restaurants in Paris that would give us some options. (Shout out to Gluten Free Mom's Blog with so many helpful tips and recommendations with how to eat gluten-free in France). Honestly, though, we only ended up going to one of those restaurants because finding gluten-free meals was that easy! Restaurants typically post their menus outside so that you can look at them before walking inside. We also explained to our waiters and waitresses that we needed gluten-free options and they were very accommodating.
As far as exercise was concerned, we had no problem with being physically active on our trip. Instead of taking the buses and trains around Paris, we walked. This was more fun, too, because we got to experience more of the city, take more pictures, and burn off some extra calories too! If you are thinking about heading to Paris, I'd also highly recommend walking up the Eiffel Tower, instead of taking the elevator. We went around 9 AM and there was no line for the steps, while there was already a 1.5-2 hour wait for the elevators. Walking up the Eiffel Tower was such a fun experience, too! Since the steps were far less crowded than the elevators, we were able to take a lot more photos and it felt a lot less claustrophobic. Plus, all of the extra walking helped me enjoy every bite of my delicious French crêpe one afternoon :)
As far as nutrition was concerned, within minutes of sitting down at our first meal I was beyond impressed with the correct portion sizes offered. We had a breakfast buffet in our hotel that posted nutrient information on all of the foods offered. This was helpful for my husband because each food indicated if it was gluten-free or not. Secondly, the fruits offered at breakfast were not coated in sugary syrups, the portion sizes of the cheeses, meats, and breads were much smaller than what I had experienced at an American Buffet, and there were many more options for fruits and vegetables. As far as restaurants were concerned, mostly every meal that I ordered followed the plate method. Half of my plate was filled with non-starchy vegetables and fruit, a 1/4 of my plate was filled with a meat- and some French cheeses of course, and the other quarter was filled with a starch like fresh baked bread.