Travelling can be one of the most difficult things about living with LPLD and related conditions. Here are a number of tips contributed by Pat, who was diagnosed in her teens.
1. The first point may seem a little obvious, but that is do your research into the every day diet and foods available in the country you want to visit e.g. Far East diets are frequently based on rice and fish, and include simple vegetable dishes – offering the most choice of suitable dishes, whereas somewhere like Greece, Italy and Spain use olive oil in/on everything and its difficult to avoid this hidden in many foods. The French diet is also very rich. Greece and Italy put cheese on everything!
2. Travelling around USA and Canada can be very challenging. A lot of food is fried and the portions are just too large. Few Restaurants serve jacket potatoes or rice. Cheese appears in everything unless you ask before hand. Best approach is to find the local Chinese, Japanese or even Indian and choose steamed or simple dishes with no/little sauce.
3. Never go on deals with meals included unless you are going to countries with a rice based diet. China can be manageable.
4. Absolutely NO cruises – unless you are a real saint – the access to and the volume of food is simply too much to cope with. You cannot escape the thought that you have paid for this food, and somehow, you are jolly well going to make the most of it, after all, that’s what you do on a cruise isn’t it!!!
5. Go self catering when you can, and yes you will eat out, but restrict this to maybe every other day, and then just for a light meal e.g tapas in Spain.
6. Alcohol frequently gets consumed more on holiday, but this can be lethal. Go for long fruity drinks , alcohol free beers or mocktails are nice and make you feel you are having something special.
7. Always ask for any salad without a dressing, or on the side.
8. Keep your holidays abroad as short as possible – one week is ideal, but ofcourse you may need longer when you go further a field. You want to enjoy your time, and not spend either several days in bed with pancreatitis, or worse, in hospital.
9. Take your own food for the airport and the plane, or at least for one meal and some snacks. Asking for low fat food when booking a flight doesn’t seem to produce anything in the air. Plane food is rarely low fat enough, so plan and buy your food for the airport and plane journey home. Airports are very poor generally for finding suitable foods. However, sushi is becoming more available and a great choice.
10. Always go prepared. Take out travel insurance disclosing your condition. Take a card with details of your condition to pass on to medics if needs be. Take painkillers and a hot water bottle.
If you have discovered any countries that have been relatively easy to visit, or have any tips to share please email us here.