Turkey is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful countries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. The locals in Turkey are some of the friendliest people I have ever met, where nothing is too much hassle, they’re always smiling and happy to help.
I’ve just come back from a two week self-catering holiday in the lovely town of Hisarönü in Ölüdeniz (famous for the Blue Lagoon beach). I managed to read five books, get a half decent tan, eat lots of yummy gluten free food, visit Roman ruins, explore a stunning canyon and relax from the craziness of work/social media/blogging!
In my first GF travel diary, I’ve explained a little bit more about what I ate during my stay, what staple food I brought with me in my suitcase, my favourite restaurants and general holiday/touristy pics. Enjoy!
Gluten free breakfasts abroad are always a bit of a let down for me. The breakfast buffet is usually filled with delicious breads, pastries, sauces and yumminess that unfortunately aren’t suitable if you’re on a gluten free diet. I had three choices of breakfast food in the hotel where I stayed – natural yoghurt, delicious runny honey and fresh fruit (usually watermelon).
Luckily for me I come well prepared, so these options suited me just fine! Before heading on holiday I made a big batch of my favourite gluten free granola and popped it into a tuppaware box to take in my suitcase. Before heading down to breakfast, I would portion a small amount of my homemade granola into a sandwich bag and pop it in my bag along with a pack of squeezy peanut butter. I then simply added the yogurt, honey, granola and peanut butter into a bowl and voila – my perfect breakfast just like I make at home!
I also came a little over prepared in case there were zero options for me at breakfast, and brought 10 packs of gluten free porridge sachets, where I simply had to add hot water!
What I took in my suitcase
- Squeezy peanut butter (Pip&Nut is my favourite)
- Homemade GF granola
- GF porridge sachets (I took MoMa salted caramel and almond butter)
- Natural yoghurt, honey, homemade granola, fresh fruit
- Watermelon/fresh fruit
- GF porridge and peanut butter
Lunch was probably my least favourite meal of the day while I was away. I was reluctant to eat out at lunch in case I was glutened and ill for the rest of the day, but unfortunately there was a mix up with our room so I didn’t have a kitchen to prepare food. I did request a toaster, plate, cutlery and chopping board to use, but with no proper kitchen to prepare my meals, it meant they weren’t the most creative.
Lunch usually ended up being some crackers, a bit of salad, crisps and a yogurt – not the most inspiring! However, I did bring my own toaster bags so I could have a cheese toastie, or peanut butter on toast if it was a second breakfast kind of day!
On the days we weren’t around the hotel, I would take a lunchbox of goodies with me so I always had options. With the temperature in Turkey around 30 degrees on most days, taking a sandwich with me wouldn’t work as I had no cool box to transport it in. Instead, I become the snack queen on these days out – crackers, crisps, peanut butter, bananas and snack bars were all stashed in my bag. It’s safe to say I never went hungry…
What I took in my suitcase
- Mackerel/tuna tins for salads
- GF crackers
- GF bread
- Toastie bags
- GF crackers, cheese, salad, crisps, yoghurt
- Crackers, peanut butter, snack bar (day out lunch)
- Peanut butter on toast
- Cheese toastie
- Mackerel/tuna salad
The last meal of the day was always a question mark for me, as it wasn’t food I could prepare myself. 14 days of eating out when you have Coeliac Disease is a daunting thought, as even one small amount of gluten can take up to 6 months of internal healing. However, you still have to enjoy these experiences and take the risk, otherwise you’d never leave the safety of your kitchen again!
I’m happy to say that in the three years since I last visited Turkey, knowledge around gluten free food has improved A LOT. Some restaurants had gluten free included on the menu, nearly every restaurant understood the word gluten free (whether they actually knew what it meant, I don’t know…) and most chefs were more than happy to read over the translation card I took in my handbag just in case. I actually took 5 copies of the restaurant card, all of them laminated, because you can never be too prepared!
Some of my favourite meals were a spicy chicken gluten free pizza, crunchy Thai salad, and the most delicious BBQ at our hotel. 80% of the food was naturally gluten free, and the staff talked me through each dish so I knew exactly what was in it. When someone takes the time to answer your questions and throughly explains the ingredients and preparations of each dish, it can make a massive difference!
Out of the 14 restaurants we ate at I was only glutened once, which given the circumstances I don’t think is too bad.
What I took in my suitcase
Some of my dinner options
- Smoke salmon salad
- Spicy chicken pizza (on a GF base)
- Chicken korma
- Fish shish kabab
- Crunchy Thai chicken salad
- Seafood risotto
- Steak and chips
- Goats cheese salad
- Reef Bar – very clued up on gluten free and happy to buy GF pasta if you let them know in advance.
- Pine Hills Restaurant – this was the hotel restaurant where we stayed and partnered with the Reef bar, so again knowledgable on gluten free. They have a delicious BBQ every Thursday where many of the dishes are naturally gluten free, including the meat/fish cooked on the BBQ – just avoid the meatballs and sausages!
- Sunset Restaurant – I had a delicious steak at this restaurant, with chips that are cooked in their own fryer (wahoo!)
- Plaza Spice & Pesto – delicious food, beautiful setting opposite the beach and a separate menu which marks out which dishes are gluten free. There’s lots of choices in this restaurant, and they have the most delicious salads if you’re looking for a healthy meal.
- Toscana – this was the first restaurant that had gluten free on the menu, which is a massive step forward compared to my trip to Turkey three years ago! I had a gluten free pizza which was delicious, and they also had gluten free pasta available.
- Bella Gusto – such a cool restaurant with beautiful interior. I had a goats cheese and sun-dried tomato salad which was delicious.
If you want to see more of what I got up to in Turkey, check out my Instagram stories ‘TRAVEL’ highlight, where I’ve saved all of my Turkey IG stories.
My next GF Travel Diary will be in October when I visit Barcelona. If you have any gluten free recommendations in Barcelona please let me know – I’ll be on the hunt for the most delicious paella!