Food?…Problematic for me…


I stayed behind while Tom enjoyed the water slide.  We especially enjoy the quiet time outdoors by the pool and in the shade when many passengers went ashore. Many returned with sunburns from the ride on the tender or the time unprotected on the beach.  With years ahead of us in sunny climates, we are careful to avoid overexposure.

Without a doubt, we knew that my strict way of eating would be an issue to some degree as we traveled the world. In Belize, it was a non-issue, buying and cooking most of our meals. 

Aboard the Carnival Liberty, it’s a huge issue at dinner.  Breakfast is easy since I can have eggs,
non-starchy vegetables, meat without sauce or fillers, and hard cheese. Mostly I order real egg omelets as opposed to the “processed” mixture that is full of chemicals and gluten with a side of bacon. It holds me all day until dinner. 
The view of the tip of Half Moon Cay, the Bahamas, a small mostly man-made tourist attraction, owned by Holland Cruise Lines and shared with other cruise lines to enhance their revenue.

Protein eaten with few carbs tends to keep a person full, comfortable, and satisfied all day. I never feel hungry or am tempted to eat off the endless tables of sweets, burgers and fries, tacos, burritos, and wraps. Free
food. Everywhere you turn.

Our first two cruises on Celebrity, the Century, and the Equinox, dinner was a breeze. They had all the gluten and sugar-free items carefully marked on the menu. Once I made choices to be low carb, grain, and
starch-free, I was home free, able to enjoy a number of options. On the Equinox, the pastry chef made me a
special dessert, a sugar and flour free Creme Brule. 

The Carnival Liberty has no such options, no indications on the menu, few cooks with knowledge as to gluten-free. Last night they brought my usual cheese plate for dessert, the cheese atop a pile of bread. Anyone with a gluten issue cannot have bread “touch” their food since the size of a grain of salt of gluten, can trigger a response. They didn’t understand when I graciously asked them to throw the entire plate away and
start anew with just the cheese.
The tenders, preparing to take passengers to the manmade beach.

Moments later, they return with the cheese and fruit. I can’t eat fruit. It has sugar that has carbs. For 20 years, I had excruciating pain. Now, for almost 20 months since I began eating this way, I have no pain.  It’s a no brainer for me.  I’m never tempted to “cheat.”  I consider anything not included in my plan as poison. Why
would I eat poison? 

Am I specific enough with the restaurant staff?  I think so. They have noted our “folio” number that I can only eat meat, fish (any type), poultry, eggs, butter, hard cheese, and non-starchy vegetables.

The tender returning from the small island filled with sunburned passengers. Again, hanging over our balcony as we began to sail away from Half Moon Cay, we were able to get this photo of the officers on the bridge only eight doors from our new quiet cabin.
If one knew food at all, they put a plate of grilled fish, a large salad, and a large side of vegetables in front of me every night with a plate of nice hard cheeses for dessert.  I’d be content. 

But, it’s like pulling teeth, drawing way too much attention to my “condition” making me uncomfortable, treating me like an annoyance and a “freak”, as if I were some picky eater that was eating this way “for fun.”

Once we began this cruise on April 9th, they required that I placed the next night’s order each night at dinner.  What??? This lovely well-meaning young woman, Julia (pronounced Yule-e-a), approaches our table (often we’re seated with other passengers), handing me the next night’s menu, waiting while I place my order. Trying to be considerate of her time, I quickly place the order of salad, meat, and a large side of steamed vegetables along with a plain cheese plate, no fruit, now “no bread”.

Invariably, my dinner arrives with rice, potatoes, corn, peas with the meat unseasoned and overcooked.  Last night I ordered the flat iron steak, rare. My plate arrived with a pile of fried potatoes, a 3 oz. well done rubbery steak and two pieces of overcooked cauliflower. 

The Caesar salad with no croutons was a tiny plate of huge pieces of romaine lettuce, dressing on the side which I had requested since they’d previously smothered no less than 1/2 cup of dressing on those few lettuce leaves. (I can have small amounts of low carb dressings, usually blue cheese and Caesar).
We can see the bridge from our balcony.

So, last night, I asked them to remove the potatoes and bring more steamed vegetables. They
returned the plate minus the potatoes with the same tiny piece of leathery meat with the two overcooked clumps of cauliflower having added a single flower of broccoli. Oh.  I ate all of it.

Thank goodness for the cheese or I’d still be hungry after each

A short while ago, we heard that an option for tonight’s formal night dinner is lobster tail which I can have and love. I wasn’t told this last night. It wasn’t on the menu. If I want it, we’ll have to go to the restaurant soon and order it; a plain lobster tail with butter, a side of veggies, a salad. How hard is that?

Most likely their lobster tails have a bread crumb topping. It may be too late to accommodate me. They
cover all of their meats in flour laden sauces and coatings. This way they can hide tough, overly cooked,
unseasoned cheaper cuts of meat with what may be tasty, creamy, or chunky sauces.

Today, we will be contacting Norwegian cruise lines in advance, unaware at this time if they are as skilled as Celebrity was in accommodating dietary restrictions with such ease and finesse.

The pained look on the face of the servers we’ve had when reading the “notes” on me has been more annoying than the food. They keep referring to “your food allergies.”

Through all of this, I remain calm and considerate.  I am not a difficult customer.  In each case, I’ve smiled and kindly asked for the items to be added or removed, without a negative tone in my voice.

We thought that if perhaps I had a small late lunch, I could get by with less in the evening.  As we perused all of the items in the lunch buffet, there wasn’t a single piece of fish, chicken, or meat that wasn’t swimming in sauces or flour coatings. Not one. The only items I could have had were the slices of cheese, lettuce, and a
few raw veggies. Not worth it.

After a lifetime of being a dessert fanatic, having something sweet every night after dinner, most of which I baked with fresh ingredients, I have since let this go.  No longer do I crave something “sweet” or snack at all after dinner. 

Perhaps, I need to rethink my current expectation of an enjoying meal at dinner and focus more on my enjoyable companion, my hubby, and the “table mates’ often sitting with us. Of course, there’s the big glass of ice water to savor since we can’t ever get a server to come to the table to take a drink order.

All in all, we’re content. We can sleep at night.  We have our vitamins back. The shower and sink drain properly (although this morning I had to pour water into the toilet to get it to flush). More importantly, we’re safe, we have our health, we’re staying on track on our budget, we continue to meet wonderful people, we have the world in front of us and, we have each other.

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