Sunday 30 December 2018

A Vacation from Celiacs? Nothing is Impossible.

We Celiacs don't get to take a break from our disease, ever. Every moment, every hour,  every meal, every glass, every fork, every spoon, every cloth used to wipe the counter, every beauty product, every single thing that goes near our bodies, we have to think about, contemplate, read the label. Everyday all day everything I do, celiacs is a factor.

I never thought it was possible to go on a vacation from my Celiac Disease. I’ve never even considered dreaming about such a thing. I am not necessarily what you would call a dreamer, Celiacs fixed that. But I did! I did! I went on a vacation from my Celiac Disease. Fuck you Celiacs I showed you!

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now, know that every second Christmas my family and I take a vacation. Why? Why in God's name would I take a vacation from my life? If you have to ask that question you are far too rich, and far too happy to be reading this blog, stop now. Go read philosophy or some other bullshit words of wisdom. But don't keep reading this if you don't think you need a vacation. Or indeed, that I need a vacation.
This makes me so happy!

These breaks every two years are the thing I live for. I love going to a Mexican all-inclusive, enjoying my family and laying in the heat of the sun by the ocean for days on end.  I have never however, been able to take a break for my celiac disease. If any of you remember two years ago, I struggled a lot with my celiacs on our vacation and ended up basically starving for a week. It's always been worth it though, it's always been great no matter what. So I have somewhat given up being able to take a break from my celiacs. Until now.

This trip, we found ourselves at the Iberostart Playa Mita , a stunning resort full of amazing staff members and awesome activities. Now this resort, in general has a better gluten-free policy  than most resorts. When we arrived, the concierge wrote me the same Celiac letter that I have gotten written at other resorts. Now, the problem at other resorts was that there wasn't really anyone who understood what gluten was even though they understood that I could not have it.  Most of the Chefs at theIberostar Playa Mita in Puerto Vallarta very much understand what gluten is.

They have icons on all of the menus letting you know if something is gluten-free or not, they also have these little signs above the buffet items which I was very encouraged to see. However, it wasn’t a fool proof system. The bacon was always labeled gluten free (as bacon is because God loves me the best), but the bacon tray was lined with white bread to soak up the grease. This makes the bacon very UN gluten-free. It was okay, I wasn't that heartbroken because I get a lot of bacon at home, I am Canadian after all. I'm fairly sure there is bacon in my shampoo. There is certainly bacon in my nail polish. This incident certainly made me worry that the next ten days were going to be a minefield of gluten avoiding panic. Not so...

The Iberostar Playa Mita in Puerto Vallarta has a secret weapon . His name is  Chef Aldo, and other than my husband and my children, he is my favorite person on the planet.  Between you me and the fence post, he actually edges above them a little bit, I’ll deny that to my family if you tell them. Chef Aldo was determined to give me a vacation from Celiac Disease. This Chef went above and beyond at every meal to make sure that my food was safe. He often stayed late to talk to my dinner chef, came in early to walk me through the lunch buffet, and more than once, made me a special meal or dessert. This was done quietly and charmingly to make me feel special without making a spectacle of me. It was pretty awesome. I don't know if Chef Aldo fully  grasped the hugeness of his effect on our vacation. He was so humble that most days it he just shrugged it all off. Maybe he understood the gravity of this situation the day I started to bawl like Sally Fields in Steel Magnolias when I tried to thank him for his hard work. Honestly, I'm getting teary-eyed right now talking about it. It was the most extraordinary gift I've ever received.
Me and Chef Aldo, the nicest man I know.

This was the best vacation I have ever had, not only because the Iberostar Playa Mita was a stunning resort, or that Vicente made the best margarita’s on the planet, or  because my family laughed together and played together and napped in the sun together. This vacation slipped ahead of all the other vacations we have had because one Chef, took the time to make my visit sheer perfection. So go, on your next vacation, go to the Iberostar Playa Mita in Puerto Vallarta. Ask for Chef Aldo and give him a hug from me, and tell him I miss him. Also ask for that passion fruit dessert, it was so good that I yelled curse words at him, then I cried because I am all class.
The Passion Fruit Dessert that I shall dream about each and every night.
The special Christmas Eve Desserts that Chef Aldo made for me.

My Christmas Eve Dinner buffet meal. Yeah, no starving for this Celiac!


  1. Just reading this now in the cold days of March - we attended a wedding at a resort in Punta Cana & I got the same treatment- each chef for each meal took the time to walk me through the buffet. The best was the first night when the chef came out & his first questions was "what would you like?" Umm -something delicious - what do I have a choice of - they made some magnificent gluten free pasta - wow! But I laughed when one of the servers read my "letter" to me - at the end it said - "she could die!" Maybe that's why they took such good care of me! But it was magnificent & a real treat!

  2. This is wonderful to know. My 10 year old daughter has Celiac and we are planning an all inclusive. We are Iberostar club members and have only vacationed in Jamaica. My worst fear is being in a different country and my daughter getting sick, or unable to eat for a week (I always pack food just in case).
    Having chefs understand celiac is the biggest obstacle. I’m thinking you didn’t have this problem at this resort? Thanks for the review, much appreciated!!

  3. Thanks for commenting! We stayed at the Iberostar Parioso last year and it was great too. I have acquired (throught brilliant friends) a great gf letter that's perfectly translated. Let me know if you want it or any other insights. I've stayed in a bunch of places and have figured out how to eat (almost) everywhere. Email me at if you'd like. Take care. Laurie (aka a freaking celiac)