It’s another miserable day in so-called Great British summertime. If you ever needed a reason to be spontaneous and book some time in the sun, it was then. Having already had to cancel two holidays in 2017 due to unforeseen circumstances, we decided that now was not the time to scrimp and save and so, in that vein, we booked a once in a lifetime trip to The Seychelles!
I had visions of stunning, toned and tanned goddesses walking alongside their smug boyfriends. That’s it, I need to spend every day in the gym before we go, I thought! But it quickly dawned on me. I’m already a bit of a gym bunny but how much control do I actually have over the appearance of my stomach? Just one slip up in terms of the food I put in my mouth and in the space of 30 minutes, I can look six months pregnant for up to three weeks. Not to mention the low mood it will put me in that I’m not sure even golden beaches and crystal clear waters could pull me out of.
Immediately I started googling ‘food intolerances in The Seychelles’, ‘gluten and dairy free Seychelles’, ‘eating out with intolerances in The Seychelles’. Very little information was available but the one positive I took from my research was that the majority of people speak English which would help (at least I wouldn’t have the same issues as I had in Tuscany).
But of course, with a 7 ½ hour flight to Dubai followed by a 4 ½ hour flight to The Seychelles, we would also need food on the flight. My other half discovered through the Emirates app that you could select different meal types depending on your requirements. But which option do you choose when there’s a dairy free option which might contain gluten, and a gluten free option which might contain dairy but not a dairy and gluten free option combined?!
I thought about risking it but realistically, how pissed off would I have been if my stomach blew up before I’d even gotten on the beach?! So I turned to the live chat option on the Emirates website. After a bit of to and forth (and being told the incorrect information), the advisor told me to select either the ‘raw vegetable meal’ or ‘fruit platter’. Sounds lovely doesn’t it….NOT! Anyhow, I went with the raw veg meal thinking surely they wouldn’t just give me raw veg. I envisaged a stirfry or at least something that half mimics a proper meal.
How wrong was I?! Raw carrot sticks, cucumber, asparagus (yep, raw too), green beans (you guessed it, also raw). Well, you certainly can’t report Emirates for any false advertising!
So the trip started well on the free from diet…even if it wasn’t the most exciting (and I was pretty hungry). Due to a delay in Manchester, we ended up missing our connection so spent a day in Dubai. Despite being massively sleep deprived, we decided to make the most of it and travelled to the mall. Here we ate in an asian restaurant, a relatively safe bet on the dairy and gluten free front where I ate a chicken stirfry.
Eventually we arrived in The Seychelles! And wow, what an amazing place. We stayed in The Savoy on the main island with a bed and breakfast package. We arrived very early in the morning so were in plenty of time for breakfast. This was the one meal where I felt like I was missing out. I’ve never been a fan of hot breakfasts, usually opting instead for porridge or granola and fresh fruit. However, this creates certain difficulties when trying to avoid both dairy and gluten!
The Savoy had the most amazing selection of cereals which made my intolerances even more frustrating at breakfast time! I managed to resist the temptation and stuck with fresh fruit each morning instead.
Lunches tended to be a salad or fresh fish from the hotel bar which never created any problems for me.
And then the dinners. Ohhh the dinners! Where do I start?! For the whole time we were on holiday I decided that, rather than making a fuss at each restaurant and getting the waitress to check all the ingredients, I would just use common sense and select options that I thought would naturally be gluten and dairy free. Often this was fish, but I also ate some amazing steak. I avoided all bread and appetisers that were brought to us (as much as it pained me) and tended not to have a starter or dessert as these are more typically likely to contain gluten and dairy from my experience.
Although I didn’t ask the restaurants to go to special measures when cooking my food, if you’re concerned about it and are planning a trip to The Seychelles, from my experience you will be absolutely fine. In some cases, menus clearly label common allergies / intolerances but regardless of whether they do that, the staff are super nice and I have no doubt they would accommodate you, all the while having a smile on their face.
In all honesty, I have no idea if I ate gluten or dairy while I was on holiday but I can’t imagine I managed to avoid it completely. That being said, I didn’t have any bloating whatsoever which makes me wonder whether there’s something more psychological at play…more on that to come! In the meantime, here’s a selection of some of the amazing meals we ate on holiday…