Ambassador Highlight: Meet Matt of Wheatless Wanderlust!
We'd like to introduce you to our newest Bread SRSLY Ambassador, Matt Hansen. We asked Matt to share a little about himself and how his gluten-free travel blog, Wheatless Wanderlust, came to be!
Over a decade ago, I passed up the opportunity of a lifetime all because I was too anxious about the prospect of stepping outside of my comfort zone with my recent Celiac Disease diagnosis.
I dreamed about studying abroad in college for years and years. I had never left the United States – except for crossing the border into Vancouver, and I couldn’t wait to explore a new place and experience another culture. I was the classic teenager you see in the movies, eager to get out of my hometown, away from family and all things familiar, and dive into a new place.
Then, after nearly a decade of misdiagnoses and random tests, including one where the doctors quite literally strapped me to a table, flipped me upside down, and poured something down my throat while they watched on some sort of x-ray machine – I was diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions.
They were Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Celiac Disease, and I was now required to live a life without gluten.
That happened at the very end of my freshman year of college, after three separate trips to the emergency room with food stuck in my throat. Suddenly, that dream of traveling and living in a different, faraway place seemed a lot less exciting to me.
I ultimately decided not to study abroad. And it was because of the uncertainty and anxiety that I felt about traveling with Celiac Disease. At that time, within a year of my diagnosis, I could BARELY live gluten-free at home. How in the world was I going to do that abroad, in a place with a language barrier and unfamiliar foods?
Looking back on it ten years later, I firmly believe that was a mistake.
Since that decision made over a decade ago now, I’ve been around the world and back, to cities like Rome and Paris, and also places like Colombia, Mexico City, and New Zealand. Over the course of those travels, I have created a process for finding safe gluten-free food anywhere in the world, mainly out of necessity for myself.
I started Wheatless Wanderlust in 2018 to do my part to make sure that anyone who feels that anxiety and uncertainty around traveling gluten-free doesn’t feel the same fear that initially caused me to miss out on so many amazing experiences.
You CAN travel 100% gluten-free, but it takes planning and a specific set of tools. On Wheatless Wanderlust, we (my wife, Alysha, and I) craft gluten-free city guides featuring the best Celiac-safe restaurants, detailed itineraries to help you see the best of a city or country (even if you have limited time), and other travel guides to give you the tools you need to plan an unforgettable trip.
I fell in love with Bread SRSLY right around the time I moved to San Francisco in 2014. I don’t know if you remember that time in the gluten-free timeline, but not long before that I was literally ordering gluten-free groceries online exclusively because you couldn’t find them in stores. And biting into my first slice of Bread SRSLY was one of the first times I realized that food can be both gluten-free AND delicious. I bought my first loaf at BiRite Market on Divisadero Street in San Francisco, and haven’t looked back since. My go-to product is the flagship Classic Sourdough, but the Dinner Rolls have been growing on me recently.
We're excited to partner with Matt this year- be sure to stay tuned for more from him! In the meantime, you can follow his gluten-free adventures on Instagram at @wheatless_wanderlust and his blog, Wheatless Wanderlust.