Quinoa the Globe Trotting Gluten Free Koala

My name’s Quinoa the gluten-free koala. My hometown is in Australia, but I live in Chicago. Just recently I traveled all the way across the ocean to Sydney, Australia and to New Zealand. I visited both Coeliac Australia and Coeliac New Zealand.

In the United States, coeliac is spelled celiac, as in celiac disease. Many of my friends have celiac/coeliac including me. This requires me to be 100% gluten-free! So I don’t eat wheat, barley, and rye. My best buddy Buckwheat and I travel all around the world to show kids how to be gluten-free. I showed many kids (and animals) about it when I was in Australia and New Zealand. I’ll be very happy to share my exciting journey with you! The beginning of my beautiful trip started with a fourteen-hour plane ride. (That’s more than 11,000 miles!)

The first one to greet me when I arrived was my loving mother, along with all of my sisters, Riley, Bailey, and Kola. Since my family just got tested for celiac and Bailey needs to be gluten-free too, I shared my delicious gluten-free snacks with everyone.

Later on I went to catch up with my friends. First I went to my Red Kangaroo friend’s house, Mr. Jones. When I arrived, he was visiting with Peacock Pete. He was very happy to see me and I asked him where his cousin Cobar, my western grey kangaroo friend, was.

Right away I headed for the park, to meet Cobar for lunch. She ate a lot of flowers, and all of my scrumptious gluten-free cookies! I didn’t really care because I had many more snacks at home, and I was busy enjoying my eucalypt leaves from the gum tree.

On my way back to my family, I recognized a familiar furry face. This face was one of my closest friends, Coco the koala. But he was in a very deep sleep when I walked up to his tree. This was not a surprise because we koalas love snoozing the day away on a nice branch. I decided that I would make a special visit back to his tree before I left for Chicago.

When I arrived home I curled up in my mother’s arms and fell fast asleep. I felt like I was little again because I used to always do that when I was young. The last thing that I did in Australia before I took off for New Zealand was travel on a super fast monorail to the Allergy Show and Gluten-Free Food Fair in Sydney. There I met my friend, Bridget, who was just recently diagnosed with celiac. We read many books and learned even more!

After the show I headed over to the airport and was getting kinda hungry. Here’s a picture of me eating my favorite snacks, fuzzy kiwis and juicy strawberries, on the plane to Queenstown New Zealand. When I got there, I went on a Lord of The Rings Tour through the endless mountains.

Then I had to take a break and get re-energized with a double-chocolate cherry protein bar. After every crumb was gone, I took a boat and saw the Bowen Falls in Milford Sound. This waterfall is three times the size of Niagara Falls! (That’s one of the biggest waterfalls in the U.S.)

Later that night as I was returning to the hotel, I heard a really squeaky voice say, “Who are you?” and I responded, “I am Quinoa the koala, who are you?” it was then that I learned that kiwi was not only the name of my favorite food, but also a bird in New Zealand. It was getting really dark, and I wanted to learn more so I asked Kiki the kiwi where I could find her again. She told me that like the common kiwi she only comes out at nighttime, so I decided to hangout with her the rest of the night.

The last thing that I did before I left New Zealand was visit my friends, Shirley, Carole, and Gill, in Auckland. I went to the Coeliac Society of New Zealand. There I had a talk about the disease that my sister and many of my friends around the world have and I learned even more stuff!

After saying my goodbyes, I headed back to Sydney. The first thing I did was visit Penny, the Accredited Practicing Dietician of the Coeliac Society in Australia. Penny was so nice that she showed me a whole room of snacks that I am able to eat. Here is a picture of me surrounded by all of my favorites.

Finally I had to say farewell to my friends at the warm and sunny beach of Manly. Before I left to go back to Chicago, I had to make my special visit to Coco and see if he was awake this time. Lucky for me he was, and I had plenty of time to chat with him. I told him all about Kiki the Kiwi, Penny, and the snack room because he has to be gluten-free too.

After the long plane ride, ahhh, I am finally home sharing my very exciting journey with you, and now I’m gonna get my snooze on.


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