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Celiac Disease In Poland
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Hi,

 

Today I decided to join American forum, basically, because I would like to warn people interested about living in Poland with celiac disease or travelling here for a long time.

I am not Pole, but I live here since I remember. :) Forgive my poor English then.

Although country I live in, is in Europe and European Union Member, being one with celiac disease is really, really hard.

 

I am on a gluten-free diet for 2,5 years now, and I am a vegetarian for 10 years.

Here's a list of typical difficulties you may meet in Poland:

- Ignorance about the gluten-free diet showed by many people, including doctors; 
- the waiters swearing, that the dish is gluten-free, while there threw spices with gluten;
- belief that barley is gluten-free (chef in a very good restaurant claimed so);
- no gluten-free option in almost every restaurant;
- Polish hospitality ends when they find out that you are on a special diet (excluding diabetes, because the awareness of diabetes in Poland is high - it is very popular disease here);
- very poor variety of gluten-free products in the supermarkets;
- very poor information about gluten traces in products (very often there is no information, and it is better to be aware of that product);
- even if you buy gluten-free product, it can contain traces of gluten (more than 20 ppm). It should be punishable by law, but judiciary here is ineffective);
- intolerance - even gluten-free people are intolerant for the other gluten-free people! I was shocked when I read on Polish sites and forums, that people FORBID the others to be gluten-free without full diagnosis. Yes, they forbid other people... Without respect to every person's right to choose.;
- misleading - e.g. (as I written in one of my posts) I am trying to fight the belief that whisky contains gluten. Almost every foreign site explains why it is gluten-free, but on the official Polish sites whisky still is forbidden for celiacs...
- frustration (I guess). People here are not very wealthy, so they are frustrated and think that being gluten-free is kind of whim.
 
Poland is very beautiful country, but you have to choose if you want to live here. Although short excursion may be very pleasant, living here for a long time can become a problem for someone on gluten-free diet.
 
Regards,
pou. :)
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Thanks for the tips! We were in Europe this past summer but mostly ate on a cruise ship. We all did well in England where they even have gluten-free Bed and Breakfast Inns.

We were hoping to go to Poland soon. Our last trip there was prior to our being diagnosed.

Take care of yourself and welcome to the forum!

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Hi Pou,

I just found your post and hope you may be of some help!

I am visiting Krakow in a couple weeks (very excited!).  I do not have gluten sensitivity or celiac, but I am sensitive to barley and rye.  So if something is only made with wheat flour, I CAN eat it.  Do you have any idea whether traditional polish baked goods such as pierogi, paczki, bagels... have barley and/or rye in them unless specifically stated?

Also, in the United States, they use xanthan gum as an additive to gluten-free baked goods.  I'm sensitive to this as well, so over here... I can't even eat 'gluten free' baked goods unless I can read the label or I've made them myself.  Do you know whether xanthan gum is commonly used in Poland?

I appreciate any advice you may have!

Thank you,

Stacey

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