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Celiac Disease In Poland

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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.
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,



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    • Hi Ironic Truth, Thanks for Replying. Wow I get bad joint pain too. So my opinion especially if he is eating gluten is to get him tested. I wish I had been tested when I was eating gluten 8 years ago .  I had tried 8 years ago initially to figure out what the heck was going on with me and my immune system. I started with a GP, went to Allergist/Immunologist etc. I gave up 4 doctors later when nothing seem to be found and you sense they start thinking lady you're a nut job . My cousin a diagnosed Celiac took over 2 years to be diagnosed and she is a nurse. My husband said for years "I think bread is bad for you" and in a desperate attempt to help myself -I gave up wheat after 2 weeks felt better 2 months later I went total gluten-free and felt very much better that was 4 years ago. So I have suspected NCGS or Celiac for a few years now. However getting someone to test you for it when you were classified IBS 20 years prior-well as is chronically heard on the forums here is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. One then just finally says ok I will just try this gluten-free thing myself. I was gluten-free for 3 1/2 years and improving. Then  I got gluten-ed in March of 2016 and I had worse symptoms then ever the joint pain arrived. I went to a new allergist who refereed me to another Allergist/Immunologist who deals with Celiacs and Food Intolerances. I did see a Rheumotologist in July 2016 since the muscle and joint pain was still lingering, who tested me and reported no antibodies. Back to the specialist who did more test and suggested the gluten challenge. It's likely me failing to complete 2 weeks caused it but the symptoms got real bad and I thought I'm going to have worse issues if I don't stop this.  Today my fingers are just starting to heal they were peeling during the gluten challenge among all the other symptoms I get, which I attribute to dehydration. The dry peeling fingers did not improve until I got the IV the day of the scope. Bizarrely I was looking forward to the scope hoping I'd get an IV with Meds and fluids becaus eI felt I needed it. I did see one abstract, I can't get my hands on the full article as you stated their is a link: Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jan;50(1):126-9. Celiac disease and intestinal metaplasia of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus). Maieron R1, Elli L, Marino M, Floriani I, Minerva F, Avellini C, Falconieri G, Pizzolitto S, Zilli M So I will pursue the path of monitoring the  Barrett's. Despite no official diagnosis for me, you are right Gluten is bad for me, I should avoid it, I will, and I'll stay on the forums. Good luck with you Boyfriend he is lucky to have you looking out for him.
    • Hi Sunshine, There is a program called a 504 plan that some schools will follow if you get one approved.  It helps the school identify proper ways to deal with a child's particular needs.  Probably it is helpful to have a 504 plan, but they may require a formal diagnosis for it.  I suggest you talk to the school and ask them about it.  Tell them the situation with the kid and about the stress he would need to go through to get diagnosed.  They may be willing to work with you without a formal diagnosis.   I am not saying you absolutely have to have a 504 plan for him.  School districts vary and some may be more accommodating than others.  A 504 plan may give you certain rights, but I  am no expert on them. The gluten challenge is 12 weeks of eating gluten for blood tests.  The payback for being formally diagnosed is questionable IMHO.  Treatment is the same regardless, eating gluten-free for life.  One thing to be aware of is that celiac disease has a genetic factor.  So he got the gene from one of the parents.  Anyone else in the family could have celiac develop at some point.  So testing every couple years for all family members is a good idea. Welcome to the forum!
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