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Traveling To France & Germany
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Hello Group-

I will be traveling to Paris, Northern France, and also to various parts of Germany including Cologne. Does anyone have any good advice... stores to buy gluten free foods, restaurants that serve safe foods, french & german dining cards, suggestions on flying there, and suggestions on what gluten free foods to pack along.

Any advice would be wonderful! I am very excited to go, but I do not speak french or german.

I would love to hear some stories about your travels to these places... your good stories and maybe your advice on what to watch out for.

Thank you,

Tanya D

Chicago, IL

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Beware of their 'codus alimentarius' or whatever they call it. They allow 20 ppm of gluten in their so-called gluten free foods. Also, they are adamant that there is no gluten in wheat starch or wheat germ oil. From what I've read, those should be avoided when you have Celiac disease.

The store to go to in Germany to buy gluten free food is called 'Reformhaus'. Since I've never been in one (my sister and brothers told me about them) I don't know where to find them or what they are like.

You would probably not be safe finding foods by yourself there, if you don't know German (unless the ingredients are listed in English as well, which they often are), so sticking with naturally gluten free foods would be the wise choice, as far as I am concerned.

You will need to let the airline know you are coming, and check if they have a gluten free menu. Unfortunately it seems, that now you have to actually buy your meals on board a plane, they don't include your food in the price of the flight any more! At least Air Canada has gone that route, I don't know about the other airlines.

I read that some airlines will provide gluten free meals, if they get enough notice (some need up to six weeks for some strange reason), while others are adamant in their refusal. Pick an airline that will accomodate you.

In Germany almost everybody knows English, including waiters. And if your specific one doesn't, there will be one in the restaurant they can call. It will be much better to call ahead though, to make sure they can accomodate your diet, and know what you're talking about.

The packages of dining cards you can buy on this site DO NOT include French and German, unfortunately. If you would like me to, I can design you one in German and send it by PM (you'd have to transfer it to your computer, reformat it, print it out and laminate it), or you can give me your e-mail address (not in the forum, by PM) and I can send it as an attachment that you can print out as it is to be laminated. I don't know French, but maybe somebody else here does.

When are you going? I'd like to know, so I know how much time I've got to come up with a good version. Also, do you have any other intolerances to include?

P.S.: After writing the above, I went to another thread about travelling to Europe, and read that the 'Gluten Free Bible' has dining cards in the back of the book, in French and German as well. Do you have the book? If not, I can just copy it for you and send it. But if you have other food issues, I could include those, at least in the German version.

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I spend all my summers in France. I'm from Canada and find that France has more Gluten Free options. The Biologique stores are the best places to look though I've also found that "Dietheques" have a wide range of gluten free stuff aswell. The company "FranceAglut" makes really good vacuum packed breads, sweet breads, cakes etc. There's another company that I can't remember the name of, but they make baguettes also vacuum packed but unbaked. They are super tasty coming fresh out of the oven and it's definitely no hardship walking past the boulangerie when you can go home to a tasty bread of your own. Also the best pasta I've found is a corn pasta (i don't know if you can tolerate corn) it's organic and called "MolinodiFero" its in a green square package, and in my opinion tastes better than semolina pasta! As for restaurants I just try to order non gluten items. There's lots of rice in France and fish etc. so I just go no sauce and I've never had any ploblems. If you're driving all the "aire's" (little pull-outs on the main autoroutes) have salads. Lots of times the dressings have gluten so I often just eat it dry, or you can buy little packages of mayonaise that are usually gluten free. Best of luck.

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I went to France over the summer, and yes, I notified the airline in advance about a gluten-free meal (although, it seemed like they did not fully understand, but I did get just salad, and a plain chicken). While In France, I had a translated dining card that stated what I could and couldn't eat. Most of the waiters brought it to the Chef and were able to accomidate me. I went into a supermarket there and they actually carried gluten-free foods which was awesome! (I can't remember the name)... but it wasn't as bad as I thought it woudl be having to eat out every meal.

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THANK YOU FOR EVERY REPLY!!!!

I am so excited about this trip... but a little nervous about the air travel and how much food I can fit in my suitcase! It sounds like there will be some potential options of buying foods while I am there. I assume that we will be eating out for almost every meal, so that sounds tasty but nerve-racking. I am still looking forward to it... and if I get to have salad for every meal, I think I will survive...

Do any of you wonderful people travel with anything that helps in case of a gluten reaction? I do not usually take anything, just sit it out (if you know what I mean)... but as this is a trip, I want to utilize all the time I have for exploring!

THANK YOU for your replies!

Tanya in Chicago!

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The one thing that helps my stomach ache when glutened (or otherwise 'poisoned' by something I am intolerant to) is a homeopathic remedy called Sepia. You get it in the health food store. It usually works within minutes of dissolving six little white pills under my tongue.

Since all herbs and spices and a lot of chemicals are poisons to me, I can't use Imodium (it's derived from wild strawberry I heard, all berries are bad for me, and it makes diarrhea and stomach upset much worse for me). The same applies to antacids.

Anyway, try if the Sepia will help you. It's natural and has no side effects.

Oh, and another thing, did you want me to make the German dining cards for you? To send me a PM, all you have to do is click on the "PM" button in the bottom left hand corner of this message.

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Tanya - have a wonderful trip and please post when you get back any places your may find in Paris that you felt safe eating at. I'm going over later this year and I'm pretty concerned myself. Hope you have a fantastic time!

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Beware of their 'codus alimentarius' or whatever they call it. They allow 20 ppm of gluten in their so-called gluten free foods. Also, they are adamant that there is no gluten in wheat starch or wheat germ oil. From what I've read, those should be avoided when you have Celiac disease.

The store to go to in Germany to buy gluten free food is called 'Reformhaus'. Since I've never been in one (my sister and brothers told me about them) I don't know where to find them or what they are like.

I read that some airlines will provide gluten free meals, if they get enough notice (some need up to six weeks for some strange reason), while others are adamant in their refusal. Pick an airline that will accomodate you.

Regarding the 20 ppm threshold, I believe that this is the limit of detection for the test that is used to check the gluten content in foods. They can't require less than 20 ppm if they can't test for a lower amount than that.

A Reformhaus is essentially a health food store. You'll find several in the big cities, and many of the smaller towns (especially tourist destinations) will have at least one. Typically, they will have all of the gluten-free foods together in one part of the store. Generally, I've found the selection to be less extensive than I have at home (for example at Wild Oats), but I've been happy for what they have, and it's been fun to have different products (especially cookies) than I get in the U.S.

Continental offers gluten-free meals on overseas flights and cross-country flights (e.g. New York to Los Angeles), but not on shorter flights.

Ken

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Hi Tanya

I live in France and my kid is gluten free, it's easy to find here :

check on :

http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/pj.cgi

type : "diététique : produits biologiques, naturels et de régime (détail)"

under "activité", and the town (paris I assume)and you'll find lots off health food stores.

They all sell gluten free products now (if you are looking also for corn free it's a bit harder, but still, you can find it too)

I recommend : la vie claire (it's ok and rather cheaper).

For restaurants it's a bit harder. We usually go to japanese restaurants with my kid, but the sauce is not gluten free usually, so you have to bring your own soja sauce (for my kid it's not a problem, he takes digestive enzymes and for him it works well for traces of gluten as in a soja sauce). There are lots of japanese restaurants now in france and they are much cheaper than used to be, and if you like sushi and rice, it's fine.

bye

Martine

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Hi Tanya

I live in France and my kid is gluten free, it's easy to find here :

check on :

http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/pj.cgi

type : "diététique : produits biologiques, naturels et de régime (détail)"

under "activité", and the town (paris I assume)and you'll find lots off health food stores.

THANK YOU!!!! I appreciate all of your thoughts! I do not have a corn allergy, thank goodness... I eat a lot of corn chips...

I went to the web site... thanks again!

Have a great day! And thank you for taking the time to reply!

Tanya in Chicago

Thanks Ken for you information as well. I really appreciate you taking the time to advise me... I am so excited! I just want to go over there as well prepared as I can...

Thanks again!

Tanya in Chicago

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You can find the location of Reformhauses in Germany and Austria at this website: http://www.reformhaus.de/branche/reformhaeuser.htm

Just enter the name of each town or city that you are visiting in the "Ort" box, and click on "Suchen". This site is in German, so you'll need to use German spelling.

Ken

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As anyone who has taken a foreign language class can tell you,

bablefish.altavista.com

or

www.freetranslation.com

are invaluable. I know babelfish has an option for translating pages, so does google. I've used it for french, spanish, and greek classes (ok, so I was to lazy to do the homework :P )

I'm sure it will help in your research. :D

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Actually, if you already know the languages, you will be able to figure out what the translation says (even though you might die of a laugh attack). But since German sentences are generally backwards from English ones, the translations usually don't end up making much sense at all. You can get words translated, maybe a sentence, but a page?

This is the 'translation' I got for the above paragraph from Babelfish:

Wirklich wenn Sie bereits die Sprachen kennen,SIND Sie in der Lage, darzustellen aus, was die Übersetzung sagt (obwohl Sie an einem Lachenangriff sterben konnten). Aber, da deutsche Sätze im Allgemeinen rückwärts von Englisch eine sind, beenden die Übersetzungen im Allgemeinen nicht herauf das Sein vielen sinnvoll an allen. Sie können Wörter erhalten übersetzt, möglicherweise ein Satz, aber eine Seite?

It makes partial sense, but a lot of it is just nonsense. And that is just ONE paragraph!

Below is the same paragraph 'free translation' from Freetranslation.com. It's slightly better, but not much. I would never rely on either for any accurate translation, if I actually want somebody who doesn't speak the language to really understand what is being said.

Tatsächlich wenn Sie schon die Sprachen kennen, werden Sie lösen können, was die Übersetzung sagt (obwohl Sie von einem Lachenangriff) sterben könnten. Aber da deutsche Sätze gewöhnlich rückwärts von Englisch derjenig sind, beenden die Übersetzungen gewöhnlich nicht auf Machen viel Sinns überhaupt. Sie können Wörter übersetzen, vielleicht ein Satz, aber eine Seite lassen?

The reality is, that you usually have to do quite a bit of paraphrasing in translating, and a computer is simply not programmed (or able, or both) to do that.

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The reality is, that you usually have to do quite a bit of paraphrasing in translating, and a computer is simply not programmed (or able, or both) to do that.

Yeah, I should have mentioned that, I just got so used to fixing the translation when I did homework that I forgot. It works best if you're translating from the other language to english, because then it's easier to figure out what they meant in the other language.

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You can find the location of Reformhauses in Germany and Austria at this website: http://www.reformhaus.de/branche/reformhaeuser.htm

Just enter the name of each town or city that you are visiting in the "Ort" box, and click on "Suchen". This site is in German, so you'll need to use German spelling.

Ken

THANK YOU!!! This will come in very handy I think! We are going to be in several different cities along the Rhine River while looking at castles and scenery...

You guys rock. Much appreciated.

Tanya in Chicago!!

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Hey there,

I am form Germany and I recommend the website of the 'German Celiac Society'!

http://www.dzg-online.de/ <-- click on the english button!!!

Those ppl are really nice and they can provide you with additional information!

If you have further specific questions you can also ask ME! ;)

Have fun in Germany and our beloved neighbor France! :D

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Hey there,

I am form Germany and I recommend the website of the 'German Celiac Society'!

http://www.dzg-online.de/ <-- click on the english button!!!

Those ppl are really nice and they can provide you with additional information!

If you have further specific questions you can also ask ME! ;)

Have fun in Germany and our beloved neighbor France! :D

Hello German Guy-

Thank you. I have already contacted them. They seem very nice, but did not offer a lot of information.

Can I eat bratwurst while in Germany? Is it gluten free? I love it and eat here in the U.S.!! Could you tell me specific foods that I would find in Germany that are always safe? I have been told by a couple of people that eating gluten free in Germany will be tough... I will only be there for 3 days.

Any suggestions would be great! THANK YOU!

Tanya in Chicago

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I used the french version from

http://www.celiactravel.com/restaurant-cards.html

2 weeks ago and they worked well. I printed out several and used them when necessary. I don't know how accurate the German ones are as we don't speak German, perhaps Ursula could comment?

Donna

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Hey Tanya,

the german version from www.celicatravel.com/restaurant-cards.html is fine and should be helpful.

I am sorry, but I would not recommend Bratwurst. Eventhough there are gluten-free Bratwursts, I wouldn't eat it in a Restaurant. The Problem with Bratwursts is, that the spices and aromas used in it could be contaminated with gluten... the risk is just too high. :(

If you tell me the cities you will stay in, I can try to find restaurants with special gluten-free meals!

Safe, besides all of the basic things (like natural yoghurt, rice, potatoes, natural meet and so on) are also many kinds of german choclate (which by the way taste better than the american ones ;), and have saved my life a couple of times while travelling). There are also a places called 'Reformhaus' in almost any major city, which offer gluten-free products!

By the way, since November 2005 there is a new law in Germany (and France by the way, since this is a EU law) which forces every manufacturer of foods to declare any gluten containing ingredients on the package.

The problem is that you need to know the german and french names for all the crops containing gluten.

Greetings

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I used the french version from

http://www.celiactravel.com/restaurant-cards.html

2 weeks ago and they worked well. I printed out several and used them when necessary. I don't know how accurate the German ones are as we don't speak German, perhaps Ursula could comment?

Donna

I checked out the above mentioned German cards, and there is a serious typo in them, making them useless at this time. I contacted the people responsible for the site, and hope that they'll correct it very quickly. The cards state that you have a 'Lutenunvertraeglichkeit' instead of 'Glutenunvertraeglichkeit'. Easy to correct, but you really can't print them out as is right now.

The above mentioned cards list the names of all the crops containing gluten. They are Roggen (rye), Weizen (wheat) Gerste (barley), Hafer (oats). I don't know what triticale is in German.

The problem with the new law is, that Germans don't believe that wheat germ oil and wheat starch contain gluten, even though they appear to make extra sensitive people sick. I've found that the people in one forum are adamant that I am wrong, and that the people who claim that these items are a problem must have issues with other things, and might not even be celiacs. I take exception to that myself.

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Ursula you are right. The 'G' in Glutenunverträglichkeit is missing, though gluten is written correctly in the following passage!

The german and the english word 'triticale' are the same! At least that's what wikipedia.de is saying! ;)

a little OFF TOPIC:

Regarding the new law, starch derived from wheat has to be declared (for example: Stärke[Weizen])!

Also every possible trace of wheat due to cross contamination during the production process has to be declared (for example: Spuren: Weizen)!

So in my oppinion the law is actually a good thing which makes celiac living safer! :P

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The only problems with the new law are glucose syrup (which can be from wheat, and doesn't have to be declared, and maltodextrin (ditto, AFAIK). So if you look at a package, and the food doesn't list wheat, rye or barley as allergens, and doesn't contain glucose syrup, you can assume it's safe. I've had no problems with shopping so far with the new labelling laws at least. If you're not supersensitive, the glucose syrup might not even give you symptoms - since it's only for a short holiday...?

So basically, if you know what wheat, barley and rye are in german & french, shopping at supermarkets shoudn't be too difficult. After all you're used to reading labels already. ;)

Pauliina

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Ursula you are right. The 'G' in Glutenunverträglichkeit is missing, though gluten is written correctly in the following passage!

The german and the english word 'triticale' are the same! At least that's what wikipedia.de is saying! ;)

a little OFF TOPIC:

Regarding the new law, starch derived from wheat has to be declared (for example: Stärke[Weizen])!

Also every possible trace of wheat due to cross contamination during the production process has to be declared (for example: Spuren: Weizen)!

So in my oppinion the law is actually a good thing which makes celiac living safer! :P

Okay, since I haven't actually lived in Germany for 27 years, and haven't been back since being diagnosed with Celiac disease, my knowledge is hearsay, while yours is firsthand. And what you're saying makes me feel better, because it is definitely good that wheat starch has to be listed, as well as possible cross contamination. That way people can make up their own mind if they want to take the risk.

And Pauliina, it is good to know what to look out for, as I guess there are pitfall in every law. As long as Celiacs know that those things aren't safe, they can watch out for them. I just wished all people with Celiac disease would do their own research instead of the info they get from their doctor, which is usually very little.

My second oldest daughter's mother-in-law has Celiac disease as well (so, their children have a very high chance of getting it, since it comes from both sides). But she will eat cake or other things containing gluten sometimes as a treat, thinking it will do no harm. Before I knew I had celiac disease, I'd bake a cake with different kinds of flour (oat, buckwheat, millet, rye, and some whole wheat flour), and she would eat it, thinking that 'just a little wheat' wouldn't hurt her. It never sounded right to me, but I didn't know anything about the subject. Now I know that she is harming herself.

When she heard I have celiac disease as well, she sent me an e-mail, letting me know that she'd be there if I needed advice. By then I knew more about it than she had learned in years (she knows how to use e-mail, but I think that's pretty much all she uses the Internet for). How can I tell her that her advice is useless to me, if she doesn't know that cheating is not an option? I don't want to make her feel bad.

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Hey Tanya,

the german version from www.celicatravel.com/restaurant-cards.html is fine and should be helpful.

I am sorry, but I would not recommend Bratwurst. Eventhough there are gluten-free Bratwursts, I wouldn't eat it in a Restaurant. The Problem with Bratwursts is, that the spices and aromas used in it could be contaminated with gluten... the risk is just too high. :(

If you tell me the cities you will stay in, I can try to find restaurants with special gluten-free meals!

Safe, besides all of the basic things (like natural yoghurt, rice, potatoes, natural meet and so on) are also many kinds of german choclate (which by the way taste better than the american ones ;), and have saved my life a couple of times while travelling). There are also a places called 'Reformhaus' in almost any major city, which offer gluten-free products!

By the way, since November 2005 there is a new law in Germany (and France by the way, since this is a EU law) which forces every manufacturer of foods to declare any gluten containing ingredients on the package.

The problem is that you need to know the german and french names for all the crops containing gluten.

Greetings

Thanks again...

The plan keeps changing but the latest is that we will be staying possibly in Bingen and Cologne (Koln) and we may spend a few hours in Koblenz and Mannheim... and not necessarily in that order!

If you have restaurant suggestions or stores (like the reformous-health stores)... I would be all ears!

Tanya in Chicago

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I just got back from a trip to Germany. My advice for the in-flight meal is to request gluten free, but take your own food just in case. The meal I got from Northwest included crackers?!?! and some very nasty looking terrine. The fish and rice were fine, if incredibly dry.

In Germany I searched out the "Bio" section in the regular grocery store - it's green and pretty easy to find. I got a few staples there to keep me going. Be careful with tortilla chips in the regular snack aisle - all the ones I found contained wheat. I'm pretty sure with my almost non-existent German I was getting glutened in restaurants - either that or I picked up a traveler's bug.

I had only been diagnosed for about a week before the trip, so my gluten-detection skills are still developing! I may be moving there, though, so either my German or my gluten finding will improve - hopefully both.

Good luck!

Janet

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