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Aruba
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Just returned from a week in Aruba and thought I'd share. Our 13-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed and I was nervous. Did my research before we left and called or e-mailed a few places. While she's not sensitive and wouldn't necessarily know if she got glutened, we felt the restaurants we visited were very attentive and caring. The manager at El Gaucho, the steakhouse, was very knowledgeable and assured me that the kitchen has separate prep areas for everything. The meats are not made with any marinades, either. DD had steak and rice. At Yemanje Grill, which has a full gluten-free menu, she also went with steak and rice and even sampled some of the side sauteed veggies, which were gluten-free. At Que Pasa? they checked off which items on their regular menu were gluten-free, although I caught a mistake--they indicated their chicken teriyaki was gluten-free even though it has soy sauce. Just goes to show you can't always trust a restaurant to know what's gluten-free! She did well with steak and rice (sensing a pattern here?). At Hostaria di Vittorio, they grilled her a chicken breast in butter and lemon and cooked our gluten-free pasta in clean water. We also brought gluten-free pasta to two casual Italian spots, Casa Tua and Tomato Charlie's, and were assured that they cooked it for her in clean water as well. The remaining dinner was at Linda's Dutch Pancakes because we knew Linda serves gluten-free pancakes.

There was a decent selection of gluten-free foods at Kong Hing Supermarket, and the manager even got a case of Udi's bread for us prior to our arrival. Otherwise, we would have bought the Food For Life gluten-free bread. I didn't see any other gluten-free bread anywhere in the supermarkets.

Hope this helps anyone considering Aruba for a vacation!!!

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I thought i would add to this topic rather than starting a new one - all of the old Aruba posts were very helpful to us in planning our trip. Our 11 year old was diagnosed 7 weeks before our trip, and I was slightly panicky about the whole thing - but we had a great experience! We stayed in a condo so took a lot of food with us - cereal, pasta, crackers, bread, etc. And I'm still glad that we did because it saved money - but everything I took we could have bought in Aruba. Specifically, go to Ling and Sons grocery store. We live in a small town, so to us going to Ling and Sons was like when we go an hour away to a store that carries a decent amount of gluten-free items. They must have had 10 varieties of Tinkyada pasta. I even saw Bob's Red Mill Sorghum flour. And in the freezer section they had Rudi's bread and Kinnickinnick donuts - my daughter was in heaven! Earlier in the week we went to SuperFoods, and they had a decent amount - but sort of like my hometown grocery store vs. the great variety at Ling and Sons.

 

In terms of restaurants, we went to Tejas de Brasil and had a good experience - they were very deferential to her and very helpful. But it's a lot of money for somewhat mediocre food, in our view. I guess we're just not huge eaters and to pay that much for the buffet isn't really how we like to eat. We didn't go to Yemanjah's Woodfire Grill until the last night - and I think we would have eaten there every night if we had discovered it sooner! She was treated like a princess - even got her own loaf of warm gluten-free bread along with her own garlic butter and olive spread. She was a huge fried calamari fan previously, and was moaning about not being able to get calamari. They have a calamari stew and she insisted on ordering that for an appetizer - I was a little worried because it's very different from fried calamari. But it was delicious and she was thrilled. She ordered the kid's grilled chicken and it came with rice and a yummy salad. And they even had her favorite - creme brulee - for dessert. The rest of us had things which were probably gluten-free, too - and my snapper on a bed of pesto risotto was one of the best things I've ever eaten. The whole meal was delicious - and cost us less than the Tejas de Brasil meal!

 

We also had a good experience at Pinchos Grill, which is on the waterfront in a gorgeous setting. The food isn't as spectacular as Yemanja's, but the setting is unbeatable. My daughter had the shrimp ceviche for an appetizer and she ordered the kid's burger (without a bun or cheese, please) for dinner. I asked the waitress how they cooked it, and she said "on the grill". I asked if they could cook it in a pan instead and she said no, because they don't have any pans. So then I asked if they could cook it on foil, and it came still surrounded in foil and was perfect. It came with chips and a snack pack pudding - which she took home so that she could have the berries and whipped cream instead!

 

We went to Linda's for gluten-free dutch pancakes and gluten-free pizza twice. That was a treat for all of us! My husband also ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread because he wanted her to be able to taste it, and it was delicious. The gouda there is just wonderful!

 

Maybe it's because we live in a small town with very limited options, but I thought it was really easy to be gluten-free in Aruba. I know that a lot of the research on Celiac is done in Denmark, and since Aruba is a Dutch colony or protectorate (or whatever it is - I guess I really should know that) I think they are a lot further along in their understand of gluten-free than lots of places in the US. I guess I should qualify all this by saying that I don't know how sensitive my daughter is - she didn't have any overt GI symptoms prior to diagnosis and has only (we think) been glutened once since going gluten-free, and her reaction then was throwing up within 1 to 2 hours. But she didn't have so much as a small stomach ache and her poop remained as it's been since she went gluten-free (prior to that it was apparently much softer and more frequent - so in hindsight she did have GI symptoms). So all is good! Go to Aruba - it's good for the soul and for the gluten-free diet!!

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I thought i would add to this topic rather than starting a new one - all of the old Aruba posts were very helpful to us in planning our trip. Our 11 year old was diagnosed 7 weeks before our trip, and I was slightly panicky about the whole thing - but we had a great experience! We stayed in a condo so took a lot of food with us - cereal, pasta, crackers, bread, etc. And I'm still glad that we did because it saved money - but everything I took we could have bought in Aruba. Specifically, go to Ling and Sons grocery store. We live in a small town, so to us going to Ling and Sons was like when we go an hour away to a store that carries a decent amount of gluten-free items. They must have had 10 varieties of Tinkyada pasta. I even saw Bob's Red Mill Sorghum flour. And in the freezer section they had Rudi's bread and Kinnickinnick donuts - my daughter was in heaven! Earlier in the week we went to SuperFoods, and they had a decent amount - but sort of like my hometown grocery store vs. the great variety at Ling and Sons.

In terms of restaurants, we went to Tejas de Brasil and had a good experience - they were very deferential to her and very helpful. But it's a lot of money for somewhat mediocre food, in our view. I guess we're just not huge eaters and to pay that much for the buffet isn't really how we like to eat. We didn't go to Yemanjah's Woodfire Grill until the last night - and I think we would have eaten there every night if we had discovered it sooner! She was treated like a princess - even got her own loaf of warm gluten-free bread along with her own garlic butter and olive spread. She was a huge fried calamari fan previously, and was moaning about not being able to get calamari. They have a calamari stew and she insisted on ordering that for an appetizer - I was a little worried because it's very different from fried calamari. But it was delicious and she was thrilled. She ordered the kid's grilled chicken and it came with rice and a yummy salad. And they even had her favorite - creme brulee - for dessert. The rest of us had things which were probably gluten-free, too - and my snapper on a bed of pesto risotto was one of the best things I've ever eaten. The whole meal was delicious - and cost us less than the Tejas de Brasil meal!

We also had a good experience at Pinchos Grill, which is on the waterfront in a gorgeous setting. The food isn't as spectacular as Yemanja's, but the setting is unbeatable. My daughter had the shrimp ceviche for an appetizer and she ordered the kid's burger (without a bun or cheese, please) for dinner. I asked the waitress how they cooked it, and she said "on the grill". I asked if they could cook it in a pan instead and she said no, because they don't have any pans. So then I asked if they could cook it on foil, and it came still surrounded in foil and was perfect. It came with chips and a snack pack pudding - which she took home so that she could have the berries and whipped cream instead!

We went to Linda's for gluten-free dutch pancakes and gluten-free pizza twice. That was a treat for all of us! My husband also ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread because he wanted her to be able to taste it, and it was delicious. The gouda there is just wonderful!

Maybe it's because we live in a small town with very limited options, but I thought it was really easy to be gluten-free in Aruba. I know that a lot of the research on Celiac is done in Denmark, and since Aruba is a Dutch colony or protectorate (or whatever it is - I guess I really should know that) I think they are a lot further along in their understand of gluten-free than lots of places in the US. I guess I should qualify all this by saying that I don't know how sensitive my daughter is - she didn't have any overt GI symptoms prior to diagnosis and has only (we think) been glutened once since going gluten-free, and her reaction then was throwing up within 1 to 2 hours. But she didn't have so much as a small stomach ache and her poop remained as it's been since she went gluten-free (prior to that it was apparently much softer and more frequent - so in hindsight she did have GI symptoms). So all is good! Go to Aruba - it's good for the soul and for the gluten-free diet!!

Thank you! It makes me feel so hopeful when I read posts like yours! Oh, I want to travel again!

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    • I figured I would update those who were wondering.  I have gotten the appt. so far moved up to August 30. I am waiting to have gene testing done via swab for all 3 of my kiddos tomorrow. My daughters celiac antibodies came up negative but her IgA is low which the ped said could cause false negative antibodies for celiac so she will need to see a GI dr. also. The pediatrician is going to call the GI to try to get them in sooner. I am keeping them all on a gluten diet until the GI dr. decides what to do. I am on the cancellation list already for my son, however I am not going to be persistent with my phone calls to them until I have the results of the gene test. I really want that result in my hand before going to the GI dr if I can. Maybe if he is positive, along with his bloodwork and my history they can forgo the endoscopy. But he will eat gluten till then.  My husband and I have been very honest and upfront with him as to what is going on and the possibility of the endoscopy and what that entails and although scared in general he seems ok after assuring him that since I have it he has me to help him every step of the way.  Going through his current diet with him I realized that he is truly on such a low gluten diet that I am actually surprised his bloodwork shows antibodies at all!  So I told him to make a list of allllll the gluten he could possibly think of eating and he needs to pound it until the GI visit or endoscopy. Funny thing is everything he keeps thinking of to want to eat...is already gluten free!  The other night we were at a friends and he asked if he could be done with his hotdog. I made him finish just the bread 😂 Thanks for your help and advise and I will keep y'all posted on both kids!  My oldest is a ok as far as all his antibodies. Just actually had a follow up for other immune issues and all his levels are now normal!
    • I like your plan Cara, I may have to include it in my sons.    Poor little guy is still very very sick. I think he is resisting and cheating, despite having the support of two other siblings and a 100% gluten-free home. 
    • Despite it being a nightmare, I did wait for my kids to get biopsies. At one point I had one severely ill child gluten-free and two more waiting having to eat it. It was worth the wait though and I think long term a biopsy may be worthwhile, especially for school. I have already had issues with schools and camps so having a firm diagnosis has been helpful. 
    • Knowing that the reaction to gluten in celiacs is an uncalled for immune system reaction, I was thinking of how a cure would be possible. Maybe a medicine that somehow turns off the immune system. The only thing that i've heard do that... HIV.  obviously that's way worse than celiac. Just some food for thought.
    • Well, you can probably get an apple or something.  You might be able to get someone to boil you some eggs.  But be careful of things like nuts that should be naturally gluten free.  They have almost always been soaked in a flavor solution that usually containes caramel coloring, "soy" (wheat) sauce and other aditives.  If I am really hungry and must eat in a Chinese restaurant, I order plain white rice and steamed vegetables.  But even so, you must monitor it carefully.  The rice sometimes has other substances added to give it a better texture, and very often the vegetables have in fact had "just a little bit" of soy sauce added.  To be fair, celiac disease is hardly ever found in East Asians, so understandably people are not tuned it to it.  Also, culturally, with the exception of fruits, it is generally thought that the flavor of foods needs to be enhanced, so it is had to find anything natural even in the "western" gorceries. Even in the western restaurants, be careful.  Fish and meat and often vegetables are usually pre-marinated. I will not even attempt to address the issue of cross-comtamination, since that is a whole higher order of things. I do know what I am talking about; I have celiac and have worked here for nearly 7 years.  
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