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Aussie Travelling To Usa


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#1 dandt

 
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Posted 07 December 2011 - 06:18 PM

Hey Everyone!

I'm new to the forum, though I'm almost certain I was on here earlier in the year. I've lurked for ages but thought it might be good to get some advice.

As the title suggests, I'm from Australia and I will be travelling to the USA so I'm looking for any suggestions that might help. Not sure if this is the right place for this.

Basically I've had alot of issues for a long time. Didn't really have GI issues other than bloating but I'm healthier GI wise now anyway. I've had issues with dairy on and off for as long as I can remember. Naturopath suggested I go off gluten and dairy at the beginning of the year and then did a gluten challenge and found symptoms returned a few days later. Did a dairy challenge and I was sick. I also challenged with some lactose free milk a few days later and I seemed to have a reaction to that too, so I was advised to stay away from both. Mid-way through the year I decided to try some limited dairy again just because it opened up so many more gluten free options. I still tried to keep it minimal, like just a little cheese in a product here and there etc. I've now gone off dairy again, just to see if there was an improvement as I seemed to be having some symptoms. I still think these symptoms are cross-contamination because I was living in residential college. (At home now and seems to slowly be resolving. unsure still whether it was dairy or gluten).

Anyway, in January my family and I will be travelling to the USA. I believe we will be flying QANTAS who seem to have Gluten free meals, but I'll be bringing some food along with me. We'll be in LA for a while and then going to Vegas for around 8 days. We may be driving to Vegas, although this is undecided. Once in vegas I suspect we will be primarily eating at restaurants so I'll probably be having alot of steaks :P If we drive to Vegas from LA we will be flying the other way, vice versa.

In Vegas I'm not too concerned because if we're eating at restaurants I can always ask for something. I've also found a gluten-free bakery in Vegas so I'm most definitely having a cup-cake from there for my birthday!

I wasn't too concerned before, but now that we may be driving one way I will most definitely be needing to work out which naughty lollies and chips etc I can eat because what is a roadtrip without them? I generally stay away from most lollies here in Australia because most seem to have Wheat Glucose, though I have recently been told that they are still safe if they don't disclose gluten. I hope I can have alot of different varieties because there are so many types of lollies I want to try. We're getting more and more types of US candy available here but it's always so expensive. And some US types are safe while the australian versions aren't! Like starbursts (unless they weren't safe and I read the label how I wanted to!)


Are most supermarkets pretty good with gluten free range or is one chain better than another? And what is labeling like? From what I've heard Australian labelling laws are extremely good, but I'm not sure how true that is. If something has gluten, or any other allergen, in it they have to have it in bold on the ingredient list (maybe not a requirement but it's pretty much always like that) and there is a summary down the bottom that says what allergens are in it so you can be lazy. Is it similar in the US or do I have to look harder?

Aaand takeaway? What is safe? In Australia McDonalds chips are most definitely safe and I can order a hamburger without the bread and cheese. Is McDonalds a no-go? I mean, I'm trying to be super healthy and mainly eat natural foods, especially at the moment because my college basically fed me rice and rice pasta all year so I stacked on the weight. I also didn't realise how fatty a gluten free product can be!!! But yeah, since we're on holiday I'm planning to let loose a little :P


Thanks so much for any help and I can't wait to start my trip!
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#2 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 07 December 2011 - 06:53 PM

Well, I don't have much for you except this...

I'd stay away from McDonalds. Try In-N-Out burger instead. They are gluten-free except the bun and when you order tell them to press the allergy button and it's the bun. They'll wrap your burger in lettuce instead. They will have restaurants on Vegas and Cali and most especially on the road.

As far as grocery stores look for Whole Foods, Sunflower, Wild Oats. Google natural foods and you'll probably find one close to you. Trader Joe's will have great road food (grocery store) but be careful - they label "no gluten ingredients" and many times the cc line type (wheat, soy, milk, etc.). Some people don't do well on their processed stuff but they have fresh foods, snacks, nuts, liquor so it's worth a stop.

I find resorts very good at gluten-free, and the better the restaurant the better gluten-free choices.
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Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today. ~ Mark Twain

Probable Endometriosis, in remission from childbirth since 2002.
Hashimoto's DX 2005.
Gluten-Free since 6/2011.
DH (and therefore Celiac) dx from ND
.
Responsive to iodine withdrawal for DH (see quote, above).

Genetic tests reveal half DQ2, half DQ8 - I'm a weird bird!

#3 Olivegirl

 
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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:45 PM

I'm an Australian coeliac who has travelled a few times in the US. Here's my two cents worth:

1. Re lollies/snack food - you should find a much wider variety of chocolates, lollies etc in the US than Australia that you can eat, as they tend to use corn starch and high fructose corn syrup, rather than wheat starch/wheat glucose syrup in manufacturing snack food. Just beware of chips (crisps) which sometimes are and sometimes aren't gluten free.
2. Beware of labelling in the US. In Australia, you must by law mention in the ingredient list if there is wheat, rye, oats or barley in the product. In the US, I think all they must mark is wheat;
3. Also watch out for 'gluten free' products in the US, many of which contain oats (which aren't allowed to be labelled as gluten free in Australia);
4. Saying you have a 'wheat allergy' tends to work better in the US in my experience than saying 'gluten intolerance';
5. And finally, the best fast food option I found in the states was Mexican food - just about always gluten free!

Have a great trip!
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#4 dandt

 
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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:45 PM

Thanks so much! I can't wait now!!!

I'm on day 3 of a 3 day detox for other reasons and basically I can't have any protein so it's just fruit and veg so I'm making myself extremely hungry by looking at the deliciously unhealthy greasy burgers :P

It's great that they will wrap them in lettuce!
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#5 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:54 PM

I'm an Australian coeliac who has travelled a few times in the US. Here's my two cents worth:

1. Re lollies/snack food - you should find a much wider variety of chocolates, lollies etc in the US than Australia that you can eat, as they tend to use corn starch and high fructose corn syrup, rather than wheat starch/wheat glucose syrup in manufacturing snack food. Just beware of chips (crisps) which sometimes are and sometimes aren't gluten free.
2. Beware of labelling in the US. In Australia, you must by law mention in the ingredient list if there is wheat, rye, oats or barley in the product. In the US, I think all they must mark is wheat;
3. Also watch out for 'gluten free' products in the US, many of which contain oats (which aren't allowed to be labelled as gluten free in Australia);
4. Saying you have a 'wheat allergy' tends to work better in the US in my experience than saying 'gluten intolerance';
5. And finally, the best fast food option I found in the states was Mexican food - just about always gluten free!

Have a great trip!



Kettle brand chips are great and gluten-free. Tostitos restaurant style are labeled gluten-free.

Mexican food is a better bet but ask of the chips are fried In a shared fryer with wheat, and if they add wheat to their sauces for thickening. Chipotle is a fast-ish food chain (Mexican) that does a very good job with gluten-free.
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Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today. ~ Mark Twain

Probable Endometriosis, in remission from childbirth since 2002.
Hashimoto's DX 2005.
Gluten-Free since 6/2011.
DH (and therefore Celiac) dx from ND
.
Responsive to iodine withdrawal for DH (see quote, above).

Genetic tests reveal half DQ2, half DQ8 - I'm a weird bird!

#6 dandt

 
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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:23 PM

Kettle brand chips are great and gluten-free.


Oooh that makes me really excited because I'm(I mean I was) addicted to salt and vinegar chips and I looked up kettle chips then and the salt and vinegar ones are gluten free. Looks like I'm bringing back a suitcase full of those!!!

Also thanks so much for all your tips olivegirl! It's great to hear from a fellow Aussie :P
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#7 anabananakins

 
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 04:42 PM

Hi! I'm aussie and I've travelled a bunch in the US since I went gluten free.

-Chipotle are great. I eat there all the time - get the buritto bowl.

- Supermarkets are overwhelming. There is SO much stuff. I remember staring gobsmacked at all the varieties of premade frosting! There is a billion more brands than we get in woolies or coles. So, if you have particular foods you like it would be worth doing a post listing them and asking people for their favourite brands, so you can create a short list of things to look for. Will save a lot of time reading labels. US products have a tonne more 'stuff' in them than ours do (read the ingredients on cottage cheese, or yoghurt or stuff like that to see what I mean, it's mind boggling and confusing)

- Whole Foods. If you can schedule a trip to one, you can stock up on pre-made bakery items. If you aren't driving, there's one in Santa Monica that's really easy to get to (it's in the down town Santa Monica area, which is safe and walkable)

- you can get stuff like larabars at the supermarket, so they are good for road trips. "Ralphs" is the supermarket chain I saw the most in california, and there's usually some discount for ralphs members. Well don't worry that you aren't one because the checkout person will ask and will either sign you up (it's just a card - I got one within hours of landing!) or they swipe their own to get you the discount.

-McDonalds fries are fine! And they are the only hot food option I've found at LAX. There's a McDonalds in the Tom Bradley terminal that you can access without going through security. Even though I fly out of terminal 3, I often stop by for some fries first :)

- If you're eating at a restaurant without a gluten free menu, stress that you have a wheat allergy and double-check ingredients. Lots of salads will include croutons and won't necessarily mention it. I get the waitperson to write NO CROUTONS!!!! all over the order. PF Changs is weird non-chinese chinese food but it's tasty enough and safe and they have a really yummy choccy dessert.

-In N Out burger is yummy. But do tell them it's gluten free, because I ordered it protein style (lettuce instead of bun) and didn't specify it was because I had an allergy, and they must have used the same knife because I got sick the second time I ate there. I'll be more careful next time.

I don't eat lollies sorry, so can't help there.

Let me know if you have more questions. I've spent a bunch of time in LA, and all over the place, and I could be more specific about places if you want to share the areas you'll be staying in.

Oh and read up on tipping. It feels weird for us, but it's really important. Wait staff get paid very low hourly rates and they survive on tips. The aussie dollar goes super far in the US.

Hope you have a fabulous time!
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#8 mommida

 
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:59 PM

Well tell us what your favorite flavors are to tell you some gluten free choices.

Do you like

chocolate-
caramel-
fruit flavor chews- like skittles and starburst
vinegar chips - kettle brand

Do we need to keep your selections to casein free too?

People from foreign countries are very overwhelmed by American grocery stores. You will understand why a lot of Americans do not like grocery shopping. They actually do research on how to make people spend more money than they intend to.

You can find more than enough snack foods to keep you going at everyone gas station or 7-11 or Circle K.
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#9 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:14 PM

Oh, and if you like chocolates See's is supposed to have quite a few gluten-free choices. http://www.sees.com/...Info_063011.pdf

See's is popular in Cali.
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Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today. ~ Mark Twain

Probable Endometriosis, in remission from childbirth since 2002.
Hashimoto's DX 2005.
Gluten-Free since 6/2011.
DH (and therefore Celiac) dx from ND
.
Responsive to iodine withdrawal for DH (see quote, above).

Genetic tests reveal half DQ2, half DQ8 - I'm a weird bird!

#10 Skylark

 
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:33 PM

Are most supermarkets pretty good with gluten free range or is one chain better than another? And what is labeling like? From what I've heard Australian labelling laws are extremely good, but I'm not sure how true that is. If something has gluten, or any other allergen, in it they have to have it in bold on the ingredient list (maybe not a requirement but it's pretty much always like that) and there is a summary down the bottom that says what allergens are in it so you can be lazy. Is it similar in the US or do I have to look harder?

Aaand takeaway? What is safe? In Australia McDonalds chips are most definitely safe and I can order a hamburger without the bread and cheese. Is McDonalds a no-go? I mean, I'm trying to be super healthy and mainly eat natural foods, especially at the moment because my college basically fed me rice and rice pasta all year so I stacked on the weight. I also didn't realise how fatty a gluten free product can be!!! But yeah, since we're on holiday I'm planning to let loose a little :P

As others have said, Whole Foods is expensive but your best bet for supermarkets. They have a great selection of nice organic produce and gluten-free foods. Trader Joe's is also good and you may run across a Henry's or Sprouts. Don't bother with Von's or Ralph's.

Our labeling is a mess. Stick to well-known brands like Udi's, Glutino, Rudi's, Pamela's, Schaar, Whole Foods Gluten-free Bakery, or Kinnikinnick. Udi's has fabulous baked goods! If you see the GFCO mark that's fine too. Wheat allergens are always somewhere in the ingredients, but not always on the bottom. Barley and rye do not have to be declared by law but most of the big food manufacturers are declaring them in parenthesis after the ingredients.

Don't expect people to know what celiac is. Tell them you are allergic to wheat and ask to see the allergy information. Barley and rye are rare in restaurants so wheat is your main concern.

Takeout - Wendy's chili and a potato is always good, plus the Frosty chocolate milkshake is gluten-free. Rubio's has some gluten-free options like carnitas street tacos in soft corn tortillas. Chipotle is another Mexican food chain that's great for gluten-free. You absolutely, positively must go to In-N-Out burger if you're visiting Southern California, though expect a bit of a wait because the food is made fresh and they're always busy. The fries are fresh-cut and made in a dedicated fryer. Order your burger "protein style" to get a lettuce wrap and let them know you have a "wheat allergy" and they'll be careful with it.
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#11 dandt

 
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:37 PM

Wow thanks for all the info!

As for what I like... EVERYTHING!!! When I was younger I read ALOT and most of the books I read, mainly because of the availability, were thinks like Little Sister and Babysitter club and I just remember all the names of lollies and different foods that weren't available here. Yeah... from about 13 I wanted to travel to the US mainly for the different take-out and candy available.... yeah, I'm not even joking! Obviously as I've gotten older that's not as much of a big deal, but I just want to try as much as I can!!!

It's a little funny because my brother has now become much the same! All the things he wants to do in the US revolves around food! It's so cute!!!

I'm definitely keen to try larabars. I've read about them on here a bit and yesterday started looking them up. Hopefully I'll like them and can stock up on them and bring them home!!

I suppose I'm a little lucky that I'm intolerant as opposed to coeliac and I don't have much of a GI reaction (apart from bloating) and it's more dark circles and headaches. I guess if I have any mess-ups it won't be as big of a deal! Dairy on the other hand, after a certain amount, doesn't agree so well with me.

EDIT: OH WOW! I just looked up glutino and I am hoping I become dairy tolerant again in time for our trip because I do very muchly want the glazed donuts!!! Om nom nom
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#12 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:58 PM

In-N-out is in Vegas, too, and probably on the road between SoCal and Vegas.

Ethel M is a Nevada based chocolatier if you're into that - I have no idea if their stuff is gluten-free. Their factory is in Henderson.

Don't miss Trader Joe's if you want to sample a zillion things.

Vegas has so many great restaurants. I haven't been in a while but I'm sure Emeril's can accommodate gluten-free, and my husband is fanatical about Nobu (Hard Rock). Don't know if Nobu has gluten-free soy sauce but just order sashimi...
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Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today. ~ Mark Twain

Probable Endometriosis, in remission from childbirth since 2002.
Hashimoto's DX 2005.
Gluten-Free since 6/2011.
DH (and therefore Celiac) dx from ND
.
Responsive to iodine withdrawal for DH (see quote, above).

Genetic tests reveal half DQ2, half DQ8 - I'm a weird bird!




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