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Traveling Overseas ... Any Guidance?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 Pisqualie

 
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Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

Hello! I am still awaiting blood test results, but am about 99% sure I have Celiac. I have finally adjusted to not eating wheat at home, and have mastered a few local restaurants... but recently my family traveled to DC and wow, finding food to eat in new towns, in new restaurants... it was much harder than I thought it would be. I wound up pretty ill, honestly.

Here's my concern... my husband and I are finally going on our European vacation and I am so excited! Except, now I am sort of dreading all the food. We are spending three days in Paris (bread anyone?), three days in London, and then three days in Ireland.

What on earth am I going to eat? I am so tired of grilled chicken salads when I go out to eat. Though I have mastered the bun-less hamburger... only, I have never really been a big fan of burgers.

What do you do when you travel places where you are unfamiliar with menus, etc? Any guidance? I'm sort of preparing myself to be a little glutened ... I'm not sure I could avoid it 100% while traveling, realistically.

Thanks!
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#2 love2travel

 
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Posted 25 April 2012 - 02:36 PM

Hello! I am still awaiting blood test results, but am about 99% sure I have Celiac. I have finally adjusted to not eating wheat at home, and have mastered a few local restaurants... but recently my family traveled to DC and wow, finding food to eat in new towns, in new restaurants... it was much harder than I thought it would be. I wound up pretty ill, honestly.

Here's my concern... my husband and I are finally going on our European vacation and I am so excited! Except, now I am sort of dreading all the food. We are spending three days in Paris (bread anyone?), three days in London, and then three days in Ireland.

What on earth am I going to eat? I am so tired of grilled chicken salads when I go out to eat. Though I have mastered the bun-less hamburger... only, I have never really been a big fan of burgers.

What do you do when you travel places where you are unfamiliar with menus, etc? Any guidance? I'm sort of preparing myself to be a little glutened ... I'm not sure I could avoid it 100% while traveling, realistically.

Thanks!

Welcome here! You mention not eating wheat - I'm just checking to make sure you know that you also cannot consume anything containing barley or rye as well. Most advise us not to consume oats until our guts heal (even certified gluten free - there are differing opinions, of course).

Congratulations on your first European trip! My husband and I travel to Europe twice each year (leaving next week, actually) so I understand your concern. We travel to countries where English is not the first language so I take along restaurant cards (just google). That may help in France. The good news is that it seems many other countries are far more aware and better informed than in North America. And even better - in good restaurants, most menu items are naturally gluten free anyway (i.e. lamb, duck, etc.) so this is the time to splurge! :D Not only that but the chefs are far better trained than cooks in fast-food or casual places. Usually. Same is true here in Canada.

Be careful to explain cross contamination in the kitchen, too. It is not just the food itself that can cause trouble.

I would recommend frequenting the wonderful outdoor markets and also recommend renting an apartment if possible so you can prepare your own breakfasts and lunches. Go to the grocery stores and markets for picnic fixings.

Definitely take along plenty of snacks, especially for eating at airports. Many airports have little or nothing available for us that is safe other than the odd half-rotten banana. Same with gluten-free food on flights (make sure to request that). My experiences have been dreadful but I go prepared. Plan for flight delays and turbulence (i.e. you cannot get up to get a snack out of your bag - keep something with you).

Last of all, do not worry or panic. It truly is easier even in Central/Eastern Europe than here. Oh, yes. Some pharmacies carry gluten free products. Look for the Scharr brand. I HATE the sliced bread but I read on here that their rolls, I believe, are good.

When do you leave?
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<p>Confirmed celiac disease February 2011 from biopsies. Strictly gluten free March 18 2011.Diagnosed with fibromyalgia April 13 2011.3 herniated discs, myofascial pain syndrome, IT band syndrome, 2 rotator cuff injuries - from an accident Dec. 07 - resulting in chronic pain ever since. Degenerative disc disease.Osteoarthritis in back and hips.Chronic insomnia mostly due to chronic pain.Aspartame free May 2011.

When our lives are squeezed by pressure and pain, what comes out is what is inside.

#3 Pauliewog

 
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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:17 PM

My friend just returned from London and brought me a bag full of gluten free goodies. It certainly is not uncommon there (unlike here in Asia). I think with some googling you can find a lot of restaurants catering to gluten-free diets. One thing I often do is use Google of that country to get better hits. In this case use Google.co.uk.
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#4 Victoria6102

 
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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:34 PM

I would feel uncomfortable eating at any restaurant unless it has a good reputation for gluten free cooking, such as PF Changs does here. Buy some fresh fruit to carry around with you. GoPicnics have many gluten free options and those were my lifesaver when i traveled to Africa, as they don't have to be refrigerated or heated up. Buy some potatoes when you get there, something to fill you up. I also brought my pans with me which was a help so I could cook some chicken. Definitely get a hotel where you have a microwave and stove.
Also, don't expect to get glutened. With the right precautions you will be fine! I did not get glutened and I traveled to a country that has no understanding if allergies or gluten. If you try, you will have nothing to worry about! Good luck and have fun on your trip!
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#5 AVR1962

 
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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:16 PM

Congrats on the trip! I live in Germany, have for 10 years...lived in Italy for 2 years, and we travel alot. Get your cards ready and be prepared to ask questions. I have found that most understand "allergy" and will work with you but you have to get your point across so they understand that you cannot have foods with breading or sauces (gravy) made with flour and that would be what I would ask....."does this come with a sauce on it?" I always ask for "natural" which is another word they undertand.

As far as the medical side I think there is more awareness among docs but I have never seen the awareness in food establishments like you see in the US. Grocery stores or health food stores carry gluten-free products but still quite limited. In Germany you will find them in the grocery stores on the health food aisle so be very careful not to mix up gluten-free and bio, not the same.

Ireland will not be an issue, wonderful wonderful people there, enjoy! France, especially Paris, the language will not be an issue and they have wonderful salads and grilled meats. England again will not be a problem, just make sure you specify no sauce. I have had issues where it did not say on the menu that the item I wanted had a sauce and then it woudl come out covered.

Enjoy!
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Yesterday is not ours to recover but today is ours to win or lose!

Miscarriage, Kidney stones, Anemia, Pneumonia, Migraines, Restless leg, Bone fractures, Blurred/Double vision, Extreme fatigue, Bone & Joint Pain, Thyroid nodule, Celiac diagnosed 2011, Spine and leg bone loss, GERD, Vitamin deficiencies, Malabsorbtion, Neuropathy issues, Ataxia, Raynaud's Syndrome. Currently on diet with limited grain and sugar.

#6 nora_n

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:29 AM

You will be just fine eating gluten-free in Europe.

Especially Ireland, where celiac is rampant, and everybody knows about celiac, the same with Italy. And England should be just fine too.

I was in Italy four days last week, and took no gluten-free eating card with me, and had no problems. I do not speak any italian either.
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Lost 20 kg after going gluten-free and weighing 53 kg now. neg. biopsy for DH. Found out afterwards from this forum that it should have been taken during an outbreak but it was taken two weeks after. vitaminD was 57 nmol/l in may08)

#7 Pisqualie

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

Wow, thank you so much everyone! Talk about relief! I was so worried - wonderful, thank you!

We leave on Tuesday.
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#8 love2travel

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:46 AM

Wow, thank you so much everyone! Talk about relief! I was so worried - wonderful, thank you!

We leave on Tuesday.

Excellent! We leave Wednesday for the month of May with no celiac-related worries! :D

Have the time of your lives.
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<p>Confirmed celiac disease February 2011 from biopsies. Strictly gluten free March 18 2011.Diagnosed with fibromyalgia April 13 2011.3 herniated discs, myofascial pain syndrome, IT band syndrome, 2 rotator cuff injuries - from an accident Dec. 07 - resulting in chronic pain ever since. Degenerative disc disease.Osteoarthritis in back and hips.Chronic insomnia mostly due to chronic pain.Aspartame free May 2011.

When our lives are squeezed by pressure and pain, what comes out is what is inside.

#9 Pisqualie

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

Excellent! We leave Wednesday for the month of May with no celiac-related worries! :D

Have the time of your lives.



Thank you so much - you too!! PS - just got a neg result from blood work at the drs. She said it may be because of gluten-free diet. Doing an endo/colon when we return from our trip. I tested out a hamburger bun this morning and am writhing. Eek. I need to stop 'testing' and just trust that that is the problem... Thanks!
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#10 Dellers

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:25 AM

I live in the UK but I am from Ireland, Take my advise and ask to speak to the chef if there is not a gluten free menu. If you have doubts don't eat it. So many times I have heard its gluten free when I would find my soup swimming in barley, we personally find if you say gluten-free you have to list what that is dont take for granted that they know what gluten-free is :) in all supermarkets there is a gluten-free section so you will find breads etc. On a lighter note Smirnoff ice in the bottles is gluten-free in the UK unlike the USA .
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#11 Dellers

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:28 AM

You will be just fine eating gluten-free in Europe.

Especially Ireland, where celiac is rampant, and everybody knows about celiac, the same with Italy. And England should be just fine too.

I was in Italy four days last week, and took no gluten-free eating card with me, and had no problems. I do not speak any italian either.

I really don't think that is true about Ireland not a lot of people know about coeliac disease or gluten free. To find someone that has even heard of it is very far and few between .
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#12 Gemini

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:03 PM

I really don't think that is true about Ireland not a lot of people know about coeliac disease or gluten free. To find someone that has even heard of it is very far and few between .



I really hate to disagree with you but the UK is excellent at gluten free dining. Having been there 9 times, 4 of which when I was diagnosed and eating gluten free, I was glutened twice. It was small CC issues and I recovered well enough that it did not ruin my vacation but eating out is a risk anywhere in the world and it can happen. However, seeing that I eat out once a day for 2 weeks on every vacation, those are not bad odds. Twice in 4 trips.....

Ireland was especially impressive as everyone knew exactly what I was talking about and the meals were excellent. All places I ate at had good gluten free bread also.

To the original poster.....take a look at this thread: London Dining. I especially love Cafe Rouge. Very good food and a great gluten-free menu. I have never been glutened by this chain. Also, the coffee house Cafe Nero had fabulous gluten-free brownies last time I was there, a year and half ago. They are individually wrapped to prevent CC....they do such a good job and the coffee is great!

A couple of things......check the ingredients for the breads served in Ireland as they sometimes use wheat starch in their baked goods. The bread that was offered at almost all places look like rolls and it's great because they are heated every time so you get nice hot rolls. Wheat starch is supposed to be safe as it's processed so highly but it is not accepted by American standards for gluten-free so I don't eat it. The rolls did not contain wheat starch and they were good and I felt fine after eating them.
They referred to them as "Celiac bread".

Watch for malted tea in Ireland...check the labels. I got bagged by malted tea. Never again..... :ph34r: Who knew?

Eat here in Dublin: Millstone. This place is fantastic, with a very good gluten-free menu, which can be viewed on their website. The waitstaff were just great.

Relax and have a wonderful trip...you'll be fine. When in doubt, eat simply. The Irish food was plain compared to other places BUT wonderfully prepared and very good. They didn't have 500 choices on the menu like you see here in the States but that makes choices easier and I had no complaints about quality of food...and I'm a food snob! :P

We want a report when you return...... :D
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#13 Dellers

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:29 PM

Sorry but as I said I live in the UK and I am FROM Ireland, So I have spent a lot more time eating out here and living on a day to day basis.
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#14 Dellers

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:35 PM

Sorry but as I said I live in the UK and I am FROM Ireland. So I have spent a lot more time eating out here and living on a day to day basis. To put this into perspective the last time I had a gluten-free sandwich in Starbucks was a year ago as they never have them in stock ( not in the city I am in anyway )
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#15 Gemini

 
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 01:08 PM

Sorry but as I said I live in the UK and I am FROM Ireland. So I have spent a lot more time eating out here and living on a day to day basis. To put this into perspective the last time I had a gluten-free sandwich in Starbucks was a year ago as they never have them in stock ( not in the city I am in anyway )


The only thing I can say is that how could it be that this America, who has spent approx. 3 months in the UK and Ireland, had little trouble finding food I could eat, had little trouble with the locals in understanding what I needed, and have eaten out at least once a day on all my trips post gluten free diagnosis and only been hit twice, on a small level? One from tea and one from CC at a restaurant? The experience may be different for a local as opposed to a tourist as tourists have more money to burn on where they eat. I must admit I go to higher end restaurants where their education and knowledge of gluten may be higher. However, I found all the pubs I ate in did just great with my meals. Maybe they are more receptive to tourists? If we have a bad experience then we aren't coming back.

If you look at the travel thread, the vast majority of people who go to Ireland do not have any trouble and find it really gluten-free friendly. I am not trying to argue the point but my experience was phenomenal. I am sorry you think your country is tough for a Celiac but I am scratching my head over this.
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