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How To Navigate Living In Asia - Gluten Free
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Hi all,

After a recent hospitalization and confirmed malnourishment, doctors have suggested that I may have celiacs. We originally thought it was crohns, but a colonoscopy showed that my large intestine is looking healthy enough, although a cat scan showed some inflammation in the small intestine.

My sister and aunite are both celiacs and I have suffered from celiacs symptoms for about 10 years.

Anyway, I live in Japan and can't get the proper testing done until I go home in about a month. So, I was wondering if any celiacs living in Asia could give me some advice about living with the disease over here. Any suggestions on diet or lifestyle would be great.

Thank you

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Stay on gluten until you get all of your testing done.

I've heard of those with celiac being sucessful overseas. The one way would be to eat a whole foods diet, nothing processed. I think that could be the easiest route, as you can find meats, veggies, fruits (if they aren't sky high in price :) ) and rice (if you can handle it).

Eating out would be far more difficult, or so i've heard.

I've actually researched the heck out of this because i have always wanted to go visit Japan.

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Thanks for the reply.

If you have a contact you can stay with or stay at a hostel with a kitchen, there is no reason why you can't visit Japan. Eating out may be impossible as soy sauce is pretty much in everything over here, but if you were willing to go to the supermarket and cook for yourself during the stay, then it would be fine.

Anyway, I've lived here for more than 4 years now and I do think it's a beautiful, but expensive, country and is definitely worth visiting.

I'd be more than happy to help with any questions you have about travel and such :D

Edited by sabin112
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Hi there,

I live in Hong Kong and it is equally difficult once you eat out, but there is a good Japanese Soy Sauce called Tamari that is gluten free and I just take it out with me everywhere I go (I do the same with gravy powder too!), then I get them to use it instead of the regular stuff.

However, cross contamination is a bigger issue when eating out and most chefs might understand the gluten-free issue but they don't get the cross contamination!

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I just visited HK in June. It must be hard to resist all the lovely pork buns and such that line the street every morning. When I visited I was still unaware of my condition and binged on yamcha and beer everyday- I was so sick that I couldn't leave the hotel by the third day :(

Thanks for the tip about the tamari soy sauce. If I got some of that I could still go out with friends to eat sashimi :lol: I'm actually thinking of moving to my wifes hometown, Nanjing, next year, but cross contamination seems unavoidable if you eat out.

Anyway, it gives me a bit of hope knowing there are other people living with Celiac disease/GI in Asia.

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I lived in Japan for a year pre-diagnosis, and I've always wanted to go back. Being able to manage the diet is the one thing that's keeping me away (I'm soy intolerand now too!)

However, if you've lived there a while and have a decent grasp of the language, it should be easier to at least navigate the supermarket (I can just imagine myself spending 2 hours trying to decipher kanji...)

Remeber: not all tamari is wheat-free, but there are more wheat-free varieties out there than there used to be (at least I've seen some in import shops here.) I believe Kikkoman has one now, but I could be mixing up brands.

Be careful of sauces in general. I'd say buy ingredients as raw as possible and make your own. Also, no seasoned nori (usually has soy sauce= wheat)

Oh, and aparently someone there is making gluten-free ramen/soba/etc noodles. They have some at the Japanese food store here in Toronto. I can't remember the name, and I haven't tried it yet, but you might be able to ask around.

You can do tempura with corn starch and/or rice flour.

Anyway, as Shadow said, don't go off the gluten until your testing is done (which means time to go out and enjoy whatever you can.)

Good luck!

Peg

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