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Member Since 18 Feb 2009
Offline Last Active Jul 21 2015 12:41 PM

Topics I've Started

Gluten-Free In Iceland

13 July 2015 - 12:32 PM

Hey all,


I just got back from 10 wonderful days in Iceland, and thought I should report back on the gluten-free food situation.


Overall: pretty great! Staple foods in iceland is fish, fish, lamb, more fish, potatoes and veg. Mostly grilled, not a lot of deep-fried stuff. Bread tends to be served with meals, but usually on the side.


Gluten-free knowledge: everyone speaks English, so communicating isn't difficult, and most good restaurants know what you mean when you say "gluten-free". Reykjavik is probably the best, but we found great places in Akureyri and the middle of nowhere Westfjords too.


So, a few reccomendations: (keep in mind I can't do dairy or soy either, and my man is a strict vegetarian, so we mostly stuck to veg-friendly places)


Self-catering: Bring what you can with you, if possible. You will be able to find gluten-free pasta, etc, but it will likely be twice as much. Unless you're lucky enough to be passing by Silva, then baked goods are probably going to be a rare treat. I saw corn/rice crackers a few places. For fresh things, produce is slim pickings, and also quite pricey since much of it has to be shipped in. Smoked and cured salmon can be found packaged and ready to eat. Avoid things that have to be frozen (I brought ice packs for my cooler, but didn't find a freezer to put them in), though if it's cold out you can just put it outside and it'll chill pretty fast.

Bonus is the "discount" grocery store, some of which have gluten-free stuff but not all. Netto is more well stocked, and more expensive, but more produce and gluten-free stuff available. Here's a really great "food buying guide" http://www.iheartrey...ing-in-iceland/



Glo - fantastic mostly-vegetarian restaurant downtown. They have a few locations in the Reykjavik area. Cafeteria style, where you pick a main, and can have 3 salads. All their salads are gluten-free (no CC worries), and mains are labeled as gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Oh, and great gluten-free crackers. We ate there twice, and the food is fantastic. Pretty cheap for Iceland, too.


Sea Baron - little fish place down on the harbour, where you pick a skewer of fish and they grill it up for you. Just tell them you're gluten-free.


Kol - this was the nice shmancy place we went to, a more modern take on Icelandic food (without the touristy whale gimmicks). We were tremendously underdressed and lucky to get a table. Gluten free was no problem, and they were able to switch out the buttery potatoes for another veg. Best lamb I'd had in... ever?


Reykjavik Chips - French (or Belgian) Fries. Just fries. Nothing else in the fry fryer but fries. Pick a mayo-based sauce. So good! it's a little takeout place packed mostly with students looking for a (relatively) cheap snack and a beer.



Akureyri - for Iceland's 2nd largerst "city", it's pretty small, and plan ahead if you're there on a Sunday, but they've got some good stuff:


Silva - about a 15min drive south of town, this place not only serves fantastic vegetarian and gluten free food, there's also a spectacular view of the valley. We ate here twice! Had the flat-bread "pizza" one night, and soup the other, but the real draw is the excellent gluten-free crackers, and fresh gluten-free bread! So good! I would have bought a loaf if we weren't travelling.


In town, if you don't have a strict non-meat-eater in tow, then the place to go is Rub 23, which is known as one of the best restaruants in town and in the country. They do sushi (I got some takeout. it was pretty good), as well as various meat and fish with your choice of rub. I didn't get to have the full experience here, but their gluten-free reputation is pretty good. 


On the main floor of the Kea Hotel, Mulaberg Bistro also looked promising in the gluten-free department (their soup, first thing on the menu, was listed and Gluten and Dairy free), though we didn't eat there it was probably where we would have gone for a more upscale dinner.



Westfjords - if you're brave enough to risk the crazy driving, it's worth it.


Isafjordur - we planned to have dinner at Tjorhusid, known as the best place in town and one of the best fish places in the country. I'd emailed them to check on their gluten-free capabilities (possibility of CC from the skillets they use, but they can do the fish without flour), but we didn't make a reservation so arrived to find outselves out of luck. Very unique place down on the harbour, long communal tables, smelled fantastic, but not this time.


Heydalur - instead, we had dinner at the country hotel we were staying at. Delicious! In the morning, they even made me gluten-free pancakes for breakfast, which I couldn only eat one of because they were so filling! Very gluten-free conscious, and vegetarian/vegan friendly too.



We also stayed in Stykkisholmur, which has a handful of nice restaurants, though the meal we ended up having was mediocre and dissappointing in comparison to the rest of the trip (go to Narfeyrarstofa for drinks, but the food does not live up to the pricetag)



is expensive, so choose your booze wisely. You can get wine and spirits from all over, but if you're looking for local, try the liquers (sweet but not too sweet) and schnapps from Reykjavik 64, be brave and have a shot of brennavin (carraway-flavoured schnapps, strong stuff but not as bad as it's "black death" reputation), or enjoy some really good local gin (try the barrell-aged, a bit of a golden colour). There's also local vodka, if that's your thing. I saw gluten-free beer at a grand-total of 1 bar, but it was gluten-removed, so no luck there. Everything is pricey, but they take presentation very seriously, so you'll get your precious cocktail or shot of gin in a lovely glass.


Coffee! It's taken quite seriously on the Island, and even machine-espresso isn't that bad. Reykjavik Roasters is the place to go in the city (they also have very nice nut bars as a gluten-free treat!). Some of the best coffee I've had, perfectly fine black if you can't have soy milk. (I saw almond milk at the grocery store, but no cafes had it). Te and Kaffi is the Starbucks substitute, available all over the country and pretty good. Anywhere with an espresso machine will make you a good cup of coffee.




So, that is my 10 kronor on Iceland. We were on the road much of the time, so I was snacking a lot for lunches, and only self-catered for a couple days. Overall, stick with fish and grilled lamb and you should have no problem. For vegetarians, things might be a bit tougher. There seemed to be a lot of "nut loaf" rather than tofu, but I'm not sure how many of those are gluten-free or not. Soup is another good option - fish soup if you can do dairy, meat soup in broth if you can't.


As far as I can tell, no glutening. Probably a bit more butter in a few things than I should have had. Plan ahead and contact restaurants/hotels in advance if you you have questions, but there's nothing to stop a Celiac from eating perfectly well.


Have you been to iceland? Add your suggestions!










Gluten-Free Barley? What The Whaaat?

15 June 2015 - 06:11 AM

Hey guys,


so, if you get the "updates" from Celiac.com, you'll have seen some thing about a german beer being brewed with gluten-free barley. At first I figured it was just another "gluten removed" scheme, but:

WHAT? Gluten-free barley?? Isn't that impossible? Barley contains gluten, right? Is there some kind of genetically modified barley out there? Has it actually been tested? Does anyone know anything about this? I want to see some science. If it's true, and it's safe (for celiacs. I'm not going to get into a GMO safety debate), then that's fantastic. But i'm highly skeptical.


Any insight on this? Would be good to get the whole picture before anyone starts thinking barley is safe or some such craziness.




Earth Balance Pb Pops

19 May 2015 - 11:41 AM

oh man, I'm excited about this one.




I saw these at the store today. Peanut butter and oat cluster things. But there was no indicating whether the oats were certified gluten-free or not, so I did my due diligence and contacted the company. Heard back super quick, and:


"The only Earth Balance product that contains oats is our PB Popps and the whole grain oats in this product are gluten free certified."



Has anyone tried these yet? I will report back. It's tricky to find tasty gluten-free/SF/DF snacks, so these things could be dangerous (as in I will eat way too many of them).
Earth Balance soy-free spread is my butter substitute, and their PB is pretty good too.




Tell Me About Kidney Stones

07 March 2015 - 01:10 PM

Hi guys!


It's been a while, mostly because I've been doing very good in the gluten department. Aside from catching more than a couple cold bugs this year, I've been a-o-kay in the food department.


Or at least (possibly) up until this Thursday. I ate some oatmeal for breakfast, and we had an extra long meeting at work and I was getting really hungry (weak and nauseous) by the end of it, so I wolfed down a Macro bar when I got to my office. I was feeling some discomfort before that, but the nausea didn't stop, and I got this HORRIBLE pain in my side. right down in the left side above my hip, too far over to be in my stomach. It was not the usual pain I get from indigestion or anything like that. This was different. I toughed it out for a while, decided to try to eat my lunch (thinking I might still be hungry) and ooooh man, it just kept getting worse. It hurt when I pressed on my side, and I could hardly see straight. Something told me very strongly that this was not normal. So I abandoned my half eaten lunch, told my boss what was going on, and was off to the clinic. It didn't get any worse but not much better while I wated. Doctor thinks its either a stomach bug or food poisoning (unlikely, no fever or vomiting), kidney stones (most likely), or an ovarian cyst.

So, we're treating it like a kindney stone at this point. I did a urine test, have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday, and she gave me a prescription for pain killers. Drinking lots of water. Eating mostly soup.


The pain was bad but not horrible the rest of Thursday, was ok Friday morning but came back in the afternoon (right after lunch, oddly enough), so I went home and doped myself up (percocet works! but man does it make you loopy). Today is so far so good. I'm still hoping it's nothing, or just my stomach being a pain and doing weird things, cause if it is a stone it's not going to be fun getting rid of it. There's still a mild ache in my side, a bit tender.


Anyway, since this is my first experience with these (possible) suckers, anyone want to share their experiences? Or posit alternatire possibilities? I know the pain is intermittent, but can you tell if the thing has passed or not (ie: is the pain actually gone, or will it be back with a vengence?).

I know this might not be directly related to Celiac, but I have read (very old) threads about stones being common in Celiac sufferers.


Anything you can offer would be great!





Celiac And Anxiety (Related And Not)

17 November 2014 - 08:25 AM

Hi guys,


Putting this in here since the "behaviour" forum doesn't get much traffic.


Lately (past month or so) I've been having some bad axiety, panic attacks, depression, etc. All the fun stuff. This was a big symptom for me before I wen't gluten free, and got much much better once I did. Over the past few years, when I did get an attack I could usually link it back to something I ate, or an actual stressful event.


However, lately there's nothing I can point to and know, yes, that's what it was. I do have a few gluten-related possibilities: My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, and while my BF still brings gluten into the house, it's mostly frozen things that go straight into the oven, and he's super careful cleaning up, washing hands, no kissing, etc etc. It is possible that I'm getting low-level cc from something, but it would be pretty minor.


Also, I often feel low-energy, slightly depressed, a bit gittery and get worked up easily after a glutening, but it's usually a single incident and is done, and there's always some kind of stomach thing to go with it. The past while has not felt like that. I've also considered that something could be up with my thyroid, though my doctor (who I saw last week) thinks everything looks fine.


So, I am facing facts: this is a serious mental health issue, and I've asked to see a psychiatrist. This is a huge step for me, since I've dealt with depression/anxiety in some respect for most of my life. I've just blamed it on gluten for the past few years. The problem is our guts and our brains are so connected: If I eat something bad, it makes me depressed, which in turn makes me feel bad (a lot of nausea lately).  It sucks. It's interfering with my work and my life, and as much as I will do my best to eat right, sleep, meditate, exercise, socialise, and all the good things, I'm going to need some help.


Anyway, has anyone else gone through this? Celiac affects our mental health, but maybe it's not the sole reason for it? Any advice for coping? I'm taking this all one day at a time.


Thanks a bunch!



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