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    France sans Pain: How to Travel Gluten Free in France


    Phyllis Morrow

    Celiac.com 11/15/2007 - When I was diagnosed with celiac disease a number of years ago, I had the misfortune of being directed to the local hospital’s dietician for counseling. After she confessed that she, too, was celiac I anticipated some great tips for managing the new dietary regime. To my surprise and disappointment, she gave me less information than I had already learned from the internet between the time of diagnosis and my appointment. Then she sighed, “You’ll see. After a while, food just becomes less important to you.”


     


    To someone who has always enjoyed good cooking and good company, that was clearly unacceptable – and it was utter nonsense. I promptly went to the bookstore, bought Rebecca Reilly’s excellent cookbook, “Gluten-free Baking,” and made a delicious gluten-free French apple tart. I put some whipped cream on the side and brought a slice to my internist, leaving it at lunchtime with thanks for a life-improving diagnosis and a suggestion not to send celiacs to that dietician. There have been too many fabulous gluten-free meals in my life since then to count.


     


    When I retired in July, I was ready to take on new gluten-free adventures. My husband and I decided on a six week self-guided bicycle trip, variously camping and staying in inexpensive lodgings throughout southernFrance. Of course, I had to figure out how to manage celiac disease in this land of patisserie (pastry) and pain (bread). But I was determined to have a “pain-less” trip.


     


    To cut to the chase, we had an incredible time and I ate wonderfully. We had gourmet picnics, restaurant meals, and dinners cooked on our camp stove. I only got sick once. For fellow celiacs contemplating European travel, I’d like to share here what I learned, including specific brands and general suggestions for how to get along. I do have the advantage of reasonable fluency in French, but with a little help you can manage without that.


     


    First, I suggest you go to: www.afdiag.org. This is the website of the “Association Francaise des Intolerants au Gluten” (French association of the gluten-intolerant). On this site, there are several particularly useful pages. One has a handy chart of foods that are “interdits” (forbidden) side by side with those that are “autorises” (allowable). I carried a print-out of this page and used it in restaurants, butcher shops, etc. I found it considerably more detailed than something like a “cuisine card” (such as the gluten-free restaurant cards available at Celiac.com). It shows particular types of regional sausages, for example, that are safe for celiacs, and so helped me pick out pates and cured meats after consultation with each charcutier (butcher) that I encountered. Of course, there is no substitute for being able to explain your needs and discuss a menu with the chef, but this page is a great aid. With this page and the help of a bilingual friend, I suggest you study up in advance, as well, on basic terms for wheat, rye, barley, oats, and food starch, as well as words for celiac-friendly grains such as corn (maiz), buckwheat (sarrasin), rice (riz), etc. Also, a restaurant card might be more helpful to someone who doesn't speak French than it would be for me.


     


    Another useful afdiag.org page, if you are lucky enough to be invited into any French homes, is titled “Recevoir un Intolerant.” This gives information and advice to anyone who offers to host you. Through a biking network on the web, we had arranged contacts with a few people who gave us meals and a place to stay, and I sent them e-mails in advance politely explaining that I am gluten intolerant, and giving the link to this page.


     


    The site also has a list of gluten-free product lines and distributors. Brand names that are exclusively gluten-free or that include some gluten-free products include not only those that are typically imported to theU.S., such as Dr. Schar, but also French and other European brands, including Valpiform, Gluta Bye, France Aglut, Barkat, and many others. By the way, the site also links to an alphabetical list by country of national gluten-intolerance organizations, which is a great resource for any traveler.


     


    Grocery Stores


    My travels were in southernFrance(the Dordogne/Lot/Vezere area, the Luberon,Provence,Carcassonne). We shopped frequently and I combed grocery stores in larger cities, includingAvignonandToulouse, smaller ones, such as Apt, and tiny villages and hill-towns for gluten-free options. In general, groceries, including the big chains such as Hyper Champion, did not seem to carry exclusively gluten-free products, such as baked goods, and I had to watch for hidden gluten in many brands, including yogurts and canned goods that, from myU.S.experience, I might have expected to be gluten-free. This was something to be cautious about in the organic food (“bio” or “biologique”) sections of regular grocery stores, too.


     


    Rice cakes were easily available in a pinch, and instant polenta made a quick camping meal after a long day on the bikes. Both were common products even in small stores. Where buckwheat crepes are a regional specialty, you can sometimes find them, pre-packaged, in the refrigerated section of grocery stores. They were delicious filled with fromage blanc and heated on our camp stove, then topped with fresh fruit and/or one of the many fabulous jams that are available everywhere. Of course, you can find many other delicious gluten-free foods to eat at any grocery, particularly in a country that excels in  cheeses, olives, fruits, vegetables, chocolate and wines. French stores also often have roasted or vacuum packed pre-cooked beets and potatoes, which make simple additions to a meal if you have no easy way to cook.  And there were some serendipitous finds such as a wonderful tinned almond cake, a regional specialty of Provence (made by “L’Amandier de Ventoux” from Biscuiterie de Provence). In the town of St. Remy, the artisanal cookie bakery also made several gluten-free almond-based cookie variations that were exciting.  


     


    “Bio” Stores


    But the real treasure troves are found in just about any “magasin bio.” “Bio” or “biologique” is the French term for “organic” and a “bio” is a health food store.  When I inquired about products “sans gluten,” I was often told that there is increasing interest in gluten-free foods, and even the smallest “bio” stores had them. We celiacs are benefiting from a trendy idea among health-conscious consumers that gluten is suspect – and hey, let’s enjoy the sudden proliferation of choices! The bigger “bio” stores had very wide selections. There, I found packaged gluten-free muesli, cereals, muffins, small cakes, and cookies of all sorts. Some stores carried cookies from “Aux Biscuits d’Antoine,” a dedicated gluten-free French bakery; I was leery about trying their buckwheat and grapefruit flavored cookies, but they turned out to be tasty, especially with hot tea. In general, the gluten-free cookie brands ranged from numerous types that resemble good non-gluten-free European packaged cookies (filled wafers, “sandies,” etc.) to purist health food-type selections (whole grains and unprocessed sugars). While salty snacks are not as prevalent inFrance as they are in theU.S. (the French think of us as a country of between meal nibblers and over eaters), some choices are available (Barkat brand pretzels are terrific). Some snack bars were gluten-free, including an interesting if crumbly one made from chestnuts (Domino Chataigne from Grillon d’Or).


     


    Bread


    Best of all, just about every “bio” carried several types of bread, all of which were vastly better than the dense, flavorless rice breads that are the default choice in U.S. health food stores. The breads included both “white” breads (including baguettes) and whole grain options. In my pre-diagnosed life, I always preferred European type breads, so I enjoyed sampling these. There are many choices in the Schar line, including “Sunna,” which resemble whole-wheat rolls.GlutaBye,FranceAglut and Valpiform all make different varieties of “pain campagnard” (country-style bread) based on rice flour, buckwheat flour, nut flour and other ingredients. Quinoa or teff flours are sometimes included. All have a nice sour taste, like that of a good light rye, because they are based on a levain (sourdough). I used to be very fond of the dense, German-style, thinly-sliced rectangular whole rye breads, and I was thrilled to find several gluten-free versions of this type of slow baked, long shelf life bread. Pural (“Bio c’est la vie”) makes a levain based “Glutenfrieies Volkornbrot” (German whole grain gluten-free bread/ “pain complet sans gluten”) with whole rice, millet, buckwheat, lupin flour (lupin is a type of bean but, thank heaven, it does not have the bitter beany taste of garbanzo and fava bean flours), and sunflower seeds. A similar bread, also German-made, was the Bio Kerniges Buchweizenbrot (organic buckwheat bread) based on buckwheat sourdough, corn, sunflower seeds, millet, buckwheat, soy, rice, apple fibers and honey. The wide variety of languages on the labels for these products suggests that they are distributed in many European countries. [by the way, friends traveling inNorwaybrought back a box of gluten-free Wasa crackers (Knackebrod) that were phenomenal. I contacted the company but found that this particular product is made by their Swiss subsidiary and they were unaware of anyU.S.distributors.]


     


    In two “bio” stores, I found the holy grail of gluten-free breads: freshly baked, with an excellent crumb and chewy European-style crust. These were 100% buckwheat (“pur sarrasin”) breads made by local bakers. The two stores that carried them only got them once a week and had a few loaves, which were quickly snapped up by eager customers. While I was never able to chase down the bakers, from whom I wanted to learn a few tricks of the trade, I was astounded at how good these breads were. They were nothing like the leaden buckwheat loaves that I have eaten (or rejected) in theU.S. I once bought one of these at the Flying Apron in the University district inSeattle, a bakery that has otherwise delightful gluten-free baked goods, and it became a running joke – we used it as a doorstop for a while. I brought home some levain sarrasin (buckwheat sourdough starter) fromFranceand have been experimenting in my kitchen, but have yet to get beyond the brick phase myself. Searching for recipes on the internet, to date, has not helped. Anyway, these breads are treasures to seek out.


     


    I was, however, happy to find a German-style whole-grain gluten-free bread when I returned to the U.S. Made by “Bavarian” (which also carries a number of similar but non-gluten-free products, so be careful) this gluten-free bread has a several month shelf life and contains whole rice, whole corn, millet, and sweet lupin flour.  It has a very good taste and holds together well.


     


    If readers have other sources for gluten-free European breads in this country, please do share them. And happy travels!


     


     

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    Guest Sharon Watson

    Posted

    What is the name/location of the bakery that is baking these 'Bavarian' style bread - I am so anxious for some decent bread that is not crumbly. Thanks, Sharon

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    Guest Bill Sherman

    Posted

    Exactly what one needs for travel in Europe.

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    Guest Phyllis Morrow

    Posted

    Sharon,

    The brand name is 'Bavarian' and the product is imported to the U.S. from Germany by R&R Export Import. The importer has a toll-free number 1-800-818-7729.

    The German manufacturer is Heinrich Leupoldt KG, address D-95163 Weissenstadt, website www.pema.de

    I'm amused that I can't figure out how to submit an answer to your question without rating my own article!! Suppose I have to say it's excellent just to keep the ratings up, huh?

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    Guest maureen mole

    Posted

    Very helpful its my husband that is celiac and we are off to South Africa for 6 weeks--we did not do well over there last year--but with this information hopefully we will do better. Thank you.

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    Guest Jill Rosenlund

    Posted

    Thank you for an excellent article. My daughter was diagnosed as celiac about ten years ago and I read everything I can find about the condition. Your piece was very interesting and I learned several new things about helping her to cope with the disease.

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    Guest Darice Morgan

    Posted

    Thanks so much for this information. I am traveling to southern France for a boat trip down the Rhone River that travels through many of the areas where you were. I always visit grocery, natural food and health food stores in foreign countries even before I was diagnosed as celiac. You have given me a great start for my explorations.

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    Guest Franceen George

    Posted

    I was recently in London and did not do very well in restaurants! Grocery stores were better, but could not find hotel that had 'kitchenette' without spending $1000/night. I found that you are usually safe in UK with a hamburger patty with 'chips'. Boring, though.

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    Guest Marilyn Garrity

    Posted

    Wonderful article. I had given up on European travel since my husband was diagnoses with celiac sprue a year ago. Now I see that it is possible.

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    Guest Shielach Knowles

    Posted

    An exciting and very informative article. Thank you!

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    Guest A. Ritchie

    Posted

    Thanks for your encouraging and informative article. I enjoy baking and I am still searching for a great European-style bread recipe for my celiac 'foodie' husband. If you have a recommendation, I would love it!

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    Being that most celiacs are of Northern European descent it makes sense to have sources of sans gluten bread products.

    How enlightening to hear of places to discover and shop these wonderful baked goods! Vive la France!

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    Such a nice piece to read. I could relate to much of what you wrote about...I too love good food, especially baked goods and don't want celiac to get in the way...the effort you put in to expanding your eating options reminded me so much of myself, especially while traveling...your love of the dense German bread...and wanting to duplicate the great product you found...such a delight to read...cute pun too.

     

    I hope to cycle there sometime myself. You have just made that trip a lot easier and more enjoyable.

     

    Thank you.

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    Guest Bill Davies

    Posted

    This was a a great article.. I have moved to France last year and now run a Full holiday for Gluten Free. Even with France being a bit behind you can always find Gluten Free food.. you will just have to shop a bit harder... Your Gluten Free cards are the best thing to have with you in France.. But there are some now B&B that cater solely to Gluten Free people. Please enjoy France...

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    Guest Terri W

    Posted

    Excellent article! You gave such specific information that I am looking forward to using it on my trip to France in April. This will be my first France trip since being diagnosed. You've taken the worry out of it! MERCI

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    Guest Lisa Kinyon- Coggins

    Posted

    Hi Dr. Morrow! I used to be your student (1990- 1994) at UAF (don't know if you will remember me) and just got diagnosed recently (within the year) with celiac myself!I actually just e-mailed Dr. Kwatchka today hoping that she would forward it to you, all in the hopes of getting travel advice from you...then I found this article!

    I have been refusing to travel with my hubby to France or Italy because I was not sure I could handle finding proper food and then the challenge of not eating 'off the list' items, but perhaps now I will go forth with confidence! We are definitely doing the gluten free microbrew fest in Belgium 2009, so I think we will add France to the travel plans. Thank You for this great article! I am ordering the bread you refer to in a few minutes. Thank You!

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    Guest AM Snyder

    Posted

    What a find! I have recently been identified with severe gluten intolerance. One of my biggest fears- regrets is traveling safely. I've been to France many times and enjoyed all the wonderful breads and pastries. Now, I have been concerned that I may never be able to return with the dietary restrictions necessary to stay healthy. I am so relieved to discover that my travels are not over. This diet and lifestyle is still new to me. Thank you for your insights and encouragement. I hope to find other similar articles.

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    Guest Caroline

    Posted

    Thanks for the helpful suggestions! My 10 year old son is Gluten Free and we are going to France for 2 weeks in July. He is dreading not being able to eat all the good bread - but with your advice we may come through it OK!

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    Guest Bonnie Robinson

    Posted

    My 16 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with celiac. She is scheduled to go to France and Spain next May with a school group. Nicole is also a vegetarian so we were very concerned about this trip. This has made me feel a lot better.

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    Guest mandy morley

    Posted

    Excellent article. Added substantially to our ever growing portfolio of gluten free info. I will be working in Biarritz for 6 months and this will be invaluable.

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    Guest Neil Sochasky

    Posted

    I am presently in France, and am having a hard time finding staples (like rice/rice-cakes, quinoa, etc) that I can be sure are gluten free (that is, not contaminated at their manufacturing facilities). Too many labels are unclear, and the people at afdiag.org were (rude &) outright misleading (or dangerously ignorant) of what products/brands are safe for celiacs. This may be because they are focused on helping people with gluten intolerance rather than severe celiac dietary concerns. If anyone out there can help find a rice band that is safe, or a quinoa supplier that doesn't use the same machine to sort wheat, I'd be much obliged.

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    Guest Jon Bairam

    Posted

    I am presently in France, and am having a hard time finding staples (like rice/rice-cakes, quinoa, etc) that I can be sure are gluten free (that is, not contaminated at their manufacturing facilities). Too many labels are unclear, and the people at afdiag.org were (rude &) outright misleading (or dangerously ignorant) of what products/brands are safe for celiacs. This may be because they are focused on helping people with gluten intolerance rather than severe celiac dietary concerns. If anyone out there can help find a rice band that is safe, or a quinoa supplier that doesn't use the same machine to sort wheat, I'd be much obliged.

    Hi Nick. I live in France and can verify whilst it is difficult it is not impossible to find foods. In fact I would say that most French people are more aware about our issues, certainly more so than in the UK where we are considered as food lepers.

    The Schar brand is excellent, they make some breads (bagutte) that dont need refreshing the oven are really good. Also their Mix Pain (B) is fab. The resulting loaf is generally light and falvourulll, I only use a bread machine however.

    Gerble make some good stuff, they are normally located in the dietique section. Not all there products are sans gluten, its the ones with the purple label.

    I will check the quinoa and rice I buy and get back to you. I am going to the supermarket today so will attempt the get some more info.

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    Guest Kathleen

    Posted

    I just move to Versailles a month ago. Although, I found the article interesting, it is a bit misleading. The French put wheat in everything! It is used as a filler. Just as the US uses corn as a filler, they use wheat because culturally they believe corn should be used as animal feed. I have found wheat in most for that would usually be ok in the US. It is in their nuts, sesame seeds, pine nuts, corn chips, corn tortillas, jams, ice creams and most chocolates. A lot of people have also reported that you can eat the french fries because they tend to (but not always) use designated fryers in France. The problem with this is unless you a going to a very high end restaurant the fries are frozen, and any package of frozen fries here contains wheat! The person who wrote the initial article also talked about the packaged buckwheat crepes, well any packaged buckwheat crepe I have found seem to also contain added wheat flour. Maybe she just got lucky, but you really need to be able to read the French labels! Another very strange thing I have noticed ( but have never read a thing about) is that a lot of cheese in the shops and the open markets sits on wheat straw! How can this be safe? I talked to a guy in the cheese shop and he said that it is actually aged on it. I am very perplexed by this. I have an appointment with a French celiac doctor and nutritionist here and plan to bring this up with them. My original understanding was that cheese was ok, except blue cheeses in Europe. If anyone has any info on this I would really appreciate it. My last comment would be that she talks of eating almond flour products ( and even wheat free bread) from a bakery. Well, if it is being made in a bakery it is being cross contained by all the other wheat based products. If you have celiac, how is this OK? I don't want to be a total bummer, but being overly optimistic about the state of Gluten-free in France does not help anyone. If I had known the true situation, I never would have agreed to move here for my husband job. (p.s. The Celiac association in France states on its website that there are no "safe" restaurants in France-not very encouraging!)

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    I just move to Versailles a month ago. Although, I found the article interesting, it is a bit misleading. The French put wheat in everything! It is used as a filler. Just as the US uses corn as a filler, they use wheat because culturally they believe corn should be used as animal feed. I have found wheat in most for that would usually be ok in the US. It is in their nuts, sesame seeds, pine nuts, corn chips, corn tortillas, jams, ice creams and most chocolates. A lot of people have also reported that you can eat the french fries because they tend to (but not always) use designated fryers in France. The problem with this is unless you a going to a very high end restaurant the fries are frozen, and any package of frozen fries here contains wheat! The person who wrote the initial article also talked about the packaged buckwheat crepes, well any packaged buckwheat crepe I have found seem to also contain added wheat flour. Maybe she just got lucky, but you really need to be able to read the French labels! Another very strange thing I have noticed ( but have never read a thing about) is that a lot of cheese in the shops and the open markets sits on wheat straw! How can this be safe? I talked to a guy in the cheese shop and he said that it is actually aged on it. I am very perplexed by this. I have an appointment with a French celiac doctor and nutritionist here and plan to bring this up with them. My original understanding was that cheese was ok, except blue cheeses in Europe. If anyone has any info on this I would really appreciate it. My last comment would be that she talks of eating almond flour products ( and even wheat free bread) from a bakery. Well, if it is being made in a bakery it is being cross contained by all the other wheat based products. If you have celiac, how is this OK? I don't want to be a total bummer, but being overly optimistic about the state of Gluten-free in France does not help anyone. If I had known the true situation, I never would have agreed to move here for my husband job. (p.s. The Celiac association in France states on its website that there are no "safe" restaurants in France-not very encouraging!)

    Is gluten intolerance just not a problem with the French people, or are they just not aware or informed of it?

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    Guest Phyllis

    Posted

    I'm glad that this article is getting lots of discussion and opinions, especially from others who have traveled in France. It's really helpful to all of us. We celiacs are always in situations where we have to make choices and judgment calls, though. While each of us aims for a totally gluten-free diet, we live in a world (and that includes the US, as much as France) that is essentially not "safe for celiacs." We can feel pretty much assured when we buy gluten-free flours and baked goods produced in a dedicated and certified gluten-free facility, but it would be difficult, not to mention nutritionally insufficient and boring, to eat nothing else. There aren't that many dedicated facilities and they obviously produce a limited number and variety of foods. Unless we pick and process and ship our own fruits and vegetables, and catch, raise, slaughter and package our fish and meat, too, we can't be absolutely positive that even these naturally gluten-free foods make it onto our tables without contamination. Are you someone who throws away a possibly contaminated dish sponge or are you okay with running it through the dishwasher? Each of us decides where to draw the line, every time we choose to put something in our mouths.

     

    While I am tremendously careful about what I eat, I do not wish to be confined to the safe quarters of my own kitchen. I accept dinner invitations and explain my celiac needs. I occasionally go to a carefully chosen restaurant and do my best to get a gluten-free meal. But if you asked me, I'd say (just like the folks at the Celiac association in France) that there's no "safe" restaurants in the US. There are no doubt a few owned or operated by celiacs - but for all practical purposes eating out anywhere is a risk.

     

    I've been back to France since I wrote this article and I had another good trip. I don't think I was any more gluten-endangered than when I travel in the US. The added challenges in traveling are managing language and cultural differences that can keep you from learning what you need to know to make your own decisions as to what you will eat, the kinds of decisions we make every day at home.

     

    Cultural differences can be trickier than we think. For example, I've also traveled in New Zealand (and I hope to get around to writing another article on "gluten-free in NZ"). Compared to France or the US, NZ feels like gluten-free heaven - at least on the surface. People speak English. Many, many New Zealanders are aware of gluten-intolerance. Grocery items are well-labeled, restaurants often offer gluten-free menus, bakeries in many places sell gluten-free items, even street food vendors proudly proclaim "Gluten free!" on certain commodities. Yet I wondered all the time about cross-contamination and I became increasingly suspicious about the actual state of knowledge. Bakeries and delis that offered numerous gluten-free goods, for example, sold them alongside wheat-flour based goods. A natural food store owner tried to sell me spelt cookies. I was astonished to meet a cheese vendor, herself a celiac, that didn't know that blue-veined cheeses can be a problem. So appearances can be deceiving. Would I go back to NZ again? You bet I would.

     

    So, as they say, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Safe travels!

     

     

     

    I did well on this recent trip, relying on "sans gluten" products from "bio" stores; fresh fruits, vegetables and fish from markets and regular grocery stores; and cheeses and olives. I read labels religiously and asked questions when I could. I went ahead and ate items like olives that were, as far as I could determine, gluten-free - though I had no way to know for sure, anymore than I do at home. Yes, I only bought buckwheat crepes that were 100% buckwheat flour. I ate in some restaurants with what precautions I could manage (just as in the US).

     

    On the cheese question: I often bought cheese but I never saw it displayed on wheat straw. I wonder if aging and/or displaying cheeses on wheat straw is customary only for certain types of cheese and/or in certain regions? It's a good heads up and suggests that we should be cautious and ask before buying but personally, I wouldn't stop eating ALL cheeses.

    Here's the thing: we need to strike some balance in our lives. as celiacs, we can spend our lives consumed by such food fear could be a concern - and especially if some cheeses are...

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    Guest Amber

    Posted

    I'm glad that this article is getting lots of discussion and opinions, especially from others who have traveled in France. It's really helpful to all of us. We celiacs are always in situations where we have to make choices and judgment calls, though. While each of us aims for a totally gluten-free diet, we live in a world (and that includes the US, as much as France) that is essentially not "safe for celiacs." We can feel pretty much assured when we buy gluten-free flours and baked goods produced in a dedicated and certified gluten-free facility, but it would be difficult, not to mention nutritionally insufficient and boring, to eat nothing else. There aren't that many dedicated facilities and they obviously produce a limited number and variety of foods. Unless we pick and process and ship our own fruits and vegetables, and catch, raise, slaughter and package our fish and meat, too, we can't be absolutely positive that even these naturally gluten-free foods make it onto our tables without contamination. Are you someone who throws away a possibly contaminated dish sponge or are you okay with running it through the dishwasher? Each of us decides where to draw the line, every time we choose to put something in our mouths.

     

    While I am tremendously careful about what I eat, I do not wish to be confined to the safe quarters of my own kitchen. I accept dinner invitations and explain my celiac needs. I occasionally go to a carefully chosen restaurant and do my best to get a gluten-free meal. But if you asked me, I'd say (just like the folks at the Celiac association in France) that there's no "safe" restaurants in the US. There are no doubt a few owned or operated by celiacs - but for all practical purposes eating out anywhere is a risk.

     

    I've been back to France since I wrote this article and I had another good trip. I don't think I was any more gluten-endangered than when I travel in the US. The added challenges in traveling are managing language and cultural differences that can keep you from learning what you need to know to make your own decisions as to what you will eat, the kinds of decisions we make every day at home.

     

    Cultural differences can be trickier than we think. For example, I've also traveled in New Zealand (and I hope to get around to writing another article on "gluten-free in NZ"). Compared to France or the US, NZ feels like gluten-free heaven - at least on the surface. People speak English. Many, many New Zealanders are aware of gluten-intolerance. Grocery items are well-labeled, restaurants often offer gluten-free menus, bakeries in many places sell gluten-free items, even street food vendors proudly proclaim "Gluten free!" on certain commodities. Yet I wondered all the time about cross-contamination and I became increasingly suspicious about the actual state of knowledge. Bakeries and delis that offered numerous gluten-free goods, for example, sold them alongside wheat-flour based goods. A natural food store owner tried to sell me spelt cookies. I was astonished to meet a cheese vendor, herself a celiac, that didn't know that blue-veined cheeses can be a problem. So appearances can be deceiving. Would I go back to NZ again? You bet I would.

     

    So, as they say, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Safe travels!

     

     

     

    I did well on this recent trip, relying on "sans gluten" products from "bio" stores; fresh fruits, vegetables and fish from markets and regular grocery stores; and cheeses and olives. I read labels religiously and asked questions when I could. I went ahead and ate items like olives that were, as far as I could determine, gluten-free - though I had no way to know for sure, anymore than I do at home. Yes, I only bought buckwheat crepes that were 100% buckwheat flour. I ate in some restaurants with what precautions I could manage (just as in the US).

     

    On the cheese question: I often bought cheese but I never saw it displayed on wheat straw. I wonder if aging and/or displaying cheeses on wheat straw is customary only for certain types of cheese and/or in certain regions? It's a good heads up and suggests that we should be cautious and ask before buying but personally, I wouldn't stop eating ALL cheeses.

    Here's the thing: we need to strike some balance in our lives. as celiacs, we can spend our lives consumed by such food fear could be a concern - and especially if some cheeses are...

    Thanks for your interesting article regarding France. Lots of helpful hints for travelers. With regards to New Zealand I think that Australia (where I am from) and New Zealand have the same labeling laws. Therefore if a product contains wheat it must be stated on the ingredients list on the label. This makes it very easy to determine whether a product is gluten free in Australia or New Zealand. I work for the celiac society in Australia and I also was not aware of blue cheese possibly not being gluten free. After researching I discovered that in some instances the mold is started on wheat. The vast majority of blue cheese this is NOT the case though. Again the labeling laws would ensure that if there was any wheat in the cheese it would have to be declared. As far as cross contamination goes it is up to the individual as to how far they take that. Obvious cross contamination risks should be avoided of course but I have read of some people who won't even wash their pots and pans in the same dishwasher as non-celiacs. I think it is wise to be careful but is there a need to take it to these extremes? Again, thanks for your informative article.

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    Hallie Davis
    Celiac.com 10/02/2009 - My hubby and I just returned from a wonderful 5 days in Florida’s Key West, and so I want to write about it  while it is fresh in my memory, for I think my experience may benefit others who are trying to stay gluten-free during a stay there.
    In preparation for this trip, I first made a list of the top 20 rated hotels and bed and breakfasts (B& according to information I found on the internet. I made a separate list of restaurants, bars, and health food stores that also had received good reviews as to being able to provide gluten-free food. We had heard that it is not necessary to rent a car on Key West, so I wanted our hotel to be close to as many of the gluten-free sources of food as possible. So then I found each hotel on Mapquest, and then used the “find nearby” feature to get a list of restaurants near each, noting how many were also on my gluten-free list.
    I discovered that two hotels dominated in being close to multiple restaurants of my gluten-free list: The Gardens Hotel, and Seascape An Inn. Both were close to the main street, which is Duval Street. The Gardens was also close to Pepe’s, Santiago Bodegas, Mangoes, Help Yourself, The Café, Sugar Apple, and Blue Heaven. On the other Hand, Seascape was slightly closer to Duval Street, just around the corner from Hemingway House, and close to Sugar apple, Blue Heaven, Mangoes, and Santiago Bodega’s.
    I called both to get prices. The Gardens Hotel said they charged $185 per night. Seascape said they could give us an off-season discount, bringing our stay down to 109 per night. No contest. We booked with Seascape. When talking with the wonderful Koko, at Seascape, I told him that I was gluten-free, and he said that they would be sure to have boiled eggs, a large selection of cut-up fresh fruits (strawberries, cantelope, honeydew, fresh pineapple, dried apricots), and gluten-free yogurt at their breakfast buffet. He was as good as his word.
    Seascape is owned by Marcia and Dave, who took over ownership last December, and did some renovations. Marcia personally greeted us when we arrived. She had us put our luggage away in our room, and treated us to our choice of a complimentary glass of our choice of red or white wine or beer. Only after we had relaxed for a moment did she register us. Then she talked to us about places to go and things to see, marking both our hotel location, and the locations of some other places on a map that she gave to us. We gabbed a bit, and I found out that Marcia is a delightful person, and used to be a registered nurse in my home state. Then she showed me her capacious coupon drawer, and loaded me down with discount coupons for the various tourist sights and restaurants. That saved us considerable money! She called Blue Heaven for me and found out it was closed for the “off-season.” Too bad, but we did well without it.
    Throughout our stay, here and there I noticed the industriousness of Dave and Martha: Dave out bright and early in the morning skimming fallen leaves from the pool or using a longhandled loping saw to trim falling fruits off of the Chrismas Tree Palm. Martha cleaning, dusting, and polishing everything to perfection.
    As I entered the lovely garden courtyard for the first time, I was immediately greeted by one of the 3 resident cats, Fred, the sociable and laid-back tabby who often has just enough tongue sticking out to be comical. I sat down on one of the deck chairs, and it did not take much coaxing before he jumped up into my lap, and stayed for a good, long time enjoying being “scratched” behind the ears, petted, and massaged.
    Our room had French doors which opened onto garden the courtyard with its 10-person heated spa. The room had a ceiling fan. The beds had lovely fluffy comforters with 3 pillows at each head. This was one of the rooms that Koko had told us was freshly renovated. And it had a hint of that clean scent of Lysol that I appreciate in a hotel room. Above the bathroom sink on a shelf was a vase with a fresh sprig of baby’s breath. In a candy dish on the bedside table were gluten free chocolates and little Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups which are also gluten-free. In the capacious closet were real wooden hangers, not those silly thingies without hooks. Also in the closet were a refrigerator, full ironing board and steam iron, electric blanket for wintertime, luggage rack, and a coffeemaker with all the fixings to make coffee in the room. There was a sizeable flat-screen TV, and a programmable radio-alarm clock with various choices of alarm sounds. The basket of bathroom supplies included not just bar soap, but also body wash; not just shampoo, but also conditioner. On the wall next to the sink was a powerful hair dryer. There was a clean folded dark blue towel designated for use when removing makeup. The rest of the towels, hand towels and wash cloths were snowy white. The shower looked new, shiny, and sparkling clean.
    We had arrived late in the day, so after we were settled in our room we just wanted to have dinner and then return for a nice soak in the spa. I tested the water, and it was a bit cool for me (I have Raynaud’s), so I asked Marcia if they could raise the thermostat on it just slightly. She said “Absolutely!” I asked for an extension cord for my CPAP machine and she was quick to bring one to our room. When we returned from dinner, we had our soak in the spa, and the temperature was perfect! There was a basket of large towels laid out, and a basket for putting used towels into when done.
    In the morning, we discovered that once we had loaded our  breakfast plates and poured our free Champaign mimosas, they could be taken to the covered porch at the side of the house, which had little glass-topped tables. All around were orchids in full bloom – about 8 different kinds. There was a cooling breeze on the porch. Fred and Blackie joined us there, probably hoping for a handout, but polite enough not to ask. 
    Now about dinner. Our first and last dinner of our stay were both at Santiago Bodega’s (SB). Marcia had told us that they had a half-priced tapas special early in the week during the off-season. So we went there.
    There were certain standouts on the Tapas menu at SB. We absolutely loved the dates stuffed with goat cheese, and wrapped with Canadian bacon. Be sure to squeeze a bit of your lime over them. Yum! The beef tenderloin with melted goat cheese on top was to die for. Double-yum! The chicken skewers were also delicious, as were the pork with mango salsa. However, truth be told, the mango salsa was more like raisin salsa, with only a couple tiny bits of mango, and all the rest raisins. The green bean and the asparagus tapas were also tasty. The sangria (you can have your choice of red or white) was also delicious. I should caution that the servings though delicious, seem skimpy, so if you don’t want to break the bank trying to get full, either go on a night when there is a half price special, or follow up your dinner with a trip to Better Than Sex Desserts (see below). Both times we were there, SB had no gluten-free deserts.
    We went to Mangoes twice: once for dinner and once for frozen daiquiri and frozen pina colada and shrimp cocktail. The dinner was scrumptious. We started out with a wonderful salad (big enough to be split in two) of chopped fresh mango, shrimp, lettuce, onion, heart of palm, bacon, etc.) It was yummy! Then my hubby, who is not gluten-free ordered a lobster stuffed with crabmeat. Unfortunately I couldn’t have that because the crab was mixed with a bit of bread. However, hubby shared an untainted bit of the lobster with me, and it was sweet, juicy and succulent. I had the broiled Grouper with broiled tomatoes, served on a bed of rice and asparagus. It was delicious!
    Sloppy Joe’s at 201 Duval Street was also on our list of restaurants. I’m not sure why. They had absolutely nothing on the menu that was gluten-free except for the Havana Nachos. Those were good though: a serving large enough for two, with lots of sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, grated white cheese mixed in, and then chedder on top and melted over it all. It was served with on-the-side containers of sour cream and salsa.
    And remember that there is a Wendy’s at 355 Duval. Be sure to print out their gluten free menu and take it in your purse, so you can know what is safe to order there. One day we had baked potatoes with chives and sour cream, and Cokes, to hold us until a late dinner.
    We had a great time! If you go, be sure to take the Fury glass bottom boat trip. Time it to take the one that is scheduled so as to include the Champaign toast to the sunset on your return from seeing the reef. Then as the boat docks, go over to the Mallory Square sunset celebration to see the various entertainers: tightrope-walking dogs, cats jumping through hoops of fire, magicians, mimes, etc. Lot’s of fun. On your first day, take the on-and-off trolly tour, learning about the history of the island. Be sure to get off and see the butterfly museum, Hemingway House, the Audubon museum, and the Mel Fisher museam that tells about his reclaimation of $200 million in sunken treasure. Explore the various art galleries higher up Duval Street. Buy souvenir T-shirts for your children or nieces and nephews. Enjoy seeing the 6-toed cats, and roosters everywhere! Soak in the spa every evening after dinner.
    I have saved perhaps one of my favorite places for last: Better Than Sex Desserts. Marcia told us about this little dessert and wine restaurant just through the alley from her B&B. We went there after a light dinner elsewhere. We were greeted at the door by the owners: Len Johnson. His wife, Dani is the chef and chocolatier. She came over to talk to me about their gluten-free offering: the “Tongue Bath Truffle.” She was a delightful person, and I really enjoyed talking with her. Anyway, I ordered this dark, rich gluten-free wheatless truffle cake, served dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and dollups of whipped cream. Also served with it was my choice of various sorbets and sherbets. I opted for the raspberry sorbet. Hubby ordered the fresh strawberries to be dipped in a bowl of decadent warm chocolate sauce. We also ordered wine with the dessert, and a decaf coffee for me which had a faint suggestion of cinnamon – great with the dessert. As we were practically groaning with pleasure over these deserts, a live musician was playing the guitar and singing wonderful old songs. My hubby requested two of my favorite songs: Sweet Lorraine, and Nature Boy. I asked for a second cup of decaf in order to stay and listen more. What a lovely end to our evening and our week at Key West!
    Disclaimer: I am not related to Marcia, Dave, Koko, Len, or Dani, or anyone else in Key West! I just know that if anyone deserves to do well in business, it’s them at the Seascape An Inn, and at Better than Sex Desserts. Do give them your business! You won’t be sorry!


    Destiny Stone
    Gluten-Free Camping
    Celiac.com 05/20/2010 - The weather is getting warm and it's almost that time again-time to go camping! Camping is supposed to be relaxing and fun. Most people camp to escape the monotony of the daily rut, and to get back to the basics. Eating gluten-free while camping is really easy, once you know what to bring and what to avoid.
    Camping trips usually consist of the same easy to prepare foods. Chili, pasta, canned soups, hot chocolate, sandwiches, hot cereal, trail mix and  s'mores are the high-lights of most camping meals. All of those things can easily be prepared gluten-free. In fact, many gluten-free already prepared foods can be used for camping trips. Anything canned or boxed that you normally enjoy at home, can typically be converted to camping food.
    It is important to eat the perishable foods first. A  camping trip lasting for more than one night can render perishable foods inedible. That's why it's important to eat  refrigerated food on the first day or two, and save the shelf-stable food for the remainder of the trip. Store  perishables in a cooler with plenty of ice and/or cold packs. To grill gluten-free food,  avoid gluten contamination by using a grill from home. Using the grill provided at the camping site is possible, but using aluminum foil or a pan as a buffer  will keep food away from gluten contamination. There are even special racks with ridges that can be placed on the the grill and will keep food from touching the grill.

    Two Day Sample Meal Plan (everything should be gluten-free):
    Day 1-
    Breakfast- Pancakes with fresh berries and real maple syrup Snack- Energy Bars Lunch- Sandwiches with gluten-free bread Snack- Carrots & celery sticks Dinner- Instant mashed potatoes, instant gravy, grilled meat and/or veggies.  Dessert- S'mores (see recipe below)
    Day 2-
    Breakfast- Hot cereal with fresh berries or raisins Snack- Trail mix  Lunch- Sandwiches Snack- Jerky Dinner- Chili, hot dogs,  buns, canned vegetables Dessert-  hot chocolate
    Make sure to buy all gluten-free products. Don't forget the gluten-free sunscreen and the gluten-free insect repellent.
    Gluten-Free S'mores Recipe
    Ingredients
    Gluten-free marshmallows Gluten-free graham crackers Gluten-free chocolate bars
    To Make
    1. Put your marshmallow on a fire safe skewer. Heat the marshmallow over an open flame until it begins to brown and melt.
    2. Break the graham cracker in half. Sandwich the chocolate between the cracker and the hot marshmallow. Allow the chocolate to melt and the marshmallow to cool a moment before eating.
    3. Add strawberries or other gluten-free favorites.Happy Trails!


    Phyllis Morrow
    Traveling Gluten-Free in New Zealand
    Celiac.com 04/16/2013 - For a celiac traveler from the United States, New Zealand is a pleasure. Gluten awareness is widespread, there are gluten-free food options virtually everywhere you go, and product labeling for allergens and gluten is typical. Because New Zealand is English-speaking, there is no problem communicating gluten-free needs. And, of course, it’s summer there when it’s winter here and it’s beautiful. Who could ask for anything more (other than a shorter plane flight)?
    When my husband and I were planning an extended trip in 2009, I decided that traveling gluten-free would be easier in NZ than in the other destinations that we considered: Bali and Thailand. While Southeast Asian cuisines are rice-based and do include many gluten-free foods, conversations with friends who have lived there made me hesitate. The main problem for us is that we travel mostly on bicycle and like to be away from the major tourist areas. While staff at tourist hotels and luxury resorts may be familiar with food intolerance, once you go off the beaten track, people are unused to accommodating the “odd” requests of foreigners. I knew that in Southeast Asia language barriers would be an issue. My friends warned that the idea of food allergies and intolerance is not well-known there and they thought, too, that cultural conventions of politeness might lead people to assure us that foods were safely gluten-free when, in fact, they were not. On the other hand, my son had spent a week in New Zealand and his scouting report read: “gluten-free products, including bread and crackers, are easy to find even in the smallest convenience stores.”  
    We bicycled in New Zealand again in 2012, and once more we spent two months there. Now, I have suggestions and experiences to report from both North and South Islands.
    First, it’s always good to do some homework.  Before leaving and also while In New Zealand, I suggest  cruising the Internet for information. A useful site is http://www.glutenfreeliving.co.nz/ which displays restaurant and retail store options for various locations. The information is not always up to date (restaurants may close or change hands), but “no worries, mate,” as they say. Other gluten-free options are almost always easy to find.
    If you are traveling on New Zealand Air, be sure to order gluten-free meal options on your trans-Pacific flights. In 2009, I had some concern when I saw the term “low-gluten” in the subject line rather than “no-gluten” or “gluten-free” when customer service replied to my e-mail, but that may have been a legal precaution on their part. In addition to requesting gluten-free meals well in advance, be sure to double-check at the airline counter to make sure that the requests are in the system. I found the food entirely acceptable (and a choice of 77 in-flight movies also helped pass the time…). In fact, on the most recent flight there was an unexpected benefit to being gluten-free: special meals are the first to be served. While the flight attendant was handing my tray to me, the plane hit turbulent air. Meal service was instantly suspended and as far as I could tell I was the only passenger who got to eat for the next hour. Of course, I always take the precaution of carrying some gluten-free food/snacks, as well. You never know when you might need them.
    Actually, I did need them on the 2012 trip – but ironically that was when I couldn’t have them! We had decided to layover for a few days in Fiji to break up the long flight. I anticipated (correctly) that there would be little gluten-awareness in Fiji, so I was traveling with plentiful supplies. But I was dismayed to find that arriving passengers were required to discard all food items, without exception, at the airport. That made the next five days in Fiji a little challenging. I relied on cooking locally available basic resources that I bought in public markets, such as eggs, vegetables, coconut, fish, meat and yams. It was hard to find food that I was sure would be safe in grocery stores and almost impossible in restaurants.
    Because I am a budget traveler, and because I want good control over what I eat, I do prefer to buy and cook my own food in any case. In New Zealand, food items tend to be clearly labeled, much better than they are in the US. All of the larger supermarkets, such as New World, Pack n’ Save, Woolworth’s (locally known as “Woolli’s”), and Countdown have gluten-free breads of various sorts, as well as rice crackers, sweets, and an array of pre-packaged items such as soups, risotto, and curries that may be labeled gluten-free. However, there are always hidden surprises; for example, it was hard to find hummus that did not indicate the possible presence of wheat in the chickpeas (only Lisa’s Organic hummus was gluten-free). The ubiquitous smaller grocery outlets, such as dairies (the equivalent of convenience stores) might or might not have much in the way of gluten-free foods. Traveling by bicycle in more remote areas, such as heading towards East Cape from Opotiki, stores were sometimes far apart and minimally stocked. I occasionally found myself with nothing to eat for lunch but tinned salmon or sardines. Anyone traveling in a car could easily avoid such a situation, though.
    As might be expected, health food and organic food stores typically have a selection of gluten-free food items including bread, snacks, baked goods, pasta and alternative grains. Sometimes they carry gluten-free meat pies and other entrees in the freezer case. They tend to have easily identifiable names, such as Homestead Health, Bin Inn Wholefoods, Commonsense Organics (which carries, among others, Breadman brand fresh baked breads), etc. Always use your own commonsense, though. I did see occasional red flags, such as purportedly gluten-free baked goods unwrapped and sitting in a display case next to other goods baked with wheat flour. In those situations, I politely say that I would like to buy certain items but cannot do so if there’s a chance of gluten contamination. Also, I tell them that I worry that if this is an issue in one part of the store, I can’t be sure about other items they carry. They usually listen carefully to requests that might improve their sales.
    Having stocked upon gluten-free items at a shop in Auckland before a long train trip on the Tranz Scenic to Wellington, I discovered that I would have done fine without that precaution. The canteen on the train featured a line of prepackaged meals under the Wishbone label, all of which were very visibly marked for dietary restrictions including dairy free, gluten free, no meat, low fat, and low glycemic index. I enjoyed the "butter chicken"(tandoori spiced chicken with rice and sliced almonds) for lunch and saved my gluten-free groceries for dinner. On the other hand, when traveling by bus over long distances, I found it necessary to carry my own food. Meal stops on the bus routes were rarely more than ½ hour, and generally restricted one’s choice to a single café or cafeteria-style restaurant that did not have much for the gluten-free traveler.
    We stayed mostly in "backpackers," hostels that have kitchen facilities. They are found everywhere. One tip is to pick backpackers that have high ratings in the BBH New Zealand backpackers network guide. These will be the cleanest and best-organized places. The more highly rated hostels will cost more (it’s okay – they are worth more), but you will save a bit with a BBH membership. Backpacker accommodations range from dormitory-like arrangements to private rooms with bath. They may be large and full of boisterous young people, or small and quiet. With small places, you may have the kitchen almost completely to yourself. In the communal kitchen and eating area there will be a varying selection of cookware, utensils, and dishware. We carry camping gear including a thin plastic cutting board, a nesting pot set, lightweight cups, bowls and utensils, and plastic storage containers labeled with our name. I often used our own cooking pots and plates in backpacker hostels since hostel guests do not always do the best job of cleaning up their dishes. If I did use communal pans or utensils, I washed them thoroughly beforehand, using something other than a possibly contaminated communal sponge or dishrag. It is a good idea to cook and eat outside of the most crowded mealtimes, particularly at large, popular hostels. Otherwise, the atmosphere of “combat cooking” may defeat your efforts to keep gluten off surfaces and people may assume that your newly washed pot is there for them to use.  But it is wonderfully convenient to be able to cook your own food and refrigerate your groceries and leftovers. You need to bag your food, clearly label it with name and date, and make sure that it is sufficiently protected to prevent contamination from other people’s food in a stuffed refrigerator.
    A lot of restaurants and cafés throughout New Zealand offer gluten-free menus or menu options. While you need to be prepared for this not to be true in the more remote areas, even there you will often have pleasant surprises. I do recommend that you advise the waitperson that you are celiac.  If they look at you blankly, say that this requires that you be very strictly gluten-free. If they still look blank, go somewhere else to eat. In a properly gluten-free-conscious place, the staff will confirm with the chef that your menu choice is safe and note the need for special care on your order. I had one worrisome experience after eating at an Indonesian restaurant in Napier. The Dutch owner seemed very knowledgeable about celiac and told me exactly what I could have, including sauces. Afterwards, as we were paying for the meal, I saw that some of the bottled sauces were for sale. I read the label on one and it clearly contained wheat. The owner was mortified and assured me that these were from older stock and that the sauces I was actually served were gluten-free. Life as a celiac is never risk-free – but since I had no reaction later, I can hope he was right.
    The bottom line is that New Zealand really is a great destination for the gluten-free traveler.

    Vanessa Oakley
    Gluten-Free Camping
    Celiac.com 08/06/2013 - I recently went camping with a good friend of mine and her boyfriend. This was a last minute trip that I knew I was kind of going solo. I have never been camping without a partner or at least a tent mate. So this was the first time I only had to think of me. How cool is that?!
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    To my delight and surprise my lovely friend and her lovely boyfriend had over-packed in the food department with stuff that happened to be gluten-free. I know that some things she would have packed with me in mind (thank you Lindsay!), but other things were as much a surprise to her as they were to me. Between the both of us we all ate like kings that weekend!
    It is a bit difficult to write about gluten-free trials and tribulations when everything works out. Where there is no worry about cross-contamination or drunken mix-ups. I was the only person to bring out "bread." I found some hotdog buns that looked promising. They got toasted over the fire in a wire basket thing and were so good!
    There are, of course, some things to look out for when you are camping. Be aware of a stove top or grill if you have things like that at the site. You never know what someone else cooked on that, even if it's just meat it may have been seasoned with things that contain gluten. Also, don't mix up your hotdog stick with someone else, unless everyone also has gluten-free dogs. Don't borrow shampoo or face wash. There are so many things that can have gluten in them!
    I definitely learned some stuff about myself on this trip. I learned that I am lucky enough to have surrounded myself with good caring, thoughtful people.  I love camping and I never knew how easy celiac disease would eventually become for me. Did I mention that I am also terrified of spiders!

    Melissa Reed
    Restaurant: Gluten-Free Dining Experience
    Celiac.com 07/24/2014 - People that have celiac disease know one of the main concerns is avoiding gluten when they have meals. Their second biggest concern is the possible co-mingling of ingredients that can contaminate otherwise gluten-free food! So how do you eat at restaurants when you have celiac and still have peace of mind?
    Here is how:
    Before you are to go out to a restaurant call ahead and ask for the manager, find out if they do offer gluten-free meals that are carefully prepared for people with food allergy (If you are unable to call ahead go online and look the restaurant up to see if they offer a gluten-free menu or gluten-free meal selections, if need be email them). Also ask if the restaurant prepares gluten-free meals in a separate area, and if the restaurant uses different cooking utensils for gluten-free meal preparation. When you arrive at the restaurant that you have confirmed has gluten-free meals, let your server know you have a "Gluten Allergy" (ok, you can use different terms, and this isn't correct, but it conveys necessity instead of trend) and must eat gluten-free. Ask for a gluten-free menu, if they did not offer one to you. If you feel comfortable ask to speak with the manager or chef at your table, so they know that you have a medical need for a gluten-free diet. Let your favorite restaurants know that you want gluten-free meal selections and a gluten-free menu if they do not offer that yet. Do not be afraid to ask! Also, online there are cards you can print out and take to restaurants that you can give to server, manager or chefs to let them know that you are in need of a gluten-free diet. Some restaurants are now getting trained for gluten-free food preparation through National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and Great Kitchens, so that all the staff is fully prepared and educated on how to handle safe preparation of meals for celiac and gluten intolerant individuals.
    Talk about peace of mind; if a restaurant has had the gluten-free food training, know you are safe to eat gluten-free meals there!

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    Jefferson Adams
    Did You Miss the Gluten-Free Fireworks This Past Fourth of July?
    Celiac.com 08/14/2018 - Occasionally, Celiac.com learns of an amusing gluten-free story after the fact. Such is the case of the “Gluten-Free Fireworks.” 
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    The small company is owned by Adam Keeley and his father. "A lot of the people that come in want to crack a joke right along with you," Keeley said. "Every now and then, you will get someone that comes in and says so fireworks are supposed to be gluten-free right? Have I been buying fireworks that have gluten? So then I say no, no they are gluten-free. It's just a little fun."
    Keeley said that their stand saw a steady flow of customers in the week leading up to the Fourth. In addition to selling “gluten-free” fireworks, each fireworks package sold by Pinnacle features a QR code. The code can be scanned with a smartphone. The link leads to a video showing what the fireworks look like.
    We at Celiac.com hope you and your family had a safe, enjoyable, and, yes, gluten-free Fourth of July. Stay tuned for more on gluten-free fireworks and other zany, tongue-in-cheek stories.
    Read more at kark.com
     

    Jefferson Adams
    Stress-Related Disorders Associated with Higher Risk for Autoimmune Disease
    Celiac.com 08/13/2018 - It’s not uncommon for people to have psychiatric reactions to stressful life events, and these reactions may trigger some immune dysfunction. Researchers don’t yet know whether such reactions increase overall risk of autoimmune disease.
    Are psychiatric reactions induced by trauma or other life stressors associated with subsequent risk of autoimmune disease? Are stress-related disorders significantly associated with risk of subsequent autoimmune disease?
    A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether there is an association between stress-related disorders and subsequent autoimmune disease. The research team included Huan Song, MD, PhD; Fang Fang, MD, PhD; Gunnar Tomasson, MD, PhD; Filip K. Arnberg, PhD; David Mataix-Cols, PhD; Lorena Fernández de la Cruz, PhD; Catarina Almqvist, MD, PhD; Katja Fall, MD, PhD; Unnur A. Valdimarsdóttir, PhD.
    They are variously affiliated with the Center of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland; the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland; the Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital, Reykjavík, Iceland; the Centre for Rheumatology Research, University Hospital, Reykjavík, Iceland; the National Centre for Disaster Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; the Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; the Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; the Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden; the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden; the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; and the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
    The team conducted a Swedish register-based retrospective cohort study that included 106, 464 patients with stress-related disorders, 1,064 ,640 matched unexposed individuals, and 126 ,652 full siblings to determine whether a clinical diagnosis of stress-related disorders was significantly associated with an increased risk of autoimmune disease.
    The team identified stress-related disorder and autoimmune diseases using the National Patient Register. They used Cox model to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs of 41 autoimmune diseases beyond 1 year after the diagnosis of stress-related disorders, controlling for multiple risk factors.
    The data showed that being diagnosed with a stress-related disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress reaction, adjustment disorder, and other stress reactions, was significantly associated with an increased risk of autoimmune disease, compared with matched unexposed individuals. The team is calling for further studies to better understand the associations and the underlying factors.
    Source:
    JAMA. 2018;319(23):2388-2400. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7028  

    Jefferson Adams
    Gluten-Free Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts
    Celiac.com 08/11/2018 - Need a quick, easy, reliable gluten-free dish that will satisfy everyone and leave the cook with plenty of time to relax? This recipe is sure to do the trick. Best of all, it's super easy. Just grab some chicken breasts, season them, hit them with a sprig of rosemary, wrap some bacon around them, and chuck them on the grill and call it dinner. Okay, you can add some rice and veggies.
    Ingredients:
    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 4 thick slices bacon 4 teaspoons garlic powder 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary salt and pepper to taste Directions:
    Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
    Sprinkle 1 teaspoon garlic powder on a chicken breast and season with salt and pepper. 
    Place a rosemary sprig on each chicken breast. 
    Wrap the bacon around the chicken and the rosemary. 
    Hold bacon in place with a toothpick or extra rosemary stem.
    Cook the chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes per side. 
    Keep an eye out for any grill flare ups from the bacon grease. 
    Remove the toothpicks and serve with steamed rice and your favorite vegetables for a winning meal.

    Connie Sarros
    Five-Minute Healthy Breakfasts
    Celiac.com 08/10/2018 - You’ve heard for years that it’s wise to start your day with a healthy breakfast.  Eating food first thing in the morning gets your metabolism revved so you have energy throughout the day.  There’s also the issue of incorporating healthy foods into your first meal of the day.  Ideally, every meal should include fiber and foods from a variety of food groups.  But the reality is that most people don’t have time in the morning to create an involved meal.  You’re busy getting ready for work, packing the kids’ lunches and trying to get everyone out of the door on time.  
    Don’t fret.  The task of preparing a healthy breakfast just got easier.  You can make 5-minute breakfasts and, with a little bit of planning, you can sneak fiber into those meals without spending a lot of extra time with preparation.  An ideal breakfast will include whole grains (from gluten-free cereals, breads, muffins, or uncontaminated oats), a low-fat dairy item (1% milk, low-fat yogurt, or low-fat cheese), and a source of protein (such as peanut butter or eggs).  Adding fruit is a plus.  
    If you can tolerate uncontaminated oats, make a bowl of oatmeal and add a little extra fiber by stirring in chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.  If you like scrambled eggs, toss some fresh spinach (sliced into thin strips), 1 chopped canned artichoke heart, two tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, and a dash of Italian seasoning to the egg as it cooks.  
    If you have time on weekends to make healthy gluten-free pancakes (which  means that you added perhaps flax seed meal or shredded apples or something that qualifies as fiber to the batter), then freeze the pancakes between sheets of wax paper, place them in a freezer bag, and freeze so they’ll be handy on busy weekday mornings.  If you don’t have time to make them prior to need, you can always use commercial frozen gluten-free pancakes.  In a bowl, mix together a few raisins, half of a chopped pear or apple, a few dashes of cinnamon and a couple of tablespoons of chopped walnuts.  Spoon this mixture down the centers of two toasted (or microwaved) pancakes, drizzle each with 1 teaspoon of pancake or maple syrup, then fold in the sides of the pancakes to make two breakfast sandwiches.
    Brown rice is brown because the bran layer is still on the rice, and the bran layer is the part that’s so high in fiber.  White rice is much lower in fiber and has less nutritional value.  Brown rice isn’t just for dinner anymore.  It offers a nice breakfast alternative from traditional hot cereals.  The next time you make brown rice for dinner, make a little extra and save some for breakfast the next morning.  In the A.M., mix the rice (about 1 cup) with a few chopped pecans, a few raisins, 1/2 cup milk, 3 tablespoons pancake syrup, a dash each of vanilla and cinnamon, then microwave the mixture for 1 minute, stirring once after 30 seconds.  Let it sit for 30 seconds to thicken before eating.  Or stir together 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 navel orange diced, some chopped dates, dried cranberries, and shredded coconut; heat this in the microwave and then top it off with 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt.
    Just a note about using the microwave—it’s not an exact science.  Different ovens have different power levels so what cooks in 30 seconds in one person’s microwave may take 45 seconds in someone else’s unit.  Unless you want the food to splatter all over the sides of the oven, you’ll need to cover any liquids or soft foods with waxed paper.  
    There will be days when you don’t have time to sit down at the table and enjoy a leisurely breakfast.  On these days, make a “grab-and-go” breakfast that you can take with you.  Gluten-free wraps keep for several weeks in the refrigerator and they make great fill-and-go containers on busy mornings.  Spread a wrap with peanut butter, sprinkle some fortified gluten-free dry cereal on top, then drizzle with a teaspoon of pancake syrup; roll up the wrap and you have the perfect dashboard dining breakfast to eat on the way to work.  Or scramble an egg, spoon it down the center of the wrap, and then top it off with a little salsa and pepper-jack cheese before rolling it up. If you only have three minutes before you have to leave the house, spoon some low-fat cottage cheese into a cup, stir in a dash of cinnamon, top with a little low-fat gluten-free granola or fortified dry gluten-free cereal, sprinkle berries or chopped peaches over the top, grab a spoon, and you’re ready to go!
    Smoothies can be made in literally one minute.  Toss some frozen raspberries into a blender, add a 12-ounce container of low-fat lemon yogurt, a little milk, and two teaspoons of vanilla; blend, then pour the mixture into a large plastic cup.
    If you oversleep, don’t panic.  Have some back-up foods on hand that you can grab and eat en route to work, like a gluten-free protein bar and a banana, or a bag of nuts and dried fruit, or flax seed crackers with a handful of cheese cubes, or toss some gluten-free granola over a container of yogurt and grab a spoon to take along.
    All of the above suggestions can be made in five minutes or less.  Take the time to start your day off with a healthy breakfast—you deserve to do that for yourself and for your family.
    Apple English Muffins by Connie Sarros
    This recipe is from my newly-released book Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook for Dummies.  While this isn’t a gluten-free cookbook, most of the recipes are naturally gluten-free or can very easily be converted to gluten-free.  
    Preparation time:  4 minutes.  Cooking time:  30 seconds.  Yield:  1 serving
    Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon peanut butter  1 gluten-free English muffin, toasted  1/8 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced thin ½ teaspoon butter  ¾ teaspoon brown sugar 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon Directions:
    Spread peanut butter on one toasted English muffin half.  Lay the apple slices on top. In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the butter in the microwave on high for 15 seconds.  Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon then nuke for another 15 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  (If necessary, pop it back into the microwave until the brown sugar melts).   Drizzle the cinnamon mixture over the apple slices then place the second half of the English muffin on top. Note:  If you’re out of apples, use a pear, ripe peach or nectarine, mango, or even a banana.

    Jefferson Adams
    Can a New Gluten-Free Cricket-Flour Cookbook Turn Americans on to Eating Bugs?
    Celiac.com 08/09/2018 - Whatever one might say about crawfish, shrimp and crustaceans in general, Americans don’t typically eat bugs. Can a former Ralph Lauren marketing executive turn the world on to flour made from crickets?
    Over the last few years, Americans have been presented with a buffet of alternative proteins and meals. Robyn Shapiro’s company, Seek, has created all-purpose, gluten-free, and Paleo blended flours, which can be used cup for cup in any recipe calling for flour. 
    The company, which makes pure cricket powder for smoothies, ice creams, and other liquid-based foods, is now selling cinnamon-almond crunch cricket protein and snack bites. To get the public interested in its cricket protein and cricket flour products, Shapiro has collaborated with famous chefs to create recipes for The Cricket Cookbook. 
    The book’s cast includes La Newyorkina chef Fany Gerson, a Mexico City native known for her cricket sundaes; noted Sioux chef and cookbook author Sean Sherman; and former Noma pastry chef Ghetto Gastro member, Malcolm Livingston, among others.
    Other companies have sought to promote the benefits of insect protein, including Chapul, which makes cricket protein bars and powders, and Exo, which makes dairy- and gluten-free cricket protein bars in flavors like cocoa nut and banana bread. These companies, along with others in the business tend to aim their products at Paleo dieters by promising more protein and no dairy.
    Seek’s chef-focused approach makes it unique. By pairing with noted chefs who already use bugs and bug protein in their cooking, Shapiro is looking to make the public more comfortable and confident in using bugs to cook and bake. So far, the response has been slow, but steady. Seek has already raised nearly $13,000 from 28 backers, well on its way toward its $25,000 goal. 
    Seek’s cricket flours and other products will initially only be available via Kickstarter. If that goes well, the products will be sold on Seek’s website. Early backers will get a discount and a chance for a signed copy of the book. Seek hopes to debut their products nationwide starting in the fall. 
    Could gluten-free cricket flour and the new cookbook be the next big gluten-free Christmas gift? Stay tuned for more on this and other gluten-free stories.
    Source:
    grubstreet.com