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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/24/2018

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What is Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet? What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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    CRUISING WITH CELIAC


    Daniel Cojanu


    • Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Spring 2016 Issue - Originally published April 14, 2016


    Celiac.com 05/10/2016 - As we all know, traveling with celiac disease can be somewhat challenging. Trying to avoid situations of contamination can be quite difficult, yet we accept this challenge so we can go about a normal routine which in my situation, includes traveling. My wife and I who travel quite often do enjoy a good cruise due to the relaxing atmosphere and great care we receive for my dietary issues. Our experiences on Princess Cruises has been very positive and clearly, they take dietary issues quite seriously.


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    Photo: CC--kansasphotoUnfortunately, not so much with Oceania Cruises. First of all, this experience is based solely on my recent trip. I suspect some other folks with celiac may have had a positive experience. That's great. This article is based solely on how I was treated by this cruise line in August of 2015.

    Oceania insists that any request for special diets be submitted by the travel agent. Not sure what happens if you book online.

    Once on board, the person in charge of special diet requests met us at dinner and explained we would get a menu in our mailbox every evening. We are to circle our choices and bring it to the desk by 8:30am. We made the mistake of going on a tour and not having it in until noon and guess what? Yup, you order off the menu.

    After this discussion, I was directed to dinner choices that could be prepared gluten-free. I was surprised to see my dinner entrée loaded with croutons. O.K., first day shakedown, let's see what happens. Strike 1.

    As we all know, buffets can be dangerous but I attempted to try and see if they had any gluten-free foods available. I selected a breakfast item that was clearly battered and asked the server if this was gluten-free. He looked somewhat quizzical and said "yes". Strike 2. I then asked for gluten-free toast. It took a full 15 minutes for them to toast 2 pieces of bread. Strike 3. Later in the cruise, we stopped for lunch at the poolside café where I ordered a sandwich with gluten-free bread. "We don't have gluten-free bread on board" was our waiters' response. After I indicated that was surprising since I have it at dinner nightly, he finally went off and secured my lunch. Strike 4 ?

    I could go on and on but I will spare you the rest. Oceania is a high end cruise company with prices to match. Princess on the other hand was exemplary. Once your request is in, you receive an email with a list of gluten-free menu items that will be available. If you want gluten-free beer, this is also offered albeit at a price. Every evening, the maître d comes by so you can order for the next evening. Clearly, they take people with dietary issues seriously.

    Why the disparity? I believe it's what I encounter as many restaurants. Since gluten-free dining has become the latest fad diet, I honestly believe that many establishments (and cruise lines) don't feel the need to take proper care. My suspicion is that they just look at gluten-free requests like "oh good, another one of them" and don't take it seriously. I guess my final advice before selecting a cruise would be to see what the initial reaction is to your request. If they respond like Princess, and I suspect other cruise lines, I would at least look carefully at booking a nice vacation. Would I go back to Oceania? I would not. I have put my concerns into writing to them and two months later, no response. My travel agent also followed up about this situation, again, no response.

    Traveling with celiac is difficult enough, and I hope that certain companies will begin to take us more seriously.


    Image Caption: Photo: CC--kansasphoto
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    Guest Cliff

    Posted

    Viking Cruise Line was FANTASTIC about my offerings, in most cases my meals were better than the other passengers. The maître d met with me at every meal to review the offering for the following meal, the wait staff was also very knowledgeable about celiac. I am looking forward to my next cruise with Viking and would highly recommend Viking Cruise line to anyone traveling with celiac disease.

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    Guest Susan

    Posted

    I had a horrible experience on Oceania in October 2015 on a Mediterranean cruise. I was given cookies that were according to the maitre d' gluten free only to be told on another occasion the cookies were not gluten free. There seemed to be a lack of understanding on the part of the dining room staff on what constitutes a gluten-free diet. Off the ship, I found delicious gluten free items, clearly marked and in sealed packages. At our end of cruise stay at our hotel in Barcelona, the bread and pastry gluten free choices were a big surprise after the steady diet of the not so great gluten free bread on the Marina. In a letter responding to my post-cruise letter of complaint, Oceania admitted to falling short with respect to knowledge about the gluten free diet. As these cruises are more "upscale" than say Princess, (where my past experiences were positive), I had expected everything would be okay. I was ill on the ship and the cruise triggered GI problems that took four months to resolve. I would never ever cruise with Oceania again.

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    Guest Dale

    Posted

    Thanks for the heads up on Oceania. Disappointing that such a high end line couldn't accommodate a gluten-free diet. I've cruised over 30 times on Princess, NCL and Carnival (also on RCL and Celebrity-but before I was diagnosed) and have been treated well. The only mistake I've noticed is a pie with a "Rice Krispy" crust was being served as gluten-free (before Rice Krispys could be bought as gluten-free). I usually don't ask for gluten-free bread--don't like it and it is a waste of calories. I prefer the sauces to be left off rather than made special. Again "gravy" is a waste of calories.

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    Guest Rick

    Posted

    Great article, thank you.

     

    I also cannot agree more with this statement; "Why the disparity? I believe it's what I encounter as many restaurants. Since gluten-free dining has become the latest fad diet, I honestly believe that many establishments don't feel the need to take proper care."

     

    I'd be curious to know if your gluten free toast was in fact toasted in a safe gluten free toaster or oven? Something tells me it probably was not by the sound of your experience.

     

    I believe that dining establishments just do not fully understand that celiac is a disease. And when people come in saying they need to gluten free, when in fact they don't, with that so called meal being either contaminated or cross contaminate the person who "needs" to eat gluten free goes on their merry way without any ill effects or sickness. This gives the restaurants and so-called "need" to eat gluten free customers a false sense of accomplishment, when in fact the entire time there was some amount gluten in the meal being served and consumed. This is the very reason why I no longer eat out, I was tired of getting sick all the times that I did. It is also the reason why I haven't had a true vacation outside the States since getting diagnosed with celiac in 2007.

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    Guest A. Burke

    Posted

    Princess is the best cruise line for celiac passengers! Have tried Norwegian Cruise Line once and eating gluten free was a disaster!

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    Guest Tiffany

    Posted

    We just got back from our second cruise with Disney Cruise Line. They did an exemplary job at making gluten free as easy as possible. Even on the buffet line, one of the head chefs will come out and walk you through the buffet line and offer to make you special items. They have free room service and when you look at the menu it appears they don't have much that is gluten free, but if you simply request things like gluten free doughnuts or cookies, they are able to comply. I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, and I was underwhelmed. Their staff is not well trained and once they even told me that regular rice krispies (blue box-before gluten free rice krispies were even available) were gluten free! Needless to say, I won't be sailing with Royal Caribbean again, but Disney is a line I trust with my dietary needs. Thank you for reviewing two other lines!

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    Guest Mary Beth

    Posted

    I have been on Celebrity cruise lines 3 times and they have been wonderful!

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    Guest Lonna Swearingen

    Posted

    I had booked a cruise a year in advance on Valentine's Day with Carnival Cruise Line in 2009 for 2010..Before the year was up I was diagnosed with celiac disease...I contacted Carnival and they were very accommodating by providing gluten free dinner choices for me. As far as other meals I just chose to eat salads...

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    Guest Sophie Chenoweth

    Posted

    I have had similar experiences on holiday however some tour companies and restaurants are fantastic. I agree that many ignorant people in hospitality think it's just a fad diet and have never heard of Coeliac disease. That disappoints me.

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    Guest Lauren Royal

    Posted

    There is no excuse for a high-end cruise line like Oceana to be so sloppy about something so important to our health. Thanks for the warning--I will cross them off my try-someday list. For a great high-end gluten-free experience, I highly recommend SeaDream.

     

    I've been on Princess and it was fine, but of all the mainstream cruise lines, I think Celebrity is the best. At least half their regular menu items are naturally gluten free (including all soups and sauces--thickened with cornstarch, not flour), and gluten free selections are clearly marked on the regular menus so you don't need to order in advance. It's such a pleasure to be able to decide what I want at the last minute like everyone else. They have separate gluten-free toasters in their buffets at a totally different station from where the gluten bread is--they are super careful to avoid cross-contamination everywhere.

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    Guest Teresa

    Posted

    Celebrity is wonderful for gluten free. I was treated so well for every lunch/dinner. Everyone was served a souffle for dessert one evening - I got one the following night - made at one of the specialty restaurants. It's why we always cruise with Celebrity when possible - sound a lot like Princess!

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    Guest Linda

    Posted

    Too Bad the Author had such difficulties. Fortunately my multiple experiences with Holland America have been just the opposite. I have had zero problems. They have my dietary requirements on file and refer to them when I book. The concierge and waiters all know of my status from the moment I enter the dining area (good cross-communication), and I look at the next nights menu to choose what I would like. The chefs prepare my selections gluten-free and if they cannot modify the recipe for me they offer other options. I have never (knock on wood) had any gluten reactions on the 4 cruises with them. Even the smorgasbord staff are knowledgeable about gluten. Even tho I trust what they do, I admit I am still vigilant (that is my responsibility). I love and trust Holland America.

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    Guest Shirley

    Posted

    Excellent article. I just returned home after cruising on Princess for 25 days. It was a very positive experience.

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    Guest Dawn

    Posted

    I had the same experience on Oceania and will not go back. Other cruise lines, for the most part, are much better.

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    Guest Erogo

    Posted

    I find most cruise lines, theme parks, movies, restaurants even, will let you bring in your own food if you confront them with "Are you 100% sure you can fix me something without contamination and I will not get sick" I have a bit more issues due to developing multiple allergies to complications related to my celiac disease and the damage to my intestines. I sometimes go out to eat even and just take a prepacked meal and order a water at the local chili's and pay extra just to accommodate me so I feel like a normal human (with these issues I find myself feeling like a alien). Just do not bring anything crazy, I find homemade canned soups in mason jars, sealed homemade baked goods in bags, and homemade dips work best. Always a bonus if you can order something from them, in my case it is normally a non salad bar item (salads are kept in close proximity in bins with croutons with high chance of contamination) that would never come in contact with them like raw broccoli they would use for steaming normally or asparagus.

     

    In the end it is sad to be limited like this, but with food allergies, and issues you have to realize your the odd ball, do not expect others to understand how careful they need to be you. Nor should you expect complete catering as much as I would love it. Just find and ask around if it would be alright to bring your own food with you do to medical reasons.

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    We just got back from our second cruise with Disney Cruise Line. They did an exemplary job at making gluten free as easy as possible. Even on the buffet line, one of the head chefs will come out and walk you through the buffet line and offer to make you special items. They have free room service and when you look at the menu it appears they don't have much that is gluten free, but if you simply request things like gluten free doughnuts or cookies, they are able to comply. I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, and I was underwhelmed. Their staff is not well trained and once they even told me that regular rice krispies (blue box-before gluten free rice krispies were even available) were gluten free! Needless to say, I won't be sailing with Royal Caribbean again, but Disney is a line I trust with my dietary needs. Thank you for reviewing two other lines!

    I have sailed with Disney 12 times and each time they go out of their way to accommodate me. I receive the dinner menu the night before and select what I want. Same with breakfast...I can pre-order breakfast and have gluten free pancakes if I want. They even prepare items that are not gluten free on the menu in a gluten free manner if requested the night before, like their Tomato Soup. I am a Disney fan though and wouldn't think of sailing with any other cruise line.

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    Guest Yvette Fawzi

    Posted

    Celebrity and Royal Carribean were exemplary as well. I had great experience and they improved significantly over the last 5 years.

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    Guest Frances L. Garcia, MD

    Posted

    Your experiences mirror mine. I frequently cruise and Princess and Holland are, in my opinion, the best. I had issues with Oceania: felt I had to be on high alert, that they did not understand the importance of this diet and I could not trust them to be complaint. However, I must say that the captain made every effort to protect me. One evening, as I prepared to spear a morsel with my fork, I ended up hitting the table: He had realized the item could not be gluten-free and promptly removed it!

     

    Yes, we are the aliens. Yes, people do not take us seriously. We need to educate them. Take every opportunity to teach people about this. On a holiday trip to my son's home, I got glutened. The severity of my reaction surprised everyone in the family. Even they had not taken this as seriously as I would have expected them to. Nowadays, they are the ones who are hype-alert!

     

    One last thing: While on a tour in France we stopped at a family run inn. I did not expect to be able to eat there and asked permission to bring out my nut bar. The owner came over and in French told me that since every one in his family, including himself, were celiacs, everything on the menu was, in fact, gluten-free. I ate the best poultry I have ever eaten in my life! Wish I could go back there every weekend!

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    Guest Anne

    Posted

    I travel on Azamara Cruiselines ... they take great care in providing gluten-free cuisine for Celiacs. Aside from eating pre-ordered meals in the main dining room, I always inquire about food items that catch my fancy elsewhere on the ship by checking with the chief on ingredients. Moreover, at buffets, they label gluten-free foods. By and large, I choose to eat in the dining room where my pre-ordered meals are safe for me to consume.

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    Guest Peg Weidemann

    Posted

    Princess is the best cruise line for celiac passengers! Have tried Norwegian Cruise Line once and eating gluten free was a disaster!

    I cruised the Adriatic on the Norwegian Jade last fall, and my experience was fantastic! Every night the special diet chef (Dominodore) met with me to plan the next night's meal. The service and food were terrific; such a treat!

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    Guest Jean

    Posted

    Very useful article. I will definitely stay away from Oceania. I am a celiac and I have been taking cruises since 2015. I have been treated extremely well and carefully on Viking River and Ocean cruises, Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Regent 7 Seas, and a Tauck river cruise in France. I had gluten problems only on a 2015 MSC cruise at a breakfast buffet; after that I only ate pre-packaged gluten-free items for breakfast. The lunches and dinners were all cooked-to-order for me and I had no problems at those meals. The gluten-free meal choices on Vikings Ocean ships and Regent 7 Seas were amazing.

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    Guest rickyrebarco

    Posted

    I have had excellent experiences cruising gluten free with Holland America. The traveler has to be vigilant. Every now and then someone would forget and bring me the wrong dessert but it was always obvious it had gluten in it and I would just send it back and they would get it right the second time.. I had no cross-contamination problems at all. Breads were gluten free, wonderful gluten-free pizza and great gluten-free pasta dishes. Crew were very caring and seemed up to date on all the gluten-free issues. Toast was done on separate tray in the oven. I double checked that. gluten-free pastas done in separate water with sauces just for them and separated from the glutinous stuff on the food line. I will cruise with HAL again.

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    Guest hilary morgan

    Posted

    I have cruised with Carnival , Norwegian and Royal Caribbean and have had excellent meals gluten-free, I never had a problem.

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    Guest Andrew

    Posted

    My better half and I have had several cruises with Carnival. She is Celiac and we have never had a problem - they have fresh pasta (gluten-free) made as you wait and in the dining room the Head Maître always came to the table at the end of dinner with the next days menu and discussed what was available, what they could make gluten-free and this included all 3 meals. Excellent service and recognition of this disease.

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    Daniel Moran
    Celiac.com 05/08/2008 - I am here to help you with your needs as you travel, and to be able to keep the "Gluten Monster" away, so you can enjoy your trip.
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    Remember to always have a plan B and to be nice. If necessary have your Chef Daniel's restaurant paper that can be used to explain your illness.  Sometimes it is easier for people to read celiac disease so they can understand.  I always grab a piece of fruit for later in case I have trouble finding lunch and it is a good snack to have.  Once you have your breakfast it is out to lunch.
    Gluten-Free at Buffet Breakfasts
    If you are at a hotel that offers a buffet breakfast for free it is the same procedure as above.  Always try to get a fresh pan as it comes out to eliminate cross contamination from other customers.  Try to talk with someone in charge like the manager who could help you if they are not busy. Be nice and explain your illness and how sick your will get.  Don’t be afraid to ask for the ingredients.  Ask for them to cut or tear the ingredients out of the box for you if possible.  Sometimes they have written them down for me and brought it out to our table.  Make sure you ask whether they using fresh eggs or “egg products.”  Also ask if they are putting something in the eggs to keep them from turning green.  If they are using real eggs they have to keep them from turning green.  Real eggs turn green from the heat and the chefs sometimes put lemon juice or vinegar in the eggs while they cook them.
    Always ask—no matter how silly you think it is—whether they add anything to the food. Seasoning salt sometimes has wheat in it, so ask if they use something besides just salt
    and pepper. Remind them how sick you will get if you eat a little piece of gluten and never be ashamed to ask.  Always ask for your food to be unseasoned—that also eliminates the risk here.
    Whatever you want make sure that you try to get the freshest that they have and also use a clean fork to retrieve your food. Most of the tongs or spoons are going to be used from one container to the next.
    If the staff can help you they will, so ask and be patient don’t expect to be out fast.  If you are expecting to be fast then you probably will be sick.  In some cases you can ask for some fresh products from the back.  Find the person who has been helping you and if the food you want is taking a long time to empty or just isn’t getting refilled on the buffet line.  Ask if someone can go to the back and get you some food.  Hand them your clean fork and ask them nicely if they can use this to get the food on your plate.  As long as you are nice they will help you. Always try to ask someone who seems to care about the establishment where you are eating—you will know them.
     Don’t forget to ask how they cooked your food.  Just because the sausages are gluten-free doesn’t mean they cooked them that way.  They could cook them on the same grill that they cooked the pancakes on and you will have bread on your sausage!  Most places cook sausage and bacon in the oven but you need to ask how they cook everything.  Are the scrambled eggs cooked on the grill—if so can they cook you a small batch on the side?  Keep that in mind with all of the food you are going to eat.  Don’t forget to be careful and remember about cross contamination  
    A Sit-down Gluten-Free Breakfast
    For your sit down breakfast you want to make sure they cook your entire meal ala cart.

    Cook your eggs in a fresh pan. Use olive oil or real butter to cook them not the spray can of oil. Have your Chef Daniel's restaurant paper or gluten-free restaurant card that tells the cooks about you and your illness and let them know how to cook your food. Tell them in great detail how to prepare your food, Ask them to use a fresh fork to grab items if need to be.. Not to use garnish or spice on your food. Don’t be afraid to ask for a clipping of the ingredients from the box if you want to check to see if you can have the sausage or ham. Tell them about the cross contamination from cutting boards, knives, tongs and the table they work on.
    I can’t emphasize this enough—you have to judge for yourself how busy the place is.  This is the most important thing you have to remember.  As humans under stress do stupid things and the cook could fall under that.  Just think of how you would do if you were working there.  Would you, for example, have enough time to get part of a box that you threw away two hours ago when you started breakfast?  The type of restaurant matters to.  Is this a Motel or is it a very successful chain that pays well and has good benefits.  This usually means the staff is very good.These tips can help you but you do have to make sure that you inform the staff, waitress, manager and hopefully the person who is cooking your meal.  It doesn’t do any good if you tell one person and they forget because they got busy.  That is why I always try to tell the manager when I enter.  In your Chef Daniel's restaurant paper make sure you give them exactly how to cook your meal.  Don’t assume they will do it because you told them you get very sick.  As a chef myself, if I read something and it told me to use olive oil and not salad oil—I would do as it said.  If it said use oil I would grab the closest product or even margarine.  Even when busy if you read something it should stay in your head.  When you’re busy and someone tells you that table #22 has celiac and needs gluten-free food…well it could get lost if I am busy listening to 20 different orders, so bring a form or gluten-free restaurant card that they can read.


     
    Gluten-Free Travel Hints:
    You should always try to getthe manager to help you.  In any restaurant they have the most time tohelp you and they will help you because they typically care more thanthe regular workers (today’s restaurants have employees that come inone day and are gone the next.help.  It is sad but that is the way itis so at least try to get the manager. Don’t be ashamed to askfor anything. If you want a hot dog or the chips they put on the sideof the plate ask for a bag with the product inside.  Take out your safeand forbidden lists if needed and look at them to see if you can eat aproduct. 
    Always have your Chef Daniel's restaurant paper with you in your walletor purse.
    Always have a copy of your safe and forbidden lists with youin case you need it to read ingredients. Always have a gluten-free restaurant card in the language you need.
    Crosscontamination is the greatest risk for a celiac when traveling.  Crosscontamination can happen and you would never know it, such as when thechef uses a knife to cut a piece of bread, and then they use the sameknife on your vegetables, or when the chef uses a pair of tongs to flipa breaded chicken and then uses them to flip your sauté chicken.Thereare too many other ways to mention, but the main thing is that glutencould be on the tool before it is used on your meal, and it doesn’tmatter how safe the chef thought he was because you got one crumb andyou are sick for days and that ruins your vacation.

    Keep the comments coming and together we will get rid of the Gluten Monster!

    Chef Daniel P

    Destiny Stone
    This is the time of year when familiestake vacations and travel the world. Traveling can often be stressfuleven under normal circumstances; packing problems, flight delays,getting lost, are all possible when trying to get from point A topoint B. So imagine how stressful it can be for a celiac orgluten-sensitive person to get ready for a big trip, especially to alocation that doesn't cater to the gluten-free lifestyle.The following tips are geared towardhelping even the most sensitive celiac to have a fun filled andgluten-free vacation while minimizing the stress factor as much aspossible. This article covers the following: preparing for yourgluten-free travel adventure, gluten-free travel by plane,automobile, train or ship, gluten-free accommodations, gluten-freemeals and snacks, what to do if you accidentally ingest gluten.
    Before beginning your vacation, thereare many important things you will want to consider, like method oftravel, your destination, and gluten-free options in the city ortown in which you will be staying. To help find gluten-freeaccommodations and eatery's in your location, perform a “Google”search for 'gluten-free restaurants and accommodations' in the areayou will be traveling to.

    Planes Trains and Automobiles-Tips forGluten-Free Travel by Danna Korn Gluten-Free Transportation
    Traveling by car is the best way totravel, if you have a choice. That way you can stop at stores asneeded and load up on your gluten-free snacks. Trains are also good,because they allow and encourage you to bring your own food on the train. Planesand ships are where it starts to get a little trick, especially if you have a long trip ahead of you.
    Airlines are fairly easy to manage,because you can bring your own food aboard the flight. However,there is a limit to what and how much you are allowed to bringaboard, which can be a problem on a long flight. While many airlinesoffer vegetarian or Kosher options for those with special dietaryneeds, most airlines do not have gluten-free menu options for thoseof us with gluten-intolerance. However, Continental Airlinescurrently offers gluten-free food options. Although, if you areextremely sensitive to cross-contamination, it is still safer tobring your own food.

    More Gluten-Free Airline Travel Tips
    Continental Airlines
    However, if you are planning to travela cruise-line, most cruise-lines do not allow you to bring your ownfood aboard. So in this situation it is important to find acruise-line that will accommodate your special needs. RoyalCaribbean Cruise-lines, and Orbridge ships are two cruise-lines thatoffer gluten-free menu options, as well as catering to other dietaryneeds.
    Royal Caribbean Cruise Orbridge
    Gluten-free accommodations
    Most motels or hotels offer acontinental breakfast and that's about it. Short of eating coffee andorange juice for breakfast,there usually isn't much in the way ofmeal options for a celiac. However, many small bed and breakfast'swill accommodate you special dietary needs if you talk to them andset it up in advanced, and some even offer gluten-free options. To find a gluten-free Inn, perform a “Google” search for'gluten-free accommodations' in the area you will be traveling to.
    Staying with family or friends can bestressful if they aren't sensitive to your dietary needs. It can alsobe difficult to explain to your friends and loved ones, what it meansfor you to be gluten-free, and who really wants to spend their entirevacation educating the everyone you meet on what it means to beceliac or gluten-sensitive? That could literally take the entirevacation. If cross-contamination is an issue for you and you areconcerned about eating in a gluten based house, the following linkwill help you determine what you need to be free from gluten whileyou are staying with others. It might be a good idea to print theinformation and share it with your host, maybe even emailing them alink with the information, prior to your visit.

    What to do if you can't have agluten-free kitchen Gluten-Free Meals and Snacks
    Finger foods, gluten-freechips/crackers, veggie sticks, gluten-free sandwiches, these are allwonderful foods to keep with you on a trip. Bring as muchgluten-free, shelf-stable food with you as possible. Find out wherethe local farm market is, for fresh and local, organic produce andbuy fresh produce when you arrive at your location.
    Many people getting ready for a trip,will place an order online in advance and have it delivered to thelocation they will be visiting. The Gluten-Free Mall is veryaccommodating and can ship shelf stable food Nationally andInternationally and frozen goods can be shipped within theContinental US. Having a package of gluten-free food delivered toyour location, gives you one less thing to worry about. No extrapacking, or extra luggage, no worries about your food getting crushedor apprehended at customs or tossed out at an airport. It's assimple as placing an order online or by phone.

    Gluten-Free Mall The National Foundation for CeliacAwareness (NFCA) works very hard to train chefs and kitchen staff allacross the globe, on the dos and don't s of cooking gluten-free fortheir guests with extreme gluten sensitivities. Check out the listthey have compiled of of GREAT kitchens that have the stamp ofapproval from NFCA for a possible location near you.

    NFCA GREAT Gluten-Free Kitchens list Unfortunately, not all restaurants havethe GREAT seal of approval from NFCA and the likelihood of one beingat your chosen destination is pretty slim, and finding a dedicated gluten-free restaurants are also rare depending on where you travel. That's why it is important to knowwhat to do when you go out to eat with a group of gluten-eaters.There is a great deal of information on this subject, but here aresome links to get you started.

    How to eat a gluten-free breakfastwhile traveling Eating gluten-free when traveling What to do if you Accidentally Ingest Gluten
    There are varying opinions of what thebest thing to do is when you accidentally ingest gluten, drink gingertea, take laxatives, hot water bottle on the abdomen; there really isno right answer, as everybody is different and has differentreactions to gluten. However, here are some tips that might help ifyou accidentally ingest gluten.

    Accidental Gluten Ingestion What to do if you accidentally eat gluten
    The most important thing you can do for yourself is to have fun. Stress can affect how youdigest your food, and then it won't matter if you avoid gluten, you stillwon't feel good. 
    Happy and safe travels everyone!


    Sarah  Curcio
    Celiac.com 07/22/2016 - Some of us have the luxury of living in a household that is completely dedicated to being gluten-free. However, many of us don't have that luxury. So, there are certain precautions you must take, in order to avoid cross contamination.
    Now, here is a list of helpful tips to keep in mind for your kitchen:
    Always wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly, especially if you have dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), when you are wiping down counter tops, tables and stove tops. Using paper towels would be a beneficial because you can throw it directly in the trash. As for hand towels, have a separate one for your hands. Having a dishwasher or even a counter top dishwasher, if possible, reduces your worries. Otherwise, be sure to have different sponges when washing because they are very porous and absorbs gluten. For your kitchenware, having glass, metal, stainless steel and ceramic would be best because plastic and wood absorb gluten as well. Just think about your flour sifters, colanders and cutting boards. As for appliances, have separate toasters, baking mixers, convection ovens, blenders, etc. Keep cabinets and refrigerator shelves separate, especially from foods like cakes, cookies, breads and crackers. Basically, anything that can cause a lot of crumbs. Also keep your flours and wheat flours in labeled, air tight containers, so they are completely sealed shut. You do not want flour flying everywhere. When reheating your food, cover all your plates in the microwave. Lastly, if you are following all of these instructions correctly and consistently, your celiac disease should stay under control. However, it might be best if you get your antibody levels tested at least once or twice a year by your gastrointestinal (GI) physician. That way you can see, in black and white, that all your antibodies are in range. That will prove you're keeping yourself perfectly healthy.
    References:
    http://strengthandsunshine.com/the-quick-dirty-guide-to-cross-contamination-prevention/ http://www.theceliacdiva.com/10-tips-to-prevent-cross-contamination/

    Yvonne Vissing Ph.D.
    Celiac.com 01/05/2018 - Cuba is abundant with music, color, and people. The countryside is a lush, rich green where fields of sugar cane stretch as far as the eye can see. Streets of Havana are filled with hot pink, lemon yellow, candy-apple red, bright blue and green classic cars. Rural streets have horse drawn carts overflowing with harvested sugar cane and the men (almost always men) with machetes from cutting the crops. It is a country of contradictions, where pillars of ancient affluence intersect with rubble as people yack on cell-phones while throwing their fishing lines off the Malecon.
    As a multiple-time tourist there, I'm overwhelmed with how friendly people are and how safe I feel, even though my ability to speak Spanish is, well, not-so-good. Given that wifi and internet connections are few and far between, my translation app doesn't work so I'm on my own when it comes to ordering food and figuring out if it's gluten-free or not. Between my Spanish being awful and the fact that menus may not be in English, much less contain a list of ingredients, asking the wait-staff if there are gluten-free menu options is a no-brainer. The communication and interpretation challenges meant that it made no sense for me to ask that question.
    So how does one go about being gluten-free in Cuba? Actually, it's not so hard once you keep in mind certain facts. One is to understand the traditional daily diet of most Cubans. Food staples include rice, beans, pork, beef, and sometimes chicken. These are all safe for people with Celiac disease. You're likely to find these foods at every meal in every home or restaurant. Cubans do not tend to use a lot of spices because they don't have them; processed foods are generally unavailable which makes food rather bland but on the other side, pretty safe because the chances of being exposed to gluten-filled flavor enhancers aren't around. Breads may be served but they, like the delicious-looking fried dough sold on the street in baskets or papers by local vendors, can be easily avoided. Pasta dishes are found in many restaurants, and the pasta is always wheat so forget asking if they have corn, rice of quinoa pasta. Eggs are pretty easy to find; cheese somewhat, but peanut-butter is not.
    For many people going gluten-free, vegetables are a life-saver. However, in Cuba this option is something we need to have a serious conversation about. Vegetables are hard to come by. Now, there is a big organic farm program in Cuba. Organopónicos, or organoponics, is a system of urban agriculture using organic gardens that originated in Cuba and is widely used there. The idea is for them to produce organic, highly nutritious vegetables in an efficient way that maximizes the use of natural resources, composting, and recycling. The farm I visited outside of Havana distributes 90% of all the produce to local residents; only 10% goes to hotels and commercial vendors. The organoponics movement is trying to lure Cubans away from their primary reliance on rice, beans and meats into eating more produce. There is a heavy health emphasis related to nutrition there – there are hospitals and health care providers, but they aren't plentiful and tend not to be the first line of health care. Food is a primary vehicle leading to better health. Sweets, salty foods and fats are not nearly as common there, due to the lack of imports of such items in this still largely socialistic country. Foods are simpler, and seem to be more “real”, if you get my drift. Since Cuba is an island, fresh fish is a good choice for meals. If you order a salad, expect them to be small and consisting primarily of lettuce (not iceberg!), thinly sliced cucumbers, and maybe a bit of grated cabbage. Don't go looking for tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, squashes or kale. Chances are low that you'll find them. It's more likely that when you find vegetables, they are present more as garnish.
    Fruits, on the other hand, can be easily purchased at corner open-air markets where farmers bring bananas, plantains, pineapple, mangos, papaya, and coconuts. They are beautiful and fresh, and can be served on plates as main foods, garnishes and certainly as juices.
    Food isn't why one goes to Cuba. Mojitos and rum may be (thank God they are gluten free!), cigars are a draw, and a tiny cup of their coffee will keep you rolling all day. People who have to go gluten-free have often gotten used to watching what they eat and having limited options, so in this regard traveling to Cuba is no different. In some ways it's a bit easier because of the lack of processed foods and fancy, hidden ingredients that make their way into both gourmet and convenience foods in the United States. Cuba is more of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get culinary world. Gourmet cuisine hasn't arrived there yet. Neither have fast food items that U.S. people have come to take for granted. It's not uncommon to overhear people at the airport planning what they're going to eat when they get back to the states.

    My advice for anyone going gluten free in Cuba is to pack some nuts, dried fruit, protein bars, and easy-to-keep-and-transport favorite gluten-free food options. Expect when you go out for breakfast to have fruit and eggs. Dinner will likely be a meat/chicken/fish that is simply prepared so it should not usually be a gluten issue. Rice and beans are usually cooked without much seasoning, so you're probably safe eating them. Definitely avoid anything that is deep fried, because chances are high that a bread was cooked in the oil. Plantains that are fried are probably safe because they are cooked in butter or oil in a skillet. Fresh fruits are abundant, just sometimes a bit complicated for tourists to manage when purchased on the street if they don't have knives or ways to cut and serve them in a non-messy fashion. Don't expect to see many veggies, and when you do, relish them. And of course the mantra for most tourists traveling there is – don't drink the water! There's plenty of bottled water, juices and beer around, so you should not get sick from either gluten or water if you're nominally careful. Remember why you're in Cuba – not for fine dining, but to see the culture, listen to music, and have fun.

  • Recent Articles

    Tammy Rhodes
    Celiac.com 04/24/2018 - Did you know in 2017 alone, the United States had OVER TENS OF THOUSANDS of people evacuate their homes due to natural disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis? Most evacuation sites are not equipped to feed your family the safe gluten free foods that are required to stay healthy.  Are you prepared in case of an emergency? Do you have your Gluten Free Emergency Food Bag ready to grab and go?  
    I have already lived through two natural disasters. Neither of which I ever want to experience again, but they taught me a very valuable lesson, which is why I created a Gluten Free Emergency Food Bag (see link below). Here’s my story. If you’ve ever lived in or visited the Los Angeles area, you’re probably familiar with the Santa Ana winds and how bitter sweet they are. Sweet for cleaning the air and leaving the skies a brilliant crystal blue, and bitter for the power outages and potential brush fires that might ensue.  It was one of those bitter nights where the Santa Ana winds were howling, and we had subsequently lost our power. We had to drive over an hour just to find a restaurant so we could eat dinner. I remember vividly seeing the glow of a brush fire on the upper hillside of the San Gabriel Mountains, a good distance from our neighborhood. I really didn’t think much of it, given that it seemed so far from where we lived, and I was hungry! After we ate, we headed back home to a very dark house and called it a night. 
    That’s where the story takes a dangerous turn….about 3:15am. I awoke to the TV blaring loudly, along with the lights shining brightly. Our power was back on! I proceeded to walk throughout the house turning everything off at exactly the same time our neighbor, who was told to evacuate our street, saw me through our window, assuming I knew that our hillside was ablaze with flames. Flames that were shooting 50 feet into the air. I went back to bed and fell fast asleep. The fire department was assured we had left because our house was dark and quiet again. Two hours had passed.  I suddenly awoke to screams coming from a family member yelling, “fire, fire, fire”! Flames were shooting straight up into the sky, just blocks from our house. We lived on a private drive with only one way in and one way out.  The entrance to our street was full of smoke and the fire fighters were doing their best to save our neighbors homes. We literally had enough time to grab our dogs, pile into the car, and speed to safety. As we were coming down our street, fire trucks passed us with sirens blaring, and I wondered if I would ever see my house and our possessions ever again. Where do we go? Who do we turn to? Are shelters a safe option? 
    When our daughter was almost three years old, we left the West Coast and relocated to Northern Illinois. A place where severe weather is a common occurrence. Since the age of two, I noticed that my daughter appeared gaunt, had an incredibly distended belly, along with gas, stomach pain, low weight, slow growth, unusual looking stool, and a dislike for pizza, hotdog buns, crackers, Toast, etc. The phone call from our doctor overwhelmed me.  She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I broke down into tears sobbing. What am I going to feed my child? Gluten is everywhere.
    After being scoped at Children's Hospital of Chicago, and my daughters Celiac Disease officially confirmed, I worried about her getting all the nutrients her under nourished body so desperately needed. I already knew she had a peanut allergy from blood tests, but just assumed she would be safe with other nuts. I was so horribly wrong. After feeding her a small bite of a pistachio, which she immediately spit out, nuts would become her enemy. Her anaphylactic reaction came within minutes of taking a bite of that pistachio. She was complaining of horrible stomach cramps when the vomiting set in. She then went limp and starting welting. We called 911.
    Now we never leave home without our Epipens and our gluten free food supplies. We analyze every food label. We are hyper vigilant about cross contamination. We are constantly looking for welts and praying for no stomach pain. We are always prepared and on guard. It's just what we do now. Anything to protect our child, our love...like so many other parents out there have to do every moment of ever day!  
    Then, my second brush with a natural disaster happened, without any notice, leaving us once again scrambling to find a safe place to shelter. It was a warm and muggy summer morning, and my husband was away on a business trip leaving my young daughter and me to enjoy our summer day. Our Severe Weather Alert Radio was going off, again, as I continued getting our daughter ready for gymnastics.  Having gotten used to the (what seemed to be daily) “Severe Thunderstorm warning,” I didn’t pay much attention to it. I continued downstairs with my daughter and our dog, when I caught a glimpse out the window of an incredibly black looking cloud. By the time I got downstairs, I saw the cover to our grill literally shoot straight up into the air. Because we didn’t have a fenced in yard, I quickly ran outside and chased the cover, when subsequently, I saw my neighbor’s lawn furniture blow pass me. I quickly realized I made a big mistake going outside. As I ran back inside, I heard debris hitting the front of our home.  Our dog was the first one to the basement door! As we sat huddled in the dark corner of our basement, I was once again thinking where are we going to go if our house is destroyed. I was not prepared, and I should have been. I should have learned my lesson the first time. Once the storm passed, we quickly realized we were without power and most of our trees were destroyed. We were lucky that our house had minimal damage, but that wasn’t true for most of the area surrounding us.  We were without power for five days. We lost most of our food - our gluten free food.
    That is when I knew we had to be prepared. No more winging it. We couldn’t take a chance like that ever again. We were “lucky” one too many times. We were very fortunate that we did not lose our home to the Los Angeles wildfire, and only had minimal damage from the severe storm which hit our home in Illinois.
      
    In 2017 alone, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) had 137 natural disasters declared within the United States. According to FEMA, around 50% of the United States population isn’t prepared for a natural disaster. These disasters can happen anywhere, anytime and some without notice. It’s hard enough being a parent, let alone being a parent of a gluten free family member. Now, add a natural disaster on top of that. Are you prepared?
    You can find my Gluten Free Emergency Food Bags and other useful products at www.allergynavigator.com.  

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/23/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to learn whether celiac disease patients commonly suffer cognitive impairment at the time they are diagnosed, and to compare their cognitive performance with non-celiac subjects with similar chronic symptoms and to a group of healthy control subjects.
    The research team included G Longarini, P Richly, MP Temprano, AF Costa, H Vázquez, ML Moreno, S Niveloni, P López, E Smecuol, R Mazure, A González, E Mauriño, and JC Bai. They are variously associated with the Small Bowel Section, Department of Medicine, Dr. C. Bonorino Udaondo Gastroenterology Hospital; Neurocience Cognitive and Traslational Institute (INECO), Favaloro Fundation, CONICET, Buenos Aires; the Brain Health Center (CESAL), Quilmes, Argentina; the Research Council, MSAL, CABA; and with the Research Institute, School of Medicine, Universidad del Salvador.
    The team enrolled fifty adults with symptoms and indications of celiac disease in a prospective cohort without regard to the final diagnosis.  At baseline, all individuals underwent cognitive functional and psychological evaluation. The team then compared celiac disease patients with subjects without celiac disease, and with healthy controls matched by sex, age, and education.
    Celiac disease patients had similar cognitive performance and anxiety, but no significant differences in depression scores compared with disease controls.
    A total of thirty-three subjects were diagnosed with celiac disease. Compared with the 26 healthy control subjects, the 17 celiac disease subjects, and the 17 disease control subjects, who mostly had irritable bowel syndrome, showed impaired cognitive performance (P=0.02 and P=0.04, respectively), functional impairment (P<0.01), and higher depression (P<0.01). 
    From their data, the team noted that any abnormal cognitive functions they saw in adults with newly diagnosed celiac disease did not seem not to be a result of the disease itself. 
    Their results indicate that cognitive dysfunction in celiac patients could be related to long-term symptoms from chronic disease, in general.
    Source:
    J Clin Gastroenterol. 2018 Mar 1. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001018.

    Connie Sarros
    Celiac.com 04/21/2018 - Dear Friends and Readers,
    I have been writing articles for Scott Adams since the 2002 Summer Issue of the Scott-Free Press. The Scott-Free Press evolved into the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. I felt honored when Scott asked me ten years ago to contribute to his quarterly journal and it's been a privilege to write articles for his publication ever since.
    Due to personal health reasons and restrictions, I find that I need to retire. My husband and I can no longer travel the country speaking at conferences and to support groups (which we dearly loved to do) nor can I commit to writing more books, articles, or menus. Consequently, I will no longer be contributing articles to the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. 
    My following books will still be available at Amazon.com:
    Gluten-free Cooking for Dummies Student's Vegetarian Cookbook for Dummies Wheat-free Gluten-free Dessert Cookbook Wheat-free Gluten-free Reduced Calorie Cookbook Wheat-free Gluten-free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults (revised version) My first book was published in 1996. My journey since then has been incredible. I have met so many in the celiac community and I feel blessed to be able to call you friends. Many of you have told me that I helped to change your life – let me assure you that your kind words, your phone calls, your thoughtful notes, and your feedback throughout the years have had a vital impact on my life, too. Thank you for all of your support through these years.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/20/2018 - A digital media company and a label data company are teaming up to help major manufacturers target, reach and convert their desired shoppers based on dietary needs, such as gluten-free diet. The deal could bring synergy in emerging markets such as the gluten-free and allergen-free markets, which represent major growth sectors in the global food industry. 
    Under the deal, personalized digital media company Catalina will be joining forces with Label Insight. Catalina uses consumer purchases data to target shoppers on a personal base, while Label Insight works with major companies like Kellogg, Betty Crocker, and Pepsi to provide insight on food label data to government, retailers, manufacturers and app developers.
    "Brands with very specific product benefits, gluten-free for example, require precise targeting to efficiently reach and convert their desired shoppers,” says Todd Morris, President of Catalina's Go-to-Market organization, adding that “Catalina offers the only purchase-based targeting solution with this capability.” 
    Label Insight’s clients include food and beverage giants such as Unilever, Ben & Jerry's, Lipton and Hellman’s. Label Insight technology has helped the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) build the sector’s very first scientifically accurate database of food ingredients, health attributes and claims.
    Morris says the joint partnership will allow Catalina to “enhance our dataset and further increase our ability to target shoppers who are currently buying - or have shown intent to buy - in these emerging categories,” including gluten-free, allergen-free, and other free-from foods.
    The deal will likely make for easier, more precise targeting of goods to consumers, and thus provide benefits for manufacturers and retailers looking to better serve their retail food customers, especially in specialty areas like gluten-free and allergen-free foods.
    Source:
    fdfworld.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/19/2018 - Previous genome and linkage studies indicate the existence of a new disease triggering mechanism that involves amino acid metabolism and nutrient sensing signaling pathways. In an effort to determine if amino acids might play a role in the development of celiac disease, a team of researchers recently set out to investigate if plasma amino acid levels differed among children with celiac disease compared with a control group.
     
    The research team included Åsa Torinsson Naluai, Ladan Saadat Vafa, Audur H. Gudjonsdottir, Henrik Arnell, Lars Browaldh, and Daniel Agardh. They are variously affiliated with the Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Karolinska University Hospital and Division of Pediatrics, CLINTEC, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institute, Sodersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Diabetes & Celiac Disease Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; and with the Nathan S Kline Institute in the U.S.A.
    First, the team used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS) to analyze amino acid levels in fasting plasma samples from 141 children with celiac disease and 129 non-celiac disease controls. They then crafted a general linear model using age and experimental effects as covariates to compare amino acid levels between children with celiac disease and non-celiac control subjects.
    Compared with the control group, seven out of twenty-three children with celiac disease showed elevated levels of the the following amino acids: tryptophan; taurine; glutamic acid; proline; ornithine; alanine; and methionine.
    The significance of the individual amino acids do not survive multiple correction, however, multivariate analyses of the amino acid profile showed significantly altered amino acid levels in children with celiac disease overall and after correction for age, sex and experimental effects.
    This study shows that amino acids can influence inflammation and may play a role in the development of celiac disease.
    Source:
    PLoS One. 2018; 13(3): e0193764. doi: & 10.1371/journal.pone.0193764