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Traveling with food allergies in Latin America in 2016

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Hi Everyone,

I would like to move somewhere in Central/South America to study Spanish for a few months but am concerned about food availability, allergy awareness and ingredients used at restaurants. I get sick when I eat Gluten, Dairy, Corn, Soy, and a few others but those are the worst ones for me. I usually eat meat, rice (as my grain source), potatoes, and fruit/vegetables. I'm concerned about being able to eat out at restaurants and shopping for food. Even in the USA, gluten free can be a challenge if one cannot eat corn, which is the most common substitute.  Does anyone know which Latin American country will be easiest to manage?  Right now I'm thinking that learning Spanish in Spain might be my best bet but I really want to go to Latin America. There was a similar post in 2010 (only for gluten), but now it's 6-7 years later so I'm bringing the topic back again because times change fast in the allergy world. 

Thanks so much for your help,

Ori


 

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I know this post is a year ago... however it is still on the first page of the travel section!  I am from Uruguay, (South America) and I can answer this question for people that may look at it in the future.

As a South American -  I can say that the cuisine varies greatly.  In cities, you shouldn't have any more than the normal amount of difficulty finding food.  For example, in Montevideo, the city I am from, you'll have no problem finding dedicated entire Celiac stores.  Meat is a large part of restaurant menus, so parilladas (similar in theory to steakhouses, would be very easy to navigate).  Uruguayans do eat a lot of pastries, and just like in the states... Most mainstream bakeries are not gluten free, but like I mentioned there are places that specialize.  In Uruguay, there is knowledge of Celiac and a large health awareness.  Some of the foods can be costly, cost of living in general is not low.

In large swaths of South America, the foods you mentioned - Potatoes, rice, meat, etc are abundant, as are fresh fruits and veggies.  Avoiding corn does make it tricky.  Peru can be a great place for non-gluten eaters. Peru uses very little gluten (they are the original quinoa eaters) but there is a lot of corn in the diet (and since you are corn sensitive, that would be a food you would need to navigate).

Latin America spread over two continents! In this area you will find a great variety in cultures, cuisines, and knowledge of celiac.  There is no reason why If you want to experience Latin America, that you have to rule out an entire region of the world because of Celiac.  Navigating it will be different, but it is doable!

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38 minutes ago, CaroCaroCaro said:

There is no reason why If you want to experience Latin America, that you have to rule out an entire region of the world because of Celiac.  Navigating it will be different, but it is doable!

Thank you for posting this :)

I've never been to South America, it's the only continent, bar the poles, I've yet to visit. It's really nice to read that my gluten sensitivity hasn't ruled it out. Maybe I'll get to the land of Luis Suarez yet!

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On 11/4/2016 at 3:59 PM, orid said:

Hi Everyone,

I would like to move somewhere in Central/South America to study Spanish for a few months but am concerned about food availability, allergy awareness and ingredients used at restaurants. I get sick when I eat Gluten, Dairy, Corn, Soy, and a few others but those are the worst ones for me. I usually eat meat, rice (as my grain source), potatoes, and fruit/vegetables. I'm concerned about being able to eat out at restaurants and shopping for food. Even in the USA, gluten free can be a challenge if one cannot eat corn, which is the most common substitute.  Does anyone know which Latin American country will be easiest to manage?  Right now I'm thinking that learning Spanish in Spain might be my best bet but I really want to go to Latin America. There was a similar post in 2010 (only for gluten), but now it's 6-7 years later so I'm bringing the topic back again because times change fast in the allergy world. 

Thanks so much for your help,

Ori


 

I went to Cancun, Mexico the year 2012 before getting diagnosed with Celiac disease. December of the year 2013 I was diognosed with it. I went back to Cancun, Mexico in 2016. The alergy there is so hard to follow. Especially when you stay at the Moon Palace Resorts. Their food is constantly cross contaminated. I got sick the first few days we were there with the stomach flue a rash all over my legs. I know it couldn't have been from the tequila that I had because it was gluten free. It's real hard to be on this diet because even if you try, things get cross contaminated here in the U.S. as well. I try to eat out so that I won't live in a bubble and live my life, but i've noticed that my face breaks out so much and can't clear. I wish you luck!!! ?

Edited by Norma Barton-Barajas

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