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Hello all, I'm new to this website and figured it would be in my best interest to go ahead and make a small post about myself, mostly because I'm having a lot of trouble trying to adapt to my new lifestyle, and it is irritating me to no end.

I lived in South Korea for three years previously, moved home for ~8 months (during which time I was diagnosed with celiac) and have returned to Korea. When I was diagnosed, I was already planning on returning and I was highly positive that I'd be able to handle living in Asia with celiac. Well......... it has been 2 months now and it's much harder than I imagined. However, it is much easier (and way cheaper) to order gluten-free foods online here than I could have imagined, so that's one perk!

I am mostly just hoping to receive some positive vibes from you all.... I'm trying my best but it doesn't really seem like my best is good enough. I've got separate sponges for dishes (no dish washer), separate pans for cooking (gluten-free pasta is more expensive than in the states so I don't let my bf eat it..ha), use steel wool if I'm ever in doubt, clean my countertops religiously, take daily (gluten-free) vitamins, check labels like never before, and eat out as little as possible, and yet.. I still manage to make myself sick at least once a week. Usually on the weekend when I try to eat out, but sometimes when I try cooking, as well. That's probably the most irritating thing... putting effort into cooking and then making myself sick.

One of my favorite things about Korea is it's food and eating at restaurants with my friends, so it has been realllyyyy tough for me to let go of that part of my life. Luckily my boyfriend has been incredible about my struggles and is always willing to help (he even found me fried chicken with 100% rice flour!), which has been huge for me. Probably would be headed home right now if it weren't for him, quite honestly, which is super depressing to think about because I always thought I was so 'adaptable' and capable of making changes, persevering, etc..and I also really love living abroad and Korea in general!!

Anyway.. sorry for the ramble here! I'm so glad there is a community like this. I definitely need it! Especially from across the world. I don't particularly know what kind of replies I'm expecting, if any, but if anyone has had any similar experiences (travel, living abroad, etc) please share!!!!!

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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

I am sorry you are getting sick more often than you should or would like, but I would imagine it would be extremely difficult living in a foreign country like Korea while trying to learn the diet and heal.  You are also in the early stages of healing so you will have ups and downs for awhile.  I give you credit for trying because I know I wouldn't be that ballsy myself!  ;)  However.......you seem to be grasping the cross contamination thing well by having separate everything.  What about your pots and pans?  Cast iron has to be dedicated gluten free only because of all the nooks and crannies, along with scratched teflon.  No good.  You can use teflon but it has to be new or unscratched.  Stainless steel or hard metals are the best as you can use them for both ( they are not porous) because you can clean them well with steel wool.  The only thing I would not use for both, no matter what you have for cookware is a spaghetti pot.  That stuff is just so hard clean off so I would suggest dedicated pasta cookware, including the ever important colander.

I am sorry to have to say this to you but you really need to stop eating out for awhile.  :(  I know how hard that is when you are young and like to socialize with friends.  It is hard enough eating out in the States, depending on where you live, but you are in Korea.  Not a hotbed of Celiac activity, I am sure.  I know it is not as fun but can you eat first and then go out and just have a drink while they eat?  Yeah, I know, I won't even do that myself. I have found that many people become very uncomfortable when the thin Celiac like me isn't eating while they are.  Honestly, some think I have an eating disorder, I am sure.  I have no idea what Korean food is like so don't know what would contain gluten.  I am sorry I cannot be of much help with that.  You can resume eating out after some healing has taken place but it is imperative that you find a place were you can do that successfully.  Do you have the dining cards that explain Celiac and your needs in different languages?  They are given to staff so they can understand better in their native tongue...which is extremely helpful.

http://www.findmeglutenfree.com/search?a=Seoul%2C Korea&lat=37.5665&lng=126.978&ga=Seoul%2C South Korea  The site I have accessed is called:

findmeglutenfree.com.  I checked for Seoul because you did not say where you were and everyone seems to go to Seoul.  There are some places listed there, with reviews.  I have found this site invaluable for finding safe food when traveling.  Who knew there would be 3 places listed for Seoul?

Also: https://www.facebook.com/GlutenfreeKorea/  I am not sure if this will link you directly to Facebook but at least you have the address to look it up yourself.  You will have to use your computer to do searches to find what you need.  I have to say.......what the hell did we do without the internet???????    :o

BTW....kuddos to your boyfriend for being supportive.  That alone means he is a keeper!  Let us know if you need any more help!

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Waitwhathm, great to hear you are finding some products--cool that you found chicken like that! Kudos to you being proactive and finding products online and cooking.

Just know you're not alone. I'm in a similar boat to you (Russia, ordered off gluten a week before leaving). I miss eating out too.

If you haven't already, look for Tamari sauce (soy sauce without wheat). It would be a great staple for stir fries. You've probably heard this already, but cooking with basics: rice, vegetables, plain chicken, minimizes risk.

I'm finding I need to read labels really thoroughly, even on things that don't seem like gluten products (for example, wheat in yogurt sometimes). 

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