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How Easy Is It To Travel Gluten Free In The U.s?

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Hello, :)

We are thinking of visiting the U.S.A. next year and probably visiting Disneyland, New York and one other place that we haven't decided upon yet.

My 11 year old daughter is a celiac and I was wondering how easy/difficult is it to buy gluten free products and to eat out gluten free.

I have heard often that travelling gluten free in the U.S. is not that easy and that awareness is low and availability of products is not very good. Is this true?

Here in Australia I can go to my local supermarket and buy gluten free bread, crackers, cereal, cakes etc. etc. and I can read any label of any product and know whether it is gluten free as the strict labelling laws state that any allergy causing ingredient must be stated on the label. Would I be able to go into any supermarket in the U.S. and be able to find gluten free products easily or are they mainly only available in health food stores?

I know that in Disneyland there is gluten free food available which is great. Besides Disneyland/New York can anyone suggest anywhere else in the U.S. for us to go to that might have good gluten free options. We would like somewhere relaxing and quiet after two busy places. It doesn't have to be a typical tourist destination.

Thank you. :)

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In Southern California, where Disneyland is and where I live, the mainstream grocery stores do not carry gluten free foods breads, crackers etc.... One option is to rent a motorhome and stock up on gluten free foods at WholeFoods right after your visit to Disneyland and visit one or more of the National Parks in the Southwest, if you have time. If this interests you make sure you plan well in advance for campground reservations.

The other option that I use, when I travel by air, is to rent a room with a kitchen. I locate a store in the area, first by using the store locator for WholeFoods (www.wholefoods.com). If there isn't a WholeFoods in the area I continue searching the internet. I go shopping when I get to my destination. The only downside is I have to cook on vacation. Nearly any destination you choose is available using this method.

Based on my reading of other posts, I think other parts of the country have mainstream grocery stores that carry gluten free food. I know I can buy gluten free food at Dierberg's in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

Hope you have a supertrip.


Phyllis

Gluten Free - 30 years

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Guest AutumnE

I would get hotel rooms with a kitchenette as you will probably have to cook alot. Im not aware of a good gluten free vacation spot since we havent gone that route yet but I know pigeon forge/gatlinburg tennessee area is beautiful and they have many cottages you can rent the cabins are up in the mountain area with tourist attractions very close, if you want specifics of a company for cabins pm me. I havent stayed there myself but I have family members that have.

These are some gatlinburg threads regarding food if your interested, there are more at this website with gatlinburg in the search engine.

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...mp;#entry133461

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...amp;mode=linear

I hope you have a wonderful time :)

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You have probably picked two of the most gluten-free-friendly places in the country. New York has tons of gluten-free restaurants, and health food stores. Unfortunately our labeling laws are a bit trickier. Only wheat is considered an allergen; rye, barley, and oats can be hidden under "natural flavors" or one of those other ambiguities. Basically, when reading labels, I watch out for "flavoring" or "spices" or other mystery ingredients like that in addition to the ones that are obviously gluten. Maltodextrin and Modified Food Starch used to be questionable, but now they must be labled if they are wheat based, and I've never seen MFS or maltodextrin from rye or barley.


Gluten Free since 10/07

Mildly Lactose Intolerant, slight intestinal symptoms after eating milk products, but easily corrected with lactase enzyme

Endometriosis- DX'd 5/07

Gluten Antibodies- "negative"...don't know exact numbers, am highly suspicious...

DXed celiac 12-19-07 via genetics/elimination diet- DQ2 allele

Brother with Celiac, aspergers...his tests were all negative (he didn't have genetics done), including endoscopy, but he definitely is at the least gluten intolerant...highly suspect my mother has it as well- she has hyperthyroid, fibromyalgia, hemochromatosis, and now colon cancer, and she has been weak and exhausted and just generally sick. She's going to get tested.

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My friend works at Disneyland as general manager overseeing the restaurants. If you contact Disneyland they will forward a list of the places that are Celiac friendly. Their restaurant staff is supposed to be trained to understand gluten-free needs.

Donna


Confirmed by endoscopy and blood tests October 2007

Donna

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Disneyland is easy to eat gluten free at - they'll take care of you. While mainstream stores don't tend to have specialty gluten free stuff, you can get non-specialty stuff (fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, rice, corn, etc.) there. And there are *LOTS* of health food stores (besides Whole Foods), like Mother's Market and smaller mom-and-pop places, that do. I haven't had a problem traveling, even in more remote locations.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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In Southern California, where Disneyland is and where I live, the mainstream grocery stores do not carry gluten free foods breads, crackers etc.... One option is to rent a motorhome and stock up on gluten free foods at WholeFoods right after your visit to Disneyland and visit one or more of the National Parks in the Southwest, if you have time. If this interests you make sure you plan well in advance for campground reservations.

The other option that I use, when I travel by air, is to rent a room with a kitchen. I locate a store in the area, first by using the store locator for WholeFoods (www.wholefoods.com). If there isn't a WholeFoods in the area I continue searching the internet. I go shopping when I get to my destination. The only downside is I have to cook on vacation. Nearly any destination you choose is available using this method.

Based on my reading of other posts, I think other parts of the country have mainstream grocery stores that carry gluten free food. I know I can buy gluten free food at Dierberg's in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

Hope you have a supertrip.

Thank you Phyllis :) for your helpful information. We always rent apartments when we travel within Australia so we can cook if we need to especially for breakfast. That is a good idea to do the same thing in the U.S. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to locate a wholefoods stores as you said and stock up for the trip. I know what you mean about cooking on vacation but I am used to it.

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Disneyland is easy to eat gluten free at - they'll take care of you. While mainstream stores don't tend to have specialty gluten free stuff, you can get non-specialty stuff (fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, rice, corn, etc.) there. And there are *LOTS* of health food stores (besides Whole Foods), like Mother's Market and smaller mom-and-pop places, that do. I haven't had a problem traveling, even in more remote locations.

Thanks Tarnalberry :) It's great to hear that you haven't had any issues when travelling. Seems like the health foods stores are the go then.

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My friend works at Disneyland as general manager overseeing the restaurants. If you contact Disneyland they will forward a list of the places that are Celiac friendly. Their restaurant staff is supposed to be trained to understand gluten-free needs.

Donna

Thanks Donna :) I have read on these forums that Disneyland is great for providing gluten free options which is wonderful as otherwise it would put us off going there. The fact that you can get gluten free food at Disneyland is fantastic and makes us even more excited to be going there.

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I would get hotel rooms with a kitchenette as you will probably have to cook alot. Im not aware of a good gluten free vacation spot since we havent gone that route yet but I know pigeon forge/gatlinburg tennessee area is beautiful and they have many cottages you can rent the cabins are up in the mountain area with tourist attractions very close, if you want specifics of a company for cabins pm me. I havent stayed there myself but I have family members that have.

These are some gatlinburg threads regarding food if your interested, there are more at this website with gatlinburg in the search engine.

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...mp;#entry133461

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...amp;mode=linear

I hope you have a wonderful time :)

Thanks AutumnE :) The hotel with the kitchenette is definately a good idea. I will check out the Gatlinburg threads also as that sounds interesting. I hadn't thought of Tennessee but I will certainly look into it.

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You have probably picked two of the most gluten-free-friendly places in the country. New York has tons of gluten-free restaurants, and health food stores. Unfortunately our labeling laws are a bit trickier. Only wheat is considered an allergen; rye, barley, and oats can be hidden under "natural flavors" or one of those other ambiguities. Basically, when reading labels, I watch out for "flavoring" or "spices" or other mystery ingredients like that in addition to the ones that are obviously gluten. Maltodextrin and Modified Food Starch used to be questionable, but now they must be labled if they are wheat based, and I've never seen MFS or maltodextrin from rye or barley.

Thanks Hak1031 :) Good to know that New York and Disneyland are so gluten free friendly. I think I would manage the labelling there. Our very strict laws came in about 6 years ago so we were very similar to the U.S. before that and I do remember it could get a bit tricky. As you said if in doubt don't buy it.

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It's not more difficult to find gluten-free food in the US than it is in Australia.

The main difference is that gluten-free food is a bit more mainstream in OZ. Our health food stores in the US (in the major cities at least) are much much much larger though and there is plenty of selection. If you stick to more organic health food type things, you won't have a problem reading the labels. They are actually pretty straight forward for the most part. It's mostly the mainstream highly processed stuff that's tricky.

:)


"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food." - Hippocrates

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I've traveled quite a bit in the US since being diagnosed a Celiac. My kids have additionaly food allergies too. (One is anaphylactic.) We still travel and do fine with a litte prep. Here are some of the things I do before we travel.

Fly with a small discreet cooler with basic lunch for your child. (bring a letter from Dr stating she has Celiacs and requires a medically necessary gluten-free diet...sometimes that is needed at the security gates.) That letter may help you with hotels too.

Hotel with "free breakfast" are pretty much useless. I have only stayed at a kitchenette place a few times. Most larger hotels will provide a small fridge and microwave at no cost, if medically necessary. (bring the letter for that)

But, eating breakfast out is pretty much my easiest meal to eat out. (omlet with home fries) bring muffins or bread if needed.

Google the area that you are going to visit and find healthfood stores nearby. In Southwest Florida we have Richards, Ada's, and Whole Foods. The Whole Foods by me doesn't have a great gluten-free supply, in my opinion. Call or e-mail the store well before your trip and see what they carry for gluten-free cookies, crackers, and other portable gluten-free snacks that your child likes.

Safe restaurants that have gluten-free menus include: Outback, PF Chang's, Caraba's, Wendys, I can't think of the rest right now... you can check with Gluten Intolerance Group for a list of restaurants that they have worked with to create a gluten-free menu.

At other restaurants I generally eat a burger no bun and fries if from a dedicated frier for lunch. For dinner steaks, shrimp, snow crab legs with baked potato and steamed veggies (plain) are usually fine.

As for fun places, Disney is obviously great. Sarasota is on the west coast of Florida and has amazing beaches and the Mote Aquarium. That would be a great "calm" place for a few days.

Busch Gardens (Tamp, FL) is tons of fun and lots of roller coasters and water rides, but not as great as Disney for the gluten-free safe foods. Busch Gardens is my kids favorite park right now. I would pack all of her meals if you don't plan on eating at the nice sit down restaurants. You can get chips, fruit cups, drinks easy enough. I think Seaworld is part of the same larger company.

The blue ridge mountains in the Southeast has amazing moutains camping, rivers, white water rafting, etc. Not sure about the gluten-free supplies but it is a huge area, so Google the area and see if you can find something that works for you.

The northeast (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) has more great mountains, camping, hiking, skiing, leaf changing season (Late Sept and October), and fishing villages, etc.

At regular grocery stores Boars Head deli meats are gluten-free. So you can bring lunch meat salads, lettuce wraps, or sandwiches pretty easily.

Hope you have a great trip!

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there are a few NYC-oriented gluten-free blogs - try

allergic girl

and

celiac chicks

as a start. Allergic Girl has a whole list of restaurants she has checked out!

Not sure if they sell them in Australia, but Lara Bars are a favorite, and widely available, gluten-free, DF and many other-things free snack bars in many flavors, Lara bars link . They are cheapest at Trader Joe's (though they carry just a few flavors), find stores here. Whole Foods is a large 'health food' chain with more gluten-free choices than average, find locations here

Hope that helps! Have a great trip :)


gluten-free (except unintentionally) from 7 Dec 2007

3 gluten-free cousins and counting (1 gold standard, 1 pos blood/no endo, 1 self/dietary diagnosed)

suspect mother was celiac (also, cousin suspects my mother's twin is celiac)

Feb 08 testing 'normal range' for gluten antibodies, IBD and food allergies

Staying off gluten - dietary reaction is compelling for me!

"Hi, I'm the gluten-free diner at your table."

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It's not more difficult to find gluten-free food in the US than it is in Australia.

The main difference is that gluten-free food is a bit more mainstream in OZ. Our health food stores in the US (in the major cities at least) are much much much larger though and there is plenty of selection. If you stick to more organic health food type things, you won't have a problem reading the labels. They are actually pretty straight forward for the most part. It's mostly the mainstream highly processed stuff that's tricky.

:)

Hi Mango :) I remember when you visited Australia and were looking for advice. You are probably right regarding gluten-free foods in the U.S. I suppose in Australia celiac disease is fairly widely known (and becoming more so all the time) and there are products easily available in supermarkets but I would expect that because the U.S. has such a large population that there would be plenty of products available there. It is just a matter of knowing where to get them. I think that key is finding the large health food chains and going there to stock up. Our health food stores here are smaller except for Macro which is much larger - well the one near us is anyway. As you said, stick to the organic type foods with less ingredients and steer away from the processed stuff.

Thanks!!

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there are a few NYC-oriented gluten-free blogs - try

allergic girl

and

celiac chicks

as a start. Allergic Girl has a whole list of restaurants she has checked out!

Not sure if they sell them in Australia, but Lara Bars are a favorite, and widely available, gluten-free, DF and many other-things free snack bars in many flavors, Lara bars link . They are cheapest at Trader Joe's (though they carry just a few flavors), find stores here. Whole Foods is a large 'health food' chain with more gluten-free choices than average, find locations here

Hope that helps! Have a great trip :)

Hi and thank your for your helpful info. I haven't seen Lara bars but look forward to trying those.

I had a quick look at the blogs you mentioned and will have a good look at them soon. Plenty of excellent information there. Really helpful thankyou.

:)

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I've traveled quite a bit in the US since being diagnosed a Celiac. My kids have additionaly food allergies too. (One is anaphylactic.) We still travel and do fine with a litte prep. Here are some of the things I do before we travel.

Fly with a small discreet cooler with basic lunch for your child. (bring a letter from Dr stating she has Celiacs and requires a medically necessary gluten-free diet...sometimes that is needed at the security gates.) That letter may help you with hotels too.

Hotel with "free breakfast" are pretty much useless. I have only stayed at a kitchenette place a few times. Most larger hotels will provide a small fridge and microwave at no cost, if medically necessary. (bring the letter for that)

But, eating breakfast out is pretty much my easiest meal to eat out. (omlet with home fries) bring muffins or bread if needed.

Google the area that you are going to visit and find healthfood stores nearby. In Southwest Florida we have Richards, Ada's, and Whole Foods. The Whole Foods by me doesn't have a great gluten-free supply, in my opinion. Call or e-mail the store well before your trip and see what they carry for gluten-free cookies, crackers, and other portable gluten-free snacks that your child likes.

Safe restaurants that have gluten-free menus include: Outback, PF Chang's, Caraba's, Wendys, I can't think of the rest right now... you can check with Gluten Intolerance Group for a list of restaurants that they have worked with to create a gluten-free menu.

At other restaurants I generally eat a burger no bun and fries if from a dedicated frier for lunch. For dinner steaks, shrimp, snow crab legs with baked potato and steamed veggies (plain) are usually fine.

As for fun places, Disney is obviously great. Sarasota is on the west coast of Florida and has amazing beaches and the Mote Aquarium. That would be a great "calm" place for a few days.

Busch Gardens (Tamp, FL) is tons of fun and lots of roller coasters and water rides, but not as great as Disney for the gluten-free safe foods. Busch Gardens is my kids favorite park right now. I would pack all of her meals if you don't plan on eating at the nice sit down restaurants. You can get chips, fruit cups, drinks easy enough. I think Seaworld is part of the same larger company.

The blue ridge mountains in the Southeast has amazing moutains camping, rivers, white water rafting, etc. Not sure about the gluten-free supplies but it is a huge area, so Google the area and see if you can find something that works for you.

The northeast (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) has more great mountains, camping, hiking, skiing, leaf changing season (Late Sept and October), and fishing villages, etc.

At regular grocery stores Boars Head deli meats are gluten-free. So you can bring lunch meat salads, lettuce wraps, or sandwiches pretty easily.

Hope you have a great trip!

Thank you very much for your very extensive and helpful information. Some really good advice there regarding gluten-free foods and possible destinations. I heard that Outback Steakhouse does gluten-free but it would be a bit embarrassing to be Australian and go to an Australian themed restaurant for a meal. I would have to put on a fake American accent. :D The food looks yum though and probably could not resist going there as my daugther would enjoy the food. PF Changs looks good too for some Asian type food. Thanks again. :)

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Thank you very much for your very extensive and helpful information. Some really good advice there regarding gluten-free foods and possible destinations. I heard that Outback Steakhouse does gluten-free but it would be a bit embarrassing to be Australian and go to an Australian themed restaurant for a meal. I would have to put on a fake American accent. :D The food looks yum though and probably could not resist going there as my daugther would enjoy the food. PF Changs looks good too for some Asian type food. Thanks again. :)

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking on ANY Outback before you go. My local Outback has a gluten-free menu but DOES NOT use a separate grill. Hence myself and two of my sons got sick. Make sure they have a separate grill and actually have a gluten-free menu at the one you go to. My Outback says 'get it online'. This means, they know nothing about gluten-free and cross-contamination. Even the vegetables had problems!

On the upside, PF Changs is ALWAYS good :) (YUM!)

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