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Will We Ever Be Able To Travel?

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Ok, so we're doing great gluten free at home - totally clean. But every time we travel my gluten-free husband ends up with a reaction due to cc at some restaurant (in spite of my best efforts to research in advance and talk to wait staff.) Now that our small business is doing well enough that we can realistically take a month off each summer to travel, we had been planning on doing trips as a family to a variety of locations. I just don't know if we can do it. We wanted to go to Brazil next summer - but how in the world are we going to manage his diet while abroad? What are the labeling rules in other countries? How can I learn? What are your tips/techniques for managing gluten-free on the road?

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Pack as much as your own food as possible. Go to locations with the best chance of finding gluten free meals if you think you are going to want to eat out.

We do "staycations" where we daytrip mostly, and in this state on the west coast, we will never run out of places to go and do things. I just am not into flying anywhere long distance, with the barbarians currently running our transportation system, and I don't like getting stuck in airports where they are not caring whether or not you can eat anything without getting ill. We might try camping in the future with an RV where we can do our own meals, or get a cabin with a kitchenette.

I wouldn't go over seas unless it was to a country that was VERY celiac friendly, and that had a language I could make out with a little work.

Try googling Gluten Free Brazil

here is one link I came up with, from celiac travel dot com

http://www.celiactravel.com/stories/getting-gluten-free-food-in-brazil/

Although Brazilians are not very used with the term celiac, almost all have heard about gluten because it is law here, all the industrialized foods and drinks are labeled

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I did find this site that might be of some use to get you started in the right direction, possibly.

Celiactravel.com

This has links to a Brazilian celiac association and some information about being gluten free in Brazil. :-)

I also have a friend who loves to travel but has children with so many allergies to food that they can't safely eat in a restaurant. She has only gone to english speaking countries at the moment, but this is what they've done.

1. Always got a place with a kitchen. They had a hotel room with a kitchen for a few days or for longer trips, they would find something more long term, like they rented a flat in London for a month.

2. Used the local grocery stores. This might require learning some of the language for the country you are going to, but since you know so far in advance that you are going, that's a very doable goal.

3. Used basic ingredients and simpler foods to help avoid contamination issues that might result from sauces and pre-made dishes. This might take learning some of these recipes in advance, since it can take a while to find good ones that only use basic ingredients, yeah?

4. Find someone local to help you out. My friend had relatives in the places she was going to who scoped out the local stores. I've made a penpal in a country I'm hoping to go visit someday who is willing to check out the local foods for me and help me navigate them. You could possibly hire someone for this type of job, too, especially in Brazil.

I'd say this sort of thing might be your best bet, if your husband gets sick so often. Sounds like he might be sensitive enough that restaurants may not be a great idea. Hopefully the Brazilian Celiac group can be of some help, too. :-D

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When I travel I don't eat at restaurants. I go to the market or a store and buy meat, cheese, veggies that I like raw, and fruit. I usually travel with a little water heater pot so I can boil anything if I want to cook, but mostly I eat picnic style.

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I am active duty military so I travel often. In fact, I just returned from a trip to the Middle East. I try to bring all my food with me with the exception of fruits and veggies. I buy those once I get to my destination. I've been known to pack my Foreman grill in a suitcase as well (I have a mini grill small enough for a suitcase). When I travel overseas to places like the Middle East, I buy gopicnic meals from this website. I also bring peanut butter, bread, rice bowls and Larabars and other odds and ends. My suitcase tends to be bigger than most people's but I eat very well when I travel. Most international airlines offer a gluten free meal as well.

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We just took a trip to Italy and it was gluten-free heaven!!! There are several countries in Europe where it's really easy to travel gluten-free. Italy was so amazing we never wanted to leave! :D

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Ok, so we're doing great gluten free at home - totally clean. But every time we travel my gluten-free husband ends up with a reaction due to cc at some restaurant (in spite of my best efforts to research in advance and talk to wait staff.) Now that our small business is doing well enough that we can realistically take a month off each summer to travel, we had been planning on doing trips as a family to a variety of locations. I just don't know if we can do it. We wanted to go to Brazil next summer - but how in the world are we going to manage his diet while abroad? What are the labeling rules in other countries? How can I learn? What are your tips/techniques for managing gluten-free on the road?

My husband likes to travel so I know your fear/frustration. Try a cruise. You get a taste for different places and where you might want to come back to. I was recently on a Holland America cruise. I requested a gluten-free diet when booking. You can get just about anything on the menu with a days advanced notice. In the dining room I was given the next day's menu and whatever I ordered was made gluten-free. In Oct. we will have a short stay at a resort in VA. I emailed to ask and was given the chef's email address. He and I are having an email conversation about the diet and he has assured me that gluten-free will not be a problem.

Hope this is of some help.

:D

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We just took a trip to Italy and it was gluten-free heaven!!! There are several countries in Europe where it's really easy to travel gluten-free. Italy was so amazing we never wanted to leave! :D

So true! I've been to Italy about 11 or 12 times (still not enough - will be there again October) and have only been there gluten-free once. But it was far easier there than here! It is mandatory there to get tested for celiac disease by the age of 5 so they are very knowledgable. Cannot wait to move to Europe for soooooo many reasons. I LOVE EUROPE and I will never give up traveling there, in spite of my debilitating chronic pain. I would far rather be in pain there! :P

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So true! I've been to Italy about 11 or 12 times (still not enough - will be there again October) and have only been there gluten-free once. But it was far easier there than here! It is mandatory there to get tested for celiac disease by the age of 5 so they are very knowledgable. Cannot wait to move to Europe for soooooo many reasons. I LOVE EUROPE and I will never give up traveling there, in spite of my debilitating chronic pain. I would far rather be in pain there! :P

I agree! We also love Europe and try to go every few years. This was our first trip gluten-free and it was our best one yet! My husband did the research before we left through the internet and a great book called "The Gluten Free Guide To Italy". Because of his research we ate in real local-type places. Not touristy spots, but off the beaten path restaurants and boy was it worth it! Each meal was better than the next! Plus you get to talk to the owners and meet the staff, etc. It was an incredible experience! We loved when we'd walk in and say we were celiac and the owner would reply "me too!". Perfecto!!!

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I agree! We also love Europe and try to go every few years. This was our first trip gluten-free and it was our best one yet! My husband did the research before we left through the internet and a great book called "The Gluten Free Guide To Italy". Because of his research we ate in real local-type places. Not touristy spots, but off the beaten path restaurants and boy was it worth it! Each meal was better than the next! Plus you get to talk to the owners and meet the staff, etc. It was an incredible experience! We loved when we'd walk in and say we were celiac and the owner would reply "me too!". Perfecto!!!

That is so awesome. What a feeling it is to feel safe and in control. I feel that way in Croatia as well. They really know the Slow Food Movement - some places we ate at did the ZERO Mile diet, not just 100 miles! Amazing to have fresh lobster, octopus, sea urchin, fresh fish just caught a few feet from the restaurant an hour before. At one gelateria in Venice I was hoping to have gelato but was told they would not serve it to me as it was unsafe. Then they showed me the list of ingredients to prove it! But they were happy to say I could have their granitas which I enjoy, anyway. No sighs, no rolling of the eyes, no disgust - just understanding. Love it! :) Only 63 sleeps to go...

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Wow...that is all so encouraging! Italy is coming way up on my travel list now. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. Anyone have experience on wether or not gluten-free airline meals are actually gluten-free? Safe from cc? So many restuarants now offer gluten-free (and my very sensitive husband inevitably ends up getting glutened.) While I'm glad awareness is increasing so dramatically, it's frustrating to not be able to trust people's claims.

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Wow...that is all so encouraging! Italy is coming way up on my travel list now. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. Anyone have experience on wether or not gluten-free airline meals are actually gluten-free? Safe from cc? So many restuarants now offer gluten-free (and my very sensitive husband inevitably ends up getting glutened.) While I'm glad awareness is increasing so dramatically, it's frustrating to not be able to trust people's claims.

The gluten-free meals I have had on flights are generally not very good. The labels were safe but the flavour and texture? Blech. Thankfully I took my own snacks along this past flight. By all appearances the meals were safe but it is hard to know with certainty on flights as they are pre-packaged and the flight attendants knew nothing about them. I would definitely recommend taking snacks along (I was thankful to have them at airports, too, as we had one major flight delay).

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Wow...that is all so encouraging! Italy is coming way up on my travel list now. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. Anyone have experience on wether or not gluten-free airline meals are actually gluten-free? Safe from cc? So many restuarants now offer gluten-free (and my very sensitive husband inevitably ends up getting glutened.) While I'm glad awareness is increasing so dramatically, it's frustrating to not be able to trust people's claims.

Any airline which offers gluten-free menus will not serve food that is NOT gluten-free. They usually have about 7 or 8 different meals for allergies or religious needs. Virgin Atlantic serves very good gluten-free meals, although most of the time now you always get chicken. They used to serve more fish but times are tough and the meals are not as extravagant. I have never gotten sick from their meals and the meals were decent. I am a very sensitive Celiac myself. I have flown Virgin 10 times over the past decade and half of that was gluten free.

I spoke with those who provide the meals and they take this very seriously. No one wants a medical emergency at 40,000 ft. Sure, you can never say never but the odds are heavily in favor that your meal will be fine. The only thing I would worry about is multiple food sensitivities as that can make obtaining a safe meal more difficult. If people got routinely glutened from airline food, they wouldn't offer any meal options at all....too risky.

Europe is overall pretty Celiac friendly but the countries where English is freely spoken and understood have the best track records for those who do not speak a foreign language fluently. All of the UK is pretty easy to maneuver. It isn't like the old days where everything was coated in gluten and fried in grease! ;) I do eat out in restaurants routinely on vacation, for dinner, and have had about a 95% success rate. The only way to totally ensure safety is to prepare all your own food but that takes away from some of the pleasure of trying different foods while away. No need to deprive yourself totally when the majority of the population understands what gluten free means!

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I travel a lot. The same rules you go by at home apply when you're traveling. If you're not sure it's safe, don't eat it. You don't need to eat at restaurants.

I've survived without kitchens it strange places. Assuming you're in some sort of town or city, it's always possible to find a grocery store, market etc. where you can get fruit, veggies and other simple things that are obviously safe.

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Any airline which offers gluten-free menus will not serve food that is NOT gluten-free. They usually have about 7 or 8 different meals for allergies or religious needs. Virgin Atlantic serves very good gluten-free meals, although most of the time now you always get chicken. They used to serve more fish but times are tough and the meals are not as extravagant. I have never gotten sick from their meals and the meals were decent. I am a very sensitive Celiac myself. I have flown Virgin 10 times over the past decade and half of that was gluten free.

I spoke with those who provide the meals and they take this very seriously. No one wants a medical emergency at 40,000 ft. Sure, you can never say never but the odds are heavily in favor that your meal will be fine. The only thing I would worry about is multiple food sensitivities as that can make obtaining a safe meal more difficult. If people got routinely glutened from airline food, they wouldn't offer any meal options at all....too risky.

Good to know about Virgin Atlantic. The gluten free meal on V Australia (now Virgin Australia) was fine. Incredibly bland and boring and no where near as much food as other people got, but I didn't get sick and I'm pretty sensitive and it's quite reassuring seeing a meal without any sauce or seasoning, I don't think I'd trust a sauce. Though it was a bit depressing watching the other meals because they had lots of things that were probably fine for me (like the yoghurt). I'm flying them again soon, I'll see if it's any different. I'm also flying Air NZ out of LAX, we'll see what they give me. It's a 4.30pm flight, I plan on stuffing myself full with safe food before I fly, just in case :-)

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We buy fruit and veg mainly when we travel. Although Australia itself is really easy some of the outback country towns in the top half of the country aren't really ok for that type of thing. When we travel we take boxes of packet food which I think are ok to travel with overseas.

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Good to know about Virgin Atlantic. The gluten free meal on V Australia (now Virgin Australia) was fine. Incredibly bland and boring and no where near as much food as other people got, but I didn't get sick and I'm pretty sensitive and it's quite reassuring seeing a meal without any sauce or seasoning, I don't think I'd trust a sauce. Though it was a bit depressing watching the other meals because they had lots of things that were probably fine for me (like the yoghurt). I'm flying them again soon, I'll see if it's any different. I'm also flying Air NZ out of LAX, we'll see what they give me. It's a 4.30pm flight, I plan on stuffing myself full with safe food before I fly, just in case :-)

Yeah, I noticed this time around the meal had gotten very bland and boring but it was filling and I didn't have to worry about getting sick. The meals were much more creative in years past but the economy is not good and they are cutting back plus they must be worried about liability. There are always those who will blame an airline even if they didn't take a hit from the airline meal. I have to give Virgin credit, though.....they are a great airline and they really try to provide a meal for those with allergies and intolerances.

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I wouldn't cross Brazil off your list just yet! I don't know where you're planning to travel in Brazil, but I spent some time in the South a few years ago (before I was gluten-free, unfortunately for this conversation) and think there would be many options there. Most of my time was spent in Sao Paulo, and the city is very cosmopolitan with many ethnic cuisines (Lebanese, Japanese, African) and organic/natural options. Rio offers the same, but on a smaller scale. The Brazilians eat a lot of fish and fruits, and grill foods frequently. (I was very aware of food while there, because I was vegetarian then.)

Personally, as a celiac/gluten-intolerant, I would rather be suddenly dropped into Southern Brazil, than into strip mall America. The hard part, I think, is language. However, servers in upscale, hotel, or tourist restaurants uniformly speak English. Will they know what you mean by "gluten"? Likely, no, but they will be able to recite ingredients to a dish. And the Brazilian people, in general, are very tolerant and will respond favorably when you attempt Portuguese. Also, if you speak Spanish, most people will understand.

Then, there are groceries. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound in markets. Other staples are rice and beans and (of course!) meats. If you could hole up in an apartment, you could have lovely meals. Just make sure you don't ignore the prolific juice bars - they are great places for a pick me up, or a quick breakfast!

I actually googled "Brazil" and "gluten-free" and the results looked very promising. Foods are all labeled. Remarkable!

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Wow...that is all so encouraging! Italy is coming way up on my travel list now. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. Anyone have experience on wether or not gluten-free airline meals are actually gluten-free? Safe from cc? So many restuarants now offer gluten-free (and my very sensitive husband inevitably ends up getting glutened.) While I'm glad awareness is increasing so dramatically, it's frustrating to not be able to trust people's claims.

I'm sorry to say on our way home from Italy my son got contaminated by his "gluten free" meal on an American Airlines flight.

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