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samuella

Which Do You Think Is Safer?

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I'm going to Europe in three weeks for three weeks. I will have access to cooking facilities part of the time, but some eating out will happen. I was diagnosed a few months ago and haven't eat out since. I've been looking at the different options in the places I'll be and quite a lot of pasta/pizza places have gluten-free options. But can I really trust those? I'm going to try and find local forums to ask about the specific restaurants, but generally, which do you think would be safer: restaurants like Indian ones, which don't have a lot of gluten floating around anyhow but may not be familiar with cross contamination issues, or gluten-heavy restaurants like pizza places that have gluten-free specific options? I'm thinking if they offer gluten-free options then surely they are familiar with cross contamination issues?? But there's gluten everywhere in those places! What do you think?

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It depends on where in Europe you are traveling. I can't comment on specific place (have not been to Europe since before going gluten-free), however I know I have read on here that some countries are better than others when it comes to eating gluten-free. In general, I would go with places that have a gluten free menu over places that don't. If you are concerned about cc in pizza or pasta places, ASK what precautions they take to avoid cc. The places with a gluten-free menu should be able to tell you and want to make you feel confident in their food. If they don't appear to know how to answer your questions then go with your gut and don't eat there.

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I live in Germany and travel Europe quite a bit. Everywhere I have been (except the States) does not have gluten free menus. I am not even sure they would know what you were talking about if you asked them. And yes, it is very hard to eat out and not get some contact with glutens.they may lit what is in the dish but then there might be a gravy they didn't list and more than likely the gravy has gluten.....this happened to me just last night.

I do not know how soon you leave or how sensative you are but I take ImmuneCare Glutenase Plus before mal I am unsure of. 1 pill with a meal will definately prevent the stomach and intestinal issues for me but it will not help the off-blance and memory loss I have if I get dosed.

Your safe bet, if you are extremely sensative, is stick with meats and veggies. I eat alot of salads when I go out.

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As Glutenfreemanna says, it really depends on where you are going in Europe. Italy is VERY accommodating and knowledgable. It is mandatory that all get tested for celiac by the age of 5 (or 6). They are amongst the best on the planet. We were there in May and had no problems. We were also in Croatia where they are not as knowledgable but far better than here in Alberta! I've been to many European countries but only a few since my diagnosis in February. We are going again in seven weeks and adding Slovenia and Austria into the mix (have not eaten in either since my diagnosis - am curious). Have not been to the UK since my diagnosis but have heard and read that England really gets it, too.

Frequenting the produce markets really helps. Grocery stores in Italy carry a lot of great gluten-free snacks.

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Thanks everyone. I guess I was just looking for a general rule of thumb. That doesn't exist! :)

I didn't say where in Europe I'm going because we aren't 100% sure yet, but it's either London and a couple of places in Scotland, or London and Budapest. Right now we are leaning towards London and Budapest. I found info by the Hungarian Celiac association listing gluten-free shops and restaurants and it doesn't look too depressing - there's even a pizza place that delivers that offers gluten-free pizza! I don't need a lot of options - I'm fine with eating the same food over and over again! London has quite a few chains that offer gluten-free options. We used to live in London (my husband is from there) so are very familiar with the city, but not from a gluten-free perspective. I'm also vegan, which adds to the fun! :)

I guess because I haven't eaten out at all yet I'm really nervous and unsure about how to figure out if a restaurant is safe or not. This is all new territory for me!

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Thanks everyone. I guess I was just looking for a general rule of thumb. That doesn't exist! :)

I didn't say where in Europe I'm going because we aren't 100% sure yet, but it's either London and a couple of places in Scotland, or London and Budapest. Right now we are leaning towards London and Budapest. I found info by the Hungarian Celiac association listing gluten-free shops and restaurants and it doesn't look too depressing - there's even a pizza place that delivers that offers gluten-free pizza! I don't need a lot of options - I'm fine with eating the same food over and over again! London has quite a few chains that offer gluten-free options. We used to live in London (my husband is from there) so are very familiar with the city, but not from a gluten-free perspective. I'm also vegan, which adds to the fun! :)

I guess because I haven't eaten out at all yet I'm really nervous and unsure about how to figure out if a restaurant is safe or not. This is all new territory for me!

I ALWAYS call the restaurant first and speak with the chef if I can. I can gauge by his/her reaction how familiar they are with the gluten-free diet. Not a good sign if they have to ask what gluten is. One place here asks, "Are you a little celiac or a lot celiac?" Fine dining restaurants are the way we always go for several reasons - the food, of course, but also because their chefs usually use arrowroot, cornstarch, etc. for sauces rather than flour unless the sauces are reductions anyway (and many dishes are naturally gluten-free) and do not have deep fryers or if they do they are dedicated (i.e. one place we go to has a deep fryer ONLY for truffled fries but nothing in the restaurant is breaded). Plus the staff is usually well versed in our dietary requirements - not always but usually.

I would recommend printing off restaurant cards to take if you do go to Hungary. We've used them in countries where English is not the primary language and they help. They explain what you can/cannot have and how food must be prepared.

Hungary would be so amazing! Our house in Croatia is within striking distance so we plan to spend a lot of time there once we are living in Europe.

Hope you have an amazing time! :)

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I ALWAYS call the restaurant first and speak with the chef if I can. I can gauge by his/her reaction how familiar they are with the gluten-free diet. Not a good sign if they have to ask what gluten is. One place here asks, "Are you a little celiac or a lot celiac?" Fine dining restaurants are the way we always go for several reasons - the food, of course, but also because their chefs usually use arrowroot, cornstarch, etc. for sauces rather than flour unless the sauces are reductions anyway (and many dishes are naturally gluten-free) and do not have deep fryers or if they do they are dedicated (i.e. one place we go to has a deep fryer ONLY for truffled fries but nothing in the restaurant is breaded). Plus the staff is usually well versed in our dietary requirements - not always but usually.

I would recommend printing off restaurant cards to take if you do go to Hungary. We've used them in countries where English is not the primary language and they help. They explain what you can/cannot have and how food must be prepared.

Hungary would be so amazing! Our house in Croatia is within striking distance so we plan to spend a lot of time there once we are living in Europe.

Hope you have an amazing time! :)

Thanks - I hope so too! :)

Though with a baby and a 7-year-old we don't really do fine dining these days! ;)

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Just a comment on the U.K.: I wouldn't compare my experience there with Italy. And, I was primarily in London where I suspect people would be most aware. All of the servers I encountered in Italy seemed aware of gluten and its implications for celiacs. That didn't mean all of the restaurants were able to accommodate me, but when they were not, they turned me away rather than take chances. Being in Italy felt wonderfully safe, as much as eating out of my own kitchen.

Servers in the U.K. were less aware, and it was harder to find gluten-free food. (Unfortunately, I didn't have access to a kitchen when I was there and so I relied on take-away or prepackaged food.) That said, it's much easier to avoid food with gluten in supermarkets and chains because there is attention to labels. My impression is that a comfortable trip to the U.K. would required more advance planning. The chains that saved me during a 1 week and 1/2 trip were Marks & Spencer and Pret-a-Manger which can be found all over, including in the train stations.

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Thanks - I hope so too! :)

Though with a baby and a 7-year-old we don't really do fine dining these days! ;)

True enough! :lol:

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Just a comment on the U.K.: I wouldn't compare my experience there with Italy. And, I was primarily in London where I suspect people would be most aware. All of the servers I encountered in Italy seemed aware of gluten and its implications for celiacs. That didn't mean all of the restaurants were able to accommodate me, but when they were not, they turned me away rather than take chances. Being in Italy felt wonderfully safe, as much as eating out of my own kitchen.

Servers in the U.K. were less aware, and it was harder to find gluten-free food. (Unfortunately, I didn't have access to a kitchen when I was there and so I relied on take-away or prepackaged food.) That said, it's much easier to avoid food with gluten in supermarkets and chains because there is attention to labels. My impression is that a comfortable trip to the U.K. would required more advance planning. The chains that saved me during a 1 week and 1/2 trip were Marks & Spencer and Pret-a-Manger which can be found all over, including in the train stations.

It's funny how 2 people can have vastly different experiences. I've been to Ireland and the UK 4 times since diagnosis and, aside from one glutening from a restaurant which had a gluten-free menu, I have had tremendous good luck finding gluten-free food and options in all places. Ireland especially but England and Scotland are great for that.....there are many foods which are naturally gluten-free and I found awareness in the mainstream population to be pretty good. Like Loves2Travel stated, higher end places are the way to go so I cannot speak for the chain restaurants. Even Starbucks has gluten-free lunch options that aren't available in the States....probably due to liability reasons. We usually rent an apartment when we travel but I like to eat out at dinner and that has not been a problem. I am an extremely sensitive Celiac yet did not have trouble finding food. We even ate in a french restaurant, which also serves breakfast and lunch, and the young lady serving us spoke limited English and I managed to obtain a gluten-free breakfast. Eggs and smoked salmon are huge over there and it's a filling breakfast.

The internet has great listings for gluten-free restaurants but we were pleasantly surprised that almost any place we wandered into accommodated me and I did not get sick...except for that one time.

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