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Eating Out, And Eating Abroad Or In Other Countries

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I may be going to Europe at the end of March with my family. We will be going to southern France and Barcelona Spain for about a week.

I have been gluten-free for 3 weeks. I probably don't have Celiac. My Celiac test was negative, but my IGA was low. As I understand it, this might mean that either I'm just gluten sensitive, or the Celiac test did not pick up the problem due to the low IGA. I have not had any other tests.

Anyway, I barely eat out anymore. I used to eat out all the time and enjoy numerous international cuisines.

How the heck am I going to be able to eat in Europe for a week? We will be traveling around and I won't be able to cook in the room. We will probably eat out for all meals.

I am gluten-free because I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and my new doctor told me to avoid gluten. So far in the 3 weeks I have been gluten-free, I have noticed a lot less belching, bloating, and gas. So I suppose gluten WAS causing me a problem without me realizing it. I never had IBS or Crohn's or any serious digestive problems. But I have been dealing with muscle aches and other problems due to my thyroid condition. My body does feel less achy since giving up gluten (but not dramatically so, only a little bit).

I would appreciate your advice. I have some experience already with food allergies and restaurants becuase my two teenage daugthers are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and legumes. I make up cards in foreign languages for them when we travel, to show to restaurant staff. It has never been a problem. But gluten is EVERYWHERE and Europe is so bread-centric and sauce-centric. I just don't know HOW I'll be able to stay gluten-free when I'm there, or whether I should even worry about it. Maybe I should just avoid most overt gluten (breads, etc) and try my best.

I plan to do a gluten challenge in a week or two -- have a few regular crackers and see what happens. I don't know what will happen when I try to eat gluten again. If I'm lucky, it won't be much....

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Europe is much more celiac-aware than the US and generally more willing to accommodate a special diet. When it comes to eating and traveling, I find Europe about a million times easier than the US. You should be okay.

Take restaurant cards if you're worried about a language barrier. Don't overlook the possibility of getting food at grocery stores and farmer's markets. There's often gluten-free food available in pharmacies as well. This is often how I eat in Europe even without a kitchen (there's a ton of stuff that you can get at a grocery store that you don't need to cook to eat)...

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A friend of mine who is celiac and went gluten-free a year before we did, spent a year in Spain teaching. She recommended Triumph dining cards, which include French and Spanish translations to send back to the kitchen at restaurants. http://www.triumphdining.com/products/gluten-free-dining-cards

If you've researched celiac much, you probably know that Hashimoto's is especially an indication that you may have celiac. The aches, pains, bloating and gas are also a dead giveaway. Also, blood tests are notoriously inaccurate. If you are able to get back on the gluten, you might want to ask for a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. If you have that proof, you may find yourself more inclined to stay off gluten for good.

It can take quite awhile to really resolve your problems, sometimes six months or even more. The fact that you saw improvement with just 3 weeks off gluten is a pretty good sign.

Good luck, and I hope you can figure it out and have a fabulous trip anyway!

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I second the use of dining cards. I got free ones from this site http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/ (but I also donated a few bucks). I cut the cards up and put both the English side and the foreign side together and put them both in plastic (like a luggage tag). Then I keep them in my purse and give them to the server to take to the kitchen. If I get it back, I reuse it otherwise I just make more.

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I currently live in Europe and have for 12 years. Dining cards are your best defense. Some more touristy spots you will find the natives speak very good English while in other locations, not so much. Barcelona should be good, we did not have a problem with the language barrier there. Madrid is whole different story. I love Spain and find them very accomidating, they will knock themselves out for you. Don't worry.....enjoy! Eat lots of their wonderful olives. The sangrai is to die for!

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I was in England and Scotland about 3 years ago for 3 weeks. I brought along a multi compartment lunch bag with a shoulder strap. I carried that everywhere (still do for out of town travel). I carry fruit, small tins of tuna/salmon, crackers and a variety of other foods, sometimes just left over supper & a small ice pack. It's best to be prepared ! Nothing like being hungry and no safe food to eat - that's when I used to make mistakes. There are many restaurants I have taken my food in - if other people are paying to eat no one says anything.

The restaurant cards are a great idea for eating out, but there may be times you can't get a safe meal so it's good to be prepared.

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I was in the South of France last year and did not have any problems. I bought the Multi-Lingual Phrase Passport For Gluten and Allergy Free (Let's Eat Out) from Amazon. It contains all the phrases you need when dining out and is in French, Spanish, German and Italian. All waiting staff responded well to this and I had no cross-contamination issues.

Enjoy!

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Anyone know the difference btw links above and the iPhone app?

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Anyone know the difference btw links above and the iPhone app?

An iPhone app would be good, except that you wouldn't want to let the server take the iPhone to the kitchen to show the cook. And some of use can only afford iPhones for our kids. (joke)

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I may be going to Europe at the end of March with my family. We will be going to southern France and Barcelona Spain for about a week.

I have been gluten-free for 3 weeks. I probably don't have Celiac. My Celiac test was negative, but my IGA was low. As I understand it, this might mean that either I'm just gluten sensitive, or the Celiac test did not pick up the problem due to the low IGA. I have not had any other tests.

Anyway, I barely eat out anymore. I used to eat out all the time and enjoy numerous international cuisines.

How the heck am I going to be able to eat in Europe for a week? We will be traveling around and I won't be able to cook in the room. We will probably eat out for all meals.

I am gluten-free because I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and my new doctor told me to avoid gluten. So far in the 3 weeks I have been gluten-free, I have noticed a lot less belching, bloating, and gas. So I suppose gluten WAS causing me a problem without me realizing it. I never had IBS or Crohn's or any serious digestive problems. But I have been dealing with muscle aches and other problems due to my thyroid condition. My body does feel less achy since giving up gluten (but not dramatically so, only a little bit).

I would appreciate your advice. I have some experience already with food allergies and restaurants becuase my two teenage daugthers are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and legumes. I make up cards in foreign languages for them when we travel, to show to restaurant staff. It has never been a problem. But gluten is EVERYWHERE and Europe is so bread-centric and sauce-centric. I just don't know HOW I'll be able to stay gluten-free when I'm there, or whether I should even worry about it. Maybe I should just avoid most overt gluten (breads, etc) and try my best.

I plan to do a gluten challenge in a week or two -- have a few regular crackers and see what happens. I don't know what will happen when I try to eat gluten again. If I'm lucky, it won't be much....

Don't sweat it! Europe is pretty easy to eat gluten-free as the awareness is high. Dining cards are good to have when English may not be a first language but Europeans tend to eat better than Americans do and there is plenty of fish, veggies, potatoes and rice. They eat less processed foods. I have also found that their sauces do not contain wheat at the rate that American sauces do. They use a lot of reductions so sauces can be very gluten-free......especially in France.

I have had the rare glutenings in Europe so it can happen but I have healed well and can usually keep on sightseeing even after a hit. I might start the day later but Immodium can help you get back out and not be stuck in your hotel room. For the most part, I have gone on 3 week trips and done fine.

Never pass up a trip to Europe just because you have Celiac! ;)

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Never pass up a trip to Europe just because you have Celiac! ;)

That is SO true! :)

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