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Traveling To Israel In July

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My husband and I are going on a 2 week tour in Israel in late June. I have celiac (diagnosed 2008) and this will be my first trip abroad since diagnosis. On the tour, all breakfasts are included (standard Israeli buffet breakfast) but most dinners and lunches will be on our own. We'll be staying in the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the Kibbutz Lavi in the Galilee, and the Agamim Hotel in Eilat. I plan to bring some food for emergencies, but want to know if anyone could recommend any restaurants that serve gluten free meals. Also, are gluten free foods available in grocery stores, and are many foods labelled gluten free as they are here in the U.S.? I'm a little nervous about how I'm going to manage eating safely for 2 week. I have a feeling I'll be eating mostly fruits and vegetables. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Roberta

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I've traveled alot internationally.

Try to not eat off the buffets. If you ask at the hotels they will generally bring you hard boiled eggs from the kitchen. A fruit you peel yourself like a banana or an orange makes a nice compliment. Apples can work too if you can wash them. If you see prepackaged brand names from the US that you know are gluten free do not think that they will be over seas. They are often made differently. If it is labeled gluten free then of course it is OK. But don't think just because you can eat M&Ms here that you can eat them there.

Bring along prepackaged bars such as Kind bars to take with you on tours or for back-up. In Turkey rice, meat and vegetables were staples in the restaurants. I believe it was the same for Israel so I did Ok with eating out. Indian food restaurants often have lots of gluten free options so are often a good choice.

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Thanks for the good suggestions. Am I allowed to bring packaged food in my suitcase? I hope so because I'm planning to bring a lot of light weight snacks and some dehydrated food for an emergency.

I've traveled alot internationally.

Try to not eat off the buffets. If you ask at the hotels they will generally bring you hard boiled eggs from the kitchen. A fruit you peel yourself like a banana or an orange makes a nice compliment. Apples can work too if you can wash them. If you see prepackaged brand names from the US that you know are gluten free do not think that they will be over seas. They are often made differently. If it is labeled gluten free then of course it is OK. But don't think just because you can eat M&Ms here that you can eat them there.

Bring along prepackaged bars such as Kind bars to take with you on tours or for back-up. In Turkey rice, meat and vegetables were staples in the restaurants. I believe it was the same for Israel so I did Ok with eating out. Indian food restaurants often have lots of gluten free options so are often a good choice.

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I've never been to Israel but in Australia we get gluten free foods (pretzels, cake etc) that are made in Israel so I'm sure that they would be available there too. I can't think what the brand is offhand - might be Etzel, or something like that?

I just googled gluten free israel and lots of good links came up - it seems to be a country with good awareness. I hope you have a fabulous trip!

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Thank you. I will check out the links!

I've never been to Israel but in Australia we get gluten free foods (pretzels, cake etc) that are made in Israel so I'm sure that they would be available there too. I can't think what the brand is offhand - might be Etzel, or something like that?

I just googled gluten free israel and lots of good links came up - it seems to be a country with good awareness. I hope you have a fabulous trip!

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Hi. We live in Israel. Most large and well known hotels will accommodate for all your celiac needs, especially if you let them know a couple of days in advance (call, email or fax). They usually provide gluten-free bread, will let you know what ingredients in the buffet are safe for you, and sometimes throw in some goodies ( ie cake or cookies or pancakes). Israeli breakfast buffets are very rich and vast, and I'm sure you'll find a large variety that will be both gluten-free and tasty.

As for other meals - there are some food chains that offer gluten-free food regularly, such as "Black bar and burger", many "pizza hut" branches, "Oshi Oshi" sushi stands, etc.

Most restaurants can offer gluten-free modifications of their regular menu. You just have to make sure they understand about celiac and cross contamination.

Large supermarkets (for example SHUFERSAL chain) have health/gluten-free areas, with a wide variety of gluten-free food - bread, rolls, pastas, crackers, cakes etc.

Will be happy to reply to any further questions here or by email.

Natalie

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I went to Israel last year and had NO problems. I did take some of those dining cards printed in Hebrew, although most people speak good English. But they did come in handy one time. But please don't pass on the buffet! They are SO fabulous. omg...

I would recommend that right away when you get to the hotel or place you're staying ask to talk to the head of the kitchen. Sometimes it's different people for different meals so you might need to talk to more than one. At our hotel in Jerusalem I made friends with the head of the dining room and he was waiting for me at every meal, to take me around the entire buffet and point out what to eat and what not to eat. All the salads were fine except the obvious ones like couscous. One time all the hot entrees had gluten (broth and sauces) and he was very upset. I said it was fine because I had all those salads and fruit to choose from but he went back and had the chef cook me a piece of fish. It was delicious, perfectly cooked and spiced. :)

There were always hard boiled eggs on our breakfast buffet and on the first day I asked my friend the dining manager if I could take one so that I would be sure of having something for lunch. He said yes of course. Then the next day he found me at breakfast and handed me a bag and said "for your lunch." Inside were two eggs, two small containers with two of the salads from the breakfast buffet, and a piece of halvah (which I hadn't even seen on the dessert bar). :wub: He did that for every day that we were at that hotel. I was sorry to leave him! lol.. The next hotel was just as accommodating about explaining what was on the buffet, but I didn't ask about the eggs, just took two. lol.. (our tour guide told me to).

So for those lunches I had my eggs, a bar of some kind -- Glutino or Lara -- and some fruit that I bought. Omg the fruit is fabulous.

We at at one kibbutz and I asked about the fish they were serving. The girl wasn't sure so she had the chef prepare a new piece for me, on a different grill. Or so she said. I never did get sick so I'm assuming they did.

We never ate in restaurants, only from food vendors, so I can't comment on that. (and our Israeli guide helped with the food vendors, asking about ingredients in Hebrew.) But I found everyone to be very nice, helpful, and understanding and never had any problems. In fact, the only person to get sick was one woman who was allergic to tomatoes and ended up sick one night because she ate a salad with what she thought were red peppers. But really that was her fault because she didn't ask.

Anyway, I loved, loved, LOVED Israel. You will find it the most amazing experience. :)

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Hello, I just got back and thought I'd let you know how it went.

 

Mostly my meals were preplanned as I was with a group. The leader of the group was supposed to let any place we would be eating know about my needs. this took a few days to really start working, but once she got the hang of it, it was pretty good.

 

The hotels generally have wonderful fresh salad bars for breakfast. I didn't trust the eggs since I am allergic to dairy, so I took my packets of oatmeal with me from home and had that every day with fresh fruit.

 

I took a large zip lock bag with me to breakfast, and filled it full of beautiful salad and hard boiled eggs for lunch. so lunch was fine.

 

Dinners were always a crap shoot, once they got it together it was better, but I never knew. I took individual packs of tuna with me from home and always had one in my purse, along with kind bars. some nights this was dinner.

 

We went to some restaurants on our free nights, and I would say that everyone spoke English and understood, I never had a problem.

 

I missed my family, yes, but I definitely missed my kitchen!!!!  I noticed that doing this brought me out of my comfort zone, since at home I never eat out, but wow, it wasn't easy, but so worth it!!! enjoy!!

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I am going to Israel on Saturday for 3 weeks to visit my daughter.  I used to live in Israel and I am gluten intolerant so I recall very well the available gluten-free foods.  

Sufersal is a major super market and they have a good gluten-free dept. 

Learn how to ask for no gluten ("Le lo gluten") and any other ingredients you may be allergic to (I am also dairy intolerant -"Le lo halav").

As has been said here, there is a huge assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables which are eaten all day long.  PLEASE be sure to wash anything before you eat it.  At any of the "shuk" (outside food bazaars) you can find inexpensive fruits and veggies.

Edited by Wendy-O
Typo

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Hi, I live in Israel. There is an amazing gluten free since 1954 FALAFEL place, called Johnny’s Falafel in Tel Aviv! He will prepare yours separately from the rest and use ingredients from the back so no cc. Just tell him you have celiac/allergy. 

The Hazi Hinam grocery store has entire gluten free aisles! With THE BEST Frozen gluten-free CHALLAH loaves! Many packaged foods have a symbol for gluten-free on the back label- it’s a yellow and white flower or a sheaf of wheat with a line through it. All grocery stores have a sugar free/gluten free aisle.

  Most traditionally Israeli food places serve several items that are traditionally gluten-free and bread is usually separate so cc is lower risk than USA. Items such as the SHAKSHUKA (eggs poached in tomato sauce), tomato/cucumber salad, hummus, cabbage salad (similar to cole slaw), , egg salad, olives, eggplant/baba ganoush, chicken, lamb, rice (they don’t cook it in broth), lentil soup, lamb, stewed vegetables, fruit, yogurt. There is a healthy store called Anise in the fun mall/food court called Sarona Market in Tel Aviv that sells gluten-free products. Look on the gluten-free restaurant app and there are lots of restaurants. Raq Bsr (Brazilian steakhouse) and Vong (Vietnamese) and Bretonne (crepes) are faves of mine.

 due to the kosher thing, dietary restrictions are very common here and taken very seriously, which is nice. Hotel buffets usually have plenty and in Jerusalem the breakfast buffet at The Grand Hotel had tons of gluten-free options! Amazing! Most sit-down restaurants can suggest gluten-free options. JUST SAY “LELO GLUTEN” (pronounces Lay-low gluten). 

Street food is tougher to get gluten-free. In the Souk/Arab outdoor bazaar/market called Carmel Market or HaCarmel Market, (Tel Aviv)across from the bagged beans/legumes vendor is a tiny Venezuelan AREPA stand that is 100% gluten-free! Amazing! There are also ubiquitous fruit smoothies, fresh-squeezed juice stands, and frozen slushees. There is a fantastic popsicle that is orange with a white filling in most convenience stores. 

In Eilat, I ate a lot at the Brazilian Steakhouse- just avoid the sausages or meats with sauces.

I bring my own bread or crackers to dip in the baba ganoush, etc. 

Enjoy your time here.  Caesaria is a favorite, the children’s outdoor monument at the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, and the Friday flea market in Old Jaffa. The Monastery of St George is awesome too.(Besides The Dead Sea, Masada, Jerusalem, and the other must-sees.)

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