For people living with gluten allergies something as simple as choosing a meal can be stressful and in extreme cases mean the difference between life and death. It also means that when traveling people with gluten allergies have to be uber aware of everything they put in their mouths, which can suck the fun out a much-needed vacation. Contrary to popular belief traveling with gluten allergies doesn’t have to be stressful or limiting and many countries like Italy, France and Spain actually have a high awareness of gluten allergies. So before you head out on your next getaway, check out these four tips on how to see the world gluten-free and get your travel (and foodie) life back!
Just because you’re traveling far from home doesn’t mean you’re alone. Even though a very small population of the world suffers from gluten allergies, that doesn’t mean support can’t be found on the road. See if there is a support group in the country you’re visiting that will provide assistance and resources. For example in Italy, there is the AIC, which provides a list of every restaurant, trattoria, and gelateria in every region that knows about celiac.
Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than not being able to enjoy a good meal so don’t be naive and think, ‘I’ll figure it out when I get there.” Try to locate restaurants with gluten-free menu items in advance and make sure to pack your own snacks just in case. Also, be sure to check in with your doctor before you leave just in case they have any tips or medications that could be useful.
When in Doubt, Speak to the Chef
It’s completely understandable that you don’t want to be the annoying, picky foreigner in the restaurant while you’re traveling, but don’t be afraid to speak up about your allergies and when in doubt, make sure you ask to speak to the chef directly; never the waiter. The chef will know all the ingredients and methods of preparation so there are no mishaps.
Don’t Stop Traveling!
It’s hard to imagine having fun on vacation when you have certain food allergies, but don’t let that stop you from seeing the world. Don’t limit your travels based on where you think you may or may not be able to eat. As more and more people develop gluten allergies, the world is going to have to make adjustments….not you. The environment needs to adapt to the people, so travel wherever your heart desires. Make the destination accommodate to your needs.