I find Twitter to be an awesome resource for planning gluten-free meals while both at home and abroad. All you have to do is Tweet where you are going and that you want to eat gluten-free and someone is bound to tweet you back. Here’s an example:
I sent a similar Tweet when look for places to eat in Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. Twitter did not disappoint. I got a number of responses for each city that helped me put together a map of places to eat while in the UK. I also connected with a few restaurants and cafe owners who were eager for me to come in and try their gluten-free food while I am in the UK. While I cannot go everywhere, I am going to do my best to eat safely, and obviously 100% gluten-free, while overseas.
A special thanks to these fine Tweeters who gave me some awesome gluten-free tips:
Kathleen shared her amazing South American travels with us in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. In this final section, I share with you the communications Kathleen sends out prior to her travels. You will see from the letter that Kathleen’s restrictions go beyond avoiding gluten and she is thorough in her explanation. I also include where Kathleen had both good and bad gluten-free meals during her travels.
This is the basis of my communication when traveling where I am not familiar with those that prepare my food. Blanks and information can be filled in or deleted to suit your needs.
My husband and I are travelling with ABC Tour Ref: ——–
Tour Name: ———
We arrive in your hotel: ——–
Booking Ref: ——-
I have an illness called Coeliac (celiac) and must adhere to a strict GLUTEN FREE diet. I may become very ill if I eat foods containing flour or grains of Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, malt or foods derived from anything made with or cross-contaminated with these ingredients.
Safe (or healthy) foods include, but are not limited to, potatoes, beans, rice, quinoa, maize, amaranth, almost all vegetables and fruits, as long as they are not blended with Wheat, Rye, Barley Oats or products derived from them. I must avoid acid foods such as Tomato, all Citrus Fruits, Peppermint, garlic, onions, caffeine, fried foods.
I am lactose intolerant and, with these conditions in mind, I try to adhere to a vegetarian, low cholesterol, low fat diet.
We will be guests in your hotel on the above dates. We appreciate you having some foods available which I can eat. More often it is the cross-contamination or preparation method (not avoiding wheat, rye, barley, oats, malt or their derivatives) rather than the menu which offers conflict.
A suitable selection at breakfast for example: gluten-free grain or bread such as a cereal and bread, soy milk, fruit. At Dinner: gluten-free bread, a potato, quinoa or rice dish, a variety of any (safely) grilled, pan-seared or lightly steamed vegetables with the exceptions of onions, tomatoes, garlic, with herbs if possible. Beans. No butter. I have never met a vegetable I don’t like. A soy/tofu, vegetables or bean dish is a perfect main course. Many salads, soups and desserts can be made safely for me before any wheat ingredients or seasonings are added.
I can manage some dairy prepared in foods I consume, like milk, cheese but the harder, the better. No added salt, please. We hope our advance notice helps you.
Thank you so very much for your efforts to accommodate my illness. Please reply to this email so we know we’ve reached you.
As you will see, Kathleen is thorough with her dietary requests yet polite. A little kindness goes a long way!
Here are some of the places Kathleen ate while in South America. To read Kathleen’s full reviews, please visit the GlutenFreeTravelSite.
Sheraton Libertador Hotel
Av. Cordoba 690, Capital Federal, CP 1054, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Contact: Enrique Ercigoj, Assistant Food & Beverage
Porto Canoas, Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls National Park
Iguassu Falls, Parana state, Brazil
Contact: Head chef Geraldo Alves de Souza
London, Ontario, Canada holds a very dear place in my heart. I grew up going to London almost every summer to visit my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin. It is a beautiful city about 3 hours west of Toronto and worth a visit. The city is full of beautiful parks and even has a Thames River running through the city, just like London, England.
When I connected with Harpreet Kaur, author at Celiac Desi, via Twitter, I was excited to learn about her adventures in one of my favorite Canadian cities. She kindly agreed to write a guest post about living and eating in London, Ontario. Please remember, these are Harpreet’s opinions and experiences so I cannot vouch for this information.
Gluten Free in London, Canada by Harpreet Kaur
London, Ontario… Yes! There’s a city called London, in the south west of Ontario, Canada. For the past 3.5 years this has been my home. I came to Canada to pursue my PhD in Biochemical Engineering, in the fall of 2009. And as a student from India, The University of Western Ontario, now known as Western University was (and continues to be) one of the most beautiful campus I’ve ever stepped foot on. I could go on and on about how much I love the campus, however, what fascinates me the most is the hospitality services.
So, if I have to list my top 5 places to eat in London, Ontario, I’d have to start with Western University. Considering I spend 90% of my time here, it’s not a big surprise. The main food court resides in the University community centre but the campus eateries are dispersed throughout campus and almost every other building has a small cafe, where a pre-packed gluten free sandwich/salad/dessert can be purchased.
Now, even on campus, this is my absolutely favorite place:
Western Student Recreation Centre cafe
It seats about 50 people and has the most kind-hearted hospitality staff I’ve ever come across. Andrea, the supervisor, makes sure that she does all that she can to keep you ‘gluten free’ and healthy & fed. Her colleagues, Jim, Kaitlyn & Jeff are amazing too. At the Gym cafe (as I call it) you’ll get easy access to, gluten free salads, sandwiches & desserts. Now, the campus hospitality staffs in general, are trained in handling gluten free food. They use a parchment paper when heating your sandwich, make sure there’s no cross contamination at all times; even when making your gluten free salads. My favorite sandwich is toasted slice of buckwheat-chia bread with peanut butter and honey these days. But the other popular options are: turkey, chicken, egg and the good old grilled cheese sandwich. Salads vary from the traditional garden greens, to chick pea and tuna salad, thai noodle salad to artichoke salad. They also carry Chex Rice cereal (the small pack, that is good for one person’s breakfast). The dessert squares come from Organic Works Bakery at 222 Wellington Street south. This also happens to be my next most favorite place in Ontario, not just London.
You can’t go wrong with this bakery. The owners are friendly, soft spoken and knowledgeable. Their menu is tantalizing and appetizing, ambience rustic chic and very welcoming. I would strongly recommend this place to everyone and anyone who loves food, an afternoon off with friends & family & conversation over coffee & food, and/or is just looking for a place to relax. Their pizza and lasagne is the best gluten free one’s I have had so far; not taking into account my friend Anastasia’s homemade pizza of course.
Next on my list is:
Friendly Fare Cafes – Friendly fare for fussy folks
You see, like many of you out there, I had to wait 18 months before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. During this wait, I saw several doctors – cardiologist, endocrinologist, rheumatologist, general physician, liver specialist and many others. The only good that came out of seeing the rheumatologist was stumbling across this cafe, thanks to his last minute change of clinic location. What I love about this place is that you can customize your breakfast options, design your own omelette and have it served hot. Sure, Cora’s is another good option, but for budget conscious students like me, Friendly Fare does the trick. The ONLY downside to this place is the limited hours (weekdays 7:30am to 4pm, and Saturday 9am to 2pm.) Their menu can be accessed at their website: http://pplisforyou.wix.com/ffc#!
A sunny afternoon and a slight craving for good wine lead us to this little bistro, tucked within Covent Garden Market, in London. Covent Garden market has its own charm. Definitely a must visit for all and Waldo’s is the cherry on top. If you visit, do not miss their ‘tomato and goat cheese stack’. While not a completely gluten free restaurant, the staff is very well informed, considerate and patient. So take your time to explain and specify how you would like your food served.
Cafe Sentral & Sushi Galore
I’ve been debating over which of these two places are worth the 5th spot on my list, and I think it’s a tie. What Sushi Galore lacks in ambience and hospitality, Cafe Sentral more than makes up for. Of course, with respect to gluten free food, Cafe Sentral serves the best gluten free crepes and Sushi galore the best sushi. In fact, Sushi galore is even mentioned on ‘The Celiac Scene’.
Of course, these are the places I’m yet to try out…If you do, I’d love to hear from you:
A pharmaceutical technologist by qualification, I am currently pursuing PhD in Biochemical Engineering at Western University, Canada. As a scientist, my research interest lies in development of novel, cost effective and highly efficient techniques for protein refolding and purification. I’m a dynamic person and enjoy exploring new avenues, in my personal & professional life.
My family means the world to me. I sincerely believe I am who I am today thanks to the patient guidance and humble upbringing of my parents. They gave me the most priceless assets anyone could hold – education & unconditional love.
After almost 18 months of misdiagnosis, battery of pathology lab tests, seeing specialists of almost every other organ in a human body; I was ‘relieved’ to learn I have Celiac Disease. A disease that although doesn’t have a cure, is easily managed by a serious, stringent change in eating habits, and general lifestyle. It took me more than a year to realize that going gluten free wasn’t enough. That I performed much better, lactose free and on a low carbohydrate (specifically rice & potatoes) diet. And so, since Jan 2012, I’m gluten free, lactose free and on a strict low carb diet*. This has resulted in me losing 27 lbs in a year and I’m finally in the healthy BMI range. My thyroid is in check, I’m not breathless anymore and I’ve regained almost all my stamina to survive a regular day in the lab without feeling like I’m gonna die.
I started writing on Celiac Desi in 2012 (update 10/24/13: http://celiacindia.tumblr.com), after realizing that there was very little information easily available for those in India, or of Indian origin. Most of the Indian food can be easily modified to suit gluten free needs, and in fact is rich in nutrition, since it is essentially vegetables, lentils, meat and spices. The staple diet of most Indians is a bowl of sautéed vegetables, with lentil soup and rice and/or Indian bread. Removing the Indian bread (roti, naan) from the diet, avoiding the use of hing (or asafoetida) when cooking, makes almost every meal gluten free. Indian bread can be substitute by Indian crepes which are made of fermented rice and lentils.
*Low carb diet: I eat not more than 2 cups of rice or 3 large potatoes in a week.
I am very excited to announce that my friend and colleague Karen Broussard, founder of the GlutenFreeTravelSite, just launched a new blog called Dine Gluten Free for both the iPhone and the Android phones. This app lets you access all of the amazing user-generated gluten-free reviews that are on the GlutenFreeTravelSite. I think this is a great tool to have on the go, which I say in my quote in the press release below. The app is free on the iTunes store so I encourage you all to download it today!
GlutenFreeTravelSite Launches Dine Gluten Free iPhone App and Android App for Accessing Site’s Dining & Travel Reviews Gluten Free Community Can Now Benefit from Website’s Detailed, User-Submitted Reviews of Restaurants and Other Businesses When Using a Smart Phone
South Riding, VA (PRWEB) January 15, 2013
GlutenFreeTravelSite, launched in 2008 to give the gluten free community a place to share reviews of “gluten free friendly” restaurants, other businesses, and travel venues, today announced the release of their Dine Gluten Free apps for both iPhone and Android devices.
Now, fans of GlutenFreeTravelSite will be able to access the site’s thousands of dining and travel reviews when “on the go” using either iOS or Android powered devices. The user-submitted reviews of restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, and B&Bs throughout the U.S. and around the world are searchable by town or zip code and can be mapped and shared with others. A special reminder service within the Dine Gluten Free app also allows users to save “must try” establishments in areas they’ll be visiting – and then receive an alert on their mobile phone when they’re in close proximity.
Karen Broussard, Founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite said, “Whether you’re looking for a new restaurant to try in your area, a safe place to eat on a family vacation, or a venue for dining when traveling on business, you’ll have convenient access to detailed accounts of other people’s gluten free dining experiences. The reliable peer reviews found within the Dine Gluten Free app — complete with tips on how to make your meals as safe and enjoyable as possible — help steer you toward the most accommodating places to stay, dine, and shop. You’ll never again feel limited or deprived when eating out.”
Blogger Erin Smith, who organizes the NYC Celiac Meetup Group and publishes both the Gluten Free Fun Blog and Gluten Free Globetrotter Blog, added, “The new Dine Gluten Free app from GlutenFreeTravelSite is definitely something I will use when traveling both within NYC (my hometown) as well as when on the road for work and leisure. As a frequent gluten-free traveler, having this app right on my iPhone is very convenient when looking for a place to eat a safe, gluten-free meal on the go.”
Other features of the Dine Gluten Free app include:
A list of many restaurant chains that offer Gluten Free Menus, with dedicated pages for each restaurant containing links to its Gluten Free Menu, locations, website, Facebook page, and coupons if offered
A Submit Review feature which gives users the ability to submit feedback about a restaurant from their smart phone during or immediately after their meal
A national Calendar listing upcoming gluten free events, trips, and expos, which users may add to
A Forum to share news and ask questions of other gluten free users of the app
Karen Broussard launched GlutenFreeTravelSite in 2008, several years after her son Ryan was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at a very young age. She wanted to give the gluten free community a place where they could share their valuable feedback on gluten free dining and travel spots with one another. She has continued to grow the site over the years and unveiled a new design with expanded content last summer. In addition to its focus on dining and travel reviews, GlutenFreeTravelSite also includes a section dedicated to reviews of College Dining Services, a page detailing gluten free policies of the major Cruise Lines and links to gluten free cruise reviews, and a list of Camps accommodating kids following gluten free diets. Karen remains active in the gluten free community and is an Associate Editor of Simply Gluten Free magazine.