When traveling to foreign countries, local support groups and bloggers are a wonderful source of information. I haven’t yet traveled south of the Equator, but I am hoping to make it there one day in the future. Argentina is at the top of my list!
Here are some resources for gluten-free and celiac groups and websites in South America.
Rounding out my posts about El Salvador this week, I thought it would be helpful to list gluten-free and Celiac resources in Central America. While technically not Central America, I also included Mexico in this list for your convenience. Unfortunately, there isn’t that much information out there for Central America in general. If you have any resources, please post them in the comments section below. Thanks!
On Monday, you read about Candice of Embrace Gluten-Free’s trip to El Salvador. Today, I want to tell you about the Celiac Association of El Salvador officially known as Asociación de Celíacos y Sensibles al Gluten de El Salvador (ACELYSES). Started in 2010, ACELYSES “is a nonprofit organization created to help improve the living conditions of people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitive in the country.”
With an active Facebook page and an interesting (yet not so active) blog, the Asociación de Celíacos y Sensibles al Gluten de El Salvador is a great resource for those with Celiac Disease living or traveling to El Salvador.
For those of you that can read Spanish, there is a very comprehensive and FREE e-book that the ACELYSES made me aware of and contributed to available online now. This book is called “Enfermedad celíaca y sensibilidad al gluten no celíaca” or “Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.’ This is a great resource for those of you living with Celiac in a Spanish-speaking country.
According to ACELYSES and translated via Google translate:
In El Salvador celiac disease is still a little known entity. Between July and August 2012 we have studied the human leukocyte antigen HLA-DQ in 35 confirmed celiac patients, 30 relatives of celiacs and others who were in the process to rule whether or not suffering from celiac disease. The process of typing of HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 consisted extracting genomic DNA from peripheral blood in EDTA. By means of polymerase chain reaction amplified exon 2 to generate amplicons typing low to medium resolution. Tipando in a medium in combined single strand conformation polymorphism assay heteroduplex by a semiautomated gel electrophoresis and staining method the PhastSystem.
The series includes people between 19 and 77 years, of the 35 celiac (27 women and 8 men), are inhabitants of urban areas, 33 with biopsy compatible with CD and two who have not yet practiced them. Were 26 positive carriers risk heterodimers, with the following distribution: 15 HLA-DQ8 (12 women and 3 men), 9 HLA-DQ2 (5 women and 4 men), 2 women HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 and 9 cases of people No No DQ8 DQ2. Of the 21 relatives belonging to 7 groups confirmed celiac relatives: 17 were carriers of risk alleles.
The results of these studies on HLA-DQ are the first to be published in El Salvador and confirm the clinical diagnosis of celiac disease.
I received this press release from my online friend Karen Broussard, founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite.com, yesterday. This is an exciting, new way for gluten-free travelers to find dining recommendations across the globe.
GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Celiac Sprue Association Announce Partnership to Spread the Word about “Gluten Free Friendly” Restaurants and Other Businesses
Local CSA Chapters to Use GlutenFreeTravelSite as Forum to Share Personal Gluten Free Dining & Travel Reviews and Recommendations
South Riding, VA, July 10, 2012 – GlutenFreeTravelSite , a website containing thousands of user-submitted gluten free dining and travel reviews, today announced their partnership with the Celiac Sprue Association, one of the most prominent non-profit organizations dedicated to educating and supporting individuals with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity. The partnership goal is to further spread the word within the fast-growing gluten free community about the many restaurants and other businesses that safely accommodate people on gluten free diets.
“We’ve made the exciting choice to work with Silver Advocacy Partner, GlutenFreeTravelSite, to consolidate our local chapters’ valuable dining and travel reviews on one site — in a consistent format that’s accessible to Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) members – and the greater gluten free community,” said CSA Executive Director Mary Schluckebier.
CSA members will be able to access other members’ reviews on a dedicated page – and the reviews will also be accessible to any visitor to GlutenFreeTravelSite via a geographic search by town, zip code, state, or country. By having CSA members’ recommendations and reviews on GlutenFreeTravelSite, their feedback will help other people with Celiac or gluten sensitivity, whether they are searching the reviews on GlutenFreeTravelSite for someplace safe to eat in their area – or in a location where they are traveling.
“We are honored to be working with CSA on this important initiative,” said Karen Broussard, founder and president of GlutenFreeTravelSite, the original and most robust online source of gluten free dining and travel reviews. “As members of CSA’s chapters add their reviews, there will be an even greater treasure trove of personal guidance to search on our site — in addition to the thousands of existing reviews of restaurants, markets, bakeries, hotels/resorts, B&Bs, cruises, colleges, and even churches that offer GF communion. At the same time, we’ll be giving increased exposure to the many wonderful businesses that serve our gluten-free community.”
Most people who follow gluten-free diets do so because of Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease in which the body is unable to digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. As many as 1 in 133 people in the United States have it, according to a 2003 study, but over 90% of these people remain undiagnosed. In addition, a study in 2011 established that an additional 7-8% of the population has gluten sensitivity. As awareness of these two conditions has grown, more restaurants and other businesses have recognized the need to serve this market by offering gluten free options.
– # # # – About GlutenFreeTravelSite GlutenFreeTravelSite was launched in April 2008 to give people following gluten-free diets a place to share personal, detailed feedback on restaurants, hotels/resorts, cruise ships, and grocery stores around the world that cater to the gluten-free community. In addition to their large database of valuable reviews, which includes feedback on many independent restaurants, GlutenFreeTravelSite also offers a “Gluten Free Restaurant Menus” section (http://glutenfreetravelsite.com/restaurants) showcasing a list of many national and regional restaurant chains that offer gluten-free menus, with direct links to their menus and locations. This section – and GlutenFreeTravelSite’s reviews — can also be viewed on-the-go via their free MOBILE version, which visitors to the site can automatically access when entering GlutenFreeTravelSite’s URL (http://glutenfreetravelsite.com) into the browser of any smart phone (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry).
About the Celiac Sprue Association
The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) is a member-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to “Changing the World for Celiacs.” To achieve this vision, CSA pursues a mission of helping individuals with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivities through research, education and support. Their member-volunteers work locally, regionally and nationally to increase awareness and improve diagnosis and treatment. They have over 120 affiliated local chapters across the United States that provide support in helping their Celiac and gluten sensitive members to love living gluten-free. CSA also offers a Gluten Free “Recognition Seal” program to certify products that meet their rigorous review and testing of ingredients, manufacturing practices, and procedures.
My internet friend Josh Schieffer, founder of GFreek.com and The G Freek Show, recently went to Poland for business and to run the Warsaw Marathon. Although nervous at first, he not only made his gluten-free way through Poland but he also intereviewed the Polish Celiac Society. As someone that recently traveled to Eastern Europe, I can understand Josh’s hesitation about traveling to a previously communist country. The fear of going hungry or even worse, getting glutened, is scary when it comes to travel. You are out of your comfort zone, you do not speak the language, and you don’t know what to do. If you do your homework and you prepare for your trip, you will have a much happier and safer trip.
In this episode of The G Freek Show, Josh discusses differences in celiac support groups in European countries, “gluten-free wheat flour”, European gluten-free labeling laws, and popular gluten-free brands in Poland and the United States.