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Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Hi have have been on holiday twice in the last 3 years and have become quite ill . I have requested a gluten free diet but obviously not received it. I also experienced an allergic reaction to something whilst supposedly have a gluten free meal . This is quite worrying and butting me of going aBroad . Can we do anything about this How can we improve awareness etc.

11 Replies

Hi Diane,

I guess you have unfortunately learned the hard way who you can trust (and when you can't!). As you say awareness can definitely be an issue.

Last time I went abroad, I went self catering. Problem solved - I could control what I ate much more easily (and stayed well for the whole trip). The language barrier didn't matter half as much.

Even in this country I'm so careful where I eat.

It can be done if you are willing to plan (and take a healthy dose of scepticism with you!)

Happy holidays...!


I tried self catering once. Got all the food in from a supermarket. No neeed to leave the villa from then on. Spent the whole week in the villa. MIght as well have stayed at home. Worst holiday I've ever had.


Bad luck - I had a great time! Went out loads.


Went out a couple of times. This was Protaras, Cyprus. All the local eateries were full of burgers and pizza for the Russians who had taken over the resort, offering 1 euro lager happy hours. Asked for a cider. Got a can of Strongbow battery acid for 4 Euros. So it was back to the villa to cook my own food and drink lots of wine to forget the whole sorry holiday. Never again. I used to really like Cyprus.


You could check on some gluten free related facebook pages- lots of people mention safe to eat places.


Spain seems to be quite clued up about coeliac: celiacos.org/informacion/en... That page has a link to a map of Spain and local coeliac associations.

I went to Madrid last year & stayed in a hotel which had a gluten free cafe attached, and there were a few other totally gluten free places in the city centre. Tourist resorts may not be so good, however, but as Regalbirdy has said, self catering is the safest option. Not so much of a holiday in the sense of having to prepare meals for yourself but surely much better than being ill!


It's the same as eating out in the UK... unfortunately it's not enough to say gluten free and hope they'll get on with it. You have to ask at every meal, challenge every dish you're not sure about, and remind every waiter. Also much better to say "coeliac" so they understand it's an illness and not a dietary fad. I travel a lot for work (I'm in hotels probably 140 nights a year) and rarely have any issues in Europe. Italy is very good, Netherlands once you get outside Amsterdam Centraal, Spain, Germany, Belgium. Not the USA though... I am refusing to go to the USA for work now as they seemingly have no requirements to have any food standards and no interest in even trying to be careful. Print out the traveller's advice from Coeliac UK in the relevant language, avoid buffets, and pester people for information. I've only been made ill on European trips twice in five years, one was an accidental plate switch at a big group dinner (other coeliacs were fine) and one was me drunk stealing from someone else's plate (lesson learned!). Just go, but be careful!


I have never had a problem in the States. They do have GF foods on the menus and these are indicated as such. Applebees being one place that comes to mind. Jason's Delis also do gluten free. as does the Olive Garden. those three that spring to mind immediately and I have had GF pancakes at IHOP. The Texas Roadhouse does GF and you make your server immediately aware of the need to be GF and they will go out of their way to help. Another place is/was the Wild Mushroom in Weatherford, fantastic service and fantastic meal. Maybe the Texans are more attuned to the problem.


I'm glad you were OK. I was ordering gluten free menu options as well but was glutened three times in a week last time I went to the USA. This was in Philadelphia. Specific example about standards: questioning chips on GF menus, every single place I asked that had the fries as gluten free, in fact cooked them in the same fryer as breadcrumbs. In fairness, I was OK in Colorado.


I ask to speak to the chef at any new place I eat at in the States . if they refuse to understand cross contamination, I do not stay to eat. I was also going to say, some of the chips are already pre cooked at the factories before going out to the restaurants. they only get a second dunking in the fat/oil to serve them hot in the restaurants. I am a terrorist when it comes to my stomach.


Hi diane37

I too was worried about going away, as this country is seemingly guilty of not understanding the needs of coeliacs/gluten free.

However I've been to Mallorca & Switzerland this year & have had no problem in the hotel or eating out. The staff are usually very understanding & will check with the chef. I took print outs of the travel coeliac cards but never once used them!



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