If you’re gluten-free, you know how hard it can be to travel through some countries.
If you’re looking at booking a trip somewhere, take a look at this quick guide below to get an idea of what countries cater to gluten-intolerance.
Northern European countries like Finland and Sweden tend to be the most aware of gluten allergies; many of the people are health conscious there and are well-informed of the effects of gluten.
Most restaurants will have gluten-free options on the menu and offer gluten-free bread, whilst the supermarkets provide a gluten-free section.
2. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom and Italy are also well aware of gluten-intolerance and many of the restaurants and supermarkets in the cities will offer gluten-free options. Travellers might have trouble in Eastern European countries where wheat is used in a lot of their traditional foods, but many people can speak English and can offer alternatives.
Due to the prevalence of rice in Asia, most allergy sufferers are fairly safe when choosing noodles. However, make sure when ordering you tell them no soy sauce or oyster sauce; these have hidden wheat and will blow your belly up in no time. If you are uncertain, just ask for the sauce on the side. Generally countries that use less soy sauce in their foods like Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan are easier for gluten allergy sufferers to navigate than countries like China where soy sauce and wheat noodles are prevalent.
Probably one of the most hassle-free countries for allergy sufferers to eat in, India’s diet mainly consists of curries featuring a mixture of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Instead of the heavy reliance on bread in other parts of the world to fill you up, potatoes and lentils are the go-to choice. Take care however that there might be hidden wheat in some meals; ask your waiter to be on the safe side.
Most countries in South America use corn tortillas instead of wheat flour, but be aware that wheat is still used as a bulking ingredient in many of its dishes. Buenos Aires, Argentina has grown more aware of gluten allergies in the past few years and even has its own gluten-free magazine, Aglutenados, where readers can find restaurants and supermarkets that offer gluten-free options.
6. South Africa
For those wanting to travel to Africa, South Africa has several health food stores that provide gluten-free products like bread and pasta. However it is worth remembering that the diet staples of sweet potatoes, peanuts, and millet means many traditional African foods are gluten free.
Keep Your Options Open
Although you may try your best, there will come a time when you are in an unfamiliar country, the signs make no sense, and you’re starving. In these cases keep on the lookout for a market; nearly every country has one, and you can fill up on fruits and veggies.
If you’re feeling really organized, bring some trail mix and gluten free snacks with you on the road! And if the thought of entering a restaurant and miming your intolerance to staff makes you lose your appetite, print out the sheet cards here: http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/. These handy cards have your food intolerance printed in several languages; you can simply show this to your waiter when ordering.