Dietary Restrictions: 2005
Eating in Europe is sightseeing for your tastebuds. Deciphering the menu is half the fun! But some travelers have special needs when it comes to food: vegan, diabetic, low-salt, gluten-sensitive, lactose-intolerant, nut and other allergies, etc. Any tips for those with special diet concerns in Europe?
Vegetarian in Venice!
Oh yes - for the poster looking for vegetarian cuisine in Venice, I have just the place for you.
It is quite possibily my favorite restaurant on the planet.
La Zucca http://www.lazucca.it/
Boston, MA USA Fri 11/25/2005
Vegetarian in Venice?
We are planning a trip to Venice and the Veneto this April. Any specific vegetarian recommendations for restaurants that cater to vegetarians or have vegetarian options beyond the pizza, pasta, etc.)?
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 11/15/2005
Just got back from 12 days in Germany and France...having my Vegan Passport was very helpful (it translates "I'm Vegan" and then a definition of what that means, in like 40 languages). Highly reccomend Le Potager du Marais in Paris for vegetarians and vegans alike. We ate there five times in four days!
Chicago, IL USA Fri 11/04/2005
Eating Gluten-free in Germany
My daughter has Celiac disease and gets sick if she eats any gluten from wheat, oats, rye and barley. We vacationed in Germany for two weeks at the beginning of Summer 2005, and we had a wonderful time because we had done a lot of planning. To start, it helps to know what Celiac Disease (or whatever condition you have) is called in the language of the country you're visiting. In Germany, Celiac Disease is called Zoeliakie and there is a very helpful website (www.dzg-online.de). We found out that we could buy gluten-free foods at health food stores called Reformhauses. We found locations of these stores for every city we were visiting by going onto www.reformhaus.de. My daughter enjoyed all the products, which were more varied than what we can find in the US. I also researched food options at each hotel where we had planned to stay. Most hotels had breakfast buffets which included gf options, and we could always supplement with our own gf food. Our visit included a 3-night stay in Rothenburg at Kloster-Stueble (from Rick Steves' "Germany, Austria and Switzerland" guide - www.klosterstueble.de). They were so nice to provide gf bread for our daughter every morning at breakfast! I highly recommend them. She mainly stuck with eating bratwurst or roasted meats that were not cooked with gravy. We also "picnicked" a lot by shopping at local grocery stores. She didn't get sick once, and had a wonderful time. Look for our articles in the next edition of the Celiac Disease Foundation newsletter.
Lake Stevens, WA USA Sat 10/08/2005
Make your own allergy cards
Another idea that I've used (if you don't have the time or $ to order those cards) is to find someone from the country you'll be visiting that speaks enough English to understand what you're asking. I then have them write in their language that I'm allergic to dairy and I have them list out all possible "offenders". This has worked for me.
Mpls, MN USA Mon 09/26/2005
A Month Long Diabetes Tour through Italy and France
My wife and I spent one month in Italy and France. Iam a diabetic and was worried about eating in Europe, but I found that I could eat almost whatever I wanted and still keep my fasting blood glucose well below 110! I even had gelato every day and sometimes twice a day!!! I discovered that the portion sizes are much smaller in Europe and the service tends to be a lot slower so you can eat slower. Another trick is to walk as much as possible. We only took three cab rides the whole five weeks were in Europe.
Omaha, NE USA Thu 09/22/2005
Almost two years ago, I had a severe peanut allergy reaction after eating some soup that had been cross-contaminated by peanut residue. I almost died. It left me extremely anxiety ridden. As such, I was afraid to travel to foreign countries. My girlfriend took a short term assignment in China, and she encouraged me to visit. She did research on my situation, and pointed me in the direction of Select Wisely. I had cards made up in Mandarin. They were extremely empathetic to my situation. They helped me make the step towards facing my fears. Most people thought that it was not worth the risk, considering that Asian countries cook with peanuts and peanut oil. Yet, my cards have been my life-line. Everyone takes them seriously. The cards are easy to understand, and I find that I always receive special attention. I have made many friends as a result of my condition. Most people are supportive here in China, ironically more than people have been in the States. People here are intrigued, and comment that they think I'm very brave. It is important for people to face their fears and live their lives. I do not take unreasonable risks. I am still discerning, but my Select Wisely cards go a long way to making sure that I am not going out on a limb. I've now taken a job in Beijing, doing meaningful international public interest work. And in the future I hope to travel to many other exotic destinations.
New York, NY USA Sun 08/14/2005
for anyone travelling with any kind of allergy (and especially a severe / life threatening allergy) a visit to selectwisely.com for their food allergy translation cards is a must. the cards are translated in such a way that empathises the gravity of the allergy and as such have probably saved my life on at least two occasions.
london, USA Mon 08/08/2005
Europe's languages covered
The food translation service for dietary cards and electronic translations available at www.menudata.com has now over 20 European languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
Finland Wed 07/27/2005
Travelling abroad with a food allergy & a Dietary Alert Card
www.dietarycard.com have been offering a food allergy translation card service to people travelling with allergies for many years now. They can completely personalise your card with up to 8 allergens from a menu of 100 or add any other requests on to the cards. They do different types of cards for coeliac disease, food allergies or food sensitivity.
Brighton, United Kingdom Mon 07/04/2005
Hi, I've live in Augsburg, Germany and suffer from Crohn's disease. I have to eat a special low fiber, low residue diet and avoid fructose. If you are looking for special foods in Germany, you can ask for the local Reformhaus. This is the German equivalent of a healthfoods store and the prices are usually a bit more expensive than elswhere. I hope this helps!
Augsburg, Bayern Germany Wed 06/22/2005
re: diabetic, anyone?
We were able to ask and receive more vegetables as a substitute for pasta or other high-carb side dishes. The restaurants we ate at (in Austria, Germany, Switzerland) were pretty understanding when we explained our diet (my husband speaks fluent German, so the explaining was easy). What we found frustrating was trying to buy low-sugar, low-carb food in a grocery store to make ourselves--basically we didn't find much!
USA Tue 06/14/2005
Hello, I'm Alison proprietor of Bryn B&B in Conwy, North Wales. I am a lactose free, celiac [gluten free], hence special diets are always available [home made, of course!]. Mmmm
Conwy, UK Fri 06/10/2005
it would be a good idea if you asked the host for a special diet for breakfast, i had been in england and asked the host for special foods which i got on my plate. no trouble.....
julie hansen Graasten farmhouse bed and breakfast
?r?sk?bing, USA Sun 06/05/2005
Diabetes takes a full accounting of carbohydrates while traveling, but I have had no problems in France. I understand the carbs in bread, cheese, etc. But it can be difficult when my French is lacking, to ask about what is in a dish. Generally, I just play it by ear--I AM on vacation--eat what I think will work, and move forward. I have had no real probeles in this arena during my travels. Anyone else have experiences to share?
Springfield, va USA Fri 05/27/2005
I'm a nurse but I don't know if epi works for these kinds of allergies. Are you allergic people carrying any kind of meds to lessen the severity of your symptoms? Are you wearing an ID bracelet. That's something I'd look for if asked to attend to someone sick. I've been involved in 2 medical situations on airplanes, and based on those experiences, you would not want the flight attendants to have to care for you. What can the normal layperson and/or nurse do in a bad situation (severe respiratory distress) to help you?
USA Fri 05/06/2005
Allergic to peanuts, so thank you for the advice!
I want to thank everybody here for their tips on how to travel abroad with a food allergy. I, like so many others, am severely allergic to peanut and peanut products. Over the years, it has been my primary reason for not choosing to travel abroad, because of language barriers. I have a hard enough time communicating to waitstaff here in the United States that eating peanut could kill me: how am I supposed to tell that to a person who speaks an entirely different language? The tip I've seen mentioned several times here, of printing up a laminated card, is such a geniusly simple idea; I can't believe it never occurred to me before! So thank you so much to all of you. It's such a relief to know I'm not the only person who has these worries, and that I'm not the only person who needed guidance in what to do about them. The world seems a much bigger, friendlier place now!
Penacook, NH USA Sun 04/24/2005
I enjoyed reading the posts regarding travelling with food allergies. Our child is looking forward to travellingon his own over the next few years, and we are very intimidated because, truthfully, we have not found a workingstrategy for negotiating meals safely. Soy and Peanut anaphylaxis is hard to manage without preparing all your own food. Soy is found in everything from bread, meats, soups, mixes, and 60% of all processed food.
Your postings give ussome hope, but it truly is a very hard task, especially since restuarants and other such establishments are not regulated or educated on serving allergy free meals upon request. Vegan and other diets that are not life threatening get a better response. Even the Atkins diet is accommodated with menu selections for both categories advertised as Vegan or Atkins. It would be so nice to go out for a meal and be able to find out what the ingredients are in menu items. Even if you stick with a very bland selection, which is really the only option, there are still surprises and contamination because of the fact restuarants are not obligated to account for their ingredients, and wait staff and chefs are not educated to respond to the request for an allergen free meal. It would be so simple for them to account for ingredients in their meals, but by law they are not obliged to do so; therefore, any request is a plea for special attention in a setting not prepared or motivated to respond adequately.
Therefore, if you eat out and you have food allergies, you know only one thing for certain; your luck will run out (often) and what starts out as simply orderinga meal, winds up with emergency treatment in a hospital to save your life. It will be a growing problem, and one the restuarants worldwide will need to understand and respond to consistently,not randomly or as a favor. Thank you.
boston, ma USA Fri 04/22/2005
Menudata - Safer Dietary Solutions - Food Translation Cards
It is very difficult to travel with food restrictions in countries where the local people don't speak English at all. Menudata provides travelers having special dietary needs with food translations through both dietary cards and electronic web services. With Menudata food translation cards it is easy to communicate food restrictions, food allergies, sensitivities and special diets (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, celiac and kosher diets). The food translations help backpackers, business men and tourists in eating safely abroad in a foreign language. Check the web-site: http://www.menudata.com/
Helsinki, FIN Tue 04/12/2005
Dietary Restrictions +Foreign Travel
Travelers with food allergies can create customized laminated, credit card-sized translation cards specific to their allergies, intolerances, or restrictions in the language or languages specific to their travel plans. The company and website were created after our daughter, who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, described the problems she had communicating her food concerns to wait staff and vendors in Europe. We have been in business for almost a year and customer response has been very positive.
USA Fri 03/18/2005
I leave soon for a month in France and Italy (business) and I am very vegetarian! I carefully, but concisely wrote out my restrictions and preferences, then had them as carefully translated into French and Italian. I've made up lamented 3x5 cards with one language on each side, that very neatly spell out what I can and cannot eat. I've got about twenty made, and I intend to use them in every eating situation to augment my poor language skills!
Walt Anthony, Spellbinder Entertainment
San Francisco, CA USA Fri 02/11/2005