Keeping Gluten Free on Vacation

Gluten free diets have become hugely popular in both North American and European culture in recent years thanks to the rise in celiac disease and also due to the number of people choosing whole foods over processed grains. As a result, the number of stores and restaurants offering, or even specializing in, gluten free produce has rocketed internationally - a fact which has greatly improved the European vacation choices for celiac sufferers everywhere.

By committing to a gluten free diet, and managing to stick to meal plans even whilst on vacation, celiac sufferers can spend more time enjoying themselves when abroad - after all, everyone prefers the beach to the bathroom!

Eating in Europe

Europe has long been the vacation destination of many who love to cook and to eat. After all, with so many iconic dishes spread throughout the continent, it is a connoisseur's dream! However, if you have celiac disease there is no need to worry about missing out, as gluten free has also become popular across the Atlantic, and most major cities will have plenty of offerings for you.

Countries such as Finland and Sweden in the north of the continent are especially gluten free friendly, as the majority of their traditional dishes tend to revolve around meats and vegetables rather than wheat products. Similarly Greece, in the south, follows a Mediterranean diet of fresh, brightly colored vegetables and spit roasted meat. However, even countries well-known for their gluten-filled staples such as France and Italy are tackling the problems caused by celiac head on, giving visitors plenty of top-class restaurants to choose from.

So take a look at our pick of the best European gluten free restaurants - who knows, with summer vacation fast approaching you could use our recommendations sooner than you think!

First Place in France

First on our list is the city of love - Paris. While France is known for its croissants and baguettes, it is also rapidly developing an excellent gluten free scene. After all, this is the country of Cordon Bleu, so being a step ahead in food trends is only to be expected! The fabulous Noglu Restaurant on le Passage des Panoramas has garnered some excellent reviews from locals and tourists alike, and serves gluten free classics such as flourless chocolate cake alongside traditional French options with a gluten free twist - their madeleines, for example, are to die for.

Pick of Italy

Italy is the home of pizza and pasta, and is therefore the last place a celiac sufferer is likely to place at the top of their dream destinations list. Yet even here there are plenty of gluten free options - and there are even traditional dishes which will cause no problems for those with celiac disease!

Northern Italy is a beautiful location, with cities such as Milan and Turin providing fashion fiends with plenty to keep them entertained. As well as high fashion, this region is known for polenta - a slow cooked cornmeal dish which is versatile and contains no gluten products whatsoever. However, if you have your heart set on capital city Rome, La Taverna dei Fori Imperali has an excellent reputation and reasonable prices.

Self-Catering Options

In case of emergencies, or if nothing on the menu really appeals, there are plenty of options for celiac sufferers to go on a self-catering vacation. In the UK, holiday cottage lets can be found everywhere from the Highlands of Scotland in the north to the White Cliffs of Dover in the south, and supermarket chains such as Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's all sell gluten free products such as corn flour, organic whey and tapioca. There are also specialist chains such as Holland and Barrett which can give a more knowledgeable overview of products suitable for gluten free meals.

Remembering that a gluten free diet can often cause nutritional deficiencies is especially important when abroad. Most gluten free products sold in the United States contain information on the pack regarding the levels of vitamin B, iron, zinc and magnesium and so this information can be collated to set the basis for healthy and nutritious meals. Straying from your well-known brands to ones which may contain higher levels of vitamin D and lower levels of zinc can cause lethargy or even health problems, so seeking advice from gluten free experts at your destination can help you truly enjoy your European vacation.

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