Recently, a study was released regarding the increased prevalence of celiac disease. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN analyzed about 9,000 blood samples taken in the 1950s and based on the findings reports that 0.2 percent of that population had celiac disease, but today an estimated 1 percent of the population has it. Celiac disease is a severe intolerance to gluten—a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. As more and more people are diagnosed, more organizations, websites, and blogs have been formed to help people find a variety of foods that are both tasty and gluten free.  

Over time those affected acclimate themselves to the labels, guides and menus available to help them navigate options in their favorite restaurants and grocery stores. But what happens when they go abroad? 

Because there is plenty of helpful information available, the celiac diagnosis does not have to deter anyone from traveling.  The National Institute of Health Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign is a good place to start—the travel section provides an outline of how to plan, travel, and then visit a different country. The Celiac Travel website provides even more detail.  One of the best features is free printable cards in 43 language describing celiac disease and the dietary limitations around them. They’re even available as an iPhone app! In addition to the general travel tips and tools, the “Celiac Travel Stories” section offers user-generated anecdotes and restaurant reviews. (For additional “traveling with Celiac” stories check out Celiac.com.)

The book Let’s Eat Out: Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free has compiled a list of country-specific Celiac organizations and information sources.  Use this information to help plan for and enjoy a worry free trip abroad. 

Do you have any travel-related or country-specific tips you’d like to share?

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About The Author

Emily Moran is a guest contributor to Healthy Travel Blog. During the school year, she is a math teacher and curriculum coordinator at Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia. During vacation, she travels when she can, and lived and studied abroad in Paris, France while receiving her undergraduate degree. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College in Mathematics with a minor in French.

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