Gluten and I have a toxic relationship. I am not coeliac, but let’s just say when gluten and I get together the outcome is fun at the beginning, turns nasty shortly after and ends up hanging around for a long time afterwards.
The same happens when I eat some other foods, including dairy, and there are quite a few fruits and veg that don’t sit very well either. Fun times!
I am in denial about dairy. I know it’s not good for me. I don’t want to debate with anyone. It’s my belief no one should be eating dairy, but for me, finding the willpower not to eat the foods I love is a hard battle.
I have followed the Paleo diet and loved it.
All I am going to say is that bad habits are hard to break. I know what works for me, but I also do succumb to the dark side occasionally (or not so occasionally).
The bottom line is 90% of the time I eat real food, nothing processed. I am 99% gluten-free, with gluten sometimes slipping through if I am eating out. I also am not a fan of grains. They just don’t make me feel great, and that’s what eating has come down to for me. Does something make me feel good or not. Does it make me feel energised and healthy, or does it make me feel sluggish, headachy and sick?
In the past, travelling has been a significant issue for me and my stomach as I covered in a previous article Travelling on a Restricted Diet and then it all goes wrong.
It has been a nightmare. All willpower went out the window and so did all good health. And when others can eat what they like without ill effect, you can find yourself in an awkward position. Room sharing is not always easy under those circumstances for everyone involved.
So, on my trip to Italy this year, with a travelling partner who is coeliac, I was determined to stay on the straight and narrow. What a difference it made.
The boutique hotel we stayed in, the Villa Marsili was excellent. Excellent doesn’t even begin to describe how good they were.
I have written about the Villa Marsili in a previous post, A Tuscan Town called Cortona, they went above and beyond. The gluten-free food they served at breakfast was outstanding.
We had so many choices, and they took so much care. Unfortunately, our stay in Venice proved somewhat harder for breakfast, the meals in restaurants were excellent though, and the supermarkets do tend to stock an excellent gluten-free range (unfortunately for me not grain free and processed) for snacks, an excellent supplement to breakfast.
As it turns out, Italy is probably the best place for coeliacs and gluten frees travellers. Italy has a high rate of coeliac disease, and Italian children are tested for coeliac disease before the age of 6, with a €140 monthly stipend is paid to those who have the disease, to assist with the higher cost of gluten-free food and these goods can be purchased in pharmacies because they are considered medicine.
Gluten-free Breakfast Options including Gluten Free Croissants
Related Post: One Day in Cortona
What to Order
Overall, Italy was surprisingly enjoyable for gluten-free eating.
What a relief. Eating out meant I mostly chose from the Secondi section of the menu and occasionally the Cortoni as well.
The Secondi are the meat and fish dishes and the Cortoni the vegetable and side salads. All the restaurants we visited were more than happy to accommodate for gluten-free, and most have gluten-free pasta as well.
So no missing out if that’s what you had your heart set on. I didn’t even try the pizza. I have resigned myself to the fact that pizza and I are not a good fit even if the base is gluten-free.
Related Post: Finding the Right Accommodation For You
Easy Gluten Free
We had a wonderful lunch in Pienza at La Buca di Enea, see their reviews on TripAdvisor.
It was a lovely surprise. It is a tiny place and an owner with a huge personality. The food was divine. Because we were on a group tour, everyone chose their lunch from a set menu including pasta and pizza with shared platters of cold meats, cheeses, bread and olive oil.
For the two of us who eat gluten-free, we were given gluten-free bread (the best I have ever tasted, and which I usually avoid like the plague) and we could make our choices from the Secondi section of the menu.
What can I say? The pig livers I chose were the most divine, melt in your mouth dish I had experienced in Italy. And my travelling partner tried wild boar, which was just as delicious if not better.
I realise that I am adventurous with food, more than a lot of people, but both of us found Italy easy. It was a delight and added to the beautiful time we had there. I am certainly looking forward to the next trip.
Do you have any suggestions?
I am curious about how other people manage when they travel. Do you have trouble with certain foods? I would love to know your experiences and how you manage.
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