Category Archives: Traveling with food-allergies and handicaps

What to buy in London/UK if you are on a low FODMAP, glutenfree or lactosefree diet!

2014-12-30 10.43.02 HDRPeople often ask me what I usually buy, and where, when I am abroad. The selection of low FODMAP ready-made food is not very good in Norway so usually I tend to find a better variety outside of Norway. The best thing with UK is that everything, obviously, is written in English and it’s easy to read the list of ingredients.

One thing I always buy when going to UK is Gingins. Gingins is hard ginger-candy with 16% ginger and I they do help if I have a stomach-ache or feel sick. I have seen them at Whole Foods Market, very close to Piccadilly (20 Glasshouse Street), but I usually buy them at Holland & Barrat (the Gingins link will take you to their online-shop). I have been in contact with Holland & Barrat asking if they sell and send to Norway, unfortunately they don’t so I will continue to stock up when I’m in the UK.

At the Whole Foods Marked they also have a selection of glutenfree products. Not as big as the one I found in Toulouse, but more than good enough.

2014-12-30 10.47.23The also have a big selection of alternatives to milk, like rice-milk, soy-milk, outs-milk etc… However getting that kind of milk and also lactose-free milk, was not difficult to find even at smaller Tesco and Sainsbury.

At the smalller Sainsbury and Tesco they have some glutenfree food, fresh “garden salad” and packed, cooked meat. I take it the seletion is bigger in larger shops, but those are not located in cetral London.

Although it’s not at all forbidden to buy medicines over the counter in the UK and bring back home, I am not comfortable with telling what kind of medicines I usually buy in the UK (Norway has strict regulations on what you can buy over the counter). If you want to know my list, feel free to e-mail me: cecilie@nobackpacker.no

At the legendary Fortnum & Mason I found lots of jams and marmelades suitable for the low FODMAP-diet: Rasberries in whiskey, orange and champagne marmelade, bluberry jam… and mustard.

2014-12-31 10.49.44Remember to bring a close to empty suitcase to London, not only for the shoes and clothes, but also to bring back home some fantastic, yummi food!

 

London on a restricted diet

2014-12-27 19.54.58London, and I think UK in general, is easy to navigate if you are on a restricted diet. With that said, I don’t know how it works if you have celiac desease, but I take it it wouldn’t be that difficult. At least most food in the grocery-stores are marked.

Obviously, as long as you speak English, there will be no language-barriers when explaining your needs. However, this time, I took the chance not to explain and just ordered what I thought would be low FODMAP (no wheat, no garlic, no onion, no lactose).

For breakfast I bought eggs and ham at the grocery-store. I cooked the eggs in my egg-boiler (sounds strange to bring an egg-boiler, but I can assure you, it has been a life saver more than once) and an extra one for lunch, just in case.

For lunch you can either go to a pub, eat sushi or find wheat-free pre-packed food at the grocery-store. There are several options for sushi in London, Wasabi being one of my favorite. Not because they have exeptional nice sushi, but because it is convenient that you can pick what you want and that each sushi-bite has been pre-packed. I wouldn’t opt for Wasabi if I was going out for dinner though, but for take-away it’s great. Many of the coffe-shops like Pret A Manger and Eat also sell pre-packed sushi-meals.

Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Saintbury’s have pre-packed meat and chicken in smaller bites, refridgerated and pre-packed. A plain salad with low FODMAP-vegetables (lettuce, tomatoe, carrot…) is also for sale at most grocery-stores and together with some meat or chicken it will make a nice meal.

For dinner your safest option is to order meat or fish with fries or rice. In London you can get a steak on every corner/pub, and I found it extremely easy to not walk around hungry. In fact, I didn’t eat much of the food I brought from home!

This was my first time going to UK after I started the low FODMAP-diet and even I have been there 2-3 times a year the last 10 years, and haveing lived in Liverpool for a year, I was surprised how easy I found it to get a full meal all day long.

My blog became a book!

LavFODMAP front 72dpiI have been neglecting this blog for some weeks now. There are several reasons for that: I haven’t been traveling, but mostly because I have been consentrating around my other projects. Some are still secrets, but one is not secret anymore.

Some of you know that I was very ill when I left China last December. As a result I started the low-FODMAP diet with great results. Although I sometimes have been moaning about my stupid digestion-system, I am much better now. I am pretty sure the reason why I am better is that I follow this diet, recommended by most gastroenterologs in both Norway and abroad.

The low-FODMAP diet can be difficult in the beginning so I started a blog in Norwegian, with my own recipes and a diary to tell about my experiences. The short story is that I got a contract with one of the biggest and oldest publishers in Norway and the blog has now become a cookbook (with new recipes)!

Making food, going to my photographer and writing has been my mainfocus the last monhts, that’s why this blog has been neglected. However the book has now been sent to print and I can relax for some weeks before the release.

Since December is a quite month I have now booked two trips: To Prague with my best friend, leaving on Monday and to London with Mr. No-Backpacker the week between Christmas and New-Year. (Mr. No-Backpacker has been in China for five weeks now and has one more week left, so I am really, really looking forward to get him home AND to go to London with him.)

I have been to Prague and London before (we lived in Liverpool for a year 10 years ago), but not after I started the low-FODMAP diet. However I have heard that at least London (UK) is great for people with allergies. Fingers crossed I will manage Prague too!

Been there, done that!

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This is my last day in Athens before going back home tomorrow and… I’m not lying when I’m saying I’m looking forward to getting home. This trip has been challenging with migraine, stomache-problems from H%$#%#” etc… etc…(Although eating “safe” low FODMAP something went wrong with my stomache/digestion this time.)

I have always said that I will continue traveling as long as I can, and I stand by that. However I have, finally, come to the conclusion that I will not travel on my own anymore (unless it’s within Norway/Scandinavia and I really have to). Not because I’m scared traveling alone, but because I have just too many illnesses. Being abraod, having to discuss with yourself wether to call a doctor or not, when bending over in pain, is not fun and I have to admit that it makes me anxious.

Another conclusion is that I have seen the world, I have been to Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Chicago, Las-Vegas, Hawaii, all over Europe… etc… when I had the energy to explore. I don’t have that energy anymore and for me, the best holiday I can get right now is to travel to a warm place (helps my pain), plan to do nothing but relaxing and don’t stress with sight-seeing. I really want to see so much and at home I plan…. Unfortunately it usually ends in me being sad because I didn’t explore and it feels like I’ve let myself down. It doesn’t actually get better when everybody tells me what I should see and do… (People tend to forget that I have more than one chronic illness because I look quite healthy when I see them.)

Well… It feels like a relief to have taken the stand about how to travel in the future. It’s not a defeat as I thought it should be. Maybe because it’s more about reality than that I’m scared of traveling alone. I don’t know, I just know that I’m finished with being stuck at a hotel-room, in pain and alone!

Toulouse = gluten-free/allergyfriendly heaven

IMG_8151After haveing some trouble with finding gluten-free food in Nancy and Paris I was well prepared for the trip to Toulouse. However it seemed like It was not necessary at all!

There were several grocery-stores that had some gluten-free food, like Biocoop and Monop (the same as I found in Paris), but the very best was “Parapharmacie Lafayette”, 10 boulevard de Strasbourg, close to the metro station Jean Jaures.

IMG_8261They had the usual brands as we have at home, but also lots of other brands I have never seen before. There were several shelves and I think, for a little while at least, I was in gluten-free heaven! However I didn’t buy much as I didn’t need anything, but I bought some boxes with “Le Pain des Fleurs” crackers. We have them at home, but they are so expencive I don’t bother to buy them. Here it was half the price so I am planning on stocking up some more to fill my suitcase!

I also bought some seasonings as I found “massala-mix” without onion and garlic in another shop, unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the store, but it was the grocery-store next to the Parapharmacie Lafayette, something with “International….”.

If you are stuck there are lots of sushi-restaurants and even two Mc. Donalds, but I take it that most restaurants have “beef and French fries” if you ask.

 

 

Low FODMAP (glutenfree, lactosefree, allergy-friendly) food in Paris

IMG_7100Before I arrived to Paris I must admit I was afraid it would be difficult to find any restaurant which could cover my needs of getting food without gluten, lactose, onion and garlic. Not because I was afraid they wouldn’t help me, but because of the language barriers. It seems like my worries were only worries!

The first day, for lunch, I asked for a burger without the bread. I took the chance that the burger was only meat, and it was! I had french fries to the burger and I didn’t react at all.

Another day I had duck-breast, and the same happened, it was all ”naturelle” (becomes more fun if you read it with a French accent! )! I’ve had burger and beef later and I don’t think there were even salt an pepper at the food! (That was quite a disappointment, but in another way, for me it was better than a meal full of onion and garlic!)

IMG_2535In France they have a shop, Monoprix, where they sell groceries, clothes, underwear, kitchen-stuff etc… etc… I went to the one in Montparnasse and I found both Schar glutenfree food AND a French (or Spanish?) brand called Gerble. Some of the products may contain corn flour, but I managed to translate ” almidon de maiz” and I think it means ”corn starch”. Many people who can’t have corn flour, can still eat corn starch. I tested the biscuit with chocolate and to be honest… it didn’t taste great, but it’s better than nothing!

It seems like the French are fond of Japanese food,  there is a Japanese restaurant on every corner. For me, it looks like there are one supplier of sushi here as every restaurant have the same menu. If you look what the people eat, they also all eat the same! However, sushi is a safe, low FODMAP choice, so I still recomend it!