Gluten Free Abroad

Our vacation has taken us to the most gluten-filled location in the world – France.  Known for its baguettes, croissaints, and what seems like billions of pastries, what’s a gluten-free girl to do?


Well.  I’ll tell ya.  The following advice is assuming that you’ve rented an apartment and are able to cook your own meals.  We have yet to eat out yet (unless we’ve been at a train station in transit and I’ve had a salad), so that advice will be coming soon.


The first step is to learn the (in my case) French names of the three ingredients to avoid:

  • Wheat (Blé)
  • Barley (Orge)
  • Rye (Seigle)
  • Gluten (Gluten)


And another just for kicks:

  • High fructose corn syrup (Isoglucose or syrop du glucose-fructose)

If you are going to, say, Germany, you would need to Google Translate those four words.


Then, scrupiously check the ingredients of everything you buy:


Corn flakes (with 8 vitamins and iron!) contains barley malt (extrait de malt d’orge).


White bread (easy example…sorry!) – Farine (flour) de ble (wheat) and high fructose corn-syrup (sirop de fructose-glucose)…yikes!


And look for products that are inherently gluten-free:


Oats may have traces of gluten in it, but I was willing to take a risk  desperate  hungry haven’t had a reaction yet.  *Fingers crossed!*  This is delicious mixed with PB2, soy milk and a dollop of Nutella on top.  (You’re welcome for the idea. :))

But, Ashley!  You’re in FRANCE.  How can you be around so much bread and not want any?!


Good point.


Schar (which is abhorrently expensive in the US) is Europe’s #1 brand of gluten-free products and they have a handy location look-up finder on their site.  The prices here (although 1 Euro = 1.33 USD) are a smidgen cheaper or are the same monetary value as at home, so I’m not spending even more cash on gluten free products.  Even though that links to the US site, it still totally words for international cities and zip codes. Then Google Map the crap out of it. Here’s the deal though- they have different products depending on what country you’re visiting.  So, when I walked into “La Vie Naturelle” in Auch, France, I was shocked when I saw this:


“Ertha + fibre” is a brown bread complete with different nutritional seeds.  And it’s phenomenal.  It’s THE BEST gluten-free bread I’ve had in my entire life.  And I can’t find it in the US.  Of course.  I might have to load up before we leave to take to Scotland with us and then re-load on our way back to the States!

Another piece of advice? Bring your own non-perishables!


I brought PB2 and a bag of gluten-free pasta to tide us over until we could get to a grocery store.  While I didn’t have them together, it was a great idea to bring these two staples.

My last piece of advice is to eat more whole foods and drink TONS of water (I’m at a gallon a day).  We’ve had a lot of fresh vegetables, potatoes, rice, and wine.  Even though I literally go to the grocery store every other day, getting the fresh produce is so worth it and I’ve been able to practice my conversation skills.   We’ve also had dessert every.single.night we’ve been here (their pudding cups put ours to shame – it comes with whipped cream on top!).  And because we’re walking everywhere (in addition to my almost daily runs), I’ve already lost 2 pounds since arriving in France.  I’ll be honest though.  I’ve been practicing loads of moderation (like only one plate of food for dinner) and have eliminated my snacks in the morning and (almost) in the afternoon.  Then again, we have dinner, some strong French cheese, dessert and a glass of wine.  Phew!

What advice do you have for eating and travelling?



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