Gluten Free and… On the Road

Gluten Free in Rome…

Just saying those words I get a little anxious. I have been gluten-free for the better part of two years. Before my doctor diagnosed me with a gluten sensitivity I had never heard of Celiac’s, had no idea what gluten was or what it was in. and then one day I was diagnosed with over twenty allergies (go me!) and chief among them was a gluten sensitivity.

Let me make it clear I do not have celiac’s at all. If my food comes in contact with wheat  and other gluten containing items I will be ok. I just can’t chew it or swallow it.

So what is gluten?

The dictionary says

a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease

I admit that I havent read too much into celiac’s disease. I don’t know anyone who has the disease. I only know people with sensitivities.

Gluten makes me bloat. It makes me cranky, it gives me headaches. It gives me extreme mental fog and lethargy. But I think i could deal with all of that if it didn’t exacerbate my depression. When i eat gluten my thoughts start to scare me and i don’t trust my actions.

So I avoid gluten. I havent eaten anything containing gluten in more than 6 months.

So, why are we talking about this?

Because I am going to Italy.

(insert cheers and hurrah’s here)

I am going to Rome for two full weeks to go out in the ministry and to tour all the places I read about in my art history classes. I am going to have a real vacation.

I’m going here.

Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps – Breakfast Spot #1

And here.

Colosseum in Rome
Colosseum in Rome, Italy- if only I could see it with no one else there… (SIGH)

And here.

Piazza Navona – Breakfast Spot #2

But what am I going to eat?!?!

I am going to the land of pasta and bread. In all my “go-to-Italy” fantasies I order big bowls of pasta and eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I slurp red sauce in the morning and have creme sauce at night. And eat fresh cannoli and tiramisu.

But I am gluten sensitive.

Anyone with a gluten sensitivity can tell you how hard it is to eat out. I have to study the menu, question everything, interrogate the waiter and beg the kitchen to make food to my needs. Everytime I order out I feel the need to explain my sensitivity, especially when the waiter gives you a nasty look or rolls their eyes. It’s such a hassle.

But to my surprise google (my forever boyfriend) revealed this to me, “Wheat’s prevalence in Italian cuisine has made Italians especially conscious of celiac disease and Italy one of Europe’s best destinations for food-conscious travelers avoiding gluten. Celiac disease was recognized as a serious condition there sooner than in the United States or elsewhere in Europe. The Associazione Italiana Celiachia, or AiC, Italy’s celiac association, was founded in 1979; today many of the world’s leading experts on celiac disease are Italian. – Gluten Free Dining by Andrew Curry

Italy is so sensitive to the issues of celiac sufferers that they are given a monthly allowance to purchase gluten-free foods with.

So, after weeks of worrying and fretting and meal planning I now know that I can order freely. I won’t have to live on polenta. I can have a slice of pizza if i want it. And I can eat rolls (without the butter because butter is still completely off-limits).

This is what I found in a quick google search…

Espresso- 7 Gluten Free Restaurants in Rome 

Zest Bakery Blog 

Trip Advisor – My other boyfriend

So, this girl will be eating this…


in Roma.

Know of any gluten free restaurants I should try? Let me know!  (Please)


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