Tricia Thompson, MS, RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide and has a MS degree in nutrition from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and a BA degree in English Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont.

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Living Gluten-Free

by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, The Gluten-Free Dietitian

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We will be leaving for Paris soon. This is the first time I have traveled outside the U.S. while on a gluten-free, egg-free AND milk-free diet.

Traveling gluten-free and egg free has never been much of an issue for me, but for some reason having to remove milk and milk-based products from my diet has proven somewhat challenging, especially when eating away from home.

So, needless to say, eating during this trip should be an interesting adventure!

Even though I ordered a gluten-free meal on Air France, I packed food for the plane trip, including "sandwiches" (using Van’s gluten-free waffles as bread) and plenty of homemade cashew butter cookies.

My husband is concerned that all this suspicious food will trip us up going through security. I will let you know…

I always pack breakfast and snack food when traveling " tons of Lara bars, Enjoy Life Foods fruit and nut mix, and Andean Dream quinoa coconut cookies. I tend to eat breakfast in the hotel room or bring my own food into the breakfast room if the hotel serves a buffet or continental breakfast.

Also, for psychological reasons, I have to know I have plenty of safe snack foods. If need be I could probably survive the week solely on the food I brought! Just in case I need more, though, I have a list of natural foods stores that supposedly stock gluten-free (though not necessarily milk and egg-free) food.

We will be eating lunch and dinner in restaurants so I have been practicing my French. While I can't vouch for their accuracy, there are several free online translator services. Just Google “online language translation” to find them.

I've developed my own restaurant card to include egg and milk restrictions and have been working on translating several words and phrases into French that might come in handy in restaurants, including words for foods that I can eat like "baked potato" (les pommes de terre au four) and "steamed vegetables" (les legumes a vapeur).

Hopefully, my translations and pronunciation are somewhat close but just in case, I will be walking around Paris with a French-English food dictionary!

According to the French Celiac Society there is a completely gluten-free restaurant in Paris, Des si et des mets, and according to several on-line sources, a number of restaurants in the area we are staying are gluten-free friendly.

The last time I was in Paris was in college and I remember eating lots of baked potatoes. Actually the restaurants served them to me for free " I guess they felt sorry for me! I never got sick so was very happy.

For me, traveling has never been about the food. I really don’t care about what I can’t eat only that what I do eat doesn’t make me sick!

I will write about my experiences when we get home.

Tricia Thompson, M.S., RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill) and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating (Penguin Group). For more information, visit www.glutenfreedietitian.com.

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For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.

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