My thoughts on Food Allergies in Italy

What can be more exciting than going to beautiful Italy ? Not much, yet nothing can be more anxiety producing than traveling to a foreign country when you have food allergy. Some may decide to stay at home and never go anywhere; but if we want to live and see the world we need to prepare ourselves to be ready for whatever obstacles may be in our way; such as language.

Now, my first time in Italy I was prepared for a language barrier so I learned the basics such as hello, goodbye and I am allergic to nuts – “Sono allergico alle noci”. Of course, what helped was a translator app – the one I used was called English Italian Offline, it was free and it gave me a real boost. Since I went to Rome, Florence and Venice I realized there was a lot of english spoken as to the amount of tourists that visited these cities. Going on a few side trips/tours into wine country the english component was not as prominent. It was on these side trips where I packed my own snacks. Meals in the city seemed to be a bit less confusing; actually 90% of the food establishments we ate at or looked at menus had food allergy references on the menus and most had the TOP 14 allergens posted on the wall ! The menus had a list of the 14 allergens ( including celery, mustard, sesame, sulfites and lupin) in the back of the menu and the items on the menu had the correlating allergen numbers next to them. I was quite impressed. The nicer restaurants we ate at sent over the staff with the best English and took our order to insure accuracy. I must say I was dealing with one allergen as opposed to multiple allergens as my son has. Yes, I was still stressed ; yet, aren’t we also stressed about our allergies going to Aunt Susie’s house on the holidays ?

As always, it is SO important to carry your Epinephrine, antihistamine or inhalers that your physician suggests for your particular allergy. Air flight is always a concern; which is why you should always carry your medicine with you and not pack it in your suit case – usually baggage areas on a plane are 35-45 degrees fahrenheit – much to cold for epinephrine ! Many airlines are not serving peanuts anymore and if you discuss the allergy while booking the flight an announcement will be made and no nuts served. The meals on overseas flights were labeled with allergens on the packaging and there were at least 3 choices.

Traveling can be such a wonderful experience and yet it can also be stress producing, if you are an individual with food allergies and you are ready to take on the world you will be pleased to find out that places even out of our comfort zone can accommodate our needs ; yes, you can even get Gluten free pizza and pasta in Rome !

 

 

 

 

 

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