My First Trimester, Gluten Free


Happy beans on cheesy toast!

My latest adventure is of a very different sort and I won’t be getting any air miles for this one. I’m crazy excited to share the happy news that John and I are expecting our first baby!! I realise that “first” makes it sound like we plan to have a whole bundle of little ones so let’s just see how this one goes before we get too carried away. 🙂 Baby Mertens is due to arrive on Thanksgiving Day and we can’t wait to meet our wee gluten free turkey!

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Gluten Free New Zealand North Island


Hanging out with a Kiwi! 🙂

Let me start off by saying two things about New Zealand: One, it’s an absolutely beautiful country which is well worth a visit and two, it’s amazing for celiacs! If you’re gluten free and you love to travel, definitely get yourself to New Zealand! You will LOVE it!!

John and I spent three weeks travelling around the North Island. We spent time in Auckland, at the West coast’s rugged, black sand beaches, the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Islands where we saw happy, jumping dolphins and hiked through some absolutely beautiful scenery. Down south, we spent time with thousands of glow worms, hundreds of geisers and a couple of kiwi birds!

Off to see some dolphins!

The beautiful Bay of Islands

In terms of eating gluten-free in New Zealand’s North Island, I found it extremely easy. I’ve travelled a lot in the last four years since my celiac diagnosis but nowhere has been quite as accommodating or has had quite the extensive range of gluten-free options as New Zealand does. The North Island, at least. We’re saving the South Island for another trip!

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Amazing Gluten Free Nachos



We’re big fans of nachos in the Gluten Free Traveller house and this is one of our most recent efforts! It’s a whole bunch of tasty ingredients thrown together on a plate to make what has become one of my favourite dishes right now. If you make it yourself, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Gluten Free Sharon, MA


Tasty veggie soup!

Who are you and where are you?
I’m Tabitha, and I am 22 years old.  I currently live in North Adams, Massachusetts, located in the beautiful Berkshires.

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
Two years ago I was diagnosed. I was extremely bloated and lagging with headaches, stomach aches, and nausea.  I switched doctors to a primary care physician from a pediatrician, and she was the one who diagnosed me on the first visit.  I explained my diet and symptoms and she immediately ordered blood tests, which came back with levels which were off the charts.  I saw a gastroenterologist soon thereafter and the results matched the blood tests. I was celiac.

I suffered serious shock the following summer, especially being a camp counselor who needed to bring lunch.  I never really knew what to bring and how to deal with cross-contamination at BBQs.  I kind of just stuck with tuna, egg salad, chips, and salads.  I slowly started getting the hang of it, but also struggled living with four college housemates who knew nothing about celiac disease.  I finally took charge and begin researching healthy living, not by solely eliminating gluten but also getting more fruits and veggies into my diet.  I own several gluten free cookbooks along with powerfoods and natural cookbooks.  I eat lots of spinach, quinoa, seafood, homemade smoothies, kale, carrots, brussels, etc.  I have become consumed with putting the right things into my body, and I owe this to my diagnosis.  I do not know if it would have happened otherwise.

I thought I knew what I had to do to stay safe and well but I had a melt down when four of my best friends and I took a trip to New Orleans, LA for spring break.  I thought I was prepared by having a dining card.  I was ready to take New Orleans on.  The first night in town however, I had a panic attack.  The tears would not stop and I felt like the past two years meant nothing and that I could not convey to people the seriousness of my allergy.  My friends sat down with me and their smart phones trying to find local restaurants that had decent looking menus, but I felt so overwhelmed and helpless that I could not handle it.  It truly hit me that no matter how much I prepare myself, the rest of the world has yet to catch up.  That trip confirmed to me that I am more comfortable in my own kitchen than in someone else’s (unless they know how to cook gluten free).

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Gluten Free Hungary


View from Citadel, Budapest

Who are you and where are you?
We are Cheryl, Csermely and Roland, a barefooting family of three, currently homesteading in the southeastern plains of Hungary, the nearest city being Szeged where we shop at the local farmers market. Living close to nature we have had the time to get to know our bodies and what the food we eat is really telling us.

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
Since we all started earthing in October of 2011, Cheryl was the first one to start with some classic symptoms of gluten intolerance. Irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, dizziness, leg cramps, unexplained infertility – which was topped off with loss of tooth enamel and a tooth fracture combined with a migraine that lasted for several weeks. Not finding help I, Cheryl, went online and searched for what could possibly be the answer. Because of the crack in my tooth I stumbled upon information from the Weston A. Price Foundation that inspired me to change my diet to a more traditional one. With husband and toddler in tow we got rid of the gluten, including the dreadful “modern” wheat and started to add fish liver oil as well as bone broths and organ meats to our weekly fare. Roland is also sensitive to gluten and although Csermely shows no signs of being affected, bread is among the last thing she chooses to eat, preferring bacon and clabbered milk above all.

Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
Though a majority of Hungarian pastries are laden with gluten and the meat is often breaded, this is a stereotype with many exceptions. When in Szeged definitely make a stop at Mars tér to load up on fruits, vegetables, eggs, raw milk, cheese, bacon and meats of every kind. Then go to the thermal bath to warm your soul at Anna Fürdő.

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Gluten Free Flint, MI


Delicious gluten free crepe!

Who are you and where are you?
My name is Margaret Clegg and I live in Flint, MI

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
I have Celiac Disease and have been diagnosed for 12 years. I also write about gluten free foods and recipes on my blog.

Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
There are great reasons to visit Flint. We have had some bad press but there are a lot of wonderful things that happen in Flint. Flint has been historically known as Vehicle City, the home of the Buick. Times are changing, and there are some growing pains, but we have an two excellent universities (Kettering University and U of M Flint) , a great community college (Mott Community College), and a growing medical field. We have some great festivals and events, like the Back to the Bricks Classic Car Show and the CRIM race. We have a Cultural Center where you can see shows at the Whiting, go to Sloan Museum, or visit the Flint Institute of Arts. Plus there is a great art scene with the Art Walk nights every second Friday of the month in downtown Flint.

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Gluten Free Berkshire, UK


Gluten free afternoon tea!

Who are you and where are you?
I’m Christine Wilson and I live in a small village between Maidenhead and Reading in Berkshire, UK.

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
My whole family are coeliacs!  Firstly my mum was diagnosed with it in 1979 and back then no one knew much about it, and I mean no one!  We had to shop using the Coeliac Society Directory because food labelling wasn’t mandatory then so if it wasn’t in the book, we didn’t buy it.  Since then me, my daughter, my sister and my niece are all on gluten free diets and feeling much better for it.  So family parties for us are much better for the coeliacs than the non-coeliacs!!

Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
My part of the UK is very close to lots of great attractions – all the London stuff is only 20 miles away (about 40 minute train ride) and we have Windsor Castle on our doorstep and all the lovely summer events like Ascot, Henley Regatta, Reading Festival are very close by.

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Gluten Free Philadelphia Suburbs


30th St. Station

Who are you and where are you?
My name is Julie Strehle, and I live in Quakertown, PA, which is about 40 miles north of Philadelphia and 10 miles south of Allentown.

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in February 2008.  I have been completely gluten free since that time.

Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
People may not want to visit Quakertown for the GF fare, but there are a few good finds around if you don’t want to drive into the city of Philadelphia (which I usually only do for a special occasion.)

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Gluten Free Tucson, AZ



Gourmet Girls Bistro

Gluten-Free Zone! 🙂

Who are you and where are you?
Hi, I’m Emily Rich, a student at the University of Arizona. I live in Tucson, AZ. I am also the president of the gluten free club at the U of A.

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
I have had “tummy issues” since I can remember but didn’t realize that gluten didn’t like me until about 2 years ago, when I went to the doctor and asked him to diagnose me with celiac disease 😉 Yes, I figured it out myself after eliminating nearly everything else I had read about in my diet. I have been strictly gluten free ever since and can never imagine “cheating” (or as I call it, poisoning myself) because my stomach goes into the most incredible pain.

Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
Tucson has the University of Arizona, which recently received a top 10 gf accommodating schools mention from Udi’s most recent list. We have a dedicated gluten free restaurant on campus called “Core 2” which serves fajitas, sandwiches, omelets, custom salads, quesadillas, and stir fry. Our campus is very accommodating in other restaurants as well. Tucson also has a dedicated gluten free restaurant called “Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro” which was nominated for a Foggy Award this last year. They have specialty deserts and a delicious food menu as well. We also have very accommodating local restaurants such as Flemings, El Charro, Tucson Tamale Company, Sir Vezas, Renees Organic Oven (a pizza place with a gluten-free menu), Wildflower, and Lotus Garden.

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More Gluten Free Auckland, NZ


Auckland’s Sky Tower

Who are you and where are you?
Hi my name is Bilinda Skinner. I am from Mt Eden in Auckland, New Zealand.

Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
Gluten and I are really not friends. Accidentally ingesting gluten (as I am on a strictly gluten-free diet) makes me terribly ill for at least a full week.  I have never had the biopsy to prove I am coeliac but I exhibit almost all the symptoms of coeliac disease and find living gluten free absolutely necessary. Gluten causes me terrible digestion issues and affects my skin, energy levels, brain function and overall health.

Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
Auckland or the city of sails is a wonderful place to visit. It is absolutely beautiful with an amazing harbour full of islands and adventures. Our city has many gluten free dining establishments and even a place called “The Gluten Free Grocer” where you can find lunch items, cakes and groceries and everything is gluten free, literally everything.

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