Are You More Likely To Risk Cross Contamination When Travelling?

Gluten Free Pizza Menu

Next month John and I are headed to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. This will be my first visit to all of these places so this week I started doing some research into what kind of gluten free food, if any, I can expect to find there. I got pretty excited when I came across a pizza place in Singapore which does gluten free pizza.

Me (with a huge grin on my face): Woohoo! I found gluten free pizza in Singapore!!!

John: But do you think it will be safe for you to eat? What do they do to prevent cross contamination?

At least one of us was thinking clearly. If you read my posts on a semi-regular basis you will know that I am extremely careful about what and where I eat; I don’t risk eating at restaurants where the threat of cross contamination is high. So why in this instance did I get so excited and overly confident about gluten free pizza? Because restaurants offering gluten free options are much rarer in Singapore than say the US, or much of Europe.

This got me thinking about whether I’m more willing to risk the threat of cross contamination when travelling. The answer is undoubtedly, yes. I won’t risk it when I’m travelling somewhere that offers a plethora of gluten free options. But somewhere like Singapore I would be more likely to eat at a restaurant which at home I would shy away from.

In San Francisco there are a variety of great, and safe, restaurants at which I can eat so it wouldn’t make sense to risk anywhere that I don’t feel 100% comfortable. But what if a pizza place offering gluten free options was your only option for eating out?

I’m hoping for lots of naturally gluten free South Indian food on this trip but what if this isn’t an option. It could very well come down to either eating in every night or risking ‘gluten free’ pizza or a Chinese restaurant where no-one speaks English.

What are your thoughts? Are you more likely to risk the threat of gluten free cross contamination when you’re travelling, as opposed to when you are at home in familiar territory?


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  • It’s a really interesting point!
    I went to a talk, which was given at a GF expo in Sydney, soon after I was diagnosed. I had been terrified to let anyone cook for me or eat out anywhere that wasn’t a professional member of our Coeliac Society in Australia. The speaker basically pointed out to everyone that we need to balance the risk, with our quality of life! We can’t live in fear and hermit ourselves away or we won’t be living anymore, we still needed to carry on with life and enjoy food (GF of course)!

    It was the most reassuring thing I have ever heard as a coeliac – I wasn’t a failure if I ever got contaminated again!

    So now when travelling I would be more likely to risk the lesser of 2 evils (“gf” pizza vs. chinese with limited communication ability); rather than sit in my hotel room eating gf crackers/bars and fruit for the 5th night in a row!!!

  • Absolutely. In the excitement of finding something “good” to eat, I forget. Not that I ever order something that’s not gluten-free, but I do tend to forget about my other food senstivities, especially dairy. The food arrives, and I’m halfway through before I remember I should have ordered it without the cheese, and the rest of the day I’m stuck feeling awful.

    Although, I do have a pretty strict routine – pack as much as I can, then grocery shop for perishables. Breakfast is always something I’m familiar with in the hotel room, and lunch is nearly always a picnic lunch. Then we only eat out at dinnertime. I find it helps me feel more comfortable, keeps the costs of traveling down, and keeps me from feeling overstuffed while traveling!

  • Liz, that’s interesting that you mention not being a hermit and living in fear. Sometimes it’s hard to go outside of our comfort zone which is why in San Francisco I tend to eat at the same 3 restaurants all the time. This gets a bit boring though after a while so recently I stepped out of my comfort zone and I tried a new one and it felt amazing! We definitely can’t let celiac disease win and there really is so much great gluten free food out there to discover. 🙂

    Pamela – I do the same thing. Breakfast wherever I’m staying, a packed lunch and then eating out for dinner. 🙂