The Best of Tuscany, Rome, and Positano: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

I could easily get lost in reminiscing in a post like this, so I’m going to try and keep it practical and to the point!! My husband and I traveled abroad for 14 days, and I’m going to share where we went, how long we were there, the best of what we did, and anything else that I think is worth knowing! (Aka, the EATS.) This is part 2 of a 2 part series. Find part 1 with the details on Nice and Tellaro here!

MONTEPULCIANO, ITALY: 3 nights, 2.5 days

Travel:

We left Tellaro in the morning and drove a couple of hours to San Giminiano, which was just a little way off of the direct route to Montepulciano. We had stopped there on a bus tour when we were in Italy two years ago, and they have a world renowned gelato shop that we wanted to go back to! That was a nice stretch before the remaining two hours to get to Montepulciano. The drive was beautiful, full of picturesque Tuscan countryside views!

Accommodations:

We stayed at a bed and breakfast called Poggio Etrusco. Pamela Sheldon Johns, who wrote many of the Italian cookbooks for Williams Sonoma, runs it with her husband. We had a little apartment with a bedroom, kitchen, and living room. It was lovely there; almost all of the vegetation is a fruit or a vegetable, and we loved picking cherries off of the trees every time we walked by! There were a couple of other guests there as well, but for the most part, we had the place to ourselves.

Activities:

Cooking Class at Poggio Etrusco- This is one of the things that we were looking forward to the most on our trip! Pamela welcomed us into her home and put on a cooking class in her own kitchen, just for us. She was able to accommodate my gluten free needs as well without any issue at all.

Here was the menu: leaves and flowers battered in rice flour and fried in olive oil, chickpea spread on GF crackers, asparagus with two types of prosciutto, mushrooms stuffed with gorgonzola and walnuts, pinzimono (evoo + herb salt) with crudité, fresh fava beans, gnudi (ricotta spinach dumplings) with spicy tomato sauce, roasted chicken + potatoes, shredded vegetable salad, asparagus custard cups, GF chocolate cake with strawberry gelato. Are you drooling yet?? We spent about 3 hours together and got to help as we learned. After that, we all enjoyed lunch together out on their sunny patio, with a bottle of wine of course!

Lunch with a view after our cooking class at Poggio Etrusco.

Lunch with a view after our cooking class at Poggio Etrusco.

Pienza- It was a quick 15 minute drive to this nearby town. We didn’t spend long there, as it was pretty small, but there were lots of shops (especially for pecorino) to wander through!

Montepulciano- Since we were actually staying just outside of Montepulciano at the B&B, we wanted to make sure that we actually got to see the town! It was much bigger than Pienza, and the main street is a pretty steep incline all the way up to a plaza at the top. We had some reservations to keep elsewhere so we pretty much just hustled to the top and then walked back down. There were countless shops along the way though, and we could have spent much more time there. It’s also a wine tasting town, and many of the shops provide free tastings! You could easily taste your way through several glasses of free wine!

Winery Tour of Salcheto- Yet another highlight of our entire trip, Salcheto is an all organic, biodynamic, off the grid winery. They use only natural light, and use gravity to move the wine through the factory. Every choice they make is with the environment in mind. The tour was fascinating, and everything about the design and their production process was intentional and well thought out! After the tour, we got to do a tasting and have lunch at the restaurant there. (More on that below.) 

Salcheto winery

Salcheto winery

Farm Tour of Podere Il Casale- This was another highlight of the trip. Podere Il Casale is a self sustaining, biodynamic farm. The owners moved to Italy from Zurich 30 years ago and taught themselves how to farm because they wanted to produce quality food that they felt good about. The farm primarily produces goat and sheep cheese and has a herd of 60 goats and 300 sheep. We got to see the goat milking in action! We learned all about cheese production on the tour, then headed off to the restaurant for dinner. (More on that below.)

Goats at Podere Il Casale

Goats at Podere Il Casale

Eats:

-Gelateria Dondoli- This is the little gelato shop at the top of San Giminano that won best gelato in the world in 2016 and 2018 (I think). It really is excellent and worth a stop if you’re in the area!

-Tre Stelle- This little restaurant is actually part of a hotel, and is definitely a local favorite. It was completely packed by the time we left at 8pm! I had branzino and a side salad and C had pizza. We shared the pecorino appetizer with fruit and honey, which is a local dish. They also served us free limoncello after our meal!

-Ristorante Daria- Located in charming little Monticchiello, this restaurant is owned by Pamela’s best friend and came highly recommended! It did not disappoint. We asked for her recommendations and ended up with the local pici pasta (they had some that was GF for me, which was SUCH a treat!) I got the duck/sage version and C got the classic meat sauce. We also shared steak and veggies to share, which paired perfectly with the wine that they recommended.

Pici pasta, a local specialty, with sage and duck! They had a GF option for me!

Pici pasta, a local specialty, with sage and duck! They had a GF option for me!

 -Salcheto- We had a light lunch here, paired with our wine tasting. Everything that they serve is made from scratch, organic, and local. I had a green salad (from their own garden!) with a charcuterie plate, and C had salad with soup and beef carpaccio. They had no trouble accommodating my gluten free needs. You can stop in just for food as well!

Lunch and wine tasting at Salcheto. All organic and from their own gardens!

Lunch and wine tasting at Salcheto. All organic and from their own gardens!

-Podere Il Casale- After our tour of the farm, we stopped at the restaurant to eat. I do recommend reservations here, as they tend to book up. All of the produce and cheese that they serve is from their own farm! We shared the cheese plate (definitely recommend) along with the lamb and the veggie entree. Everything was incredibly flavorful and artistically plated. I did have a little bit of a harder time with my GF needs here (the menu wasn’t labeled, and there was a lot of checking with the chef), but it was worth it!

Cheese tasting at Podere Il Casale; all made in house!

Cheese tasting at Podere Il Casale; all made in house!

-GF Pasta shop- A tiny little shop that has frozen fresh handmade GF pasta, along with croissants/pastries and focaccia! I’m certain that the Pici I had at Daria was from here, and it was delicious. We picked up a couple of croissants and some focaccia to take with us. The foccacia was excellent, but I would skip the pastries in favor of the ones I found in Rome (below). Had we not been leaving town the next day, we definitely would have bought some pasta as well! I couldn’t even find the name online and didn’t catch it while we were there, but it’s right by this auto shop.

GF focaccia!

GF focaccia!

Other:

I definitely recommend having a car. It gave us the freedom to get out and about and see several other small towns while we were in the area!

ROME, ITALY: 1 night (stopover during travel) x 2

Travel:

This was a quick stopover for us, once on our way from Montepulciano to Salerno en route to Positano, and then again after leaving Positano before flying back to the states. On our way south, we still had the car so we drove from Montepulciano to Rome, stopping in Orvieto on the way for a cappuccino and to stretch our legs. We dropped off the rental car near Roma Termini, which was a bit confusing because the rental car return was actually at the top of a parking garage! Also, the garage was so tight and tiny that even our Fiat had trouble making the turns. As much as I appreciated having a car in the countryside, I was glad to be free of it in the city!

For our second night in Rome at the end of our trip we took a train from Salerno to the Roma Termini, then another local train out to the airport, where we caught a shuttle to the hotel where we were staying for the night.

Accommodations:

We stayed in this AirBNB (save 15% with this link if it’s your first booking), which was great! We didn’t have much time there, but would happily have been content for several days. On our way back through before our flight home we stayed at Hotel Academy, which we booked through Orbitz. It was definitely no-frills, but we weren’t even there 10 hours, so it hardly mattered. Had we thought about it, we probably would have just paid the entrance fee to the Delta lounge at the airport and stayed there overnight, because between the cost of the room and the shuttle both ways, the cost would have been the same and it would have been a lot less hassle!

Activities:

After we dropped off the car, we headed straight to our Air BNB, which was only a mile or so away, to drop off our bags. We only had a few hours, so we set out again asap to explore! We knew that we wanted to find GROM for some gelato, which was a pretty good walk across town. On our way, we stopped at the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum, and the Colosseum.

The Best of Tuscany, Rome, and Positano: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

Eats:

This time around (as opposed to when we were in Rome 2 years ago), we did all no-cook and cook at home meals because we were there for such a short period of time. The first night, before we headed down to Positano, we picked up some simple veggies, sausages, tomatoes, cheese, and bread from the store. When we made our pass back through before heading home, we bought some no-cook groceries at the little Coop outside the Roma Termini before catching the local train out to the airport and our hotel.

La Pasticciera- An entirely GF bakery right by the Roma Termini! We stopped by before we caught our train to Positano, and it was by far the best GF baked good I had all trip!

GF Nutella croissant from La Pasticciera in Rome

GF Nutella croissant from La Pasticciera in Rome

GROM- Of course :) Not only did we go when we spent our first night there, but we also managed to snag one last scoop at the train station on our way out of town to the airport!

The Best of Tuscany, Rome, and Positano: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

Other:

Rome is one of my favorite cities in Italy. There is so much to see and do! One of these days I’ll try to put together a post of our favorites from when we spent a few days there two years ago!

POSITANO, ITALY: 3 nights, 2 days

Travel:

Getting to Positano was the only travel difficulty we had on our entire trip. We took a train from Rome to Salerno, then had bought tickets to take the ferry down to Positano from there. However, when we got to the ferry dock we found a sign that said that all ferries had been cancelled due to weather…surprise! Well, we didn’t have internet or a backup plan, so we did our best to ask people about the busses and ended up at a bus stop with about 75 other people who were stuck in the same situation. Many of them had been waiting for hours, since all of the busses were packed due to the ferries being down. We waited for about 45 minutes and got lucky to get on one to Amalfi, where we waiting for another hour to catch a second bus to Positano. We were fortunate to make friends with a local who was also going that way, and who was able to give us rough directions to our Air BNB and let us know which bus stop to get off at. The first leg was about 75 minutes, and we were standing the whole time. The second leg was an hour, but at least we got seats! The busses drove along the edge of the cliff the whole way, often coming within inches of other cars, busses, or rock walls. I wouldn’t want that job, that’s for sure!

Accommodations:

We stayed at this Air BNB (save 15% with this link if it’s your first booking). It was sufficient, but not outstanding. We did enjoy all of the space, and especially the patio! One of the things that caught us off guard was the fact that they charged 40E if you didn’t take out your own trash (not hard to do, but you had to pay attention to know that was your responsibility) and they also charged for electricity, which we didn’t find out until the time of checkout.

Activities:

We spent most of our time in Positano just out walking and hiking! There are TONS of stairs, so be prepared. On our first day we hiked down to the water a couple of times and took the road up and around town as well. We stumbled across a little citrus shop called Valenti where we did a limoncello tasting. The woman who owned the shop also let us taste various spreads, jams, candies, and even took us across the street to her garden! That was a fun experience.

On our second day we hiked part of The Path of The Gods. We knew that we could take a bus to the start of the path, but given our experience with the busses on the way there, we decided to hike our way there instead. Starting in Positano, this meant hiking out of town a bit to the base of a huge staircase (1500 steps), which took us to the START of the path. We refilled on water and then set out again. The path itself was a pretty easy/moderate hike with incredible views! It was about 4 miles one way, so since we hiked TO the path in addition to the path itself, we decided to just go half way before turning back. I think that was a good choice, because by the time we got back to the bottom where we started, our legs were toast and we were hungry!

View from The Path of The Gods

View from The Path of The Gods

Eats:

-Da Vincenzo- This was another one of our favorite restaurants of the trip, and we ate there two of the three nights that we were in Positano! It’s a Michelin Star restaurant, and for good reason. They fill up quickly, so since we didn’t have reservations, we showed up before they opened and were fortunate to get a seat both times. We had the buffalo mozzarella both nights (a local specialty), and the yellowfin with zucchini alla scapece was my favorite dish! We also tried a pear and hazelnut ricotta torte, which I highly recommend!

Yellowfin and Zucchini alla Scapece at Da Vincenzo

Yellowfin and Zucchini alla Scapece at Da Vincenzo

-La Latteria- A little market where we bought eggs, fruit and veggies, prosciutto, etc for our breakfasts and charcuterie lunches. They also have lots of prepared dishes in the back at the deli counter. We had the octopus salad, which was delicious! Utilizing this market was one way that we saved some money here, because eating out was expensive!

Charcuterie spread for lunch in Positano

Charcuterie spread for lunch in Positano

-Saraceno de Oro- We ate here on our first night. They were happy to accommodate my gluten free needs, but didn’t mention up front that each item that I ordered would have an additional 2E up-charge, even if no modifications were needed. C did get an amazing pizza there, and it is one of the more affordable places to eat in the area.

-Cafe Positano- One of the things that I wanted to do while in Positano was have an espresso with a view of the coast. Cafe Positano has one of the best views that we found! We only had the espresso here (much of the food looked like it catered to tourists, which we don’t prefer), and we paid top dollar for the view, but it was worth it!

The Best of Tuscany, Rome, and Positano: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

Other:

I definitely recommend utilizing the ferry to get to and from Positano! When the weather was agreeable, it was significantly faster, easier, and more enjoyable than the bus.

As expected, Positano was the most expensive destination of our trip. I’m glad that we went, because it was beautiful, but if we return to this area, I think we will look for a small town in the area and stay there instead.

For more on our budget and how we managed money while abroad, head back to part 1, HERE. For more on how I managed my Hashimoto’s while on this trip, see THIS POST, and for more on the supplements that I took and how I organized them, head on over HERE!

I hope this guide has been helpful! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!

-Tracey

The Best of Nice and Tellaro: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

I could easily get lost in reminiscing in a post like this, so I’m going to try and keep it practical and to the point!! My husband and I traveled abroad for 14 days, and I’m going to share where we went, how long we were there, the best of what we did, and anything else that I think is worth knowing! (Aka, the gluten free EATS.) This is part 1 of a 2 part series. The details on Tuscany, Rome, and Positano can be found here!

NICE, FRANCE: 3 nights, 2.5 days

Travel:

We flew from PHX > SLC > JFK > NICE. We left PHX at 6am on a Friday and arrived in Nice at 10:30am on Saturday. Both layovers were pretty short, and we packed snacks (Wild Zora bars were my go-to, and I also packed one of their meals) for the trip, though food was provided on the international flight. (If you’re strictly GF like me, be sure to let the airline know in advance! One perk to having a special diet is that they serve you your food first, though you don’t get a choice like everyone else.) We did try to sleep on the flight from JFK to NICE, but neither of us are good plane sleepers. I did find that the TRTL wrap helped quite a bit though! When we landed in Nice, we took a local bus to get to our AirBNB. Tickets were less than 10E apiece and we bought them at the airport and caught the bus from there.

Accommodations:

We stayed at this AirBNB (save 15% with this link if it’s your first booking) and LOVED it. It was probably our favorite place of the whole trip! The view was incredible, and we spent as much time as possible out on the balcony to enjoy it. It was in a great location too; easy to reach from the airport, and perfectly walkable to the beach, old town, and anything that we wanted to do.

View from our Air BNB in Nice.

View from our Air BNB in Nice.

Activities:

The day we arrived we just settled in, took a nap, and then ventured out for dinner. On our first full day we walked along the beach and then hiked Castle Hill (great views of the city!), wandered through a Sunday farmer’s market in Old Town (we loved just getting lost in all of the winding streets and exploring the shops!), and went out to dinner.

The view from Castle Hill.

The view from Castle Hill.

On our second full day we took a day trip to the neighboring town of Eze, which I highly recommend! We caught a local train to get there and got off at Eze station, just a few stops down the coast. After we wandered down to the water (don’t miss that crystal clear blue!) we hiked through the neighborhood for an hour or so before realizing that the Eze that we had seen in photos wasn’t there. We made it back to the tourist office JUST in time to catch the once-an-hour bus that drove up to Eze Village, significantly further up the mountain than we would have been able to walk. We bought tickets on the bus for 1.50E each (I think). The drive was winding and beautiful, and when we arrived half an hour later, we grabbed a quick snack from the grocery store by the bus stop and then headed up into the stone streets to explore. There were tiny little shops around every corner! At the very top was the Botanic Garden, which cost 6E each to enter. We decided to go for it, and I’m glad we did, because the views were unbeatable! We stopped in a few shops on our way back down before catching the bus back down.

We also considered going to St. Jean, but our Eze adventure took longer than we thought, so we decided just to head back to Nice at that point.

View from the Eze Botanic Garden.

View from the Eze Botanic Garden.

Eats:

-GiGi Tavola Autentica: Probably the best GF pizza I’ve ever had, with a dedicated preparation space! We went two days in a row, and also enjoyed the vegetable platter and the salads. Located over by the port, it was a bit of a walk from our place, but worth it. One of our favorite restaurants of the trip.

Pizza from Gigi Tavola.

Pizza from Gigi Tavola.

-GROM gelato: Still my favorite gelato shop! Located right along the main road through town, not far from the beach. Everything here is gluten free, including the cones.

-Naturalia market: The equivalent of a Natural Grocers or local health food store here in the states. We picked up some no-cook eats for our travel day from here!

-Lou Pilha Leva: Socca, or chickpea flatbread, is a thing in Nice. You can get it pretty much anywhere, and it is naturally gluten free. We got some from Lou Pilha Leva on a chilly, rainy evening and ate it piping hot and drenched in olive oil and salt. It was delicious!! It’s a casual spot, so don’t expect anything fancy, but it gave us the experience we were looking for! We didn’t try anything else on the menu though.

Other:

-The local grocery store is Monoprix, and we stopped in several times, mostly for snacks/no-cook eats. We did pick up some GF bread, butter, eggs, and fruit on our first day and cooked breakfast at home every morning.

-Galettes, or savory crepes, are made with buckwheat and are traditionally gluten free. However, they are not always cooked on a dedicated surface. We did have them once without issue. More on how I approached gluten free eating in this post***.

TELLARO, ITALY: 2 nights, 1.5 days

Travel:

Since Tellaro is a tiny little town, it would have taken us a full day to get there using public transportation, so we decided to rent a car instead. However, renting a car in France and leaving it in Italy was much more expensive than keeping it within one country, so we took a 3 hour train from Nice to Genoa, then walked from the Genoa train station to the ferry terminal to pick up our rental car from Hertz. The rental (a Fiat 500L automatic) was around $350, so not cheap, but it was worth it for all the time we would save on several legs of our trip. We came prepared with printed maps and instructions, but trying to deal with traffic and get out of the city without an active GPS was nerve wracking, so we quickly agreed to pay the 10E charge by Verizon to activate international cell service for 24 hours. (It’s a day by day service called the Travel Pass and it worked great! We used it 3 times, each day we drove). Things went much more smoothly after that!

Accommodations:

We stayed at this Air BNB (save 15% with this link if it’s your first booking) and loved it!! It was 4 levels, and you could open the window on the top floor where the bedroom was and listen to the waves at night. Our favorite part was the balcony, which was 10 feet from the water’s edge. There was no internet here, which was both nice and inconvenient at times.

The Best of Nice and Tellaro: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

Activities:

Because it was so small, Tellaro was a pretty relaxing destination. The day we drove in we stopped for a picnic lunch (we brought some proscuitto, cheese, cherries, carrots, nuts, etc from the grocery store) overlooking a neighboring town, Lerici, before meeting our Air BNB host. After we got settled in at our place, we set out to explore and quickly discovered that you can walk all of Tellaro in about 15 minutes! As such, we spent plenty of time enjoying the view from our balcony.

On our one full day in Tellaro, we decided to get out and walk along the coast over to the neighboring town of Lerici. The walk took us about 45 minutes on the road. There were no sidewalks, but plenty of others on foot, and cars were easy to hear coming. When we got to Lerici we explored the port and then walked over to the next town, San Terenzo, where we bought a carton of strawberries and sat by the water to have them as a snack! We wandered the winding streets and shops for a little big before heading back to Tellaro, which was a pretty good hike to get back up to the road, but didn’t take us long.

The Best of Nice and Tellaro: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

Eats:

-Osteria La Caletta: One of the best meals of our entire trip! We would have eaten here both nights if we could have, but they were closed on the first one. We started with the steamed salmon appetizer and the roasted veggies, and then shared the seafood paella. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! We also shared a carafe of the house white wine. They brought out bread for both of us (GF for me) and also a complimentary fried socca appetizer. 10/10 recommend. Our entire meal (which I would give 5 stars) was only 60E!! If we could go back, we would do the tasting menu for sure.

Seafood paella at Osteria La Caletta.

Seafood paella at Osteria La Caletta.

-La Barca: This place was just a magical experience. We got there for lunch around 1:30 (they close at 2), and were the only ones in the entire restaurant. We had a table upstairs by the windows with a beautiful view of the water. I ordered the octopus with pesto mashed potatoes and beets and Craig got the gnocchi with veggies and langostino. This is also the only spot in town with internet! After having eaten there, we were able to sit at the cafe next door and use the wifi on subsequent days as well.

The Best of Nice and Tellaro: The Whole Daily Life GF Guide to Europe

-Bar Underground: This is the little cafe, coffee shop, and bar in town. We went every day for cappuccinos (1.50E each). It’s a nice little spot to sit and read, or to use the wifi from next door!

Cappuccinos from Bar Underground.

Cappuccinos from Bar Underground.

Other:

The restaurants don’t open for dinner until 7 or 8pm, so if you like to eat early (like we do), be sure to have some snacks on hand! Pretty much everything closes mid-day. We ate one meal at El Delfino, but it was just okay. If you can go to one of the two listed above instead, I highly recommend that instead. There isn’t a grocery store in Tellaro, but there are a couple of little food shops, one up above the square (the main part of town) and one down below. As usual, we picked up some eggs, veggies, and yogurt to have for breakfasts.


A few other random thoughts:

Budget:

No doubt about it, this trip was the stuff of dreams. There were times where I almost felt guilty for enjoying it so much and for all of the things that we got to do while we were abroad. However, I reminded myself that we saved diligently for two years for this trip, and it encompassed two anniversaries, two birthdays, and two annual vacations! We bought our flights with credit card points. Our biggest expenses were accommodations, followed by food and drink. Travel and lodging were all paid for up front, so while we were there, we aimed for a budget of around 100-150 euro per day for food and activities. Some days we spent way less (like in Tellaro, where everything was really affordable) and some days we spent on the higher end (like in Positano, where prices were almost double). We weren’t frivolous, but we also didn’t decide not to do something that we really wanted to do because of cost. Some of the ways we kept total expenses down were by making coffee and breakfast at home in the mornings and having simple food (no-cook or similar) for one meal most days. At the end of our trip, we were within a few hundred dollars of our goal budget!

Money:

-We used both cash and card on this trip. In the hustle leading up to leaving, we forgot to pull cash out of the bank, so the night before we left we gathered up all the cash we had on hand at home ($170) and took it with us. We exchanged it at the airport, which was a flat $10 fee, and got around 150E for it. We pretty much broke even here compared to if we had exchanged it abroad or pulled out cash from an ATM when we landed, but if we were going to do more, the airport would have been the better option, because the international ATMs charge a percentage in addition to the flat rate.

-We knew that our AMEX didn’t have an international transaction fee, so we planned on using that card for most of our purchases, but forgot that many establishments in Europe don’t accept AMEX. This meant that we were stuck using our Cash Rewards Visa, which did charge a 3% international transaction fee. We always tried the AMEX first, and paid for small things in cash (we did pull out cash from an ATM one other time), but ended up with about $50 in fees at the end of the trip from the Visa. Live and learn! If you bank with BOA, there is a Travel Rewards card that does not have an international fee that you can use as well.

For more on how I managed my Hashimoto’s while on this trip, see THIS POST, and for more on the supplements that I took and how I organized them, head on over HERE!

I hope this guide has been helpful! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!

-Tracey

How I Stayed 100% Gluten Free While Traveling in Italy and France

I have often heard that the wheat in Europe is different than what is available in the states, and that many who have a gluten sensitivity at home are able to tolerate gluten without issue abroad. While I don’t doubt that there is a difference (Europe doesn’t currently allow GMO’s and has much more strict food standards than we do), I personally chose not to risk eating gluten abroad, just in case I still had symptoms like I do at home. I’d hate to miss out on feeling my best for a couple days of vacation!

 

Fortunately, these days there are infinitely more options for gluten free food than even just a few years ago, but dealing with a language barrier did make things slightly more difficult. Even so, I found both France and Italy to be extremely GF friendly and completely accommodating!

 

Here are some of the things I kept in mind while eating 100% gluten free while abroad.

How I Stayed 100% Gluten Free While Traveling in Italy and France | Whole Daily Life

 

Do some research ahead of time.

While it is pretty much always possible to get simple meat and produce that would be safe to eat, I also wanted to enjoy the local cuisine! I knew that I wanted to have some GF pizza, pasta, and pastry if possible. I made sure to do some research ahead of time using Google Maps, Yelp, and Find Me Gluten Free to see if there were places that looked worth seeking out. It was also easier to do research in advance than when I was hungry and ready to eat! I went with a few ideas for each location that we traveled to, which gave me a good foundation for where we might want to eat.

Know the high risk dishes.

A meal of pan seared fish and sautéed vegetables is a much “safer” option than a GF pizza or pasta dish, as there is much less risk of cross contamination. (Pizza is often cooked in a shared oven, and pasta sometimes in a pot that hasn’t been thoroughly washed!) It’s hard to ask about shared surfaces and utensils in a foreign language, so if I wasn’t sure about the restaurant or they didn’t seem to have a good awareness of gluten and cross contamination, I usually stuck to meals that were less likely to be problematic. (I will say that I was less concerned about cross contamination abroad in general, primarily for the fact that many who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity do okay with wheat abroad. I did do my due diligence to avoid it, but didn’t ask as many questions as I might at home.)

Consider gluten digesting enzymes.

This isn’t something that I routinely use at home, but I did take them with me abroad. I have used this brand and this brand. In short, these enzymes are specifically formulated to digest gluten quickly, before it can trigger a response. They aren’t meant to handle a full gluten containing meal, moreso for accidental cross contamination. I used these when I ate meals that had a higher risk of cross contamination, such as GF pizza or pasta.

Have a backup form of communication.

I carried a gluten free card in both French and Italian. These are just written explanations in the local language of what gluten free means. They go a step further to describe cross contamination and possible sources of hidden gluten. I didn’t need to use these at all, but it was nice to have as a backup, in case we ended up in a situation where there was a complete language barrier and we didn’t have any other options. I had a screenshot of each on my phone. I also knew how to say “gluten free” in both French (sans gluten) and Italian (senza glutine), and was familiar with what the gluten free symbol looked like on packaging.

Let your server know up front.

I made sure to communicate from the beginning that I needed gluten free food and asked if there was a gluten free menu (if items weren’t marked). If there wasn’t a separate menu, I asked what dishes were gluten free and the server was always able to walk me through what I could and couldn’t have. I also reminded them when actually placing my order.

Trust your instincts.

This goes without saying, but if something didn’t seem right, or there was something on my plate that I wasn’t expecting or couldn’t identify, I waited to confirm what it was before eating. Same thing went for the bread that was served to me at a meal. Most of the time it was packaged and clearly labeled, but if not, I made sure to double check!

 

Living a 100% gluten free life is one of the ways that I manage my Hashimoto’s naturally. You can find some of my other top recommendations for that in my free PDF download!

I hope these tips are helpful! If you have any others that you would add, please share them in the comments!

 

Until next time,

Tracey

How To Know When To Ditch Your Doctor

I’ve been through 7 doctors since getting my Hashimoto’s diagnosis in late 2014. Some of those changes were forced due to cross country relocations, and others were by choice.

Here’s how I knew when it was time to move on, and what I looked for when I did.

How To Know When To Ditch Your Doctor | Whole Daily Life

Each of my doctors has been helpful in their own way, and each has helped me understand more about my health. However, just as there is value in having a doctor who has known your full health history, there is also value in recruiting a fresh pair of eyes! As I have partnered with each of these doctors over the years, they have been able to recruit their own professional experience to see my story with a unique lens.

Even so, there have been a couple of times in recent years where I have found myself stuck, and my doctor didn’t really know what to look for or recommend next. The reality is, in healing, there are sometimes plateau periods like this. However, seeking out the root cause and optimizing health should still be the priority, rather than just sitting back and “waiting things out.”

Remember, your doctor is working for you. You should feel free to ask questions, request tests, propose alternative treatments, and more. Your doctor is the expert in medicine, but you are the expert on your body. You should feel like your he/she is on your side, supporting you with your best interest at heart. Even if you’re not actively seeing progress, your doctor should be able to explain why this is and what exactly you are waiting on before making another change. If this is not the case, consider looking elsewhere!


When I’m looking for a new doctor, here are a few things I consider:

-This relationship is a partnership. I am knowledgable about my body, my symptoms, and my health. It is important to me that my provider welcome my questions, input, and suggestions.

-What is his/her practice philosophy? Will they be seeing out the root cause or just treating symptoms? What do they believe about the value of diet and lifestyle in healing? (These are foundational concepts in the naturopathic approach to medicine.)

-Do they have experience in treating autoimmunity?

-Do they offer alternative treatments, such as IV therapy, sauna, acupuncture, etc?

-Is this person covered by my insurance? If not, do they offer a free meet and greet so that I can see if I feel comfortable with them before moving forward?

-When I share a brief overview of my health history with them, are they able to respond in a way that inspires confidence? Have they worked with patients with my particular health issues before?

-Is there anyone who has seen this doctor before of whom I could ask questions?


Medical care is expensive, and when it comes to health, it truly is important that we have our best interests at heart. One of the most important pieces of my healing has been to take the initiative and be my own advocate. When I reflect back on the early days of my journey, I was so desperate to feel better that I took anything that my doctors said as truth, and I didn’t know how to do my own research. Had I been better equipped from the beginning, and known what to look for in a provider partnership, my journey might have been quite different!


This concept of how to be an empowered patient and partner well with your provider is one of the topics that we explore in depth in my Healing Hashimoto’s course. We also discuss topics such as optimizing your lab work, different types of practitioners, how to make the most out of your appointments, and much more!

If you’re ready to understand your Hashimoto’s so that you can heal your Hashimoto’s and take back control of your health, you can start by downloading my free PDF on the Top 5 Things That Have Helped Heal My Hashimoto’s Naturally!

I hope you feel empowered by this information! I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

Warmly,

Tracey