Saturday, September 7, 2013

Eating Gluten Free in Japan

I was really excited about my sister coming to visit, but my one concern was what to feed her.  She gets pretty severe joint pain from eating gluten or dairy.  At first it seems like Japan would be a great place for that, the diet is made up of fish, vegetables, and rice, right?  But once you start thinking about it, that's not true at all.  No noodles, no soy sauce, nothing that's been breaded and fried.  It turns out even Japanese mayonnaise and miso have gluten in them.  And I don't speak or read well enough to read ingredient labels or ask questions in restaurants.  Yikes!

I did a lot of reading to figure out what I could feed her, and there were a ton of blogs that were really helpful, outlining hidden sources of gluten to avoid and giving a lot of advice.  But a lot of them were pretty bleak and alarming too.  I thought it might be helpful to do a post about all the things she did successfully eat.  And just to be clear, she's moderately sensitive.  If you're super allergic you may need to be more careful than her, but she was able to eat all of these without any joint flareups.

Vegips - and I think most Calbee snacks are gluten free

Calbee Potato Sticks (lemon pepper is great)

Black Sesame Soymilk

There are tons of flavors of soymilk, cocoa, mango, banana, etc.

Chu-hais are NOT malt liquor, they have sochu in them!  Grapefruit is the best!

Popsicles!  This one is soda flavored

Red Bean Onigiri

Korean BBQ (get the unmarinated kind, don't eat the miso paste, and bring your own tamari)

Kushiage - I recommend Jomon in Roppongi, it's salted not soy marinated

Macarons!  We all need dessert

Sushi and Sashimi - just bring your own tamari and be careful of the wasabi

While Julie was here we went to Disney Sea, and I was most worried about that day.  We brought some dried fruits and nuts from a convenience store, but there turned out to be plenty she could eat.  I didn't take pictures of lunch but she got tacos and just didn't eat the tortillas.  Unfortunately the turkey leg stand was closed by the time she tried to get one, but that would have been another good option.  She also had:

Apple Cinnamon Popcorn

Frozen Mango - it's just plain frozen fruit

Watermelon Slushy

And of course, I cooked for her.  Here are just a few of the things I made.  (She brought the corn tortillas, but everything else is available here)

Figs with Thyme and Honey

Huevos Rancheros

Raspberry Sorbet

Lettuce Wraps

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