Lisbon

Our Lisbon apartment is located in the old town, and it just might be our favourite rental yet! Which is super as we’ve spent a lot of time indoors because I’ve been feeling sick. Being sick on vacation is the worst. I remembered Bri of DesignLoveFest’s experience of being ill on vacation. I guess sick happens.

Our neighbourhood is wonderful. At the end of our steep, narrow, and pedestrian only street is a restaurant called Zapata. Zapata has a tiny window full of seafood: barnacles, octopus, squid, clams, etc. The service is a little slow, but the portion size and the price is amazing.
About a block away is lovely Italian ice cream, Nannarella, that has a basil ice cream, cream ice cream, and a milk flavoured ice cream in addition to vanilla. Cream or nata flavour seems to be very popular.

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Gluten Free in Barcelona

Here are some suggestions for eating gluten free in Barcelona, in no particular order:

1. Gocce di Latte. El Born. All of the ice cream is gluten free, most of it is egg free, and they make a gluten free pancake. AMAZAmazingING!

2. Dusa. Carrer D’Avinyo. El Barrio Gotic. A dedicated gluten free section filled with bread options, etc.

3. Bread and Circuses. Blasco de Garay 59. Poble Sec. A great gluten free sandwich bun. I’ve been twice, and they ran out of buns and made me an enormous salad instead. Wonderful.

4. Gelateria D’Asturies. Carrer d’Asturies and Cerrer del Torrent de L’Olla. Gracia. Fresh horchata, and gluten free cones! Try adding a scoop of ice cream to your horchata.

5. Mercad de Santa Caterina. El Born. This food market isn’t too busy, and most of the stall owners will gladly take their time to chat with you. Lots of products listed sensa gluten or sin gluten on them, but everyone was happy to direct me to the best products. There is also stand featuring organic food, and gluten free dry goods near a side exit (sorry, I don’t recall the name).

6. Just passed the intersection of Via Laietana and Aviendo de la Cathedral on the east side of the street is a huge organic shop that features gluten free options. I can’t recall the name, sorry. But, you can’t miss it.

All in all, most of the waitresses have been super helpful in picking out the right options. On more than one occasion, fish has not been battered before its been fried for me. Though, its been rare that we’re encountered batter fish at all.

On being allergic

I’ve known about my gluten sensitivity since I was 19. I didn’t really know what to do about it, and couldn’t afford to do much until I was 25. Not eating gluten was an expensive, difficult, and hard to explain thing. “Everyone gets bloated” was the response I used to get. Maybe, but not everyone has other unmentionable side effects that last for up to a week. I’ve been very strictly wheat, and gluten free for about two years with no regrets.

In December, my body started to react to everything. Or, that’s how it felt. I was coated in red and pink patchy, itchy, painful, achy, bumps. My face and my arms hurt to move. If you felt my skin, you could feel the layers of skin swollen. Inside everything felt foggy and aggravated. A visit to my dr, then an allergist and I was told I was allergic to citrus, chocolate, cheese, mushrooms, all tree nuts, mango, cherry (cross reactants to tree nuts), tomato. I should have mentioned that I also noticed awful reactions to eggs and soy along the way, so I stopped eating those too. Soy gives me terrible anxiety, and eggs make me feel like I’m loosing control of my body. No joke.
So, there I was, a happy Christmas indeed.

After diligently removing all those allergens, and nearly all the food in our house, I was still reacting. I had three large pink circles of rash around my eyes and mouth still. I started noticing what else I reacted to: figs, sunflower, apple, turmeric… I went to accupuncture to ease the pain of the rash. I met with a new naturopath and a new family dr. The naturopath asked about my latex allergy, and suggested that I remove cross reactive foods. The new doctor mentioned the low histamine diet. After three months of pain, confusion, and lots of frustration, we finally got it. the low histamine diet includes lots of foods that must be avoided. Buuuuut, actually, I had already been avoiding most of these. The few extra steps made an enormous impact.
I don’t miss foods allergens like avocado or lemon. I’m too happy not to be rubbing my eyes every two seconds because I’m so itchy. Moving my hands in a full rotation without pain means more than a chocolate bar. And feeling anxiety free can never compare with a frittata (which, I’ve never liked anyway).