Diabetic in Italy

Jan 5th, 2012, 10:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Diabetic in Italy

I have never been to Italy ...yet. I am going in a few months and need to know how difficult it will be for me as a diabetic to eat. Praying the only thing to eat there will not be pastas, oils , and breads.
I also am concerned if something happens are there drugstores?
sikku1 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 10:06 PM
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I guess I should say that I'm headed to Sienna.
sikku1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 01:12 AM
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My DIL is a type 1 diabetic and she often holidays in Italy. Never had a problem. I know she is more relaxed about her diet and her diabetes than many are, having been diabetic since she was three, but she is still careful. She has an insulin pump and takes her insulin with her, plus the necessaries for if things do go wrong. My son knows how to treat her.

Make sure you have prescriptions for you medicines with you, preferably using the generic name of the drugs not the trade name.
Also make sure you have health care insurance to cover you while away.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 01:54 AM
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There are lots of wonderful roasted vegetables, salads, fish and meat dishes. I think you will be able to manage just fine.

There is usually one pharmacy that is open 24 hours a day. I think they rotate the days. The pharmacists are very helpful. The Italians I know go first to their pharmacist for advice and then to their doctors if they need more help.
Saraho is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 02:09 AM
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Hi Sikku

What type of diet are you following-Low Carb or Low fat or a combination? As a type 2 following a low GI diet I normally have little problem other than having to exercise some will power when faced with so many delicious foods.

Which ever diet you follow you should have no problem finding suitable foods if you read the menus carefully. So a menu reader might be the first step. It is usually easy to leave out pasta and breads by missing these courses. Oil is usually olive oil and usually of a very high quality rather than quantity.

Here are some of my choices from various meals.

l'antipasto - Olives, tomato and mozzarella, melon and Parma ham. Grilled vegetables such as melanzane (aubergine/eggplant)
Il primo - Zuppa (soup) But I will often have the seafood pasta as my only carbs in the meal. Portions are often small as this is not the main course.
Il secondo or main dish - this is often just the meat/fish on its own so you can choose something like grilled chicken or fish which is low in fat.
Il contorno - side dishes of vegetables. Salad (insalata mista)is often my choice.You could often chose this on its own.
Il dolce - dessert - ah well this time I am usually so full that I just give it a miss! But there is often a choice of fresh fruit.

Main problem can be continental style breakfasts at some hotels with only sweet pastries on offer. Here I just give it a miss and find a supermarket to get something more suitable. Many hotels offer a much healthier set of options fortunately.

I also make sure that I take a sheet with few sentences stating my condition and needs ready translated in my bag so I can show it to someone if I am concerned about the food. Remember that there are thousands of diabetic Italians too and often people will go out of their way to help.

Since you are going to Sienna this might interest you although it is from 2000

Lots of Farmacia will be found in Sienna and they will operate a rota for out of hours opening - ask your hotel or hosts to give you this information. Again I like to have a translation of any details of my medications and needs with me in case of emergency.

But the main thing to remember is that you are on holiday and while you must take sensible care don't let the big D ruin your fun!
spiral is online now  
Jan 6th, 2012, 02:22 AM
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You should buy a cookbook for Siena or research on the internet and see what is actually in the traditional dishes of the region. For instance, bread is a very common ingredient used in soups. Lard is often used in place of olive oil in Siena.

People would never go to Siena if all there was to eat was pasta, oil and bread. But you should familiarize yourself with the actual Italian names of foods and typical dishes you are likely to encounter on a menu in Siena.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 341

To add to the great information already given to you here, if you are type 1 then keep your insulin at the correct temperature with a Frio pouch. Details widely available on Google. I've used it on my travels through Europe for years and it's never let me down.
joe4212 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 04:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 106

Great advice to have some sentences about your condition written down in the local language! I can speak a little "tourist German" and even less French, and I will definitely take your advice when I travel all over Europe this coming April!


I've seen joe4212's advice on the Frio pouch already, and he's spot on! I haven't ordered mine yet, but I'm going to. I'll be in Europe long enough for any vial of spare insulin to reach room temp, and as you no doubt know, once that happens, the insulin has 28 days to live, or I have to throw it away even if there's nearly a full vial of it left! And I have NO clue how I'd buy more once I'm abroad, whether or not I had written prescrips, so better to be safe than sorry!
tomseeley is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 05:11 AM
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www.diabetes.org good tips I have these issues easy to eat HIGH protein low Glycemic Index over there I do it a lot.Beef Fish Seafood my staples some low GI carbs fine dukandiet.com
good tips.Excellent medical care travel.state.gov for listings
mdtravelhealth.com good travel health tips including special
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 05:13 AM
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No carbs in olive oil good fat fine to drizzle on protein...
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 05:36 AM
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I can't thank everyone enough for such incredible advice. Now I can burry those worries.
sikku1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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More about the pharmacy hours: there is an arrangement so that at least one pharmacy in the area is always open 24/7 -- if you find a pharmacy that is closed, there is a sign on the door telling you where to go for emergency services (and an emergency phone number). (It is in Italian with lots of abbreviations, so may be hard to decipher -- but at least you know to look for it.)

Farmacia are often marked with white crosses on green fields near the door -- they are more restricted than U.S. Drugstores on the variety of items they sell (no consmetics, no snacks, no greeting cards), but you can get, for example, toothpaste and feminine supplies.
capxxx is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Or a green cross on a white field. Or a sign in the shape of a green cross. Sometimes the sign is red and white...
capxxx is offline  

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