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sunnysky Jun 4th, 2006 11:42 AM

Food Allergies while traveling in Spain
Hi all,

Okay, I am allergic to the following: eggs, milk, oats, beef, corn, corn starch, corn syrup, potatoes, potato starch, garlic, onions, bananas, peanuts, most nuts, broccoli, all seafood, except for seabass, not so sure about salmon and tuna (I don't break out right away, but it tends to exacerbate my eczema, so I stay away from it). I will break out in hives if I eat or even touch eggs and milk. (I have to wear food handlers gloves when I pour milk for my son; I break out in hives on the area of contact if I spill milk on my hands.)
What do I eat at home? Soy milk, pan fried tofu, steam seabass, steam pork spareribs, ham, rice, rice cereal, brown rice pasta from Whole Foods, french bread sometimes, non-iodised salt, (iodised salt have dextrose in it, and dextrose is derived from corn).
As far as luncheon meat, I cannot eat Spam (the American brand here) because it has potato starch in it. I buy this other brand imported from Canada that only has pork, pork fat and sugar in it. Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Phosphate does not bother me at all.
I also eat pears, oranges, watermelons, watercress, cauliflower, zucchini and cucumbers.
When we travel within the United States, we always rent hotels with a kitchenette. And when we go back to Hong Kong, we stay with friends and they prepare meals for me.
I have a travel size cooking pot which I am going to bring with me to Spain and Italy. Last time I went to Europe was 10 years ago and my allergies was not as bad. Only milk, eggs, peanuts, some seafood and beef. After the birth of my 2 boys, my body took another 180 degrees turn and developed more food allergies and intolerances.

If I stay off offending foods and keep my skin well moisturized, I don't break out in hives and/or develop eczema. It's all worth the while since I detest itchy skin. I enjoy life even without being able to eat delicious food (as long as I don't starve!). I have learned to live with it. I will be bringing prednisone, Benadryl, Epi-pen and cortisone cream with me.
My boys are not traveling with us this time. My husband has a conference in Italy next week and since we've never been to Spain and this is our 10th year anniversary. I am tagging along.....:-)
Thanks for all your advice. Hope it answers all your questions... :-)


ekscrunchy Jun 4th, 2006 11:58 AM

Debbie I am sorry for your condition; it sounds very problematic. Maybe you should post this as a continuation of your previous thread..keeping them together will be more convenient for you as you will have all the responses in one place.. I think the seabass might be a problem for you, as fish have different names in different countries...even in the US, "seabass" can mean several different kinds of fish in different regions. I am curious as to what this particular fish either has or, more likely, does not have that would allow you to eat it and not to eat a fish such as hake which might be available in Spain. If it is truly the ONLY kind of fish you can eat, you might learn the LAtin name and take it with you but truly the sea bass you will find in Spain will surely not be the same species you are eating wherever you live in the Americas.

LoveItaly Jun 4th, 2006 11:58 AM

Hi Debbie, I buy and love SeaSalt from France, it is non-iodised..I image they have that in Spain. Isn't Spain known for its ham? I wonder if that would be safe for you to eat. I certainly wouldn't experiment unless I knew for sure of course, but was wondering.

Will you have lodgings in Spain that will have at least a small kitchen? That would certainly help your situation. Best wishes to enjoy your time in Spain. Wishing you a safe, healthy and beautiful trip!

sunnysky Jun 4th, 2006 12:31 PM

Sorry, I wasn't thinking when I was writing. I started a new thread instead of posting to a reply. I guessed if the seabass that I order is not what it is, I guess my husband will eat it then. I am hesistant on trying new things because I am always scared of the reaction. Like hake fish, if I am allergic to it then I will break out and have to deal with the aftermath. I never know. I haven't had a break out in a while, I am happy with it and I wanted it to stay that way.
I guessed I will just stick to ham and soymilk, plus rice cereal while in Spain if necessary.
And my travel cooking pot will come in handy if I need to heat up some stuff to eat.

We are staying in a hotel in Spain. The travel agent booked the hotels and all flights for us.

One interesting thing though, some ham slices sold in Hongkong supermarket has milk protein added in it. Not sure why they added it in, but when I was there, I only found one brand that doesn't

starrsville Jun 4th, 2006 12:59 PM


kenderina Jun 4th, 2006 01:45 PM

Fortunately, no milk added in the ham here :) Some of the low quality have potato on it..but not the good ones (it's easy to know which ones are...the more expensive the better :) ).
One thing that it's interesting for you : beef is not the most popular meat here in Spain, corn is not the most popular cereal, garlic it's highly popular and also onions :)
If the hotel where you are in Spain has a restaurant, talk with them and if they cannot help you , I'm sure they will be more than happy to let you in the kitchen to cook if you want to have at least one good meal with things you can enjoy :)

LoveItaly Jun 4th, 2006 01:51 PM

And a lot of ham here in the US has corn products added to it, unless you buy the very expensive ham, which I do. Allergies are a problem for sure.

I do not think in the US any commercial kitchen could let a customer cook their own meal in their kitchen but may things are different in Spain.

I remember a Fodorite who is a commercial chef wanted to cook in a commercial kitchen in Italy and although the owners wished he could do so they couldn't allow him to as it was agains the law. But again, maybe it is different in Spain.

In any case, best wishes sunnysky!!!

kenderina Jun 4th, 2006 02:09 PM

Not in upscale restaurants where there's a chef that gets angry :) I said in the hotel, because they usually have a kitchen even if they only do sandwiches and after all, it doesn't hurt to try (I've seen people doing it with children, because to have a kettle in the room is not the normal thing here)..and sunnysky is a very special woman !

LoveItaly Jun 4th, 2006 02:24 PM

Hi kendrina, no I wasn't talking about the chef getting mad (they can be tempermental can't they, lol) but the laws regarding commercial kitchens that serve the public. But maybe it is different in Spain.

kenderina Jun 4th, 2006 02:37 PM

Oh, yes , I understand it now :) I really don't know the law but we do have a saying that says "la excepción hace la regla" (the exception makes the rule) said won't harm trying :)

LoveItaly Jun 4th, 2006 02:49 PM

Hello kendrina, sounds like Italy and the Italians regarding their laws, LOL. Take care dear one!!!

kenderina Jun 4th, 2006 03:24 PM

Yes !! LOL

Take care you too , LoveItaly, a kiss from Spain :)

LoveItaly Jun 4th, 2006 03:33 PM

Oh kenderina, I always spell your name incorrectly, my sincere apologies!

And as my friends in Italy say to me I say to you, baci, baci!!!

kenderina Jun 4th, 2006 03:53 PM

You can call me Patty, Patricia is my real name :)

Vera Jun 4th, 2006 06:06 PM

You have a real challenge, don't you. I would make a list of the things you can't eat and a list of those you can eat and get someone who is totally fluent in Spanish to translate it for you. Then print it out on some index cards and take them along. Talking to the hotel is a good idea, and if you are going to be mostly in one place, maybe they can put you in touch with a restaurant where you can talk to the chef and get a routine going.
Makes my problem with not being able to eat onions seem very simple. I typed a statement on a card and took it to Italy and showed it to waiters. They were very helpful. Although, fortunately, the Italians don't use nearly as much onion in their cooking as Americans do when cooking Italian food.
Your limitations, of course, are much more serious. Best of luck.

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