Who knew?

The soft and crunchy tan gluten free pizza bread mixed with the sweet fresh scarlet red tomato sauce and garlic entered my mouth. My first bite was filled with gooey cheese, sweet pesto sauce and has never tasted so fresh; the pizza was accompanied by a fresh garden salad with a tasty honey balsamic dressing.

Johanna handed me my pizza box and  mentioned that this was her first time preparing and cooking a gluten free pizza, but she was eager to try. Who knew that so many people in Ireland were gluten free? When I first signed up for the Ireland trip, I was really worried about what I would eat due to having celiac disease. Celiac disease in an autoimmune disease that causes an abnormal reaction in the small intestines to eating gluten; gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and malt. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in August of 2016 therefore this was going to be my first trip since my diagnosis. A few weeks before the trip I discovered that Celiac disease is much more common in Northern Europe than the rest of the world. After arriving in Ireland I sat down for dinner at a local restaurant and to my surprise they labeled which meals had allergens in them, such as gluten, dairy, peanuts, and so on. I was really pleased by this however I figured that this was not going to be the case and most restaurants would not even know what gluten is. To my surprise I was wrong! Almost every restaurant that I went to labeled what food had what allergens in them and many restaurants even had a circled light brown C, which meant that they were celiac friendly. All of the restaurants that I went to had gluten free bread for toast and sandwiches which I almost never find in restaurants in the United States. Due to the high prevalence of individuals having celiac disease in Ireland, restaurants are aware of the precautions needed to prepare a safe gluten free meal. Throughout my trip many of the other students asked me questions about celiac disease, and what I can and cannot eat. I have never met so many people that were so interested in learning about celiac disease. On the second to last day of the trip a few of my classmates have said to me I will never look at restaurant menus the same and now they will always notice which foods are gluten free.

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