Reflections on being gluten-intolerant in New Zealand

We’re a small country. We have a small population. There may be a perception that we’re a bit rustic or backwards in some ways. Now as Kiwis, we know that this is not true. And my recent visit to the United States has proved to me that we are completely correct.

There are a lot of differences between the food in the United States and the food here in New Zealand and the main thing is that the sophistication and and quality are substantially different. Those of you have read my blog will have noted that we went to some great restaurants and ate some wonderful food. We also ate a lot of very average food.

The things I found hardest were that there is very little gluten-free labelling or referencing. I understand that this is because of the suing laws in the US, but it makes it very difficult to eat reasonably gluten-free. I ended up mostly eating salads, but it’s amazing how many different dressings can be put on a salad and who knows what goes into them. I felt very lucky that I am only gluten-intolerant and not coeliac or my life would have been very much more difficult.

On the plus side were the Raleys supermarkets in California that had a hanging sign over the portion of the aisle that had gluten-free food. Also the Big Eagle supermarkets had a great range of frozen products including divine chocolate cupcakes! And the soft corn tortillas which had no wheat flour and could be bought for $2.99 per 100 at Costco! I brought home a bag of those, have frozen them and am eking them out and occasionally sharing them with the children πŸ™‚

So there were some absolute food highlights. But I had to work very, very hard to try and eat well and properly. And a lot of meals were not at all what I expected. To be fair, at least some of that was unfamiliarity with menu descriptions and not knowing what made up certain dishes.

Then we got home, and it was soooooo much easier! Suddenly there were gluten-free options in the cafes, I had a pile of food at home to eat and life was good. Food was much more accessible and much fresher, a much wider range and best of all, most of it was labelled!

So I guess my trip overseas has shown me just how great we have it in New Zealand when it comes to food and eating.Β  We should be very grateful for how well off we are here and how easy it is to be gluten-intolerant, or in fact have any food allergies. Thanks USA for helping me to count my blessings!


6 thoughts on “Reflections on being gluten-intolerant in New Zealand

  1. NZ is way ahead of most countries when it comes to gluten free. We moved to Auckland from the UK 2 years ago and back in the UK there is very little “edible” gluten free food available. The best stuff is only available on prescription from the doctors for some crazy reason, and eating out you can forget about as 99% of places have no clue what a food allergy is!

    Arriving in NZ was a breath of fresh air. We spotted gluten free food at the airport, our hotel had a GF menu and its just gone from there. We eat so well now and even though I am not gluten intolerant (my wife is a celiac) since being in NZ I have now converted to a gluten free diet as its just so simple here. People say NZ is behind the times with things, but when it comes to gluten free food they lead the world imo πŸ™‚

    • As a staunchly patriotic Kiwi (albeit one who was only *just* born in NZ) I think we lead the world in many things πŸ™‚ But definitely my recent experiences showed that in food terms, we are very well off!

      • LOL I agree totally, you do lead the worlds in many things, esp Rugby πŸ˜‰ GF though you are no doubt no1! Love it here πŸ™‚

  2. Thought I’d let you know we just ate at The Bay Waike just north of Browns Bay today and it was awesome!! Had a full seperate GF menu and both the wait staff were excellent, knew all about GF etc. Really happy and probably one of the best meals we’ve had out in ages! A little on the $$ side but well worth it as a treat!

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