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Trekking in Nepal on a Gluten Free Diet

Local market in Nepal
A local market in Nepal

by Kristina Bischoff

I had an excellent experience traveling to Nepal with Alaya Holidays. They took great care to contact restaurants ahead of time and to talk to restaurant staff when ordering meals, to make sure it would be safe for me.

One of the guides was very knowledgeable about celiac disease from a past experience with a celiac person. It's easy to eat gluten-free in Nepal, as the traditional meal (dahl bat) is made of lentils, rice, potatoes and vegetables, and spices used are whole spices they grind themselves.

Fried rice is a popular dish. Just make sure they don't put any soy sauce and cook it in a clean pan. Fish or chicken with rice or potatoes and vegetables is also a dish we find in many restaurants and that is easy to make gluten-free.

In lodges along the trek a popular safe guten-free dish is rosti (grated potaoes cooked in a friyng pan and topped with eggs or cheese). For breakfasts along the trek, I had brought from home some gluten-free oats and skim milk powder(3/4 cups oats + 1/4 cup skim milk powder in a ziploc) and asked kitchen staff to cook it with 1 cup of boiled water, and it was perfect.

Other breakfast options include eggs. Make sure to bring your own bread,crackers, bars, cookies and other snacking foods, as there are few gluten-free options of such foods in stores in Nepal. Servings of protein (meat, lentils, etc.) in lodges along the trek are not always very large, so it is useful to bring extra protein-rich foods such a nuts and protein-rich bars.

Servings of fruit and vegetables are small too, it is useful to bring dried fruit to compensate. In Katmandu, there is a great breakfast buffet at Hotel Holy Himalaya with fruit, yogourt, cheese, boiled and scrambled eggs. It is useful to bring your own peanut butter to avoid cross-contamination and for more breakfast options along the trek.

Here are 2 restaurants where I had a good service to eat gluten-free in Katmandu: New Orleans Cafe and Gaia restaurant. And in Pokhara, Maya Pub (fresh fish from Pokhara lake) and OR2K where one page of the menu is for gluten-free and vegan options.

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