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Getting gluten free food in Brazil

Although Brazilians are not very used with the term celiac, almost all have heard about gluten because it is law here, all the industrialized foods and drinks are labeled “contains gluten” or “does not contain gluten” (translation: “CONTÉN GLÚTEN” or ““NÃO CONTÉN GLÚTEN”). In despite of this, most people here don’t know exactly what does it means. The translation to barley, oats, wheat and rye is ” malte”, “aveia”, “trigo” and “centeio”

Brazil is an enormous country and gluten free food available depends on which city you are. For example, in Rio de Janeiro City, São Paulo City, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and other big towns you can find easier to buy whatever you need. The best thing to do is visiting the site www.acelbra.org.br (Brazilian Celiac Foundation). At this site you can find lots of information about products, where to buy it, doctors, etc. If you are going to Rio de Janeiro, visit www.riosemgluten.com.br too.

Eating at restaurants isn’t a big deal here because almost all places have white rice, grilled meat, potatoes, salads and fruits. We are not used to industrialized dressings; we just use vinegar or balsamic, oil and salt. But of course, you have to speak Portuguese to ask that regular and basic celiac questions about cross contamination. (Remember to take our Portuguese gluten free restaurant card).

I live in São Paulo and here we have Outback, Galetos (delicious chicken), and lots of options. For breakfast or afternoon snack you can have “pão de queijo”, it’s a delicious bread made of cheese and tapioca, celiac or not, everybody loves it, and the best, its traditional food and you can find it everywhere. If you go to anywhere in Northwest (beautiful beaches) you can have tapioca for breakfast, almost all resorts offer it. Yummy! Here in Brazil we unfortunately don’t have restaurants with gluten free menu (except for Outback).

I’m a doctor and have a celiac Kid. I know the difficulty of going to a foreign country, so, I’m more than happy to help if you have any question.

Maria Christina

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