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Gluten Free on Camino


New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (June 2013)
Has anyone completed the camino on a gluten free diet? I'm leaving next weekend and I'm mostly wondering if I should bring some GF snack bars to ensure I have something to eat for breakfasts or if I should likely be able to access something GF at/near the hostels easily. I hear that most hostel breakfasts (if any) are coffee and bread, so I need to make sure I have something else.

Also, suggestions on packing lunches since I can't eat bread for sandwiches?

Thank you!!
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Clearing out some books before my move to the new office in a few weeks.
I am not gluten intolerant but try to avoid eating wheat every day. You will find tortilla Espanole (potato omelette) in almost every bar in Spain (think. "cafe" when you see the word "bar" ) and also tortilla Frances (plain omelette). It is usually served with bread but you can just leave that. In the morning my preferred breakfast is tortilla Espanole with a cafe con leche grande but often the bars are not open til mid-morning. So I buy yoghurt and some fruit the night before. And chocolate! That keeps me going until the bars are open. Tortilla makes a substantial mid-morning snack and then I follow the Spanish custom of having my main meal at about 2 or 3 pm (when I've stopped walking for the day). That regime eliminates the need to eat sandwiches or bocadillos. I avoid the Pelegrino menu and look to see where the locals eat and pay a few euros more for the menu del dia, You should find plenty of choices on that to suit you. It's a 3 course meal so I don't need much at night - maybe a little salad with some tuna and olives.
It takes a little planning. Shops are closed between 1pm and 5pm but open till quite late at night.
Thanks for the good tips! Did you find it ok to buy yogurt the night before and eat it the next morning without refrigeration?
cwallis1 said:
Did you find it ok to buy yogurt the night before and eat it the next morning without refrigeration?
Yes, I've not had a problem.
I got hooked on those liquid yoghurt in my last camino last year. I usually buy them at the end of the walk in the evening. I left them outside the window (cooler), drank half of it in the morning, kept it inside my backpack and drank the rest around late morning early afternoon. I guess they can last about 24 hours easily unrefrigerated.
2 Camino guides, €5 each
Clearing out some books before my move to the new office in a few weeks.
Me too. I've never had a problem buying yogurt the night before. Everyday I would walk until mid-afternoon and then go to the local market to pick up some fruits and essentials for the next day. In fact, I would always carry some nuts and energy bars in case I got hungry. Buen Camino!
I have a gluten allergy and walked from SJPP to SdC both of the last two falls (and will again this fall) without any significant food issues. Because albergues that include breakfasts in the fee, I am rarely able to eat what is offered unless fruit, juice, and/or tea are available, and because many places do not include breakfast regardless, I am in the habit of carrying a tin of tuna, fruit, and nuts in my pack. Also, as mentioned earlier, many cafés offer tortillas (egg and potato). Just make clear that you don't want any bread on the plate. For the pilgrim meals, the menus almost always include gluten-free options, e.g., ensalada mixta for the first course, meat/fish and potatoes or rice for the second, and fruit for dessert. Communal meals can be a little trickier. But I found that most hospitalieros want to make sure that there is something for me to eat and ensure I receive double servings of salad or other items if the main course includes gluten. Sharing those meals with other pilgrims is worth any lost calories that might result from not eating everything offered. As long as you carry a few things in your pack and are willing to be flexible about what gluten-free food you will eat, you will have a full belly along the way.
Buen Camino!
The almond cake they serve everywhere for breakfast is gluten free. It is make of eggs, sugar, flour!
I am not gluten-intolerant, but I do have a tip for you. I always carried some dried fruits in my backpack as a snack: peaches, prunes, raisins, etc. They were readily available in the shops and you can keep them for a longer time.
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Thanks for these tips. My mum (and possibly niece, we're still waiting for the tests to come back) has Celiac's so it'll be a gluten free Camino for sure. We've heard it's not too bad though, maybe just the breakfasts we need to prepare for.
Celiacs, those with nut allergies or lactose intolerance, even vegans will often discover that many Spaniards have no idea concerning the complexities of their diets. Bread may be used to thicken soups dissolving as it cooks and thus invisible, the servers often have no idea whatsoever how a particular item on the menu was prepared, salads always have hard boiled eggs, vegetable soup always has a chunk of fatback in there to improve the flavor, fish a light "insignificant" coating of flour before frying, and try ordering decaffinated coffee with soya milk in a village bar/cafe. There are some good ideas already mentioned here, and hey, those of us without restrictions want to shout at the word lomo or bocadillo by the time we reach Santiago.
Thanks for all of the tips...i will be leaving at the end of August, and I have multiple food allergies. I figured that, worst case scenario, i would live off of tortilla, but knowing that there are other options is nice!

Traditionally Tarta de Santiago has only 3 ingredients; ground almonds, sugar and eggs. (And sometimes lemon zest). So it should be gluten free. Should. I suspect flour is added sometimes to make it cheaper.
I just got to Santiago yesterday and did fine being wheat free. Like someone said, there are Spanish tortillas in nearly every bar ...until the last few days. I bought rice cakes in supermercados and put butter and jam on them in the mornings along with carrying nuts, fruit, tuna, and chocolate every day. Dinners usually have wheat free things to choose from but watch out for the soups. Most bars look at you like you have three heads when you say no pan (bread) but will accommodate you.
"Allergia de harina y trigo" is a very useful phrase.
I was pleasantly surprised at times by the attention to my food issues that some Spanish paid.

Buen Camino

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