Welcome to Poland. It is a picturesque and interesting country. To start with we have good news for people with coeliac disease and others on gluten-free diet who would like to visit our country. If you are on this kind of diet you can survive in Poland for sure! We are living examples! Maybe it is less comfortable than in some other countries but we shall offer you some useful advice.
If you want to buy gluten-free and lactose-free products you have to look for:
- healthy food shops (in Polish: sklep ze zdrową żywnoscią) or eco-shops, they are in most cities;
- super- or hypermarkets (like Auchan, Real, Tesco, Carrefour);
- shops in malls (look for “Organic Market” or ‘Kuchnie Świata’);
- luxury food shops (like ‘Piotr i Paweł’ or Alma);
- gluten-free rice wafers Good Food or Sonko (wafle ryżowe) may be easily found in regular shops;
- you can also order gluten-free food by telephone or the Internet with delivery in e-shops (one example: www.glutenex.com.pl).
If you plan to visit us just for a couple of days and stay somewhere out of town, the best solution is to take some provisions of bread and other products you need daily.
If you come to stay longer and you stay at Polish family, they can order some food for you and appropriately modify your home meals. Ask them to visit: http://www.celiakia.pl/produkty-dozwolone/ .
When staying at hotel it is also worth trying, while booking rooms, to ask hotel staff to order some gluten-free products for you. If you would like to use hotel dining room you may talk to the chief describing your diet and decide what sort of meals are safe for you. Below you have a short text in Polish, which informs that you are on a GF diet and the main points describing it:
Jestem na diecie bezglutenowej. Nie mogę spożywać produktów zawierających pszenicę, żyto, jęczmień i owies oraz wszelkich wyrobów z ich dodatkiem, szczególnie mąki, skrobi i bułki tartej. Mogę jeść: kukurydzę, ryż, ziemniaki, soję, proso, grykę. Również wszystkie warzywa i owoce, mleko, ser biały i żółty, jajka, świeże mięso. Glutenu nie zawierają również masło, margaryny, oleje, oliwa z oliwek, cukier, pieprz i sól. Przy stosowaniu przypraw należy przeczytać na etykiecie, czy nie zawierają glutenu.
Problems can start when you decide to go to restaurant. A list of safe restaurants is available at: www.menubezglutenu.pl. When you click on a map on left hand side, you will find some restaurants with gluten-free menu in your area. Our project of safe eating out (MENU BEZ GLUTENU) has starded on May 2011 and the number of safe restaurants is still increasing.
In any other restaurant you have to consider carefully (together with a waiter) what you can eat safely. Soups are risky because flour is often added to them. Fortunately there is a bigger choice as far as the main course is concerned. You can always choose boiled potatoes (after all Poland is a country where potatoes are the basic ingredients in dishes) or rice. As far as meat is concerned you can choose a roasted chicken (without the skin because you never know what it was sprinkled with), grilled meat (after checking what the added spices were) or a piece of meat (without sauce). Salads that go with the dishes are usually safe.
Have good time in Poland and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polish Coeliac Society
The Polish Coeliac Society is the biggest nation-wide organization supporting people on a gluten-free diet. The mission of the Society, a public benefit organization, is the promotion of knowledge about the coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet and providing all-encompassing support for the afflicted. The organization was established in 2006 on the initiative of parents of children suffering from the disease and adult afflicted persons, their families and friends, who decided to confront the lack of awareness and knowledge of the coeliac disease in Poland and the problems encountered by people following a gluten-free diet. The Society has about 4.000 members country-wide and has its branches in several Polish cities, including Warsaw, Cracow, Szczecin, Lodz, Poznan, Radom, Trojmiasto, Leszno, Kielce, Elblag, Torun, Katowice and Bialystok.
Main actions and achievement of the Society:
- Editing the biggest information website about the coeliac disease and gluten-free diet (www.celiakia.pl), a discussion forum for people following a gluten-free diet, a cooking website with recipes and products labeled with the crossed grain symbol, etc. The website of the Society is the most popular source of knowledge and place of experience sharing on this topic in Poland, visited monthly by several dozen thousand people. The members of the Society receive also the monthly newsletter “The Gluten-Free Diet.”
- Operating a free Information and Consultation Point in Warsaw. The ICP provides specialized advice related to the coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet by phone and on the Internet. One can also make an appointment for a free consultation with an experienced dietitian. The Point was established in 2009. Since then about 700 people made use of the one hour dietary consultation, about 7200 people were given advice and information by phone and about 16.300 by email.
- The Society is the only organization representing Polish coeliac patients internationally. As an AOECS member (Association of European Coeliac Societies, www.aoecs.com) it takes part in international conferences about the coeliac disease and follows research and scientific data on the topic. The Society is partnered with several other European associations, learning from their experience and sharing its own.
- Since 2006 the Society organizes the International Coeliac Days in several Polish cities and holds numerous conferences devoted to the matter, including training conferences for dietitians and many gastronomical workshops and other meetings on the subject. Together, the Society has organized about 30 big conferences and 200 various events in Poland.
- Twice (in 2011 and 2013) the Society organized the only in Poland gluten-free food fair “Gluten Free EXPO,” attended by about 60 exhibitors and 3000 visitors.
- One of the most important projects of the Society is the social action MENU WITHOUT GLUTEN – a program consisting in professional training workshops for restaurants, cafes, hotels, leisure centers and other establishments offering gluten-free meals. Since 2011 over 200 workshops were held, and there are now about 90 participants from the whole country.
- The Society publishes free materials about the coeliac disease and gluten-free diet: the guidebook “Celiakia i dieta bezglutenowa” (Coeliac Disease and Gluten Free Diet,” ten editions and several thousand printed copies), information flyers “ABC diety bezglutenowej” (ABC of Gluten-Free Diet,” 6 editions), the magazine “Bez glutenu” (“Gluten-Free, 5 issues) and others. Guidebooks and various kinds of information flyers are distributed for free among gastroenterologists, dietitians and all people in need of information about the coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet.
- The Society cooperates with national and international food manufacturers and effectively fights for the safety and availability of gluten-free food. Since November 2009 it issues licenses for the use of the crossed grain symbol. Presently 35 manufacturers hold the license in Poland and talks are under way with several others. A regularly updated “Catalogue of Gluten-Free Products Available on the Polish Market” is published on the website of the Society and encompasses about 3000 products.
- For a few years the Society has been conducting research on gluten content in food products (over 100 products were studied, and in many cases a high content of gluten was discovered in spite of lack of an appropriate information on the labelling; interventions with manufacturers improved the quality of products by leading to elimination of gluten in them).
- Representatives of the Society yearly take an active part in numerous specialized conferences (mainly for pediatricians, gastroenterologists and dietitians): they distribute materials, give lectures, talk about the situation of people on a gluten-free diet, etc.
- Free materials are regularly sent to several hundred doctors and dietitians in the whole country. The Society cooperates with many medical centers, institutions and social organizations.
- The Society organizes vacation trips and camps for children following a gluten-free diet as well as sponsors other trips with a gluten-free diet and gathers information on recreation centers offering gluten-free stays in Poland and abroad.
- Thanks to the actions of the Society, gluten-free Holy Communion is available in Poland since 2009. The Society publishes a list of parishes where such Holy Communion is always available.
- The Society is often invited to local and nation-wide media (television, radio, magazines): interviews, radio and television programs, articles about the coeliac disease and gluten-free diet.
We are a member of AOECS.