Gluten-Free in Copenhagen
So, I've been in Denmark for about two weeks, and of course, I have been knees-deep exploring what Copenhagen has to offer in terms of the gluten-free and health food scene. As you know, it's one of my favorite things to do. I wrote a little guide to eating gluten-free in Copenhagen on my blog a few months ago. I was pretty positive about Copenhagen as a health food hot spot—even exclaiming it was comparable to some of the best of the best in the U.S. like Portland and LA. Well, now that I've really done a bit more exploring, it seems Copenhagen isn't the gluten-free mecca I thought it was. Let me explain. As I know many of you know, I am strictly gluten-free for health reasons. I have been eating gluten-free for nearly four years as a way to manage my ADHD and obviously, to support my thyroid health. Thanks to eating g-free, I've seen tremendous improvements in my health; my ADHD has disappeared and as you know, I'm working on continuing to improve, support and manage my thyroid health. So that being said, being gluten-free is absolutely essential for me, as I know it is for many of you who read my blog. Yay. Aren't we cute? Hehe.
At first glance, Copenhagen comes off as a mecca for gluten-free people. They've got a handful of nice restaurants and cafés that are specifically paleo-friendly, gluten-free or vegetarian. A couple of these fab establishments are: 42Raw, Palaeo, Simple Raw and VitaBoost. You can also find fresh-pressed juices all over the city. Copenhagen has a serious thing for juice—especially when it's made with spinach, avocado, lemon and ginger. However, when you hang out in this city a bit longer, you realize that the gluten-free food scene actually lacks a lot of variety. Those four previously mentioned restaurants have basically been my go-to's. The rest of the standard cafés and restaurants in Copenhagen? One phrase I'd use to describe: be careful. They are very much not gluten-free friendly. While yes, there are places you can go specifically geared towards the health-minded people with food allergies or aversions, most places around town don't cater to allergies the way they do in America. You know how in the United States, you can basically go to any restaurant and tell the waiter your gluten-free and they know what it means and generally how to accommodate you? Yeah, well that's not really the case here. In fact, there isn't a lot of recognition of the allergy whatsoever. Gluten-free is so mainstream in the U.S.—you can go to Applebee's for heaven sakes and you'll be totally good. Well, here in Copenhagen people at the average restaurant are definitely uninformed about gluten and what it is. One example of this is when I went to Cocks n' Cows—a burger joint in Copenhagen that markets the fact that they have gluten-free buns available. Well, regardless, the wait staff had no idea about gluten. Long story shot, we all know where this is going. I got gluten-ed! That means I will be sick all week with flu and cold light symptoms. I will probably get a rash. And I'm just generally fatigued and achy. Sucks! So now that I've been doing a bit more exploring, my conclusion is Copenhagen is GF friendly to a certain extent. They are getting there. And for someone who is visiting, it's great, because there are a handful of safe places you can go to get your grub on that are actually really, really good. But when it comes to day-to-day eating, well, those four places on rotation get really old really fast. And most people don't recognize gluten as a legit allergy here. The good news? There isn't a huge culture of going out in Copenhagen. People definitely like to stay in and cook for themselves. Which now, I will be doing more of, to avoid getting gluten-ed again.
I haven't been many other parts of Europe while gluten-free, but I suspect it to be similar. Have you been around Europe while maintaining a gluten-free diet? Would love to hear! xx