Celiac in the U.S. compared to Italy-is there a difference?
Having lived in both the U.S. & Italy what do you find to be the biggest difference/s between the two countries?
"The biggest difference is the fad diet culture I mentioned earlier. I really have yet to meet an Italian who eats gluten-free by choice. It is predominantly seen as a medical treatment and therefore regarded with the level of severity necessary. It makes it so much easier to read labels, communicate with restaurants, and just feel understood by others. Living in America made me feel pretty socially isolated, misunderstood, and like I was missing out on a lot of experiences."
What is easier in the U.S./Italy?
"Easier/better in the US: packaged/pre-prepared meals. You have awesome frozen pizzas, premade meals, packaged snacks, and Trader Joe’s treats. The convenience is lovely.
Easier/better in Italy: eating out. We have an abundance of safe restaurants and very knowledgeable wait staff. I eat out multiple times a week and never run out of options… something I could never do in America."
What is more difficult in the U.S./Italy?
"More difficult in the US: engaging in social interactions without feeling like the odd one out. There aren’t many safe restaurant options and there’s a general lack of understanding about the disease which makes celiacs feel isolated.
More difficult in Italy: getting creative about food on the go with a lack of snack options. Also, in Italian culture, it’s totally normal and okay to openly make comments about someone’s body including their weight. Though I can see the value in their directness, it can be triggering for someone to make comments about your body when you’ve dealt with major shifts in weight, as many celiacs have."
Thank you so much Catalin @celicinitaly for letting me interview you!