A gluten-free boat

When the doctors in Tonga couldn’t find a reason for Christian’s weight loss we started reading all kinds of medical articles online. Gluten intolerance was among the topics we found, so we decided to give a gluten-free diet a try. Before that we had laughed about the media induced hype for gluten-, dairy-, and everything-free overpriced special diet food, but we were desperate to try out anything. Of course there are no gluten-free corners in the supermarkets in Tonga, but tapioca and rice flour are available in all minimarkets, so we stocked up on these flours and rice crackers and set out towards Tahiti. Christian soon found that he was feeling better and in Tahiti we were astounded to find that he had already gained 4 kg again (despite the passage).

It seemed we had already found a diagnosis ourselves, but we still made appointments for check-ups with specialists in Tahiti. The health service in Tahiti is fabulous. The doctors all have studied at European universities, the equipment in the hospital in Pirae as well as in the private clinics is up to European standards as well, but there are almost no waiting times for appointments and the fees are much lower than in Europe (health service for residents is free). We arrived on Thursday, got the first appointment with an ear-nose-throat specialist on Friday, were referred to a gastro-intestine specialist (appointment on Saturday) who ordered a blood analysis (Monday) and a further endoscopy (two weeks later, Christian had to eat gluten in the meantime to make a diagnosis easier). The blood analysis showed no antibodies that would indicate a gluten allergy, the biopsy also looked okay, but the doctor still thinks that a gluten intolerance is very likely. Why an apparently l
atent problem suddenly turned acute still puzzles us…

We therefore stocked up with gluten-free pasta, crackers and cookies and a 6-month supply of buckwheat, tapioca and rice flour and are prepared to enjoy some gluten-free (and hopefully carefree) cruising in the remote areas we love so much :-)

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