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What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Diana_D_LG (1).jpgCaption: A graphic that shows a collage of images including a photo of Local Guide @DDuangnet eating a slice of pizza, an illustration of a sign that says “VIVA Gluten-Free,” the Local Guides pin, a fork with spaghetti on it, a round pink purse, and two food photos Diana took.

Local Guides Spotlight is a Connect series that celebrates members of our community who are making a positive impact. 


Local Guide Diana Duangnet (@DDuangnet) was sick for 20 years (yes, you read that right!) before a doctor finally figured out what was wrong. Diana was diagnosed with Celiac disease, a condition that causes an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.


“I was so relieved they finally figured out what was causing all my stomach ailments, but terrified of the strict new diet I had to adhere to the rest of my life,” she said. “My first thought was I couldn't have pizza anymore (totally false), but as someone who traveled extensively for work and pleasure, I was concerned about being able to eat gluten-free during my travels.”


She had to learn what foods and drinks typically contain gluten, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Gluten can be found in breads, cakes, and other wheat-based products, but it’s also in unexpected places such as soy sauce and deli meats.


IMG_20180318_151131_951.jpgCaption: A photo of Local Guide @DDuangnet smiling while holding up a plate of cheesy grits with shrimp at Andiron Steak & Sea in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Local Guide Diana Duangnet)“The biggest challenge today is dining out,” Diana said. “It takes more planning and research when dining with dietary restrictions, however it’s fun discovering new places I can safely eat at. I make it a point to go to 100% gluten-free restaurants and meet the owners and chefs of the establishments. I love hearing their stories while enjoying their delicious gluten-free food.”


To help others like her, Diana often shares reviews and photos of meals at restaurants she visits on Google Maps. She also created the blog Travel Far Gluten Free.


We recently caught up with Diana to learn more about what it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide and discover some of her favorite restaurants.


When did you join Local Guides? What inspired you to sign up?

I joined in 2016. At first I did it for the cool perks, but quickly discovered how fun it was to write reviews and add photos to Maps while helping the community. When I noticed the lack of gluten-free information on Maps, I made sure to include it in my reviews. That’s what kept me contributing; wanting to support people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.


What has your experience as a Local Guide been like so far?

I love being a Local Guide. It’s wonderful being able to add gluten-free information to Maps and support the gluten-free community. I’ve also received great feedback from restaurant and café owners after I add photos because it helps drive traffic to their business. It’s a win-win for everyone.


I also love being able to connect with incredible Local Guides from around the world at the Summit in San Francisco. I look forward to making new friends at Connect Live 2018 and reuniting with LG Summit 2017 friends.  

2Good2B (1).JPGCaption: A photo of a stack of chopped mango, cucumber, avocado, onion, bell pepper, and crab meat on a plate served next to butter lettuce from 2Good2B in San Diego, California, United States. (Local Guide Diana Duangnet)

Why do you think it’s important to share gluten-free information on Google Maps?

There are people, just like me, who are looking for safe, delicious gluten-free food. Dietary restrictions and food allergies can be a difficult thing to navigate and I want my information to highlight where someone with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can dine at. I’ve also gotten into the habit of sharing vegetarian and vegan information in my reviews for those who follow those diets. Since being on this strict diet, I’ve become much more aware of other dietary restrictions.


What is your favorite way to contribute on Google Maps?

I love taking food photos. I also try to take photos of the menu, especially showing menus that note gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan options. I also love writing reviews and noting my favorite menu items and how they handle, or don’t handle, food allergies and dietary restrictions. I want to make sure everyone can safely eat.


Fig Tree Cafe Pacific Beach.jpgCaption: A photo of a French toast sampler served at Fig Tree Cafe Pacific Beach in San Diego, California, United States. The dish includes one topped with raspberries, another topped with blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and the third topped with sliced bananas. (Local Guide Diana Duangnet)

What are some of your favorite restaurants with great gluten-free options?

There are so many places I love! Here’s the link to my list of favorite places. My top three favorite restaurants at the moment are Honest Burgers (London, UK), Senza Gluten (New York City, USA), and Poke Poku (Las Vegas, NV).  


Anything else you’d like to add?

Having dietary restrictions does not mean the end of traveling and enjoying food. It’s the chance to explore and uncover new food choices and having an adventure while discovering new possibilities.


We hope you enjoyed getting to know Local Guide @DDuangnet better! What info do you love to include in your reviews? Tell us in the comments below.

AbdullahAM Level 9
Level 9

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

"Gluten free" is a nice topic to make awareness for healthy life. Google can add a new feature about gluten option for food stores and restaurant so that any one can easily found gluten free foods. Thank you @AriMar 

Jesi Level 10
Level 10

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Thank you for sharing @AriMar! @DDuangnet is very inspiring. It's shame that she had to wait so long until she was diagnosed, but I'm glad it didn't negatively affect her life and travels as much. It's good that she has a positive perspective about it, and helps so much with her reviews.

I'll do my best to remember to look for gluten free options in the menus and add the information on my reviews, I normally just add info on vegetarian options (there's usually a section in the menu that reminds me of that) and whether it is accesible.

MahabubMunna Level 9
Level 9

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Thanks for share a new topic before i dontI know about this just a little bit know from her last year summit .

Connect Moderator
Connect Moderator

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Hey, thank you @AriMar for this beautiful post about @DDuangnet, a great Local guide that we had the opportunity to meet at LGSummit'17.

I have discovered her great activity about Travel Far Gluten Free a few days after the summit. Nice and helpful for a lot of people around the world. I am very happy to have the opportunity to meet her again on ConnectLive'18.


See you soon, Diana




sejuta_pelangi Level 9
Level 9

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Thanks for sharing, it helpful for person who have same situation

animasi-bergerak-bendera-indonesia-0018.gifYogyakarta Local Guides & Indonesia Local Guides
SP31 Level 9
Level 9

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Fantastic story on one of my favorite people in the world, @AriMar@DDuangnet is truly passionate about bringing awareness to dietary restrictions and food allergies due to her experience, and it is contributions like hers that help make not only Google Maps, but the Local Guide program and the world a better, more accessible place for those who rely on knowing if a place is suitable for their needs (and discovering new places as well!). Her blog is also great and I love following her adventures on YouTube. Her story is one of those that always reminds me to try to include pertinent information like this in my reviews and contributions. Bravo, Diana! See you soon!

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
SP31 Level 9
Level 9

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Also, @AriMar - MAJOR props on the story's awesome! Love the Viva Gluten Free Vegas sign!

Miami, FL | Communicator | My Profile | Miami Local Guides
Lera76 Level 9
Level 9

Bls: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

Halo @AriMar kisah nyata Diana yang menarik. Saya sangat terharu, semoga Diana sehat selamanya. Salam buat Diana 🙏🙏

Level 8

Re: What it’s like to be a gluten-free Local Guide

well this is still a confusing thing in India...and 99% of foodies will get shut down if they try to go gluten free...

its still not a influential thing in india and saarc countires...