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Trouble Eating Out Gluten-Free...Good or Bad?!

Since my husband is forced to be on a gluten free diet eating out has been a major issue for him. My family does a fair amount of eating out since both my husband and I work full time. At the end of day cooking a meal is the last thing on my mind. The problem for my husband is that most of his favorite restaurants have good amount of gluten dishes that he absolutely loves. Because of this eating out problem, I force myself to cook at home more often than usual and I have to constantly remind myself to not use any gluten. It is a big adjustment but once you get into the habit it is not that bad.

So what is the good and and bad of not being able to eat out?

The good:

  1. Save money - Since you are not paying for restaurant food and service; Often times, even though the restaurant may serve gluten-free items, they tend to be a little bit more expensive because the cost of the ingredients are often more expensive.
  2. Stay Healthy - By cooking at home, you are more aware of the ingredients that are involved making a dish. Often times, you can't really know what was in the dish even though it might seem gluten-free. 
  3. Be a better Cook - I have been doing a lot of research on gluten-free cooking and exploring and experimenting different recipes. By doing that, I am actually learning to be a better cook and learn to cook more variety. It's always a good thing.

The Bad:

  1. Cost/Money - I know I mentioned above that 'Save Money' is a good thing. But the initial phase of getting the gluten-free ingredients does cost quite a bit of money. Imagine spends $20 on a bag of Xantham gum or buying different type of flours for example. The ingredient cost quite a bit, but they do last awhile.
  2. Time Consuming - Even though I enjoy cooking now, however, it is time consuming especially after a long day of work and need to prepare a meal that is not so much 'Out of the pantry'.
  3. Shopping Takes Longer - Often times you will need to go to health food store to get the gluten-free ingredients. Luckily, most of the larger supermarkets carry gluten-free items now. If you are not shopping in the gluten-free aisle, you will have to read every single label and make sure that there is no known and/or hidden gluten in it. That will cost some time.
  4. Bye Bye Corona - This is extremely hard for my husband because he loves beer and Corona is his favorite. He is not a wine drinker so it's not easy for him to just switch. It was like the end of world when he found out that he could not have beer. He tried some gluten-free beer, it is just not the same. All beers are not created equal, after all.

Sometimes it is the idea of not being able to just simply go out and have a meal that is difficult for a lot of people who have celiac disease. But I think as long as you are aware and smart about what you order in a restaurant, it will get easier.

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


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4 Responses:

 
HeatherT

said this on
11 Feb 2010 1:57:30 PM PST
It was really hard for us at first too, for all the reasons you say. However, what has really helped is that we learned more of the "food traditions" of the rest of the world. Even in France and Italy, a "meal" was not, traditionally, all about bread products. Most meals were about some veggies cooked in really yummy ways, with some fish or meat, and a side of bread (if you could afford it: bread was pricey for much of history). Switch the bread for rice or yams or beans or corn, and you get the cuisines of the rest of the world.

Anyway, these cuisines are often fast to cook, and WAY yummier (and cheaper) than the the casseroles and boiled canned veggies I learned to cook as a kid. My advice: shop ethnic! Get to know your local Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, or Korean grocery store!

 
Silka Burgoyne

said this on
12 Feb 2010 7:49:54 AM PST
Heather,
Being Chinese has been helping me tremendously with the gluten-free and vegan diet. The only thing I have to be careful of is choosing the non-Chinese soy sauce. I found most of the soy sauce produces from Asia contains wheat; however, I did find that certain American soy sauce is gluten free. My husband loves Mexican food; hence, he was able to cook Mexican food with gluten free and vegan versions for my kids. It's also true for Mediterranean, Korean & Vietnamese cuisine as well, like you mentioned.

 
laurie harris

said this on
04 Mar 2010 7:24:59 AM PST
Hi, I disagree that gluten free is easy, it is expensive (not sure why gluten free has to cost so much). It is tasteless, and all of the cookies, brownies and the like, leave a horrible aftertaste. I ate at TGIF yesterday and I could not find ONE thing that didn't have gluten so I had to pick what I thought was the least amount...

 
smilinggreenmom

said this on
11 Feb 2010 4:16:38 PM PST
This is so true for so many things! Our little boy has had such a hard time since he was a baby with food allergies/intolerance's as well as severe Eczema. Thankfully he has come a long long way just by taking children's probiotic's when nothing else elped him. These have been a miracle for us since now he is a happy and healthy boy! It has taught us so much about how foods affect our bodies as well as chemicals in food, in the home and in our lives. We have learned to be green and we love it. It does save money and it is so rewarding to know that we are eating healthy and living healthy. :) I have made it my mission to share our story with others! Probiotic's are truly amazing for all of us! I highly recommend this to anyone who has troubles with foods.




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