Exit Strategy - Eating Out
- By Carol Frilegh
- Published 12/22/2007
I am 79 an undiagnosed Celiac, since March 2000. I had chronic sinus infections and fluctuating weight, lost 86 pounds, got pneumonia, and needed antibiotic and Prednisone. I also got MCS and Latex Allergy. Unable to eat without pain, I started The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Things began to improve at once. I am not cured but SCD has been effective in managing the Celiac and helped improve my damaged immune system. It is a bit stricter than the gluten-free casein-free diet.
Eating is a very social activity. It plays an important role in cultures word wide. Did you know that Polynesians are more private about dining than about sex?
Last week I listened to one of those provocative obnoxious radio talk show hosts that demonized those who have special diet requirements. He said we should just eat what's being served or stay at home. I let the station manager know how I felt about that!
We will not allow our Celiac diagnosis to turn us into anti-social stay-at-home solitary diners suffused with self-pity The success of managing a diet effectively depends on resourceful strategies for eating out especially if your diet is like mine and demands fanatical adherence.
I find coping with eating out less complicated than studying new dance steps or learning to skate backwards. Sure, it takes practice. Once you master the technique you will be the one giving the dinner orders giving meal orders that ensure you will dodge the bullet in the belly from "illegal" foods.
Catered events: I have always been able to phone ahead, explain my restriction
Restaurants: Many have websites with menus enabling planning ahead, narrowing down to a few choices and phoning ahead to check ingredients and request adjustments
Invited to friends or family? It's amazing that they can be less cooperative than the professionals. For all the friendly hosts there is always a sprinkling of saboteurs.
We have options: Explain this is a health issue and if necessary you can bring some food of your own. I like to bring one large tasty dish made for my diet to share with everyone. It's usually a big hit.
You can eat something at home before or after and just move the unsuitable food around on your plate
Try not to talk about your disease and diet. Others may seem fascinated, but you will eventually tire of this as a way of connecting or getting attention and start staying home with a boxed TV series on DVD.
Whether it's a wedding, Christening, Bar Mitzvah, barbecue, shower, brunch or dinner with the Tasmanian Ambassador, learn the drill, take heart, get out--eat smart!
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