Do the eating-out holidays like Mother's and Fathers' Day strike fear into your tender tummy? You crave the warm company of other humans, a chance to escape serving and cleaning up, and a reason to dress up (or not). I just finished the blog at Celiac.com about eating at a Japanese Hibachi restaurant and can really relate. Despite my having developed some good dining out strategies, invitations to leave home for a meal still generate some conflict and anxiety. Breakfast is a cinch. The family likes a retro grill which has been operating successfully for thirty five years. The O.J. is freshly squeezed and I dilute it with water. My order is bacon and poached or scrambled eggs.(I can have conventional bacon once a week, otherwise it must be sugar free) I request sliced fresh tomatoes on the plate. If the restaurant has steamed spinach, the eggs can go on top. I pick at the hash browns. Coffee gets diluted. On that topic, this week friends served me a frothy thick coffee made on their Jura Espresso machine. It was not actually Espresso but a steamed decaf. I was sure it was Cappuccino and knew the steamed milk was off limits but was assured no cow or goat was touched in the preparation of the beverage. The machine grinds the beans for each cup and extreme steam pressure froths the liquid. .This was the most delicious coffee I recall having in years. It was as thick as cocoa. Their machine was a gift and they warned it was expensive (that was the understatement of the year). I rushed home to Google "Jura." The machine costs $1398 (without the tax) That would be $4.00 for a single cup each day for a year not counting the cost of the beans. Best for the budget to stick to the Melitta cone and paper filter method. French restaurants work best for me when it comes to dining out.. French chefs seem overall to disdain additives and prefer pure ingredients. They are not insulted when questioned. Some practical lunch and dinner menu selections at restaurants are Steak and Frites, Steamed Mussels, Liver Pate (checked for no wheat added) roast chicken, steak, lamb chops, roast beef, broiled fish, steamed vegetables, and for dessert, fresh fruit, or the types of cheese allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (aged 30 days, no bifidus in the bacterial culture) While others are busy with the bread basket, I sip a nice glass of wine that has a zero sugar rating and go to work on field greens dressed with olive oil. The waiter at the beautiful Studio Cafe in the Toronto Four Season's restaurant upon being told I am a "Silly Yak,"garnished my meal last week with delicate onion rings battered in rice flour, a rare treat. (After ten years on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet I occasionally have rice or French Fries. "Occasional" is the operative word.) What really puts a slight damper on the festivities is discussion about how and why I am ordering and why, like the woman in "When Harry Met Sally," I can't have what she's having. Not every meal out will be in a restaurant, which brings us to Eating "OP" (at the homes of Other People) After all these years, I still get quizzed by the family on the "no, no's" and answering makes me feel like a demanding Diva so I have found it is best to bring some of my own food just in case. There is nothing worse than sitting with an empty plate and a forced grin while having illegal food paraded in front of you. The one thing that would be worse would be pouting at home and missing occasions to get together. Fortunately, one of my best friends with her own nutritional challenges enjoys consulting to provide a meal with "the right stuff." It does get tiresome to have your world revolve around your stomach but there are many things that are worse and hey guys, our food is better. Don't you agree? Get out, but consider your insides.

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