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Restaurant Eating...is It A Possibility?
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7 posts in this topic

Hello out there....

I am recently diagnosed with celiac through the blood tests...I have not been "scoped", or biopsied yet due to the fact that I have medicaid and it is very difficult to find a Dr. that will perform the procedure. I guess they don't pay enough.....Anyway...I am trying like heck to eat right, but I feel like such a downer on my family-we used to eat out all the time, not just junk food, but real food too, and now everything has changed....I am wondering first of all if there are any reccommendations anyone has to how you eat out or where to eat out and I am also wondering about putting the whole family (2- 10 year old sons and a wonderful dad ) on a gluten free diet. I am just concerned about their tastes---any suggestions there too??

I am starting to go into the depression I have heard goes along with such a drastic change in life, and really could use some support.

Thank you for listening........

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Hi jewlr22. I am not yet diagnosed but my doctor thinks I may also have celiac disease. I had both antibodies come back positive but the endomysial was negative. I'm still waiting on a call back from my doctor to see what this means. I have been reading a lot on this and I think there is a board about eating out and also you can go to the restaraunts websites and some have gluten-free menu's. The places so far that I have found with online gluten-free menu's are Wendy's, McDonalds, Outback Steakhouse, Chili's, Chik-fil-A, Steak N Shake and Burger King(has I think items containing wheat on their nutrition menu, not an actual gluten-free menu). If I do go on the diet my husband already says he will go on it with me. I think someone mentioned it is healthier than any diet. I am currently in a depression because it has been two years and even though I feel closer to finding out what is wrong with me, I also feel like we will never find out. I guess with the high antibody levels that I at least have a gluten intolerance, if not celiac. I hate the thought of going on the diet, but at least it is an answer and will get easier with time. Good luck and even though I don't know much, I hope I helped you some! Take care!

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HI, if you have been dx through blood-work then there is really no reason to be scoped, you should be adhereing to a strict gluten free diet for life. For me I only eat at restaurants that offer a gluten-free menu because you never know what kind of spices are used or if they marinate their meats.

Here on the board there is a section "gluten-free dining and eating out", there are a lot of posts about certain restaurants that serve gluten-free meals and also posts in certain States.....

Here are some websites where you can look at gluten-free menus

http://www.chick-fil-a.com/gluten.asp

McDonalds

Outback Steakhouse

Wendy's

Also I have heard PH Changs has a gluten-free menu

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I wouldn't suggest eating out until all your symptoms have vastly improved and your antibodies have become normal. This will probably take 6 to 12 months, but I feel it's worth it. The less suspicious foods you eat, the faster you will heal. I've read that a lot of people here are comfortable eating at places like Wendy's and McDonalds...personally I wouldn't touch those places with a ten foot pole. I don't believe for one second that places like that are careful with cross-contamination issues; for goodness sake, there's teenagers running them! I would also say get the biopsy, just to confirm your diagnosis so you won't be fending off the drs. all your life telling you to just get one already, because they will do that.

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I used to eat out a couple of times a week before celiacs and now I do not eat out as much - but I do go. For me and the people I know, eating out is as much a social activity as it is just getting a meal. In my own opinion, I will not let this diet force me to never eat out again. On that same note, I am very careful about where I go and what I eat, and when I go on trips I pack A LOT of gluten-free foods. But everyone has to make the decision about how to make this diet work for them and their life style.

Here's what I did when I was diagnosed. Maybe some of it will appeal to you.

1. Learn as much about the diet as you can and be able to explain it to someone who has no idea such a crazy disease ever existed. Be able to laugh about the disease - it puts the other people at ease.

2. Call you favorite restaurants between 2 and 4pm when they are slower and ask to speak with a manager. Ask if they have time now to talk to you about food allergies. Explain that you used to eat there regularly and your family really enjoys the food. You are trying to find one or two menu items that you can eat. Ask for plain non-marinaded meat with no seasonings, etc. Generally the managers have been extremely helpful to me. I have had managers pass me off to the regonal manager when they did not know the answers. And I have managers stand in the fridge and read lables.

3. Realize that eating out will be a bit boring compared to what you used to eat.

4. If in doubt of a restaurants ability to handle your diet (when you have no choice in where you are eating) bring a hot baked potato, cooked meat to add to a plain salad, and any dressing or condiments you might need. I stuff quite a bit in the diaper bag :P

Another concern is figuring out which family and friends want to learn how to cook something gluten-free and which ones just have no intention of dealing with it. To date, my friends are doing great cooking gluten-free and my family has no intention of dealing with it. So be it. I eat first or bring my own food to family events and make myself at home in their kitchen.

Best of luck!

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Although there are places that have gluten-free menus, please be aware that they DO NOT always practice safe food handling. Subway for example does not wash their knifes after cutting rolls, plus the amount of crumbs around that place make me gag!! I frequent my local Outback BUT that was only after writing a very nasty letter to Outback after receiving croutons in my salad , or finding crumbs at the bottom of the bowl after eating my salad - SIX times this happened to me. I have spoken to the proprietor and he now knows that the food must be handled separately. Most people think that if we eat a little bit of gluten that's it's like being lactose intolerant. People think that you will have an upset stomach and that's it's not a big deal. Remember that ignorance is bliss, we are the ones who will be sick for a week, not them, they have no idea what it's like. I was also told by one of my local italian restaurants that I could bring my own pasta and eat their sauce, BUT after further investigation, I found out they use broth in their sauce which the chef had no idea had gluten in it. It's hard to eat out. I go to my local Wendys alot because their chili is supposed to be gluten free but if I go to the Wendys by my work I get sick...it's sad how many foods are gluten free but the handling of the food makes you sick. Just make sure the people know that nothing can touch the food as well, rinsing utensils isn't enough. I still have to remind my family of this as well!! Good luck! I'm sick today for some unknown reason....and my whole house is gluten-free!!

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With eating out you need to be pro-active and let the place you plan to eat at know your concerns. There are many posts as mentioned, on here about calling ahead, talking to the chef, and some people carry cards that tell about celiac disease.

My granddaugther just had a wonderful experience at the Jungle (like Chuckie Cheese). Her aunt called ahead and they said she could bring her own food. They brought a pizza with them on aluminum foil. The Jungle heated it up for her with a note that it was not to touch any other food in big letters!

It really can be a very healthy diet with the concentration more on fresh foods of all kinds, since you don't have to worry about hidden gluten. :D

DK

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