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Please Help- Mexican Food- What Is Safe Eating Out?


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#1 arkoflove

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 12:12 PM

I ate Mexican last night, and got glutened. I feel so frustrated and dissapointed. We even talked to the staff to inquire about wheat ingredients. I was told that there was wheat in the shredded chicken, so I switched to ground beef. I got a tortilla salad minus the tortilla, so lettuce, refried beans, rice, ground beef...I did eat chips there, not sure if that was wise.

It was my first dining out experience with my husband and kids since going gluten free. Eating out used to be a favoritte pastime for us. :( Now, everything has changed.

I'm supposed to meet my dad for lunch on Thursday at a Mexican resteraunt, but now don't know what to order. It is hard for me still to figure out how to explain it to the staff, especially with a slight language barrier.

Can you all give me some tips on definate safe items to order? And specifics to look out for?

Thank you!!

-Megan
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#2 elle's mom

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:04 PM

Megan,

I don't think there are any DEFINITE items that you can always assume are gluten-free. It seems like refried beans and corn tortilla chips would be fine, but I guess you never know about cross contamination. FYI our local Mexican rest. adds "just a little bit" of flour to their ground beef to thicken it. . . .

I think you need to ask about every item, every time you go to a new place; and sometimes even at repeat visits to the same place. To me, calling ahead with ingredient questions is easier than when the waiter is at your table, that way you're prepared ahead of time. Then of course, always reiterate the importance of cross contamination. Good luck.
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~Jackie (Mom of a gluten & dairy-free home)
Myself: Neg blood tests despite myriad of life-long symptoms. Enterolab testing positive for gluten sensitivity: DQ5DQ5. Currently gluten, dairy, grain, & sugar free and on rotation diet.
5yo dd diagnosed celiac by blood test/biopsy Oct/Nov 2007: DQ2DQ5
7yo dd: neg blood tests, DQ5DQ6
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21mo dd: DQ2DQ5
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#3 lovegrov

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:15 PM

The chips could have been fried in contaminated oil. I doubt the fryers are dedicated.

richard
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#4 merry0709

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 02:55 PM

I ate Mexican last night, and got glutened. I feel so frustrated and dissapointed. We even talked to the staff to inquire about wheat ingredients. I was told that there was wheat in the shredded chicken, so I switched to ground beef. I got a tortilla salad minus the tortilla, so lettuce, refried beans, rice, ground beef...I did eat chips there, not sure if that was wise.

It was my first dining out experience with my husband and kids since going gluten free. Eating out used to be a favoritte pastime for us. :( Now, everything has changed.

I'm supposed to meet my dad for lunch on Thursday at a Mexican resteraunt, but now don't know what to order. It is hard for me still to figure out how to explain it to the staff, especially with a slight language barrier.

Can you all give me some tips on definate safe items to order? And specifics to look out for?

Thank you!!

-Megan

AHHHH!!!!!!!! You got zapped by the chips. One of my biggest first mistakes, and I paid dearly also. Here is the deal with the chips. Some you will react to and some you won`t. Some have wheat products mixed in and some don`t. If you buy them in the store, they will say on the bag. but when you go out------who knows, usually not the waitress. If you ask, they look at you like what planet you came from. They don`t have a clue. I am not totally hyper sensitive, so a few won`t bother me, even though I shouldn`t if I don`t know. But if I sit there and mow on chips and salsa and they have gluten in, sick as a dog! Don`t know what to tell you besides, if you can`t find out and don`t know for sure, sneak a few gluten free along and just tell them why. What else can you do. Eating out can really be a pain. I don`t do much of it any more.
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#5 digmom1014

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 03:16 PM

I usually go with the bean tostada, rice, and re-fried beans. The tosada's are usually okay-I haven't had a problem with them frying them. However, you have to ask. I used to do the old-standby fajitas and request corn torilla's but, they can put toppings on the shrimp or chicken and veggies. So, I try to stay as true to ingrediants I know are safe and have a small piece of fruit before I go.
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Sarah

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#6 pdx.lila

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 03:21 PM

I've found that a lot of refried beans are hard on me, most of them don't specify what spices or thickeners they use. So I usually get black beans if I go out for Mexican because it's much more likely those are just the beans themselves. I guess when I go out for Mexican I just get black beans,lettuce, onions, guacamole & salsa. It's plain but tastes great. Although I know some salsa's aren't good,fresh ones usually are.

I had this happen a few weeks ago too,with some chips,so I feel your pain
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#7 cyberprof

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:20 PM

Megan, in my opinion, I would not eat the chips or tostado shells. They fry wheat tortillas etc. in oil and most restaurants don't have a dedicated fryer just for the corn tortillas. Plus the corn tortillas could have wheat in them. I bring Tostitos or Que Pasa chips from home to eat.

I have had success having a shell-less tostado (beans, chicken, cheese and letuce). I've also been ok with fajitas, but you'll have to ask each and every time, each and every restaurant for any of this. I've been ok with salsa, guacamole and rice. But ask...

Try these FREE dining cards http://www.celiactra...rant-cards.html I make up cards with the front in English and the back in Spanish. Give it to the server or manager to take to the kitchen.

Good luck!

~Laura
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Diagnosed by biopsy 2/12/07. Negative blood tests. Gluten-free (except for accidents) since 2/15/07. DQ2.5 (HLA DQA1*05:DQB1*0201)

Son, age 18, previously delayed growth 3rd percentile weight, 25th percentile height (5'3" at age 15). Negative blood work. Endoscopy declined. Enterolab positive 3/12/08. Gene results: HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0201 HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0503 Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 2,1(Subtype 2,5) Went gluten-free, casein-free 3/15/08. Now 6'2" (Over six feet!) and doing great.

"Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance." Abigail Adams (1744-1818) 2nd First Lady of the United States

#8 foodiegurl

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 05:34 PM

I could have written your post a month ago!

I LOVEed eating out...one of my favorite things in the world. I love food, and everything about it.

I ate mexican a month ago....and I am pretty sure it was the chips that did me in. I was super careful too...I had fish tacos (grilled) with corn tortillas....and scarfed tons of chips.....I am pretty sure that is what did it.

From that experience, I have learned to ask if things are fried in a dedicated fryer...not that they always know anyway :rolleyes:

I will bring my own chips next time...no matter how silly I feel...I want chips with my Mexican!! :P
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Anne in Chicago
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#9 Karrin

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:11 AM

If there are any Qdobas around you they've been great to me (I need my mexican food fix)!! Just make sure if you get a corn tortilla that you don't get it steamed or pressed. They're regular chicken is safe, the lime rice, beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese...that is generally what I have (naked burrito), but the girl who worked there, who just happened to be a fellow celiac, gave me a menu with all the safe items circled. Here are most:

all Naked or with corn tortilla!
Queso Burrito
Poblano Pesta Burrito
Grilled Veggie Burrito
Mexican Burrito

grilled steak
grilled chicken
pulled pork
shredded beef
grilled steak
vegetarian
cheese
sour cream
guacamole
beans
rice
salsa
tortilla soup - minus the tortilla strips

I'm very gluten sensitive, a drop will make me severely ill, and I've been going there quite often lately without incident! Just make sure you mention you can't have gluten and that they change their gloves. :)
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#10 mysecretcurse

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 06:17 PM

The chips could have been fried in contaminated oil. I doubt the fryers are dedicated.

richard



Not only that, but having worked at a mexican restaurant, I can tell you that most of the chips contain modified food starch, AKA possible gluten.

I would be very worried to eat out ANYWHERE but if I was going to eat mexican I'd usually get a plate of refried beans ala carte, along with a side salad no dressing, and maybe a chopped avacado. :)

Sorry u got glutened. :(
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#11 RESO

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 06:33 PM

I have had bad experiences with Qdoba. Long story short, their website says they have soft corn tortillas, when I got to the restaurant, they didn't have them.

Ok, so the real key is to eat authentic Mexican food, not qdoba or taco bell or taco loco or anything that has "Mexican Grill" in their name. Find a place that serves real Mexican food (tastes better anyway). Always ask, of course, but I always order tacos de rez (steak), a real mexican place will use CORN tortillas for their tacos. Also ask about the chips. I stay away from chicken and mexican rice because they usually (not always) contain bullion, which sometimes contains wheat. Again, just ask. Here's a few basic Spanish words to help you (Always appreciated, and the fact that you try to speak the language will make most servers/hostesses more willing to help you with your order and answer questions). If you know these already, that's great.

Pollo (poi-yo) = chicken
Rez = Steak
Tortillas de Maiz (my-ease) =Corn tortillas

Good luck with everything and I hope you feel better soon.
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#12 kbtoyssni

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 06:54 PM

At Don Pablos they add some wheat flour to the grated cheese to prevent it from clumping. It's the only restaurant I've ever found that does this.
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#13 luvs2eat

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 05:54 AM

Eating out is so difficult, but Mexican seems to be the one I've had the most success with. I ALWAYS ask if the chips are corn and nothing BUT corn. Once we went to a place we went to many times and I asked as I always do ... only to find out they'd just started using new corn tortillas that were dusted w/ wheat flour!!

I ask about ingredients EVERY SINGLE TIME cause experience has taught me I can't take anything for granted. At the place we go to now, they've actually brought me out ingredient lists ripped off of packaging so I can read it myself!

Like others have said... we don't go out very often anymore. It's just too hard and not worth it. Thankfully, we like to cook!!
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#14 arkoflove

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:24 PM

Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for all your replies.

Things were going great for me, but since I have started including more carbs in my diet, I am struggling with the massive bloating and some tummy issues again. I am so frustrated.

When I am feeling better I'm going to go out for some rice and beans (lol) and really talk to the people at my local mex. restraunt. Hopefully we can figure it all out.

Could I possibly have an issue with corn? I have made bobs cornbread (gluten-free) and gluten-free oatmeal cookies- bad night. Then I made bobs gluten-free brownies and both nights I've eaten them my tummy's expanded to look 6mo pregnant.

I had been eating mainly protien shakes and canned beans, along with chicken or beef for dinner, and cesar salad (I really love beans, lol) for the first 3 weeks off gluten and was doing great- flat tummy and lost nearly 10 lbs! Now since eating more carbs (all gluten-free) I am up 9-15lbs. What is the deal? I feel completely crazy. I told myself yesterday it was back to the previous diet, but those brownies called my name. Sigh. Could it be the cornmeal in all those mixes? Should I have an allergy test done? I'll probably re-post this on its own...

Thank you all again,
Megan

gluten-free for 3 weeks
Positive Anti-Gliadin tests...
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#15 Switch2GF

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:46 PM

My sister and I both have celiac... she is extremely sensitive and I am not. So I frequently use her as a gauge.

I LOVE mexican and eat it a few times a week. I also love nachos and 99% of the time get them.

Neither of us have ever had a problem with the chips.
Ground beef seasoning frequently has gluten in it, so I stick with chicken.
My sister claims refried bean usually have gluten, so she avoids them, but I usually do not.

If you are unsure and have trouble communicating about gluten free with the staff, try the Triumph Dining Cards, they have helped when I go to authentic places: http://tinyurl.com/nv8yux

I have found a few places that I really like and don't affect me or my sister, so I frequent them, A LOT. I find mexican is one of the easiest places to eat gluten free.
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Mike H.
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