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    Melissa Blanco
    This article originally appeared in the Fall 2009 edition of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
    Celiac.com 12/11/2009 - I recently embarked on a quest for family-friendly restaurants that offered gluten-free selections.  I explained this vision to my husband and three children as we set the rules of our experiment: five family members to eat at five restaurants during a five week period.  The challenge - the children were to choose the restaurant, the chosen restaurant couldn’t sell Happy Meals or have a drive-thru window and the restaurant had to be a franchise rather than a local venue.  Additionally, the mom, me, and the only celiac in the family, had the option of not eating if it might compromise her small intestines.  Here is what we discovered:
    Restaurant # 1: Applebee’s
    My children chose to eat at Applebee’s on a Sunday afternoon for lunch.  The atmosphere was friendly and a plentiful kids’ menu was offered.  With over 1900 restaurants nationwide and in 15 other countries, according to the company website, it seems there is an Applebee’s almost everywhere.  Additionally, Applebee’s offers a Weight Watcher’s menu for restaurant patrons who are counting points, which led me to hope an allergy/gluten-free menu would also be provided.
    After we were seated, I perused the menu to read this statement, “To our guests with food sensitivities or allergies.  Applebee’s cannot ensure that menu items do not contain ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction.  Please consider this when ordering.”
    I spoke to a manager and asked if a gluten-free menu was available.  I was informed, “Applebee’s policy is not to guarantee allergy-free food.  Our company does not carry a gluten-free menu, but we can modify food.  For example, we can prepare grilled chicken breast strips for kids, rather than giving them breaded chicken fingers.  Again, we don’t guarantee the food will not come in contact with the allergen.”
    Restaurant #2: Red Robin
    The next stop on our restaurant expedition was Red Robin, which also offers an extensive children’s menu.  According to the company website, there are over 430 Red Robin restaurants, in North America.  After we were seated in our booth, I asked our server if a gluten-free menu was available.  She immediately went to the kitchen and returned with a printed Wheat/Gluten Allergen menu.  Printed on the top of the menu was the statement, “Red Robin relied on our suppliers’ statements of ingredients in deciding which products did not contain certain allergens.  Suppliers may change the ingredients in their products or the way they prepare their products, so please check this list to make sure that the menu item you like still meets your dietary requirements.  Red Robin cannot guarantee that any menu item will be prepared completely free of the allergen in question.”
    Gluten-free offerings were grouped in the following categories: salads; salad dressings; burgers; chicken burgers; entrees; and available side dishes.  The Kids’ menu offered a beef patty burger, turkey patty, and chicken-on-a-stick.  It stated: “Kids may also select from any items listed on the Wheat/Gluten menu as adult items to custom design a wheat/gluten free meal for your child.  This menu is current and valid until 10/1/09.”
    I was informed by our server that when a customer orders from the gluten-free menu, an allergy alert is put on their ticket and the area of food preparation is cleaned to avoid cross-contamination.  Additionally, the fries are prepared in oil specifically designated for fries, and those with a gluten allergy should avoid the fry seasoning.
    I ordered off of the Red Robin gluten-free menu and personally recommend the Crispy Chicken Tender Salad with grilled chicken rather than crispy, no garlic bread, and the honey mustard dressing.
    Restaurant #3: Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza
    It was a Friday evening and my children decided they really wanted to eat pizza for dinner.  This led us to almost break our fast food rule by ordering carryout from a pizza restaurant.  Ordering pizza is an extreme challenge for those suffering from gluten intolerance. Therefore, I had to do my research ahead of time.  I called Papa John’s, Domino’s, Papa Murphy’s and Pizza Hut to confirm that gluten-free pizza is not offered, at any of these pizza chains.  I did find a pizza franchise in my state, called Garlic Jim’s, which offers a gluten-free crust. 
    According to the chain website, “Garlic Jim’s is proud to be the first pizza chain accredited for gluten free food service by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.”  Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza is currently located in seven states including; Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, Tennessee, and Florida.
    I was informed at the restaurant that the gluten-free crust is covered with sauce in a separate area in order to avoid cross contamination although the toppings are put on in the same location where wheat-based crusts are prepared.  Different pans and utensils are used in the preparation of this gluten-free thin crust which costs three dollars more than their traditional pizzas.  The restaurant also posts a sign stating that although they do offer gluten-free pizza, they cannot guarantee the pizza will not come in contact with allergens.
    I recommend the gluten-free pepperoni pizza, and can attest that pizza has never tasted so good.
    Restaurant #4:  The Old Spaghetti Factory
    The Old Spaghetti Factory was established in 1969, and as of today, boasts 39 locations nationwide.  I was quite pleased to discover, when my children chose to eat at The Old Spaghetti Factory, that they offer gluten-free pasta.  Before being seated, I inquired at the hostess desk if a gluten-free menu was available and I was presented with a laminated copy. 
    Each entré includes complimentary salad, bread, and ice cream. Obviously, those with gluten intolerance need to give the bread a pass, but there are viable options available for the remainder of the meal.  Gluten-free salad dressings include pesto and vinaigrette—hold the croutons on the salad.  The main course is a rice pasta with the following sauce choices: marinara; meat; mushroom; mizithra cheese, and; brown butter.  Diners also have the option of adding gluten-free sausage and sliced chicken breast to their meal.  For dessert, a choice of spumoni or vanilla ice cream is offered. 
     I ordered the Manager’s Favorite pasta, which includes a combination of two sauces.  I chose gluten-free pasta topped with marinara sauce and mizithra cheese.  My dinner also included a salad with vinaigrette dressing and spumoni for dessert. 
    Restaurant #5: Outback Steakhouse
    Our final dining choice was the Outback Steakhouse which, according to the company’s website, is an Australian Steakhouse with over 950 locations worldwide.  I was offered a gluten-free menu that is nearly as large as the main menu.  Offerings included appetizers, steaks, chicken, seafood, salads, side dishes, and even a brownie dessert.  The entire gluten-free menu is available on the Outback Steakhouse website, www.outback.com .
    Our server was very knowledgeable of gluten intolerance. I ordered off of the gluten-free menu.  When ordering salads, it is recommended that you request that they be mixed separately to avoid cross contamination.  Overall, it was a very pleasant dining experience for my entire family, with a plentiful menu for me and an ample kids’ menu.
    I would certainly recommend what I ordered— Victoria’s Filet with a baked potato and a salad without croutons.  I passed on the bread which accompanies every meal.  It was a pleasant dining experience at what is quite possibly the restaurant that has set the current gold standard for gluten-free dining.
    Overall, our experiment was a great success with four of the five restaurants we visited offering gluten-free menus.  I advise diners to be cautious wherever they eat because even if a company offers gluten-free options you must also take into account the knowledge of the chef preparing your food and the server assisting you.  It is encouraging that major restaurant chains are acknowledging the need to modify their menus for those suffering from gluten intolerance.  Good luck and happy dining.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/09/2011 - The Publix supermarket company recently pulled its fall issue of Publix GreenWise Market magazine, because it included a recipe that was erroneously labeled as 'gluten-free.'
    The company also announced plans to mail a follow-up warning about the recipe to print subscribers.
    The recipe for Orange-Honey Sweet Rolls included wheat germ and yeast, some brands of which contain gluten. The recipe appeared on Page 18 of the magazine.
    Publix's swift and decisive action to correct the mistake shows a strong level of commitment to gluten-free consumers.
    The letter to print subscribers said that "the recipe for Orange-Honey Sweet Rolls, which appears on page 18, calls for the use of gluten-free flour as an ingredient; however, the complete recipe was not intended to be gluten-free. In fact, the recipe includes ingredients which contain gluten, therefore, it is not suitable for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance."
    Publix operates 1,039 stores in the Southeast, including GreenWise Markets in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton, Florida.
    Source:

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/publix-recalls-magazine-over-gluten-free-gaffe-1907091.html

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 03/09/2012 - Subway stores in Oregon are in the process of rolling out gluten-free sandwich buns and gluten-free brownies as regular menu items statewide, according to Subway spokesperson Cathie Ericson.
    For millions of Americans who avoid gluten, due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating out can be a constant challenge. Having easy access to a safe, tasty, low-cost gluten-free sandwich is like the Holy Grail for some of those folks. For many, being able to grab a gluten-free Subway sandwich would be a major step toward vanquishing the challenges of eating gluten-free.
    Subway understands that being gluten-free "…really cuts down on fast-casual dining options, particularly sandwiches,” said Michele Shelley, Subway board member and owner.
    Many people were excited to read about Subway's early testing of gluten-free products in selected areas. Many were equally excited to hear about Subway's commitment to getting their gluten-free sandwich offerings right, from start to finish.
    For example, Subway’s wheat-free sandwich rolls and brownies are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility and are individually packaged. Subway staffers are trained to prevent cross-contamination during the sandwich-making process.
    Moreover, a single employee will prepare a gluten-free sandwich order from start to finish. Other features to Subway's gluten-free process include single-use knives and eliminating contact between traditional sandwich rolls and other ingredients including meat, cheese and vegetables.
    Oregon is one of a handful of states where Subway first tested gluten-free products in selected areas. The current statewide roll out in Oregon comes after a successful test in Bend and Portland, Subway restaurants, and seems to signal Subway's desire to offer gluten-free menus to diners.
    “Subway is known for being a leader in healthy fare, and we are excited to embrace these gluten-free menu items for those who can benefit from them,” Shelley told reporters.
    Source:

    http://community.statesmanjournal.com/blogs/menumatters/2012/01/27/oregon-subways-add-gluten-free-menu-options/

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 12/02/2013 - There really hasn't been too much research into gluten levels of products labeled and sold as 'gluten-free in the U.S. A team of researchers recently set out to try to get an idea of gluten levels in food being labeled and sold as 'gluten-free.'
    The good news is that that vast majority of gluten-free foods sampled in their small study were, in fact, gluten-free, and many registered detectable gluten levels far below the 20 ppm allowed by law.
    The research team tested three different samples of 112 separate products, for a total of 336 packages tested. They tested each sample twice, for a total of 672 extractions.
    Of the 112 products tested, 36 products (32%) were certified gluten-free by either the Gluten Free Certification Organization (32 products) or the Celiac Sprue Association (4 products). Only four products (i.e., bread, hot cereal, tortilla, cookie) from three manufacturers tested at or above 20 ppm gluten. Three of these products were not certified gluten-free; one product was certified gluten-free.
    While 9.4% of extractions contained quantifiable gluten, the vast majority of manufacturers are in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s gluten-free labeling rule.
    Overall, 97.5 percent of extractions tested below 20 ppm gluten. Of the extractions in compliance, 93% tested below 5 ppm gluten, which is the lower limit of quantification for the assay used.
    Based on the findings of this evaluation, many manufacturers are currently producing food that tests below the 20ppm threshold level of gluten that is currently allowed by the FDA.
    Gluten-free consumers can take comfort in the knowledge that the vast majority of manufacturers who are designating food as gluten-free are complying with the FDA’s labeling rule.
    Source:
    www.medicine.virginia.edu

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/14/2014 - A 43-year-old UK mother of two, who turned up at a hospital complaining of severe stomach cramps, first thought she was suffering a case of "acute wheat intolerance," until doctors told her that she was in fact pregnant and in labor. The woman, Teresa Howard, had no idea that she was expecting the son she delivered just hours later.
    Because her sister is gluten-intolerant, and not realizing she was pregnant, the woman attributed what were clearly pregnancy-related stomach problems to adverse gluten reactions. Howard experienced standard symptoms with both of her prior pregnancies, and so thought she knew the standard things to look for.
    Until now, Howard says, she was one of those people who definitely wondered how any woman could fail to realize she was carrying a baby until she was actually delivering it.
    For her part, Howard said, she thought she had just gained some weight by over-snacking and being a bit sedentary, and had been working out to tone up in the weeks before giving birth.
    Source:
    Daily Mail

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    Im the same, I never know what to eat, some food does better than others for me, I went on to make my own soup and Im glad I did, I should do it more often and at least then J know what's going in to it, it wasn't the best first try but I enjoyed it haha
    Thank you for the advice, in the end I went and made my own soup, not great for my first try but it was better than potentially making myself worse, I enjoyed it, I got some vitamains too to take, I was able to find a liquid Vitamain B Complex, the store I went to was helpfull enough to show me what was Gluten Free.   I fealt awful around then, Im feeling like I have more energy now I can actually do things and focus more, Ill keep on like I have been, Im not 100% and still have some B
    Not to mention the fact that (for those using the Nima) the Nima sensor has been known to give false positives. https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/1/18080666/nima-sensor-testing-fda-food-allergy-gluten-peanut-transparency-data https://www.celiac.ca/cca-statement-nima-gluten-sensor/ https://www.allergy-insight.com/nima-is-it-really-96-9-accurate/ https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/troubling-gluten-testing-data-released-by-nima-but-hold-the-phone/ https://www.glutenfreew
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