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Can't Trust So Called Gluten Free Menu Items Anymore

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It's my feeling that after eating at a spot that some Restaurants will say their food is Gluten Free even when it is not, just to appeal to more people.


The other day I had a 'gluten-free' poutine, that started causing me pain shortly after consuming and continued to have pain for about 2 day's after.  I don't know if the guy used the wrong gravy or what.   

I just can't trust it anymore.  I won't eat it unless I made it.  It's not worth the pain.  

 

Vegetables might be ok while out, but that's IT!

 

Your experiences?

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Generally, it is not safe to eat out unless you personally know the cook. Some restaurants have high awareness of celiac. Others do not.

 

I've eaten out at steak houses before and have been okay.

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Until there are laws and regulations, dining out will always be a risk.  But, once you know what you're doing and you make wise choices, there is no reason to deprive yourself of something that others enjoy.  :)

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Just because they have a gluten free menu, it does NOT mean that the food is safe.  Lots of restaurants don't know what they're doing, and they just list gluten free to appeal to trendy dieters.  You don't have to know the chef personally, but you do need to talk to the chef or the manager and make sure they know what they're doing.  Ask if the food is made in a separate area of the kitchen.  Ask if they have different dishes and utensils.  Ask if they grill food on a separate, dedicated grill - or if they use a dedicated fryer for ONLY gluten free items.  You can't assume that they understand how to avoid cross-contamination.  If you have ANY doubts - don't eat the food. I or my husband always call new restaurants ahead of time and ask these questions, even if they have a gluten free menu.

 

My guess on the poutine?  Probably the ingredients were gluten free, but the fries for the poutine were made in a fryer that also handles breaded items - like onion rings or cheese sticks. 

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:

 

As far as people are concerned there are two definitions of gluten free.  One means that nobody purposely puts any gluten in.  The second means that it is processed in a separate facility than wheat.  I was warned at Jason's deli that, although they had a gluten free menu, it was not intended for celiacs.  Nice they were honest. 

 

 

From my super-sensitive perspective: 

 

 I can't imagine going into a regular pizza restaurant to eat.  Some are advertising gluten free, but check the back, there is flour everywhere.  Even if they put none in a cleaning mixing bowl, what about where they knead it.  Anyway for now I am not eating out and I was also told not to go into a restaurant.  But if I must go in, not to eat while I am there, even if it is my own food.

 

I am not saying everyone needs to use all of the precautions I do.  But if you need them: consider them.

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I learned the hard way about health food restaurants. Apparently a gluten free diet is a trend. It's good for Celiacs in grocery stores (supply and demand) but you have to stress the importance of cross contamination and your disease when eating out.

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I had lunch with my family at Baker's Crust (yeah I know! :rolleyes: )  It's a nice restaurant and they have lots of options.  We had been there before, but I could not remember their frier situation.  I inquired and the waitress indicated that it was dedicated to unbreaded foods.  I ordered.  With a quick return, she corrects her statement and said that it was not "dedicated", and I could have a side salad in exchange. I was very impressed with her attention that she afforded me.  My only regret was that I did not get her name, as I should have spoken to her manager.

 

Yeah, she got an extra tip and a big thank you. :D

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I almost trust restaurants that have a "There may be cross contamination" disclaimer more. Because then I know they at least understand that cc is an issue. But I look at reviews of places (Find Me Gluten Free app) and only use the list and cautions from my local celiac support group. The support group also has descriptions on the varying levels of celiac's observances like "some items can be made gluten free" all the way to "one of the chef's has celiac's and has worked to make the restaurant somewhere safe for him to eat." Those little extra behind the scenes additions are helpful. 

 

I've also found that restaurants that cater to multiple diets/intolerances/religious observances are a lot better. But there is always a risk and that's just something we have to accept. 

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In the case of the poutine, I'd be willing to bet that the fries were done in a shared fryer.  Or that whoever grabbed up the cheese had gluten on their hands.  But you might be right.  The gravy might not have been gluten-free.  For that matter, your plate could even have been glutened.

 

But we learned the hard way that even though the offer a gluten-free menu does not mean that they won't still try to serve you gluten.  They often just don't get it.  Such as ordering gluten-free pasta but then they bring you the regular bread or breadsticks.  Or put croutons on your salad even though you ask for them to be left off.  And then when you mention it, they tell you that they'll just go pick them off for you.

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Definitely talk it out with your waiter and do lots of research before you eat out. It's a risk, it's terrible to me that gluten-free has become a trendy diet to help you lose weight quickly. That's why a lot of restaurants just slap gluten-free on an item if there is no wheat product on it but may be lax with cross contamination and other things. I hope you feel better soon. 

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I think that whether or not you want to do it depends on how sick you might get if glutened, and how sensitive you are, or in other words how likely it is that you will get glutened.  It is an individual choice depending on those two factors, and maybe more, like do you have an important client meeting the next morning during which you don't want to be having to run to the bathroom, and how much you hate to cook.

 

I tried it several times and finally gave it up myself.  The disadvantage of possibly getting glutened outweighs the disadvantage of cooking everything myself in my case.

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I just recently went out to eat at a local chain restaurant with my family.  I spoke with my server about cross contamination and she was awesome and went to the manager and cook.  Both of which came to our table and made sure to let me know about a dedicated part of the grill and since they did not have a dedicated fryer, offered me a side salad (usually $$2 more) free.  You just need to be vigilant and ask the right questions. 

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I have given up on restaurants completely, with the exception of two restaurants. I've noticed as everyone else on here has, that restaurants will really say anything to sell their food, but when I get home I'm the one in pain for days. I would love to find those people who told me the food is gluten-free and puts tons of aloe stems in their food--ha, who's sitting on the toilet now! Ha ha!

  No but seriously, only two restaurants never make me sick (both in NYC)--Risotteria and a raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free restaurant called Rockin' Raw. Bisou Chao macaron cookies seem to be safe as well (also in NYC). I know that Jennifer Esposito is an adamant Celiac and she just opened a bakery in Manhattan--it's called Jennifer's Way on 263 E. 10th St. I'm going there tomorrow with my husband to celebrate our anniversary.

  But it's just so sad and awful that most restaurants absolutely don't care for Celiacs and are just pandering to a trend of people who don't even need to be gluten-free. I also don't understand why gluten-free product labeling is not better regulated and standardized. That would make life easier for so many people.

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I also think being vigilant has never worked for me. I've had servers and restaurant managers lie right to my face and reassure me that the food is gluten-free and make promises, but when I got home each time I just got very sick. I tend to do my research ahead of time before even setting foot in a restaurant. I call them ahead of time and won't go unless they are an entirely gluten-free restaurant with no gluten on the premises or if the food is separated. I also ask about the sources of their ingredients to make sure they are not contaminated. It's near impossible, but I figure the more I call and ask companies and restaurants about this, the more they will realize that they have to cater to Celiacs. I think it changes things for all of us. Keep asking, keep questioning!

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I have given up on restaurants completely, with the exception of two restaurants. I've noticed as everyone else on here has, that restaurants will really say anything to sell their food, but when I get home I'm the one in pain for days. I would love to find those people who told me the food is gluten-free and puts tons of aloe stems in their food--ha, who's sitting on the toilet now! Ha ha!

  No but seriously, only two restaurants never make me sick (both in NYC)--Risotteria and a raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free restaurant called Rockin' Raw. Bisou Chao macaron cookies seem to be safe as well (also in NYC). I know that Jennifer Esposito is an adamant Celiac and she just opened a bakery in Manhattan--it's called Jennifer's Way on 263 E. 10th St. I'm going there tomorrow with my husband to celebrate our anniversary.

  But it's just so sad and awful that most restaurants absolutely don't care for Celiacs and are just pandering to a trend of people who don't even need to be gluten-free. I also don't understand why gluten-free product labeling is not better regulated and standardized. That would make life easier for so many people.

 There is no gluten in aloe stems.  I am not saying you do not react to aloe, but if you do it is not to gluten.  Gluten is only found in wheat products, barley, rye and foods contaminated with gluten, like oats.  ActualIy some people react to even cerified gluten free oats.  I cannot imagine aloe being processed anywhere near wheat.  Aloe is, in fact, a calmant of the gut for most people.

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 There is no gluten in aloe stems.  I am not saying you do not react to aloe, but if you do it is not to gluten.  Gluten is only found in wheat products, barley, rye and foods contaminated with gluten, like oats.  ActualIy some people react to even cerified gluten free oats.  I cannot imagine aloe being processed anywhere near wheat.  Aloe is, in fact, a calmant of the gut for most people.

Mushroom, you need to re read the post.  She didn't say that there was gluten in aloe stems.  She said that she would put aloe stems in their food to make them have to run to the toilet LOL.  I did a google search, apparently the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that ingesting aloe can cause diarrhea.

 

It was just a joke.

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In the quote mushroom made, the poster had this sentence below and  grammatically, if you read it carefully, it sounds like she meant

the people who told me the food is gluten-free and puts tons of aloe stems in their food...... See?

 

"Puts" makes it confusing. She meant to write "put"----as in she would put them in THEIR food so they would end up in the potty. see? Easily misunderstood! :)

 

The sentence she quoted was:

 

"I would love to find those people who told me the food is gluten-free and puts tons of aloe stems in their food-"

 

 

 

Do you see why this is confusing? the people are doing the action of  "told and puts". (a simple addition of the s on that verb can change the meaning so easily.)

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I saw that it was confusing.  That's why I tried to explain it.  Typos happen.

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I saw that it was confusing.  That's why I tried to explain it.  Typos happen.

more than we'd like sometimes  :D  good thing there's an edit button.

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I have given up on restaurants completely, with the exception of two restaurants. I've noticed as everyone else on here has, that restaurants will really say anything to sell their food, but when I get home I'm the one in pain for days. I would love to find those people who told me the food is gluten-free and puts tons of aloe stems in their food--ha, who's sitting on the toilet now! Ha ha!

  No but seriously, only two restaurants never make me sick (both in NYC)--Risotteria and a raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free restaurant called Rockin' Raw. Bisou Chao macaron cookies seem to be safe as well (also in NYC). I know that Jennifer Esposito is an adamant Celiac and she just opened a bakery in Manhattan--it's called Jennifer's Way on 263 E. 10th St. I'm going there tomorrow with my husband to celebrate our anniversary.

  But it's just so sad and awful that most restaurants absolutely don't care for Celiacs and are just pandering to a trend of people who don't even need to be gluten-free. I also don't understand why gluten-free product labeling is not better regulated and standardized. That would make life easier for so many people.

 Maybe it's the area you live in but I am in Boston and I have to say that most restaurants go out of their way to make sure I have a safe meal. Why would anyone lie to a celiac and not care?  Do you think they really want to sabotage their business and get a bad name?  There are many places that offer up gluten-free meals now and, from my limited experience because I do not dine out as much as some Celiacs do, I rarely take a hit at a restaurant.  I am insanely sensitive also and react badly to crumbs so it would not be possible for me to eat out if everyone were that careless.  I know there are areas where people have no access to quality restaurants that know how to do gluten-free meals correctly but if you live near a big city, there are usually options to fall back on and you won't get sick.  I just think your statement that most do not care is way off. Gluten free meals in restaurants will not expand if everyone keeps trashing their attempts to cater to us.

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    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
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