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How To Deal With Losing The Freedom To Eat Out?

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Hi Everyone,

 

I have been gluten free for 5 months now. The first few months I accepted that gluten free was my new life and was so happy to finally know what had been making me sick all of this time.

 

For the last month or so, I have been really down about never being able to eat gluten again. It's no problem at all for me to think about eating gluten free at home, but when I think about all of my favorite restaurants and the foods I can never have at those places again, I get really down. I'm not typically someone that feels depressed or down, but this is really bothering me for some reason. Not only can I never eat my favorite foods at those restaurants, I don't think I will ever fully trust someone to cook a gluten free meal for me at a restaurant. Being a curious person, I often notice what's going on behind the scenes, and for the most part I can't imagine that my food won't get cross-contaminated. So, I also feel like I have loss the freedom to ever enjoy eating out, because I will always worry about getting glutened.

 

I am wondering if others have experienced these feelings and how you dealt with it? I kind of feel like I am going through a little mourning period over loosing this aspect of my life. I know my life will be better now, because my health will be better, but I associate so many good memories with these places...

 

 

 

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I know what you mean! There is a new restaurant that just opened here in town. Everyone is raving about how good the food and service are, and how low the prices are. They don't have a gluten-free menu and from what folks have told me, I wouldn't dare to eat there.

 

I too can deal with eating gluten-free at home, but I miss not only the "treat", but the convenience of eating out. Yes, I can meet friends at restaurants if I eat first and just join them for coffee, but it's hard to watch them chowing down on french fries cooked in a non-dedicated fryer, burgers cooked on the same grill they toast buns on, or whatever else.

 

I just try not to think about it. And I HAVE had success at a couple of restaurants. I didn't get sick at Outback, although the meal was nothing to rave about, and there is a pizza joint about 50 miles from here that does gluten-free right. Maybe if you could find just one restaurant you could safely eat at it would lift your mood.

 

In the meantime, know that you're not alone. I think restaurants are the hardest part, both actually and emotionally, for most of us. ((((HUGS))))

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Thanks so much Bartful!

It's nice to know I am not alone in feeling this way.

I know I have to get over my mental road block and trust a restaurant at some point. I just am so afraid of getting glutened. I'm not 100% better yet, and I don't even know what it will feel like if I get glutened. Hopefully it won't happen, and if it does, it won't be too horrible!

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Is there an Outback or a PF Chang's in your area? Although it's no guarantee you won't get glutened, those are the two that seem to be most consistantly safe.

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Hi Bartful,

 

Yes - We have a PF Changs and Outback here! I will give them a try for sure.

 

I will try not to think about it too, like you mentioned.

I think it might be on my mind more right now because we have a vacation coming up. We always go to this little resort type area for a week every year. They don't have many chain restaurants there, and we always would plan which of our favorite restaurants we would eat at on our drive there. I really don't think I can trust any of them to make me gluten free food. We will have a full kitchen where we are staying and I will probably freeze some meals to bring too. It just won't be the same as before though, but I know this is just one of those things we have to deal with to feel better. I'm just surprised at how much it bothers me when I think about it, but I'm guessing this first year of making these adjustments will be the hardest.

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Go to findmeglutenfree.com and see if there are any restaurants in the area you plan on vacationing in that are safe. Now, just because a restaurant may be listed there doesn't mean it's safe, but if you read the reviews and people say they didn't get sick, it might be worth taking a chance. (I would wait until the last day of vacation though, just to be on the safe side. :lol: )

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I think it might be on my mind more right now because we have a vacation coming up. We always go to this little resort type area for a week every year. They don't have many chain restaurants there, and we always would plan which of our favorite restaurants we would eat at on our drive there. I really don't think I can trust any of them to make me gluten free food. We will have a full kitchen where we are staying and I will probably freeze some meals to bring too. It just won't be the same as before though, but I know this is just one of those things we have to deal with to feel better. I'm just surprised at how much it bothers me when I think about it, but I'm guessing this first year of making these adjustments will be the hardest.

 

 

Sorry your'e having such a hard time. Try not to be hard on yourself about feeling this way. You are experiencing a loss, and just like any other kind of loss, it's painful. It is a big deal to adjust to no longer be able to have something right now that meant a lot to you. Going on vacation is usually associated with a feeling of freedom to let go and do what you want to do. Over time you will adjust and be content with your life just as it is. I think acceptance comes in waves. It really does get easier, it just takes time and it's a gradual process, but it does happen! Just know you are in good company and that we are all going through the same things, and you will feel better!!!!

 

I'm sure you will have a great time on your vacation and maybe you'll try new activities you wouldn't have before, or notice some great things you might have overlooked in the past. Have a great time!

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Bartfull - Thank you for that info. I went that site and there were about 10 restaurants listed in that area. I will wait until the last day to try one like you suggested, just in case :)

 

FruitEnthusiast - Thanks for the kind words. It's nice to know that it will get easier. I will try my hardest not to focus on this and will enjoy my time away!

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Yep - day-to-day I'm fine with this whole thing.  But it's the not being able to eat out safely that gets me now and then.  Every once in a blue moon it's nice to be too busy and tired to cook and just stop by Pizza Hut on the way home - or KFC.  Or be at a mall for a few hours and get hungry and grab a bite somewhere.  There is a certified gluten free Italian restaurant near me which is awesome - but it is very expensive.  I have braved Outback once and did not get glutened, but the meal was fairly tasteless - and the whole time I was saying to myself, "please don't let me get sick... please don't let me get sick..."

 

The way I try to look at it is that realistically I only ate out about two or three times a month anyhow.  So I've really only lost two or three convenient meals a month.

 

But I'm with you... the loss of being able to easily eat out or order up a delivery when the mood strikes is something I really miss.

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On the road, I heat my food in a Kooltron car stove lunchbox.  This plugs into the car outlet.  For me right now there doesn't seem to be any options.  I do struggle with this somewhat, so if you see a lone lady in a van somewhere having her dinner alone give a wave.  There is a cost, but having a clear mind and energy is what one needs on a trip.

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On the road, I heat my food in a Kooltron car stove lunchbox.  This plugs into the car outlet.  For me right now there doesn't seem to be any options.  I do struggle with this somewhat, so if you see a lone lady in a van somewhere having her dinner alone give a wave.  There is a cost, but having a clear mind and energy is what one needs on a trip.

Ditto! Putting new Koolatron to the test!

Yes. I know the feeling too. I did find a restaurant that I've eaten at about five times without being glutened! It's 20 miles away and super expensive, but it is nice to have one restaurant I can trust.

Congratulations on being gluten-free for five months! Am I to understand that you haven't yet had a glutening?!?

When I first started out, I kept trying restaurants and got glutened a lot. Someone posted that they didn't eat out the first year. I wished I had known that as taking risks definitely made life harder constantly getting sick WHILE sick. I was out of my head and kept taking other people's suggestions! Now, I have that one restaurant (plus a completely gluten-free restaurant about 45 miles away). I guess all of those experiments were good for something.

My husband is sensitive and he eats at one Pei Wei but not a different one up the road. I've eaten at the one he has successfully but am nervous about it and stopped going even though it's turned out okay. I miss eating with people. About to travel and will be taking my Koolatron and induction stove top for cooking in the hotel room. When I meet the group for dinner, I will not be eating at the restaurants. It should make for some exciting times.

Good luck on your quest and your continuing health!

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It truly is a grieving process and a huge HUGE lifestyle change. I still come across foods I can't eat and for lack of a better word, I "miss" them. It's a loss plain and simple. When I found out I couldn't have my guilty pleasure gas station nachos I can't explain how sad I felt. Silly maybe but I still miss 'em!

 

I've had both great luck and been glutened at both Outback and PF Changs. It won't keep me away but I do pause every single time out to eat. It's an odd type of stress that everyone here completely understands. Protein bars are my new best "out to eat" friend and I take my own crackers so I'll have something to munch on while everyone else has bread. And ya know, it's more for them than for me. I can sip my wine and nibble a cracker and nobody bats an eye. 

 

Hope it gets better and better for you!

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You can make some restaurant type meals at home.  Every once in awhile, buy some special items to cook with and make an event out of it.  You can invite special people etc.  If you can trust someone to cook for you at home, have them do a restaurant type event for you.  With all the money you are saving on restaurants, you should be able to get lots of special things to try at home.  Watch cooking shows and try new techniques.  My son got into searing our meat before roasting it and it was really good.

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Thanks so much for all of the advice and support! It's nice to know I am not alone in feeling this way.

I am going to start making special meals once in while and I'm sure it will help make up for not being able to eat out.

I didn't really eat out a whole lot before, but like others, that convenience aspect once in a while will be missed for sure.

It was kind of a funny coincidence, but after I wrote this, my husband decided to stop at Taco Bell for dinner. He doesn't eat out much anymore so he was pretty excited. When he got home and unpacked his food, they had completely messed up his order and he couldn't eat any of it because of the special diet he is on. So, it helped me realize that it's not such a big deal, since the food isn't always that great, and around here they seem to mess up orders a lot!

I am going to look in to the Koolatron car stove lunchbox for day trips too. I had no idea they made such a thing!

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I have found that being a "regular" at a restaurant makes a huge difference. My two favorite restaurants (one up-scale and one middle of the road) know me and have learned how to make my meals safe. Generous tipping doesn't hurt.

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HMom, I've been gluten free for ten years now, and I STILL get sad sometimes at the

grocery store when I see the Texas Toast in the freezer section. I'm mostly ok, but every

so often I'll get pouty and my better half will kiss me and push me along lol. It's normal,

reasonable, and perfectly acceptable to grieve this kind of loss/change in your life. It

will get better, I promise!

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