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cwnhokie

Mexican?

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My 12 year old has been gluten and dairy free for about a month.  We used to frequent a Mexican restaurant in town.  He has been doing wonderful but the last few days has been really down about what he is missing.  I would love to be able to take him to the mexican place but when I tried to ask them about gluten they just looked at me and smiled.  I asked if they make their chips fresh and he said yes and smiled.  Then a few minutes later I got 3 new baskets of fresh chips.  Any suggestions for how to figure out what is safe for him to eat?  I thought about having a friend who speaks spanish try to translate for me but I'm not sure if that will work either.

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They probably fry other things in the same oil as the chips.  Maybe try a Mexican place where more people speak English?  Would he be happy eating tacos or enchiladas without cheese?  This may be one to try to do at home.  You can buy chips that you can put on a tray and heat in the oven.  like these http://www.salsaxochitl.com/tortilla-chips.html#


 

 

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You have to be able to communicate with the chef. Many restaurants are using a corn and flour blend tortilla now to make it more pliable. Most often wheat flour is in the enchilada sauce. Taco shells, flautas, chimichungungas, etc (wheat flour burritos and tacos) are fried in the same fyer -- including chips.

Hubby manges to get carnitas (pork) tacos in soft corn shells with plain salsa at our local hole-in-the-wall restaurant. He skips the beans and rice because of cross contamination issues. I am not brave enough to try! I usually prepare Mexican at home.


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Resident Tex-mexican here!  Depending on the severity of his allergy, if cross contamination is an issue, you are going to have to find a Mexican restaurant that actually has a gluten free menu.  Depending on your location, that may be near impossible or very easy to do.  That being said, if cross contamination is not an issue, most real Mexican food is corn based so you should be okay.  The more traditional, the better.  Stay away from flour tortillas (you would never find a real Mexican taco in a flour tortilla anyway).  But yes, you have to be careful with bigger chains because they tend to add flour to make large "corn" tortillas for burritos and other products.  

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The problem I have found with most Mexican places is that they are not really aware of the problem people can have with gluten. 

 

They do have many things at most Mexican places that are naturally gluten free but because there is no care for CC you can't eat there. At most places you should be able to eat hard shell tacos, but you don't know if the spices have flour in them. You should be able to eat the chips but you don't know what else is fried in the same oil......ect. 

 

It would actually be fairly easy to make the places OK for Celiacs if basic care for CC was taken. The issue is that a lot of the places here are not fluent English speaking or just simply don't even know what I'm talking about.  


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Chipotle.  My DS is allergic to dairy and has Celiac and eats there from time to time. 

Yeah, I eat at Chipotle for my mexican fix. Not quite the same as a traditional place but it works and it is good. 

 

However, care for CC does vary from location to location. I've been to some Chipotle's that will go into great detailed care to avoid CC and others where the people seem completely unaware of the procedures needed. 


Abdominal Pain/GI symptoms started= ~01/02/2014

Gallbladder out= 02/20/14

tTG IgA Postive= 03/21/14

DX via Biopsy (Marsh 3b)= 04/21/14

Celiac Antibodies within Normal range(Gluten free diet)= 10/23/2014

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Chipotle is trained to wash, change gloves, and prepare carefully.  They do vary by restaurant, though, as far as how closely they stick to their trained procedure.  Tell them you have celiac, and watch them.  The only other gluten free Mexican I have found so far is one in Sausalito, CA.  The entire menu is gluten-free, and food is fabulous.

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If you are at a restaurant and you do not speak the same language as the staff, unless there is a gluten-free menu or something that you can have faith in, do not do it.  It can help bringing in a person who speaks spanish, but even then, you are possibly dealing with people who have no idea what gluten is, and in the competitive restaurant world, may be hesitant to disclosing ingredients.  Some of the more simple places like taco stands may be easier to get through to, instead of a big sit down place where everything has a sauce on it or is deep fried.  

 

Especially if you are cooking for a family, mexican is cheap and easy to make.  You guys could do family enchilada night or something.  There are a bunch of canned enchilada sauces that are gluten-free, and any recipe where you see flour, sub in a gluten-free flour blend, and flour tortillas, sub in corn tortillas.  If you see a recipe you would like to make and have trouble adapting it to be gluten-free, feel free to ask us for help.

 

Lastly, I love chipotle and that is one of my favorites. I don't consider it in the same category as a mexican restaurant, it is kind of in its own awesome place.  Chipotle is also something that is very easy to cook replica recipes of yourself. 


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Thank you for all the helpful replies.  He has been gluten and dairy free for a little over a month and we've been doing all meals at home to avoid any issues or unnecessary temptations.  I was kind of hoping we could finally get out for a meal at one of our previous favs.  I did find a taco restaurant in town that speaks English and was able to get him some things there.  And today we ventured out to Chik Fil A so that was exciting for him.  He has had a bad week, so feeling bad also made him miss his favorite food more.  We are not sure at this point if he is gluten sensitive or there is still some possibility of celiac, so it's just hard right now for him going through this not really knowing if it's helping or not.

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Have you gotten him tested for Celiac disease?  For testing to be accurate, he needs to be consuming gluten.  If that is not in the plan for you guys and you are just going gluten-free without a diagnosis, just know he will have to go back on gluten eating for any future testing to be accurate.  

As far as the grief over not having the old things, it is kind of like losing a beloved pet, it does fade but it takes time.  For an adolescent I am sure it is harder than for adults, but some of it will fade in the long run, especially if he feels a lot better and realizes what the benefit is.


I am my husband's "Silly Yak Girl" :)

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in January 2013. I also have Lupus and Common Variable Immunodeficiency(CVID) for which I am on IVIG.

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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Look up celiac restaurant cards - you can get one in spanish.  I think a company called Triumph makes some, but there may be others.  

 

I have quite a bit of luck with Mexican, but then again I live in a big city and there's high awareness of Celiac.   I do always ask if the chips are corn only, and if they're fried with other things.  And if there's any wheat flour used as thickener in sauces and if they can make sure and wrap the corn tortilla in foil before heating it on the grill.  Weirdly, one restaurant I went to (one that was new to me) I asked the questions slightly differently and it turned out there was SOY SAUCE in the way they prepared the meat. Who would have suspected, right?

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Soy sauce in meat marinades is a common secret ingredient to get that deep umami flavor...not as uncommon as you would think.  I specifically ask about it at any new place I go.


I am my husband's "Silly Yak Girl" :)

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in January 2013. I also have Lupus and Common Variable Immunodeficiency(CVID) for which I am on IVIG.

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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Good point.  I've found a few places that add Soy Sauce to their beef marinade.  Same with adding flour to their corn masa.  The more Americanized the Mexican restaurant, the worse off you probably will be.   Conversely, the more traditional, the better off you'll be (wouldn't be caught dead putting flour tortilla in a taco, or using cheese in a taco, either).  That being said, the language barrier.  

 

Best options if you aren't in a major market is probably going to be Chipotle or making it yourself at home.  There's plenty of major brands that have corn tortillas.  Even gluten-free enchillada sauce.  You could always substitute Vegan cheese, its not terrible if melted.  

 

Curious - does your son have allergies to Goat cheese?  

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Chipotle is one of my favorite places to eat, but it is a 50/50 chance of having a reaction due to cross-contamination.  Yes, they graciously make an effort to be gluten-free and will change gloves.  BUT, before that they used gloves and handled flour tortillas and then used same gloves to reach into the lettuce and cheese--voila--cross-contaminated food.  Changing gloves for you does not avoid this cross-contamination problem.  I started having reactions and my daughter advised me to avoid all the corn products there because of what she read on their website about allergens--so no more chips, or crispy taco shells, or corn.  I also avoid the green salsa and the pico de gallo--not that I am aware of cross contamination but she never eats that there and she has been successful at not having reactions, so that is what I do now and have had much success. Here is what I get:   burrito bowl with either white or brown cilantro lime rice, grilled veggies, black beans, barbacoa, red salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and lettuce on top.  So GOOD! and so far, safe for me.

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