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3 months gluten free due to Celiac:

 

I live in a very small country town and so not have the gluten free options I would if I lived in a larger city or suburb.  Although I prepare most meals at home, sometimes I need to go out for work or pick up something along the way.

 

None of the local places have a gluten free list or menu.  At the Asian place I only eat fried rice and drink tea (perhaps I should stick with white rice?) .  At the BBQ place I avoid the sauce and only eat the meat.  I've ordered baked potato, salad without dressing, and the like at various places.  I think I've made bad choices and I am confused about what to do.   Wondering if I just can't trust the food isn't contaminated in the kitchen.

 

After about 2 months gluten free, my joint pain decreased overall.  But now, the day after I eat something from a restaurant, my joints hurt.  This also happens after I eat food made by someone else (they say it is gluten free, but I think they may have accidentely contaminated it.)

 

I am losing weight that I don't want to lose because sometimes I just have to go without. 

 

I am concerned about being perceived as the picky person who brings her own food to a restaurant.  I have a professional appearance to keep up and I don't want to appear picky or close minded.

 

Would appreciate input from anyone that has found some solutions to challenges such as these.

 

Thanks much!

 

 

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the last few times i have been glutened, it's been from eating out :(  unfortunately, the sad reality is:  most restaurants (especially fast food) can't or won't keep your food completely safe.  there are just too many opportunities to get crumbs on things or cook them on grills that are already contaminated by gluten.  or your order gets mixed up (even if they catch their mistake, you have to make sure they just don't "pick the croutons off the salad", etc, so you have to keep the contaminated one until they bring a replacement)  there are restaurants that get it right, but man, o, man, you have to be sure (for me, it's 2 weeks to recover - ain't nobody got time for that)  

 

i make most of everything that i eat and then freeze stuff - do i end up with some wierdddd combinations of foods?  yep.  but it's all safe.  i can make a pb&j sandwich in less than 6 minutes from freezer bread to brown bag if i have to hurry up and don't feel like starving (yeah, as soon as i step foot out of the house, i'm ravenous!!  it's like the doorway flips the switch lolz)  mostly everybody i know is used to me eating whatever, whenever.  i know what you mean about losing weight, i struggle with that issue, too.  

 

you said you eat the fried rice - if they fry anything with soy sauce in their woks/grills, you are probably getting cc'd from that - most 'regular' soy sauce is made from wheat.

 

i do still eat out (bonefish is a good, safe bet)  i hear 5 guys burgers & fries does a pretty good job for a fast food place - red robin also offers decent gluten free choices (although that was one of the places that glutened me - ate there once, no prob, ate there a 2nd time, pow... :(  )  so, look around, ask a ton of questions.  

 

i'm glad your joint pain has eased up - you must be doing something right.  :)  good luck

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Are you asking the kitchen staff about food preparation?  They should be able to check labels of ingredients and tell you about the food prep.  Find out what sauces or seasonings may be used on the grills, dedicated fryers....etc.  You may find that communication will solve the problem or find out that it isn't a safe option for you.  You do need to find out either way.  You need to ask all these questions before you eat somewhere.  Don't be shy about it.  I always ask to talk to the Kitchen Manager or Staff first thing when we walk in.  

 

Good luck with figuring it all out.  It's a process that gets easier as you go  :)

 

Colleen

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I also live in a small town....6,000.  Yeah, we are pretty small.  We have one restaurant that will take the time to answer my questions and often make sauces and other options safe for me, the other just doesn't care after all these years and they have other patrons attempting to order gluten free.  The waitresses know more than the kitchen staff.  Two weeks ago, I ordered some crab salad and I asked if the crab meat was real or imitation. She was told it was real......wrong!  Imitation crab meat contains gluten.

 

Just try to order 'clean'.   Steamed shrimp, shrimp cocktail or other seafood. For salads bring your own dressing and croutons.  Sometimes a stuffed baked potato is good.  Often times, I order a Wrap for lunch, unwrapped. Or a Chief Salad, with my own dressing.  And if I have to pull some dressing or sauce from my purse, I don't find that any one minds.

 

I have found that most restaurant don't mind.  They don't want to you be sick any more than you do.  And for colleagues, just say you have food allergies and you are being creative.  Smile it off.  I can assure you, no one will be as concerned as you. :)  And after a while, you can work with your local restaurants and with hopes, they can work for you too.

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Have I talked to kitchen staff?  Good question.  In my town of 8,000 people I tried to talk to them but was often met with blank responses. 

At McD and Dairy Queen they didn't have a gluten free menu list (like they do in larger towns.)  I looked it up on my phone.

At the pizza place the manager had no idea what I was talking about and the 20-somethings delivery person said, "oh, I get that question all the time, we should make some gluten free options.  The manager said, "well, we will see...";  I encouraged him to seriously consider it and told him he would have our business if he did.

At the Asian place I was given a menu that described the ingredients, but it didn't say anything about gluten.  Their English wasn't very strong, so I just gave up.

I appreciate your comments on this because I realize I need to talk to the people in the kitchen, not just the people up front or the waiters.  Also, I realize I need to call ahead if I know where we are going for a meeting.

I also apreciate the thoughts about preparing things at home and freezing them.  I think this has become a big issue for me - having something available when I need it.  I just don't have the time before every meal to prepare a meal.  I probably need to get into a weekend habit of preparing foods that can be frozen and taken out as needed.

Finally, a question about soy.  So, anything with soy has gluten?  Soy is in so much.  We only have one grocery store in my small town and I've had a very difficult time finding things without soy.  I asked the manager if they would consider stocking more gluten free items and he said they would.  I suppose I need to drive to a big city every once in a while and stock up.

Thanks so much for your feedback!

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What I would do (and have done) in my town of 3,600 in the middle of nowhere, is pick the restaurant I used to frequent most BC (before celiac), and go in when they are not busy. Talk to the owner or chef and explain everything. They will figure out what they can make gluten-free for you. Then when you go in to eat, make sure it's the same chef on duty, order one of the items they said they could make gluten-free, and make sure the waitress or waiter writes your name in large letters on the slip.

 

I've done it here and gotten steak cooked on the charbroiler (no chance of contamination because only steaks and burgers are cooked on it), plain baked potato with the foil still on it, and I even risked a salad but that was only because the waiter was someone I know really well and who happens to have celiac too.

 

Other than that I have to drive 50 or 60 miles to "the city" to get gluten-free food.

 

Mostly though, I just do my own cooking.

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What I would do (and have done) in my town of 3,600 in the middle of nowhere, is pick the restaurant I used to frequent most BC (before celiac), and go in when they are not busy. Talk to the owner or chef and explain everything. They will figure out what they can make gluten-free for you. Then when you go in to eat, make sure it's the same chef on duty, order one of the items they said they could make gluten-free, and make sure the waitress or waiter writes your name in large letters on the slip.

 

I've done it here and gotten steak cooked on the charbroiler (no chance of contamination because only steaks and burgers are cooked on it), plain baked potato with the foil still on it, and I even risked a salad but that was only because the waiter was someone I know really well and who happens to have celiac too.

 

Other than that I have to drive 50 or 60 miles to "the city" to get gluten-free food.

 

Mostly though, I just do my own cooking.

Oh, this is a great idea!  In a small town, I think the chef / owner would actually remember me and would do his or her best to accomodate.  I could just suggest that restaurant as the place we meet for meetings when asked "where do you want to go?"  I'll give it a try!

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