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Eating Out In General

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It varies by restaurant.  Some restaurants can handle keeping a celiac safe, usually the higher end the restaurant the better chances are of staying safe.  

 

It is always best to bring a bit of food with you if a restaurant is "iffy", or just have drinks with people.  Ceiacs often have to make the shift from going for the food, to going out for the company.


Nicole 

"Acceptance is the key to happiness."

ITP - 1993

Celiac - June, 2012

Hypothyroid - August, 2012

CANADIAN

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I think it is a personal choice. If you are a newbie, I would avoid eating out. Each "glutening" will cause an autoimmune flare-up that can last for days or weeks which can set you back on path to healing. Later, you can experiment more when you think the risk is worth it.

At over two years in, I rarely eat out. Unfortunately, there are no close gluten-free restaurants nearby. I chose high end restaurants after a discussion with the manager and head chef or chose a chain that has had some training (e.g. Spaghetti Factory, PF Chang's, Outback....). Even then, I talk to the manager every single time.

My hubby has been gluten-free for 14 years. He will not eat out prior to any seminars (he does training), the risk is too great! We take chances when we know we can take the time to recover from a Glutening.

I always have shelf-stable food/snacks in my purse. If with a group of gluten-eaters, I order a drink and head to the car where I pack a cooler and tailgate it. I also bring in food in a cute purse cooler depending on the situation. It works!


Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis -- Stable 2014

Anemia -- Resolved

Fractures (vertebrae): June 2013

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Diabetes -- January 2014

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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I, too, find that the higher end the restaurant, the better your chances.  Luckily, Omaha has a great many good to great restaurants with gluten free menus.  As others have mentioned, however, it is always good to specifically address gluten-free issues with staff and to let them know that is not a choice for you, but a requirement.  In addition to the other chains mentioned above, Jason's Delis also have good gluten-free options, and maintain UDI's bread for their sandwiches.  I also highly recommend the find me gluten-free app for Iphones,

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I, too, find that the higher end the restaurant, the better your chances.  Luckily, Omaha has a great many good to great restaurants with gluten free menus.  As others have mentioned, however, it is always good to specifically address gluten-free issues with staff and to let them know that is not a choice for you, but a requirement.  In addition to the other chains mentioned above, Jason's Delis also have good gluten-free options, and maintain UDI's bread for their sandwiches.  I also highly recommend the find me gluten-free app for Iphones,

On the FIND ME GLUTEN FREE site, read the reviews. Find the ones written by celiacs or NCGIs. Often it is just a gluten-free dieter who posts a review and is not concerned about cross contamination. Better yet, write reviews when you get a chance and help others who must seriously avoid gluten!


Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis -- Stable 2014

Anemia -- Resolved

Fractures (vertebrae): June 2013

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Diabetes -- January 2014

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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We have more than Celiac to deal with and while we don't eat out often, when we do we choose one of several options.

 

1) Red Robin

2) Chipotle

3) Higher end with a Chef, not just cooks.

 

We *may* eat out as a family once a month or so.  In the last 4 years the only time we've had an issue it was minor, not believed to be gluten related and happened at Disney where we were eating out a LOT more than usual. 

 

HTH

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bonefish.  it'a a little pricey, but i figure i save money by packing my own food for other meals.  some of them have chefs who will fix something special that you want (i wanted something off the 'special of the day' menu, so he/she tweaked it to be gluten-free)  i've been lucky enough to find a bonefish in most cities i've traveled to.  except tuscaloosa.  tuscaloosa is the waste lands lololz pack a cooler  :D


arlene

misdiagnosed for 25 years!
just as i was getting my affairs in order to die of malnutrition...
gluten free 7/2010
blood test negative
celiac confirmed by endoscopy 9/2010

 

only YOU can prevent forest fires - smokey t. bear

 

have a nice day :)

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We don't eat out nearly as often now that I have become extremely gluten intolerant.

Our options are very limited because we live in a rural area.

I used to love Chipotles. I was thrilled to see they had gluten-free options. Unfortunately it has not worked out well with Chipotles. I was dosed three consecutive times. That's it, no more.

The only other common option available to us is the Olive Garden. After a dozen or more visits I was dosed once by the Olive Garden. I imagine it was due to cross contamination as with Chipotles.

On the plus side both my wife and I have become very skilled at preparing gluten free food at home. Tonight we will throw two steaks on the charcoal grill with microwave baked potato. Very simple and no gluten!

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Boatguy,

I too had a similar experience with Chipotle and have since learned a few tricks... If I eat there I go about 15 to 30 minutes after they open only, never during or after a rush. Its not too busy and they have had a chance to cycle through last nights food so its fresh. Also I always always explain that I have a "Wheat Allergy" (Its celiac but they get wheat allergy, Ive had more luck with this) and ask if they can wash their hands and change their gloves and make my entire bowl without handing it off. They give you weird looks but this is actually in their company policy and quite a few employees are aware, after a few times they get to know you and just start on the routine on sight. I have still been glutened like this but only twice in 2 years so its a MUCH lower risk. Hope this helps :) Chiptole is a favorite for me, giving it up would be difficult.

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I'm a new likely Celiac (multiple positive blood test results came in the beginning of October, but no biopsy at this time) and haven't gotten to talk to a specialist yet (I have an appointment in late November).   I've been reading the Mayo Clinic's book Going Gluten Free and have been removing gluten from my diet as per their recommendations.  I don't really understand how extensive the impact is from cross-contamination, but I've been trying to avoid it.

I was so frustrated last night when I did everything I could to ensure a gluten-free meal.  My friends and I went out and I made sure that the restaurant had a gluten free option (a club sandwich w/gluten-free bread).  After informing the server that I had Celiac and would need gluten free food, I ordered the gluten-free bread, asked for cheddar cheese instead of American (as I've read American cheese can be processed with wheat), and paid extra for a side salad (instead of fries, which were cooked in the same oil as their fried chicken), with balsamic vinegar (to avoid potential gluten in the salad dressing).  What did he drop off?  A salad covered in croutons.  When he returned he asked if I wanted it boxed up and I said no, because I couldn't eat it because of the croutons (which were not mentioned on the menu).  He took it and still charged me. 

This episode brought up so many things for me. I used to be one of the people who gave the side-eye to anyone claiming that they needed gluten-free.  I am now the person who requires it. I feel like jerk who is experiencing a heavy dose of karma. My old attitude plus the incredulousness of others, makes me so angry. Giving up gluten isn't a fun fad, it's a permanent adjustment that is difficult.  Having to worry about cross-contamination and people not taking your illness seriously based on their own idea of what qualifies as legitimate is maddening.  I don't feel safe eating out at restaurants that are anything but completely gluten-free, which further adds to my frustration about the lifestyle changes I'm having to adopt. I don't want to hold others hostage with my food limitations, but at the same time, I want to be safe and protect my body. How do you make the cultural adjustment? How do you feel safe?

 



 

Edited by lauramac
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I eat out with my family often, I pack my meal, take it in a purse-like looking little cooler bag. when orders are  being taken i just tell the waiter that I am not ordering. they don't care. when the food comes I whip out my meal and eat. ( I bring my own plate, etc.) they don't care. 

I ask no permission. I ask no forgiveness. there is NO meal worth it to me to be sick for 2 weeks. no waiter has ever said a word. 


gluten free since 11/12  

dairy and soy free since 1/13

chocolate free since 6/14

 

I miss my chocolate!!!   but I'm not sick anymore, and that's what really matters  :)

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Laura,

You should continue to consume gluten until all testing is complete.  

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/why-do-you-insist-i-eat-gluten-for-a-diagnosis-when-i-feel-better-on-a-gluten-free-diet


Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis -- Stable 2014

Anemia -- Resolved

Fractures (vertebrae): June 2013

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Diabetes -- January 2014

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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Hi Cycling Lady,

I was concerned about that, but when I called and spoke to the G
astroenterologist and my Primary Care Provider, they both recommended that I discontinue gluten immediately. I told them I was NOT up for a gluten challenge.  I have a recently diagnosed co-morbidity (Diabetes, Type 2) and on-going issues with anemia (3 years, haven't been able to tolerate supplements) and eczema, so my assumption is that they are more concerned with the inflamation's impact on the Diabetes than a biopsy of starting from zero. 

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Hi Cycling Lady,
I was concerned about that, but when I called and spoke to the G
astroenterologist and my Primary Care Provider, they both recommended that I discontinue gluten immediately. I told them I was NOT up for a gluten challenge.  I have a recently diagnosed co-morbidity (Diabetes, Type 2) and on-going issues with anemia (3 years, haven't been able to tolerate supplements) and eczema, so my assumption is that they are more concerned with the inflamation's impact on the Diabetes than a biopsy of starting from zero. 

Okay.  This advice does go against the American GI association's diagnostic criteria but your doctors know your situation best.  A gluten challenge usually occurs after a person has been gluten free for months or years.  But, in your case, you seem to been on a gluten-containing diet, since you had positive celiac blood test results. 

   I have diabetes and I was severely anemic when I was diagnosed with celiac disease (hemoglobin a 7 and ferritin 2).  How are you managing your diabetes?  I am only controlling mine with diet at this point and staying under 6% on my HA1c (two years).    I eat only a LCHF diet (gluten free of course).  The Low Carb High Fat diet has helped my diabetes from progressing.   Eating just gluten free did nothing and in fact, made my diabetes worse!  Bread (gluten or no gluten) will cause blood glucose to soar!  :o I encourage you to eat to your meter (maybe you already are!)  I am happy to report that my anemia resolved within six months of going gluten free.  I attribute that to intestinal healing!  

Edited by cyclinglady

Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis -- Stable 2014

Anemia -- Resolved

Fractures (vertebrae): June 2013

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Diabetes -- January 2014

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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Laura,

I never had the small bowel biopsy. I was SO sick when I was diagnosed (I thought I was dying) that I went on a gluten-free diet a couple of days later (I had to have my "farewell to gluten" tour before I quit everything cold turkey). I had a blood test that was lit up with multiple antibodies to gluten. My doctor wanted me to wait until the biopsy could confirm her diagnosis, but I told her I just wasn't that curious and I wasn't willing to wait a month or more before starting the diet. If I felt better on a gluten-free diet I would never eat gluten again as long as I lived. Within 3 days I of a gluten free diet, I knew this was the reason I had felt miserable for 25+ years. Since then I've had a couple doctors want me to take a gluten challenge and do the biopsy, but I just asked them why? I'm never eating gluten again, so why bother? Even a small amount of cross contamination makes me curl up into a ball for 2 days in massive pain and horrible depression. Why would I ever want to eat gluten again, just so they "know" what I already know?  What my doctor had said at the time was that even though it wasn't the "gold standard" of testing, she was willing to accept the blood work as an indication of probable celiac, and the gluten free diet being successful as a confirmation of the diagnosis. 

I was also anemic, and had other issued relating to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that didn't change when I was using supplements. That is one of the reasons they checked me for celiac disease; the anemia that wouldn't change no matter how much iron I took. I think it probably took more than a year of a gluten-free diet for those issues to begin to resolve. Your small intestine has to heal before it can start to absorb things like iron and calcium etc. from your food or from supplements.

I was told recently by my very nice GI doctor, that I could do a gluten challenge at any time with a small bowel biopsy, but I told him what I've told everyone else who has pushed it "I'm just not that curious". It wouldn't change anything for me.

Good luck, and I hope you start to feel better.

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I'm looking forward to kicking the anemia. I was diagnosed with Diabetes on 9/4 (less than a month prior to the Celiac diagnosis) and was told that this was my chance to treat it with diet and exercise.  I began to exercise daily but was so exhausted that I couldn't make it up the stairs at night.  The nutritionist linked my exhaustion to my anemia, which caused my doctor to look at it again, which prompted the Celiac tests.  

The dual-diagnosis is a bit of a pain, as I've noticed that gluten-free foods seem to be higher in fat and sugar, which I'm trying to avoid.  I've noticed that when I eat gluten-free versions of regular foods, I bloat and have an upset tummy (something that was never an issue with gluten), so I am beginning to avoid them because of that.   

It's a long road that will require me to learn how to cook, but I appreciate the help I'm getting along the way.

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Laura,

I never had the small bowel biopsy. I was SO sick when I was diagnosed (I thought I was dying) that I went on a gluten-free diet a couple of days later (I had to have my "farewell to gluten" tour before I quit everything cold turkey). I had a blood test that was lit up with multiple antibodies to gluten. My doctor wanted me to wait until the biopsy could confirm her diagnosis, but I told her I just wasn't that curious and I wasn't willing to wait a month or more before starting the diet. If I felt better on a gluten-free diet I would never eat gluten again as long as I lived. Within 3 days I of a gluten free diet, I knew this was the reason I had felt miserable for 25+ years. Since then I've had a couple doctors want me to take a gluten challenge and do the biopsy, but I just asked them why? I'm never eating gluten again, so why bother? Even a small amount of cross contamination makes me curl up into a ball for 2 days in massive pain and horrible depression. Why would I ever want to eat gluten again, just so they "know" what I already know?  What my doctor had said at the time was that even though it wasn't the "gold standard" of testing, she was willing to accept the blood work as an indication of probable celiac, and the gluten free diet being successful as a confirmation of the diagnosis. 

I was also anemic, and had other issued relating to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that didn't change when I was using supplements. That is one of the reasons they checked me for celiac disease; the anemia that wouldn't change no matter how much iron I took. I think it probably took more than a year of a gluten-free diet for those issues to begin to resolve. Your small intestine has to heal before it can start to absorb things like iron and calcium etc. from your food or from supplements.

I was told recently by my very nice GI doctor, that I could do a gluten challenge at any time with a small bowel biopsy, but I told him what I've told everyone else who has pushed it "I'm just not that curious". It wouldn't change anything for me.

Good luck, and I hope you start to feel better.

Thank you for sharing your story!  

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Regarding Jason's Deli and their gluten-free menu; not easy for me to ever trust them again.

Prior to attending a one-day women's retreat at a local church; I paid ahead for a gluten-free meal that was to be catered by Jason's.  During lunchtime the day of the event, I retrieved a lunch box labeled "gluten-free" and sat down w/ everyone else for a nice meal and conversation.  Jason's sandwich was great, along w/ chips, a pickle and chocolate cookie.  As I bit into the cookie remember saying to my friend, "I'm assuming this cookie is gluten-free."  Discovered the hard way - never to assume.  By the time I called Jason's Deli and spoke w/ their regional manager, I was in full "gluten" mode.  Being in extreme pain and discomfort is the perfect time (in a diplomatic way of course) to explain why a restaurant should never pack "gluten" cookies in a gluten-free lunch box.  The manager was nice enough to listen to me for 30 minutes, but afterwards I didn't feel liked he appreciated the importance of the subject matter.   

We all make mistakes now and again, but it's the part about the manager being lackadaisical about Celiac Disease that prompts me to never step over the threshold of a Jason's again.  

Edited by RadDecor

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