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Zozo16

Non-Gluten Free Kitchens

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When a restaurant tells you that they do not have a gluten free kitchen and cannot guarantee cross-contamination, do you still eat there? I have noticed that almost all of them tell me that even when they have a gluten free menu. Obviously flour will always be in the air, but I feel like you are going to get a little contaminated no matter what when you eat out. You obviously can't 100% completely avoid all gluten sources in life that are out of your control. Do you think the restaurants are probably ok to eat at, but just do not want to get sued for claiming to be gluten free? Thoughts? Thanks! 

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Hi Zozo

I think what you say about restaurants not wanting to be sued is quite true.   

I remember when I was diagnosed my nutritionalist told me about this case:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10061165/Coeliac-sufferer-made-violently-sick-at-Jamie-Oliver-restaurant.html

My celiac disease was only diagnosed in my mid-forties.  I could not understand how two younger friends who coincidentally were diagnosed around the same time as me would eat out at restaurants, chance a gluten free dish that might not have been quite so, and not worry too much if they felt a bit off for a few days.   I had a lot of symptoms, including weird nerve stuff (tingling in my hands and feet, numbness  in my hands on waking)  and I just didn't want to make things worse so I tended to take my food with me, or eat before I went out, etc.  

From what I have read online there are some people who will not eat out at all - never ever; others who advise if you are newly diagnosed wait for a while to heal a bit before you eat out.  Others who have eaten out from the get-go.

I have followed the second piece of advice.  Now three years on I have taken a few risks, eating at kitchens where gluten free food is prepared separately in an environment where otherwise there is gluten.   On the whole I have been fine.    I either eat at a restaurant where I know the people that run it and have had a chance to explain what I want, in advance, not when they are too stressed to listen! Or if  I'm trying somewhere new I make a big point of telling the waiters that I am very ill if I eat gluten.   Then when the food is placed in front of me I check it is for me.   I try to order low risk foods, things that are unlikely to get mixed up with gluten containing food.    So at an Italian I will eat risotto rather than pizza.   I try to eat at restaurants that are accredited by Coeliac UK (I live in Britain).   That said, in one of them my stomach wasn't quite right the next day - could have been the rich food, but I wondered if it was because flour flies around a lot - it was a pizza restaurant. I'm not eating there again.  Trial and error I guess!

 

 

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Cristiana, 

Thank you for the advice and for sharing your experience. That article was very interesting. I know that sometimes mistakes happen. I am actually not quite sure what my 'glutened' reactions are. I mainly suffer from extreme tiredness, memory loss, foggy brain, eczema, and stomach issues. I also do not have a galbladder, which makes it hard to tell if I am glutened. How long does it take for your symptoms to show? 

I just can't imagine never eating out. I live a super busy lifestyle and do not have time to cook. Plus, sometimes you just end up in a situation where you have to eat out. My biggest issues is finding quick food/fast food places that I can eat at. 

I have been trying to cook my own food during the week and only eating out on the weekend. I used to eat out 3 times a day, so even this has been really hard haha. Ordering low-risk foods is a good suggestion. Do you have any other low-risk food recommendations? thanks! 

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Hi Zozo

My symptoms are usually a feeling of slight nausea and a burning feeling around my abdomen, sort of around waistband level, I also feel a bit bloated.  I might start to feel like this within hours of eating, but for some reason the symptoms seem to really show up a day or so later and can last some time.   I think up to three weeks of not feeling quite right - not terribly ill, but uncomfortable.  I think it depends on how much gluten I have ingested.  

Once soon after diagnosis I ate two pancakes that someone had given to me by mistake but I really didn't have much of a reaction.    A year or so later I ate something - not even sure what it was - but I found for about two or three weeks afterwards I couldn't cope with rich foods and my stomach burned on and off for that time.  So how it affects you over time might change,  but you will get better at recognising the signs as time goes on.

Eating out I might order the following:

Leafy salads but I tend not to order sauces on them, in case.   

Cakes/sandwiches that are pre-wrapped with the gluten free symbol on the packaging.  A lot of the former are sold like that in the UK at cafe's because it makes the caterer's life so much simpler, and they are usually made in a separate facility.

I sometimes ring ahead to my favorite pub and ask them to put a baked potato in foil for me, and then they'll put some grated cheese in it and add a salad.

At the breakfast buffet, boiled eggs, Gluten Free yoghurt (ask to see the ingredients), fruit.

The majority of Indian curries are normally gluten free so if you like spicy food that's something worth considering.

Also - pack a picnic.  If you can always have some protein snacks on you in case you get caught out somewhere.   Nuts, gluten-free cereal bars, cheese, tinned sardines if you can bear them, and to cheer me up when everyone is eating something really nice that I can't, I like to carry emergency rations of chocolate!

It is also worth googling the words 'celiac', 'gluten free' and the town you are visiting - there are usually reviews from other celiacs out there on restaurants and that might help.

This website is also great for flagging up trustworthy options.

 

 

 

 

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For fast food, both Jason's Deli and Schlotzky's have gluten free options.  I am told Panera is starting.  We have regional pizza chains like Pie Five and Uncle Maddio's that have gluten-free crusts and take precautions for gluten-free eaters.

 

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I eat out but only if they offer a gluten free menu.  I do question the server as to how the food is prepped.  If they can answer my questions with some intelligence then I will take a chance.  I always say "I do have a food allergy.  Gluten Free is not a choice for me".  Most places understand the word "allergy". I usually order something fairly simple especially if the place is busy.  Simple helps keep any mistakes a little less.

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On 7/5/2016 at 6:43 PM, Zozo16 said:

Cristiana, 

Thank you for the advice and for sharing your experience. That article was very interesting. I know that sometimes mistakes happen. I am actually not quite sure what my 'glutened' reactions are. I mainly suffer from extreme tiredness, memory loss, foggy brain, eczema, and stomach issues. I also do not have a galbladder, which makes it hard to tell if I am glutened. How long does it take for your symptoms to show? 

I just can't imagine never eating out. I live a super busy lifestyle and do not have time to cook. Plus, sometimes you just end up in a situation where you have to eat out. My biggest issues is finding quick food/fast food places that I can eat at. 

I have been trying to cook my own food during the week and only eating out on the weekend. I used to eat out 3 times a day, so even this has been really hard haha. Ordering low-risk foods is a good suggestion. Do you have any other low-risk food recommendations? thanks! 

 I am curious, since i do not have a gallbladder, how does this effect you?

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