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MamaTonk

Zuppa Toscana

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Hi, I am newly diagnosed trying to navigate my way around what I can eat when I go to some of my favorite restaurants. I realize how difficult this is going to be already. I thought for sure that Zuppa Toscana would be gluten-free, but Olive Gardens website says otherwise. Is the gluten in the sausage?  I'm just trying to understand. 

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The Sausage is a possibility, but not that likely. There is greater likelihood that the gluten is in the thickener for the Soup.  Also, check to be sure any restaurant you go to has a thorough gluten free protocol.  Use of dedicated equipment, education of servers, etc.  Olive Garden handles lots of gluten: in the bread sticks, pasta, the sauces.  Cross contamination would be very easy in that environment. 

I think there is a celiac 101 post on here for the newly diagnosed that helps with navigating cross contamination and dining out.  

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WE normally suggest you do not eat out several months after diagnosis and only eat a whole foods diet to accelerate your healing process and avoid contamination issues. As to your thoughts on that dish, I would say the soup itself has it and the sausage. I would avoid olive garden like the plague btw. pasta water, bread stick crumbs, crouton dust......bloody nightmare for a celiac. I love italian, but I learned to cook it all at home myself. I got a lovely recipes for grain free cheesy bread sticks. >.> we also suggest dropping dairy and even gluten-free oats for the first few months at least.

https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/91878-newbie-info-101/

^Newbie 101 guide

PS do not be too distraught after your healing starts you can treat yourself to some gluten-free processed foods every now and then and there are many options for pretty much everything you used to eat with gluten. Feel free to check out the below list with sources for gluten free foods, gluten free ingredients, gluten free snacks, and a bunch of specialty foods for dairy and grain free options also.

https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/117090-gluten-free-food-alternatives-list/

 

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Be very careful of Olive Garden or any place with that much gluten around.  After painstakingly, successfully avoiding getting glutened while babysitting 4 grandchildren in their home (out of my safe zone!) for a week, I had almost made it back from TN to south Florida when we stopped at an Olive Garden. They have one pasta that is gluten-free and it is not spaghetti so when I got to the bottom of my pasta and found one long strand of spaghetti, I knew I had been glutened and my careful work of the last  week had been in vain. The manager's response was that there was a new employee that didn't understand about using different water for boiling the pasta. My guess is he had never been trained. When she tried to give me a gift card in addition to the meal, I told her that I wouldn't be needing a gift card for Olive Garden but instead I would request that she train her new employees more throughly regarding making sure a meal is gluten-free. That was almost 2 years ago.  I was new to gluten-free then so I have learned a lot since then and continue to refine this journey of how to live life gluten-free. It does get easier but the learning curve is steep! One of the things I read that I constantly go back to is from a man that had been gluten-free for many years-long before gluten-free foods or computers with wonderful information spaces such as this. He said that when he was diagnosed that the doctor wrote out his prescription on a sheet of notebook paper~fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh meat...and that was it. Very hard to follow but each time I am glutened, I think of it. One thing I would say is that you have to learn to speak up for yourself in restaurants-not the time to be shy. A good server with gluten-free experience or a good manager will run interference for you in the kitchen but if they seem clueless,  know you cannot safely eat there. Listen to your gut instincts. Good luck to you. You have come to an incredibly informative website if you can spend some time reading here. 

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Thank you all for your information and guidance. I'm thankful to have a community like this to inquire at and receive support from others who truly understand. :) 

Edited by MamaTonk

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