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Guest cassidy

How Can Eating In Restaurants Not Get You Sick?

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Guest cassidy

I have tried eating out several times in the last 5 months and have gotten glutened every time except twice. I always talk to the waiter and/or manager and explain my situation. I explain that it isn't only the food, but also the preparation method. I went to Bonefish and ordered off their gluten-free menu and got sick.

The only times I didn't get sick were on vacation when the hotels used new pans and utensils to prepare my food. I talked to the hotel manager and head chef to get this all taken care of. I explained the situation the same way I always do and this is the solution the chef came up with. They got me sick the first night and then really took me seriously. I don't think that normal restaurants have new pans that they can use.

I think most people here either have a gluten-free kitchen or have separate utensils and pans for gluten-free food. So, in a restaurant if they are using the same pans on both types of food, how do people not get sick? I know I glutened myself at home when I thought separate pans weren't necesary.

I don't think I am more sensitive than anyone else. I also don't think that I explain the situation poorly.

So, do other people really have success eating out? How do they not get sick when restaurants are full of gluten? Any suggestions?

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you know, I don't know. I used to think if we ordered gluten free food from an understanding restraunt that it would be okay, then the other night my daughter got DH rash from a gluten free meal from a "celiac friendly" restraunt. I realized she can't eat out (at least not risk free)

It's kinda sad. :(

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To be honest, I have great success eating out. (knock on wood). I eat out all the time. In fact I rarely ever bring lunch to work. Most days I either get a salad from our cafeteria, a lettuce wrap, or grilled chicken and veggies from the salad bar. And every so often I'll go to a local deli and have them make me a lettuce wrap. But I'd say atleast twice a week I go to this burger place across the street with my boss. I also go out for dinner probably once every other week. The only times I've ever been glutened is at home or accidentally by my dad at his house.

For the most part when I do go out to eat I obviously try and make safe choices as to where we go and favor restaurants with a gluten-free menu, but I have yet to have a problem at a restaurant. Maybe I've just been really lucky.

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I get sick almost everytime I eat out. I was wondering the same thing! I don't know how everyone eats out without getting sick. Guess I am missing something. I used to enjoy eating out, but not anymore. It is depressing sometimes.

Monica

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Guest Viola

I just had chicken fried rice and sweet & sour pork for lunch at a Chinese restaurant today. They have a designated area where they make the gluten free Chinese food and I've never had a problem there. In fact 16 of us Celiacs ate there awhile back and I never heard of any of us getting sick. :P It's wonderful! Wish you all lived close by so you could go too!

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I go out to eat several times a month and have not been glutened in well over a year. I am choosy about where I eat though. But, sometimes I can't choose. Monday night friends invited us out for a quick dinner and we ate at the Country Club where I have not eaten before. Our host talked to the manager and she came and talked to me. She went to the chef and came back with what was safe for me and instead of using the grill for my Mahi Mahi, the chef cooked it in a clean frying pan. I did not get sick.

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With me it's hit-or-miss. I have had several meals out where I've been 100% fine, but I've had quite a few that weren't ok as well. I usually order the same few things at the same several places and ask for them in the same exact way--most of the time it works out, but sometimes it doesn't. I chock it all up to the cross contamination issues you're talking about. I don't think that the pan has to be brand new, but you are at the mercy of the dishwasher--if he/she wasn't thorough, you could have a problem--it's the risk you take, but it can be truly rewarding to have someone really give you great service and go above and beyond to prepare you meal specially. If I do get glutened, I usually try to eat at home exclusively for a few weeks, but I really love and frequent those places where I've never gotten sick.

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I think its a combination of things....

Firstly the cliched moody chef is a reality, either through chef's thinking its cool or because of the nature of the job, either way chefs tend to be rather moody individuals. I think those in chains and franchises are the worst, they probably trained to be creative and then have to dumb themselves down into a drudgery and then force themselves to adapt to this.

Secondly I think quite a few celiacs con themselves. They refuse to accept that no resto is 100% safe (unless it really doesn't have any gluten in the kitchen at all) and the same at home regarding sharing kitchens with others.

Again the reasons for this are diverse, many people simply want to be told what to believe be it in work or home. In other words the fact is that no resto can absolutely guarantee they can only try very hard ... but some people prefer certainty in their lives even when that certainty is based on nothing concrete. In other words many people prefer to be told X amount is OK rather than X amount seems OK but we don't know what other damage it might cause. In a work environment this is characterised by people who want ticks in boxes .. people who steadfastly refuse to look at evidence that part of a job may have been skipped if they have a tick in a box saying it was done, in the case of celiac disease these people are the ones who want to see a gluten-free symbol or statement and will find all manner of excuse for being ill after eating out that doesn't involve gluten.

There is also a fact that as humans we retain an eternal optimism, I certainly had no intention of being a sensitive celaic, after all why wait until my late 30's to be diagnosed if I was at the sensitive end of the scale. I was optimistic about being able to eat oats and contamination issues until I had to admit to myself it wasn't the case. I guess this is the case for most people but some peoople will be curious and investigate themselves and others not and prefer to believe what they are handed. One only has to look at successful advertising to be aware that a significant percentage of the population prefers to be told what to do ... rathewr than work it out for themselves.

Many people on gluten free diets are really on low gluten diets because they do not accept that items have risk. If they get a mild glutening from contamination then this is probably part and parcel of everyday life for them.

Thirdly many people simply have different tolerances and reactions.

Last night I ate out with friends and because of me it was sushi, personally I hate the stuff but its a safer option. I took my own Soy sauce and ate only sushi, sashimi and maki but I have to accept I got glutened by my reaction this morning.

Maybe it was the maki or maybe it was the rice, who knows? Perhaps the chef had soy sauce on his hands .. but I can either accept it and move on or pretend my D is from something else.

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I think most of us that eat out know there is a risk when we do so (in response to the poster who said we were fooling ourselves) but some of us don't have a choice if we eat out or not. I travel often and I do business over meals so I really don't have much of a choice when it comes to "if" I eat out. However I'm lucky in that I get to choose the restaurant almost all of the time. (I also travel with my boyfriend a lot for vacations)

I've been lucky too but a lot of prep goes into my "luck" with the type of place I choose to eat at, the phone calls ahead of time, and the emphsis I place on my "allergy" to the maitre d, waiter and chef when I'm there. I don't have any qualms about telling everyone how my food must be prepared and I make a point of telling them I WILL get ill, probably right in the restaurant, if they goof up. I have not been glutened in a restaurant in exactly one year (last time was May 2005 in northern Florida).

I had a endo. in January and there were NO signs of celiac at all so I guess I'm doing something right.

Susan

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I get sick most of the time when I eat out, regardless of how careful they are.

it is a risk you are taking when eating out. I choose to avoid restuarants at all costs.

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I think most of us that eat out know there is a risk when we do so (in response to the poster who said we were fooling ourselves) but some of us don't have a choice if we eat out or not. I travel often and I do business over meals so I really don't have much of a choice when it comes to "if" I eat out. However I'm lucky in that I get to choose the restaurant almost all of the time. (I also travel with my boyfriend a lot for vacations)

I've been lucky too but a lot of prep goes into my "luck" with the type of place I choose to eat at, the phone calls ahead of time, and the emphsis I place on my "allergy" to the maitre d, waiter and chef when I'm there. I don't have any qualms about telling everyone how my food must be prepared and I make a point of telling them I WILL get ill, probably right in the restaurant, if they goof up. I have not been glutened in a restaurant in exactly one year (last time was May 2005 in northern Florida).

I had a endo. in January and there were NO signs of celiac at all so I guess I'm doing something right.

Susan

Yes, you definately have to make your own luck... and there are many things you can do to push the odds in your direction. I eat out reasonably often, I just need to accept the risk and then seek to minimalise it but I still get caught out from time to time.

However its equally worth mentioning that some people inadvertantly turn this against us. The symptoms are not the most pleasant thing to describe so for instance last night I got caught out and on some level if I don't go back and tell the resto then they will presume I was OK...

There are also non-celiacs on voluntary gluten-free diets (not self diagnosed people but just people who choose to not eat gluten, just as some choose to be vegan etc.) and obviously if they have different 'requirments' human nature tends to mean the resto will see us as being over demanding when another person claims the odd breadcrumb won't hurt them.

The problem is there is little enough information disseminated to resto's in general and it is hard for them to judge who is finiky and who is not....

To this end I think many of us will find one place and tend to stick with it, its at least easier to being up a slip with a owner or maitre d' who you already have a rapport with...

I think that the best way to deal with this is on a local level which is why I started a local website for people living or visiting my city. I get lots of emails frompeope saying how good it is of me to provide this service but in reality my motives are not entirely alturistic, I know that by sending people to the same places we will as a group receive better service and lower risk. I realise that the resto's will notice the business opportunity and do more and that other resto's will look at them and copy giving me more choice, this is just another way I am trying to shape my luck :D

Indeed I think the message is we need to do everything we can to put the odds in our favor and hopefully help others in the same situation.

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I eat out several times a month and have about 4 regular places I go to without problems. There are a couple of others that I go to and always get a little sick but not bad so I don't go there often, but occasionally I do for work.

I never get sick unless I go at the wrong times like when they are too busy to as much attention to my food as I need them to so we just don't go out at those times. Even at work - my boss makes sure, because I told him, that we get to lunch by 11:30 to avoid the noon rush and it makes all the difference in the world.

When we travel, I have had great luck but choose my places very carefully. We have walked in a few places, talked to the manager, and if they can't work with us, I thank him/her for their time and we (3 kids plus us) turn around and pick a new place...no big deal and the kids understand.

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I am new to celiac disease and don't know if I have been glutened or not!!!???? I see that some of you posted that you get sick, can you tell me what your symptoms are so i can make sure i am not ignoring my glutened body?

I was able to eat at a Mexican restaurant tonight, I chose my menu carefully and I all I feel is reallly full and bloated. Could that be my sign to be glutened?

Thanks

Caroline

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Caroline,

The symptoms are different for everyone, and some people are even asymptomatic. A lot of people get diarrhea, gas, bloating, brain fog, bloody stool, malnutrition, weight loss, headaches, nausea--it's a whole range. Once you're totally off gluten for a while that's when you'll notice when a single eating incident has caused you to feel sick. You'll learn your own symptoms soon enough--it's just important to be cautious in the mean time so that you don't have to worry about what it feels like to be glutened.

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I was curious if any of you order chicken when you are at a restaurant. How do you know if the chicken is injected with chicken broth or not???? I haven't had the nerve to ask the manager or waiter yet. And if I did, could they honestly give me the right answer. I'm sick of bunless burgers.....

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I was curious if any of you order chicken when you are at a restaurant. How do you know if the chicken is injected with chicken broth or not???? I haven't had the nerve to ask the manager or waiter yet. And if I did, could they honestly give me the right answer. I'm sick of bunless burgers.....

We usually only go to restruants that have a "gluten free menu", like Outback.

However, since the whole Mc Donald's thing, I am pretty afraid of the gluten free menus on principle.

I would ask the manager, most of the time they know a lot more than you give them credit for.

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When I first began to eat out gluten-free, I got sick alot. Getting my dining cards changed everything. I'm also very picky about where I go. If I'm at say, a Denny's or that grade of restaurant, I'll order a cup of coffee and have a snack from my purse. What I've noticed with the dining cards is, If the wait staff is attentive and takes the card back to the kitchen, I'm going to be fine. If they try to wing the order themselves, I'm probably going to ge t sick, so if they aren't giving me the attention I feel is neccesary to getting my meal w/o CC, I'll either talk to the manager, or give up. Its not always thier fault either, but sometimes you get people who won't pay attention. It also takes me like twenty minutes to order, I ask the same questions several times to make sure they haven't forgotten, and I carry NuLev and B12 in my purse. I know its a risk, but I travel quite a bit, and enjoy the company of my friends, and I'm as safe as I can be, but I refuse to just stay home.

Elonwy

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I was curious if any of you order chicken when you are at a restaurant. How do you know if the chicken is injected with chicken broth or not???? I haven't had the nerve to ask the manager or waiter yet. And if I did, could they honestly give me the right answer. I'm sick of bunless burgers.....

I don't go to the type of resto that would use a non farm reared chicken in the first place is the short anwer.

Basically anyone using the 'inflated' chickens isn't serious about food and if they are not serious then I am not risking them.

However, since the whole Mc Donald's thing, I am pretty afraid of the gluten free menus on principle.

I think that sums it up. McDo's are not serious about food, they are not a resto IMHO they take money and give out packages and McDo's wouldn't mind what those packages contained so long as they made money.

To me a resto is someone interested in the actual food. If you take your average McDo manager or server they would be just as happy (or not) selling more or less anything, its not a career decision for someone who likes food. Take the average McDo worker and offer them a position on 5% more selling something else and they will jump at it but if you take a trainee chef on minimum wage in a starred establishment you can offer them 50% more and they won't take it because they want to work with food.

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Guest cassidy
When I first began to eat out gluten-free, I got sick alot. Getting my dining cards changed everything. I'm also very picky about where I go. If I'm at say, a Denny's or that grade of restaurant, I'll order a cup of coffee and have a snack from my purse. What I've noticed with the dining cards is, If the wait staff is attentive and takes the card back to the kitchen, I'm going to be fine. If they try to wing the order themselves, I'm probably going to ge t sick, so if they aren't giving me the attention I feel is neccesary to getting my meal w/o CC, I'll either talk to the manager, or give up. Its not always thier fault either, but sometimes you get people who won't pay attention. It also takes me like twenty minutes to order, I ask the same questions several times to make sure they haven't forgotten, and I carry NuLev and B12 in my purse. I know its a risk, but I travel quite a bit, and enjoy the company of my friends, and I'm as safe as I can be, but I refuse to just stay home.

Elonwy

What is NuLev?

I am going to Cancun next week through my company. I have talked to countless people and I sent them a "in a perfect situation" email. I talked about very clean pans and utensils, only a select few making my food and gave them a list of safe choices. They keep telling me that the head chef is very nervous. I'm actually having a conference call with him today; I hope he speaks English well. I hope all this preparation will lead to a safe trip, but I'm worried because they are nervous.

I travel a lot as well. For my job I eat lunch with customers 3-4 times a week. I also have 4 week long trips in the next 6 weeks. I have been packing my own food and eating granola bars a lot. I really would like to eat out, but I hate getting sick, especially when I'm working or on a trip. Maybe I will get to the point when I get so angry I will try again. I just have had so few good days that I feel like I'm taking an unnecesary chance by eating out.

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NuLev is an IBS medication which helps with the cramping and gas, and somewhat with the bloating. Its my emergency kit. I start to feel any weird inflation going on, I pop one so I don't end up on the floor.

Yeah, sometimes if you get too adamant aboud CC people start to freak a little, I've had places refuse to try to work with me because my old dining cards were so agro about CC. Its all about that delicate balance.

Have you tried dining cards yet? Triumph's are the best I've used. It seems like a simple thing, "Oh I can explain this myself better" but it really isn't. Someone mentioned in another thread, it helps give them something to hold on to and show to the manager or chef. It also makes it more "official" instead of just some crazy thing the lady at table 3 is going on about. It makes them pay attention, and it breaks the languagge barrier. There are times of the month where I won't go eat out, because who needs to add on misery, but I enjoy eating out, and I try to make good decisions about where and when so as not to put myself at risk.

-E

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I created my own dining cards (with common names for each thing because of the ignorance of most people about what gluten actully is) because of my multiple intolerances - I haven't had to use one in a while because I am very specific about the conditions my food must be prepared in, cooked in, served, etc.

I think because I am very specific, while appologizing for being a problem customer, we don't have hardly any problems - and our food is usually out early.

We have a farewell lunch coming up for a co-worker at Olive Garden, I talked with the manager and he said no problem but there was also the disclaimer about CC. Yeah, well, that is the risk I take. However, when I chat with the manager, then chat with my server, and chat with the chef, I usually am OK. I will probably use my cards there though since it will be a first time.

I tip big when I get good and seemingly safe service and people tend to remember me which also helps.

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So are the Triumph dining cards really worth it? I ate out at a thai restaurant yesterday and despite my specific instructions and getting the (supposedly) exact ingredients in the penang curry sauce, I was still sick right away (stomach pains/heartburn/D). I love to eat out and can't imagine not being social anymore :(

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I really think they are. I couldn't eat at my favorite Thai place because noone thier spoke english, but when I got the cards, everything was fine again. They now make me special dishes, leaving out soy sauce, etc and I haven't gotten sick there once. As soon as theres a language barrier, I think they are critical. I have also have numerous servers thank me profusely just for having them. They aren't that expensive either, I got the pack of six, which was around twelve dollars with shipping. I don't go anywhere without them now.

-Elonwy

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Guest Viola
I really think they are. I couldn't eat at my favorite Thai place because noone thier spoke english, but when I got the cards, everything was fine again. They now make me special dishes, leaving out soy sauce, etc and I haven't gotten sick there once. As soon as theres a language barrier, I think they are critical. I have also have numerous servers thank me profusely just for having them. They aren't that expensive either, I got the pack of six, which was around twelve dollars with shipping. I don't go anywhere without them now.

-Elonwy

I have the card also, and wouldn't do without them. I've had mine laminated, this saves kitchen stains and also they come right back to me. Before I had them laminated I had to replace them when they got yucky and some kitchen staff threw them out before they came back, or simply forgot to send them back out.

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