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Green12

It's So Hard Sitting In A Restaurant Not Being Able To Eat

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I'm feeling a little sorry for myself I guess. :(

I don't eat out because I have soooo many food intolerances other than gluten, but recently I was out of town and went with my family everytime they went out to eat and I found myself feeling really left out watching them eat hamburgers and pizza and milkshakes and all of that good stuff. It was almost like I was invisible, or like I was on the outside looking in and it's in those times that I am reminded and made aware how I am different from everybody or abnormal. When I am at home and in my day to day life it's no problem for me to eat my special diet and do whatever it takes to be well, or somewhat better, and I'm ok with it and I've made peace with it and accepted it. I realized it's an isolated situation though and when I came back from my trip I was feeling a little depressed about the reality of it. It bothers me to have to be inflexible and for not having the luxury of being spontaneous, because I am always preparing my meals and planning them I can't just run out here and grab something to eat on the fly.

Does this happen to anyone else???

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I actually find it bothers the others who are eating more than it bothers me. I do have more flexibility though, because gluten is my only problem. Usually my husband and I pick a place I can eat. But I have had situations where I was somewhere that cc was just too much of a concern. I'm just sure I eat first so that I'm not sitting there hungry. Sometimes I bring my own food. I guess it's just because I'm so happy to be healthy that I don't regret not being able to eat everything.

Maybe bringing something would be a help for you. Today I went to Starbucks and brought in my own gluten-free biscotti. I asked for a plate, so that I could have my snack on a plate like everyone else does. I felt pretty normal.

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I'm with you on this one. I've pretty much sheltered myself so that I dont have to face all that. I havent put myself in that situation yet and am not looking forward to it. When I thought it was just gluten that was my problem it wasnt a big deal to me at all....I wasnt worried about having to eat gluten free or not having pizza or anything like that. Now that I'm faced with so many more restrictions I've been thinking about what I'll miss out on. I remember what it was like to stop and grab something to eat...I did it everyday. How will I go on vacation, or just spend the day *anywhere*.....away from my kitchen. It makes me cry a little. We're both kind of in the same place right now but I'm hoping things will get better....for both of us.

Even if I have to stay on a restricted diet I'm hoping it will get to the point where I can make my own goodies to bring or just have more snack type options. I figure if I ever go on vacation I'll make sure I stay at a place with a kitchen. As far as eating out....it will really suck to see everyone eating all the foods I cant have but at least if I can have *something* it might make it easier to deal with.

I definately know how you feel though. :(

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I so agree with all of you. When I'm at home I fix supper and do not think to much about what I can not have, but when we go out it hurts. I've only been gluten-free for 2 months, actually 63 days, and I tear up at times for all I can't have. I don't know if it is just a pity party for myself or what, but I wish those I was with could really understand how I feel when they have a loaf of Outback bread or a Whopper with fries and I'm eating a salad with no croutons and dressing on the side or a steak with a baked potato. I am happy that I am feeling better and don't have to make sure I can see the bathroom from any where in the room no matter where I am at, but I miss having a choice in what to eat rather than having to know :unsure: what is in everything. This is such a wonderful place to come and be able to talk about things and know that there are others who know and care about you even though they do not even know you.

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I'm with you on this one. I've pretty much sheltered myself so that I dont have to face all that. I havent put myself in that situation yet and am not looking forward to it. When I thought it was just gluten that was my problem it wasnt a big deal to me at all....I wasnt worried about having to eat gluten free or not having pizza or anything like that. Now that I'm faced with so many more restrictions I've been thinking about what I'll miss out on. I remember what it was like to stop and grab something to eat...I did it everyday. How will I go on vacation, or just spend the day *anywhere*.....away from my kitchen. It makes me cry a little. We're both kind of in the same place right now but I'm hoping things will get better....for both of us.

Even if I have to stay on a restricted diet I'm hoping it will get to the point where I can make my own goodies to bring or just have more snack type options. I figure if I ever go on vacation I'll make sure I stay at a place with a kitchen. As far as eating out....it will really suck to see everyone eating all the foods I cant have but at least if I can have *something* it might make it easier to deal with.

I definately know how you feel though. :(

Thanks Rachel for your reply, it's nice not to be alone on this :)

When you have a lot of food allergies it really is very isolating and we get to operating on automatic in order to just get through the day, or at least this is how I feel most of the time and after 10 or more years of this I am very used to sort of living in my own world where everything surrounding food and eating is controlled and restricted. It wasn't until I was out of town and the only means of everybody eating was going out for every meal (of course I had packed all of my food in a cooler and took it with me but I ate it alone and off to the side) and I realized how separate I am from my family and everybody else.

I so agree with all of you. When I'm at home I fix supper and do not think to much about what I can not have, but when we go out it hurts. I've only been gluten-free for 2 months, actually 63 days, and I tear up at times for all I can't have. I don't know if it is just a pity party for myself or what, but I wish those I was with could really understand how I feel when they have a loaf of Outback bread or a Whopper with fries and I'm eating a salad with no croutons and dressing on the side or a steak with a baked potato. I am happy that I am feeling better and don't have to make sure I can see the bathroom from any where in the room no matter where I am at, but I miss having a choice in what to eat rather than having to know :unsure: what is in everything. This is such a wonderful place to come and be able to talk about things and know that there are others who know and care about you even though they do not even know you.

Thanks jeenyj for sharing your thoughts. I agree it is great to have a community where we can go to vent and to just sometimes say you know this really does suck!!!

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i have become extremely anti-social. even family events.

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Why did you eat alone and off to the side? I think it would be easier for you if you ate with them. I would have more of a problem with it, too if I was eating alone. :( I haven't had anyone give me trouble for bringing my own food. When I went to Busch Gardens with our 18 year old daughter, I stuffed my purse full of food. There was a large sign that said "No Outside Food" and they checked the purses for security. I told the security guy he would find food in my purse because I have celiac disease, he looked and said, "No problem." If a waitress gave me a hard time, I would just say I have food intolerances. If she insisted that I couldn't have my own food in the restaurant, I would then ask if she could personally guarantee that whatever I ordered would not get contaminated with gluten in the kitchen because if it did, I would be sick for five days. She would probably back down, but if she didn't, I would ask if she's familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I can't imagine it ever going this far. I can do all this without getting upset and with a smile on my face so that the waitress doesn't get offended; it's sounds much harsher written down. I usually go places I can order something though.

I really think it's important to sit with everyone else because much of eating is the social aspect, which is why I'm perfectly comfortable just sitting and socializing after having eaten before I left the house. Most of the time I go out to eat, I find I'd rather sit and talk anyway ... I have to keep reminding myself to eat!

I guess in a way I'm fortunate in that I find eating to be a necessary hassle, I really don't like it so much that I miss anything. I'm perfectly content just smelling!

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I feel this way too, much of the time. I find I just avoid going out because I feel like a leper. I don't mind when it's just me and my BF or my immediate family, but when I'm out with a group of people, I hate doing the 20 questions with the waiter, I find it embarrasing. I may as well have flashing lights over my head that read "FREAK OF NATURE". I don't mind so much when I'm at home, I just pick at what I can still eat. The other thing that drives me insane is how I always end up ordering steak or grilled chicken for like $15-$20, when what I really want is the burger for $6.99. That also makes it an incentive for me to just stay home.

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I eat out all the time. Today I had an out of state cousin visit for a few hours. I knew we could not go far for lunch like we would normally do. So, I called Famous Sam's yesterday and inquired if their Pastrami was gluten free (they are). They also told me that their french fries were in a dedicated frier. They usually use their special Sam salt on the fries and for me they did not, they just used plain salt. They cleaned the grill, used a clean spatula to heat my pastrami. So, I ate plain pastrami with salt and pepper only and great fries that they cut themselves (not pre-pkg.). Maybe I can't eat the way I used to, but I still can eat something and enjoy the visit with friends. Mother's Day we went to a friend's home where they had a big group for a Mother's Day brunch. My husband bought the Champaigne I can drink and some orange juice and he made me Mimmosa's. The host had called me the day before (as he knows his grill is contaminated with the type of seasonings he uses) and he bought me fresh skinless salmon, that he squeezed fresh lemon juice on and peppered it. He then wrapped it in foil and put it on the grill. It was the best moist salmon I have ever eaten. I am sorry, but I suffer from bad multiple food allergies and I am 64 years old. They keep giving me new auto-immune diseases and I am not going to sit home waiting for one of these things to set me any further back then I already am. I am going to go out (when my poor energy lets me) and live my life. Of course I always have to come home and take my nap, but everyone is used to that :rolleyes: .

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When I was very new to the diet, I went on a business trip with my huband, who is in sales. There were other salesmen (all men) there, and the CEO of the company he reps. Apparently, they served sandwiches for lunch during the meeting and my husband was thoroughly enjoying his. The CEO was surprised how happy my husband was for a sandwich, and my husband said he never got them at home.

For dinner, I had to talk to the waiter in front of the 7 men. Fortunately, the waiter was familiar with celiac and was a huge help. The CEO looked at Adam and said, "Oh, now I know why you never get sandwiches at home!" They had put a cookie in my dessert, so they had to remake it. Another night we were out with the same group, the restaurant called the guy at home who had made the ice cream to find out the ingredients. So, my gluten problem was not hidden from them at all! They asked a few questions, then the conversation moved on.

Oh, another funny eating out story from that trip, I'm this thin woman out with all these guys. I ordered a bigger steak than any of them, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a salad. One guy looked at all my food and said, "Yea, right, I'd like to see you eat all that!" Another guy looked at him and said, "You've obviously never eaten with her before, last time I ate with her, she ate a steak that wouldn't fit in her Mini Cooper!" That was the night I had the ice cream after eating every bite of my food.

I thought it would be a terrible situation and was afraid to go, but realized that no on cares! No one cares that I have to talk to the waiter, no one cares that I can't eat certain foods, the only one it bothers is me. So, I would encourage all of you who never go out to take the chance! I couldn't eat all they could eat, but had a great time nonetheless! :rolleyes:

Of course, there's nothing I can do if you're regretting not being able to eat the bread ... I'm usually content just sticking my nose in the basket and smelling it, keeping it away from my food though.

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I eat out all the time. Today I had an out of state cousin visit for a few hours. I knew we could not go far for lunch like we would normally do. So, I called Famous Sam's yesterday and inquired if their Pastrami was gluten free (they are). They also told me that their french fries were in a dedicated frier. They usually use their special Sam salt on the fries and for me they did not, they just used plain salt. They cleaned the grill, used a clean spatula to heat my pastrami. So, I ate plain pastrami with salt and pepper only and great fries that they cut themselves (not pre-pkg.). Maybe I can't eat the way I used to, but I still can eat something and enjoy the visit with friends. Mother's Day we went to a friend's home where they had a big group for a Mother's Day brunch. My husband bought the Champaigne I can drink and some orange juice and he made me Mimmosa's. The host had called me the day before (as he knows his grill is contaminated with the type of seasonings he uses) and he bought me fresh skinless salmon, that he squeezed fresh lemon juice on and peppered it. He then wrapped it in foil and put it on the grill. It was the best moist salmon I have ever eaten. I am sorry, but I suffer from bad multiple food allergies and I am 64 years old. They keep giving me new auto-immune diseases and I am not going to sit home waiting for one of these things to set me any further back then I already am. I am going to go out (when my poor energy lets me) and live my life. Of course I always have to come home and take my nap, but everyone is used to that :rolleyes: .

Armetta, I am glad that you are able to eat restaurant food even with so many food allergies. I however get violently ill when I eat anything out and so it is not a possibility for me.

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It was isolating for me, until I made the mental shift to say "I'm going to come along for the company" and really really mean it. Now, I don't even have food slowing me down from the conversation! Haha! :-)

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I know how you feel. I have to go to all these small towns for my new job. I mention celiac to the waitresses and I get that dumbfounded look. Everyone else can eat, but not me. I ordered plain rice and plain veggies and they arrived cooked in broth. My salmon was uncooked in the middle. I used to love eating out and now I hate it. I hate it even more now because I have to be away from home for my new job. It's too bad because I like my new job, I just wish that gluten was deamed a toxic substance so that nobody could use it. Okay, I'm a little frustrated right now.

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It was isolating for me, until I made the mental shift to say "I'm going to come along for the company" and really really mean it. Now, I don't even have food slowing me down from the conversation! Haha! :-)

:lol::lol:

I never thought about it but that'll be me for sure! I was always the last one to finish my meal because I couldnt shut up long enough to eat. Now there will be no food to get in the way! Theres a positive. :)

Feel sorry for my friends and family though. :P

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It was isolating for me, until I made the mental shift to say "I'm going to come along for the company" and really really mean it. Now, I don't even have food slowing me down from the conversation! Haha! :-)

I know what you mean.

I could have chosen not to go and stayed back at the hotel but I didn't want to miss out on anything!! I spent most of the time coloring with my niece and wiping up the mac and cheese all over the booth and table and her face, but for a second I just looked around the table and the restaurant in one of those slow motion 'this is life' moments and I saw everybody eating and smiling and laughing and I almost teared up. Not that I don't smile and laugh and love life because I do, I'm really a very happy person despite challenging health problems, but in that moment I knew I was different.

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i refuse to eat out !! there are so many reasons behind it also.

i usually end up in tears and i dont want to make anyone elses time miserable so id rather just stay at home.

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Why did you eat alone and off to the side? I think it would be easier for you if you ate with them. I would have more of a problem with it, too if I was eating alone. :( I haven't had anyone give me trouble for bringing my own food. When I went to Busch Gardens with our 18 year old daughter, I stuffed my purse full of food. There was a large sign that said "No Outside Food" and they checked the purses for security. I told the security guy he would find food in my purse because I have celiac disease, he looked and said, "No problem." If a waitress gave me a hard time, I would just say I have food intolerances. If she insisted that I couldn't have my own food in the restaurant, I would then ask if she could personally guarantee that whatever I ordered would not get contaminated with gluten in the kitchen because if it did, I would be sick for five days. She would probably back down, but if she didn't, I would ask if she's familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I can't imagine it ever going this far. I can do all this without getting upset and with a smile on my face so that the waitress doesn't get offended; it's sounds much harsher written down. I usually go places I can order something though.

I really think it's important to sit with everyone else because much of eating is the social aspect, which is why I'm perfectly comfortable just sitting and socializing after having eaten before I left the house. Most of the time I go out to eat, I find I'd rather sit and talk anyway ... I have to keep reminding myself to eat!

I guess in a way I'm fortunate in that I find eating to be a necessary hassle, I really don't like it so much that I miss anything. I'm perfectly content just smelling!

I ate before we all went out and I did it off to the side. I'm not an anti-social, I just find that I am more guarded about eating since I have been ill. And since this has been more than 10 years I am used to it being that way. Plus I don't like all of the questions I get, most of the time I find people think you have an eating disorder or that you are 'difficult' when it comes to food and I don't want that judgement and energy projected on to me.

I think it's an individual thing on how one deals with this issue. I think everybody has to figure out what works best for them and what is most comfortable and most importantly not be judged for it.

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Sorry if you took it that I was judging you, I wasn't. I was just wondering why you ate off to the side. That would make it worse for me. The questions don't actually bother me.

I used the Triumph dining cards for the first time last night. I must say, they made it a lot easier!! (just a side comment)

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Sorry if you took it that I was judging you, I wasn't. I was just wondering why you ate off to the side. That would make it worse for me. The questions don't actually bother me.

I used the Triumph dining cards for the first time last night. I must say, they made it a lot easier!! (just a side comment)

Carla, oh no not at all, I didn't think you were judging me. I think as you can see by the responses in this thread everybody has varied ways of dealing with eating/eating out, from not caring to pulling in, and that was the observation I was making that it is an individual thing and I didn't want to pass judgement on anybody for their choices. Special diets are challenging enough as it is. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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I'm feeling a little sorry for myself I guess. :(

I don't eat out because I have soooo many food intolerances other than gluten, but recently I was out of town and went with my family everytime they went out to eat and I found myself feeling really left out watching them eat hamburgers and pizza and milkshakes and all of that good stuff. It was almost like I was invisible, or like I was on the outside looking in and it's in those times that I am reminded and made aware how I am different from everybody or abnormal. When I am at home and in my day to day life it's no problem for me to eat my special diet and do whatever it takes to be well, or somewhat better, and I'm ok with it and I've made peace with it and accepted it. I realized it's an isolated situation though and when I came back from my trip I was feeling a little depressed about the reality of it. It bothers me to have to be inflexible and for not having the luxury of being spontaneous, because I am always preparing my meals and planning them I can't just run out here and grab something to eat on the fly.

Does this happen to anyone else???

Julie,

What are your food intolerances??

If you have food cooked in a clean pan, it should be fine (assuming the food isn't complex with crazy sauces, seasonngs and such..)

I will say this -- you really have to grab a hold of those restaurants -- you need to email them or call them before, always talk to a manager and a chef, get a clean pan for all of your stuff, and do not settle for anything less.

these guys are in the hospitality business and its their job to make us happy...

I hope you get this figured out, because restaurants are one of the things that I cherish most -- I always want my Celiac sisters and brothers to have good food out again..

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One of the shortcomings of this medium is that it's hard to understand sometimes.

It does seem like everyone handles it differently, and it's good to hear everyone's strategies. I nursed 5 of our kids (the other one is adopted), so I had a decade of sitting with everyone at dinner while the baby ate, then eating later (seems like they're always hungry at dinnertime). I think that prepared me for this! I also don't have as many sensitivities as some, so I can usually find something on the menu that's safe for me.

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Julie,

What are your food intolerances??

If you have food cooked in a clean pan, it should be fine (assuming the food isn't complex with crazy sauces, seasonngs and such..)

I will say this -- you really have to grab a hold of those restaurants -- you need to email them or call them before, always talk to a manager and a chef, get a clean pan for all of your stuff, and do not settle for anything less.

these guys are in the hospitality business and its their job to make us happy...

I hope you get this figured out, because restaurants are one of the things that I cherish most -- I always want my Celiac sisters and brothers to have good food out again..

Hi broncobux (great nickname you have there :lol: ),

You know the stuff that makes restaurant food taste so good? That's basically what I can't tolerate. I don't know if it's the iodized salt or the sulfites that are on the vegetables, or other additives in the seasonings, sauces, etc., or all of the above and then some- but I just can't eat out. I get really, really sick. So for me it's not just a gluten thing. I also don't tolerate dairy, soy, sugar, corn, and a myriad of other foods. I have to freshly prepare everything myself with organic foods in the most natural state possible. But thanks so much for the care and concern!

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Hi broncobux (great nickname you have there :lol: ),

You know the stuff that makes restaurant food taste so good? That's basically what I can't tolerate. I don't know if it's the iodized salt or the sulfites that are on the vegetables, or other additives in the seasonings, sauces, etc., or all of the above and then some- but I just can't eat out. I get really, really sick. So for me it's not just a gluten thing. I also don't tolerate dairy, soy, sugar, corn, and a myriad of other foods. I have to freshly prepare everything myself with organic foods in the most natural state possible. But thanks so much for the care and concern!

I think its even more complex.

I don't think you can eat out without risking contamination .. though you can control the risks to an extent

Secondly people seem to have different tolerances for cross contamination and indeed even for myself I find it varies according to some rhythm of its own, how long since the last glutening etc.

However the fact remains going out for a meal with people who do this as a social event can be depressing and feel like its excluding you but I still find that I enjoy going and not eating depending what mood I am in BEFORE ....

If you have had a bad day then it can be most depressing but if you had a good day and made sure you ate something and (add about 20 and's here) then I don't feel bad at all....

I usually find that if the other person is just getting a snack its fine but when its a 5 course meal you are excluded from then its depressing...

these guys are in the hospitality business and its their job to make us happy...
Unfortunately that can add to the problem. You can be faced with "we will not accept the reponsibility" or it can go that they feed you platitudes to keep you happy and just think you are a fussy eater... and by extension are exagerating the problem "surely not one breadcrumb" ....

I find the most depressing is basically when you explain and they nod approvingly and then come back and do something competely bizarre like dumping bread next to you and you start thinking "did they understand anything at all?"

I find this can be a problem in bigger resto's where you get a different server to the person who takes the order etc. sometimes you go the whole meal and they bring a dessert you obviously can't eat and panic sets in about what you just did eat.

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Wish me luck tomorrow. I'm having dinner over at my husbands parents house. They are Italians so there is pasta, pasta and more pasta, tons of breads, cakes and cookies. I know that whatever I eat will most likely be contaminated and I don't want to bring my own food because I worry about their feelings being hurt. They are wonderful people but not knowledgable about conditions or allergies. Even if I try to explain, I don't think they will understand how serious it is. Oh well, one more hurdle.

Good luck. I was thinking you could eat before you go and just enjoy the company, but if you don't eat what they serve will that hurt their feelings too? You can't get sick and you don't want to hurt their feelings...that's a tough one.

I haven't had to deal with a situation like this, maybe someone else will have some ideas?

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I find that my friends and I eat out at Mexican restaurants more than anything. I always bring my own bag of chips (since they make their own chips in fryers that are contaminated) and just use my own bowl of salsa. I am not allergic to corn, so Mexican food is my salvation. Most other places I eat salads, and usually bring my own dressing just to be sure. I think we all feel bitter when we're surrounded by happy people eating their gluten foods... but at least we know we'll not end up sick for the next 3 days paying for the slip-up. Good luck.

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