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sillyactsue

Can Any Restruant Guarantee Gluten Free?

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Do any of you actually trust any food from restuarants. If IHOP leaves the batter out of your eggs but the eggs they cooked before yours had batter wouldn't there be a contamination issue. It seems that that would apply to just about any situation in any restaurant. If employees aren't educated about it how would they know to not put a piece of battered anything down where salad veggies are going to be cut up. I went to Chilli's in Arlington, TX. I asked for their gluten free menu and the waitress didn't know they had one. She was very nice and went to ask the manager. They had one but had to print it out. On the menu they have a disclaimer. Nothing could actually be guaranteed because of possible contamination issues. Wouldn't that be true for all restaurants?

I would love to confidently eat a meal out but I don't see enough reassurance out there.

Any one know of such a place?

Any one else haave any thoughts about this?

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Do any of you actually trust any food from restuarants. If IHOP leaves the batter out of your eggs but the eggs they cooked before yours had batter wouldn't there be a contamination issue. It seems that that would apply to just about any situation in any restaurant. If employees aren't educated about it how would they know to not put a piece of battered anything down where salad veggies are going to be cut up. I went to Chilli's in Arlington, TX. I asked for their gluten free menu and the waitress didn't know they had one. She was very nice and went to ask the manager. They had one but had to print it out. On the menu they have a disclaimer. Nothing could actually be guaranteed because of possible contamination issues. Wouldn't that be true for all restaurants?

I would love to confidently eat a meal out but I don't see enough reassurance out there.

Any one know of such a place?

Any one else haave any thoughts about this?

Yeh, I will never, ever trust a restaurant. I've worked in many, and the one thing restaurants pretty much always have in common is an uneducated waitstaff (that doesn't really even care if you are gluten-intolerant) and also a high turnover. So, even if a place tries to educate their employees about food intolerance- employees are almost always coming and going.

I worked at Cheesecake Factory and I've seen the vegetables placed in the same water they heated up the pasta with (since the pastas cooked beforehand and is just heated)!

Things may be separated on the line, but I have never met a cook who would go and wash his hands and super-clean something just to make sure there were no traces of a bread crumb. It ain't happening. Most places don't have time to be doing all that when they are making your food.

Since I've felt sick after eating stuff that is just "processed in a facility with wheat", why would I risk it?

I wouldn't want to.

You can't always avoid it though.. Just do your best and save money by cooking at home, yay! ;)

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I think eating out is risky. Think of it as going to Vegas, it is a gamble. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I do eat out but very rarely. It just is not worth the risk to eat out alot. I do enjoy going to the gluten-free cafe in Denver. I know it is safe there, no gluten. In the end it becomes a personal choice. There are many on this board that eat out and have had wonderful experiences.

Hez

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It cannot be guaranteed...even if there is no gluten in the restaurant, the employees don't bring gluten work, etc. Even then, ingredients can change, and there is always human error.

However, that being said, everything in life is a risk. We make educated decisions and balance risk. (things like, I have an important meeting today that I can't miss, so I shouldn't risk it and eat out) We find restaurants that minimize risk and that we feel comfortable with. For some, it depends on the severity of their symptoms to if its even worth a tiny risk.

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Any one else haave any thoughts about this?

I've finally come to accept that risks are part of eating anywhere but my own kitchen, but you can't live in a bubble (well, maybe you can, but what fun is that?).

Minimizing the risk is my strategy. I'm taking it slow. I went to Outback this week. My first restaurant in 7 months. I was terrified, but it was worth the risk.

Sometimes, you just have to do it. BUT, I waited tables in my 20's - lots of different types of restaurants - restaurants are not the place to go if you want quality control or understanding. Waitstaff serve food, cooks & chefs cook food. It's just food to them.

K

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It all depends on how much of a bubble you want to live your life in. Some people with celiac disease won't eat at restaurants or buy grocery items with multiple ingredients or even refuse to use BBQ grills, use teflon pans that have had gluten in them or even use BBQ grills that are not their own.

Personally, I can't and won't live that way. I like restaurants too much. I do my homework before dining and I generally eat at the same places. In my opinion the biggest reason people get Cross Contaminated or glutened at a restaurant is they did not do their homework before going to the restaurant (contacting the manager or chef, reviewing the menu or asking questions on here).

Just like everything else associated with Celiac, its a learning process. Take the time to educate yourself (though you have restaurant experience, so you are ahead of the curve). Start out with steakhouses and baked potatoes (easy places for Celiacs to eat) and then gradually move on to other types.

p.s. No, you can never be 100% sure, but with preparation and doing your homework, you can live in the high 90% range...

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yes, I agree eating out opens up all possibilities. but it is so nice to eat out!! Adjusting to this gluten free lifestyle is hard, not just on me but my husband as well. We have eaten out at P F CHangs twice now and I used their gluten free menu. The food is fabulous and I have not experienced any problems. it is just so nice to be able to go out and be social that it is worth the risk.

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It all depends on how much of a bubble you want to live your life in. Some people with celiac disease won't eat at restaurants or buy grocery items with multiple ingredients or even refuse to use BBQ grills, use teflon pans that have had gluten in them or even use BBQ grills that are not their own.

Personally, I can't and won't live that way. I like restaurants too much. I do my homework before dining and I generally eat at the same places. In my opinion the biggest reason people get Cross Contaminated or glutened at a restaurant is they did not do their homework before going to the restaurant (contacting the manager or chef, reviewing the menu or asking questions on here).

Just like everything else associated with Celiac, its a learning process. Take the time to educate yourself (though you have restaurant experience, so you are ahead of the curve). Start out with steakhouses and baked potatoes (easy places for Celiacs to eat) and then gradually move on to other types.

p.s. No, you can never be 100% sure, but with preparation and doing your homework, you can live in the high 90% range...

I'd have to agree with you. I've had great success with eating out at restaurants so long as I do my prep work, call ahead, talk to the chef or manager and let my server know the critical issues. And the places that get it right -- I treat like gold!!! (i.e. be really nice and leave a good tip) then when you go back, they remember you and look out for you. Gradually you build a list of restaurants that are generally safe.

NOTE: That doesn't mean you don't need to go through the whole spiel with your server when you go there the next time. Refresh their memory about things like no croutons and please don't put them on and then take them off.

Even with all of this, there will be some problems. IMO, that's just life. Nothing is perfect all the time.

I have one general rule I apply to every potential source of gluten. 3 strikes and you're out. I figure if you can't get it after that -- you're hopeless.


Karen B.

diagnosed with Celiac Nov. 2003

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1st off, I'd expect everyone to agree that the more high-end a restaurant is, the less likely cc is.

When even the kitchen's lowest-on-the-totem-pole member is in love w/ the culinary profession, has yrs of training, takes great pride in creating gastronomic pleasure, and probably aspires to head chef - I'd have great confidence in zero cc.

Being unable to work for so long, I can't go to those places.

Tho highly rational in, I think, every other aspect of life, I've easily come to terms w/ being irrational in my diet. I will *NOT* be glutened, no matter what. Still haunted sometimes by the multitude of pre-gluten-free symptoms, 5 of which I consider debilitating if solo - even still unable to rank one or two as "worst" - I just won't allow a millimeter's backtracking.

So I've been to a restaurant exactly once in 2+ yrs (very safe - didn't agree to eat there until helpful server returned from kitchen. Was 'stuck' in Santa Cruz CA and went to tourist spot on the wharf during afternoon lull), and just a handful of times in 4yrs.

(Hey, I admitted it was irrational)

But I've been glutened exactly once in >3.5 yrs gluten-free.

That was from a salad's bacon pieces which had had a dusting of flour to prevent sticking to each other.

I do know some very sensitive celiacs, w/ several other issues as well, who eat out very regularly and I hope to follow their lead a bit. Slooooowwly. I only got my brain back this month after quitting soy.

Hopefully I can get back to work and afford the situations where I'll feel safe.

So, call this bubble-boy ecstatic anyway.


>>>>>>> tom <<<<<<<

Celiac 1st diagnosed as a toddler, in the 60s. Docs then, between bloodletting & leech-tending, said "he'll grow out of it" & I was back on gluten & mostly fine for 30yrs.

Gluten-free since 12-03

Dairy-free since 10-04

Soy-free since 5-07

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I think there are a handful of restaurants in the world that can be guaranteed gluten free - because they are dedicated gluten free restaurants. Other than that, no, there's no guarantee. But I'd say the same thing about a celiac's kitchen if he/she ever allowed oatmeal cookies, a muffin, or a twix inside. :P


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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But I've been glutened exactly once in >3.5 yrs gluten-free.

That was from a salad's bacon pieces which had had a dusting of flour to prevent sticking to each other.

You know, bubble-boy, you make good sense. I certainly can't argue with your track record.

I'll probably step back into the bubble the next time I get glutened & am reminded of ... things.

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For the record, I have been "glutened" less than 5 times in the last 5 years. I think I went 2.5 years without issue once.

Then again, I am meticulous about how I dine at restaurants. I always involve management and always try to talk to the chef when possible.

If you want to venture out and try something new, go to a steakhouse and get a nice ribeye (no seasoning) and a baked potato "unopened" (butter on side).

Its easy and the risk of CC is minimal...

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The way I look at it risk is not a yes/no it is how much. I don't think you can eliminate risk, you can only minimize it. Even if you only eat at home, if you don't grow everything yourself there is at least some risk that a mistake was made along the supply chain. If you do grow everything yourself, anyone you come in contact with is a potential source of cc.

Obviously some of those things are low risk but that is the point. We each are evaluating risk/reward whether we think of in those explicit terms. The better question is how different people minimize risk.

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As far as what restaurants are good in the area, why not go to a local Celiac meeting and ask those Celiacs that have been eating out where their favorite place to eat might be? http://www.northtexasgig.com/home.html

My record on gluten exposures has been very good after the first year. It took me awhile to feel comfortable with being as picky as I have to be and I had to accept that some of my favorite places would never get it right. The last couple of years have been fairly good. In total, less than 5 gluten hits in 2 years and if you eliminate the various fast food eateries and only count good restaurants, less than 1/yr.

I have an office job that requires I eat with people, join in on group lunches and once in awhile, travel out of town where I don't know the restaurants. I can't withdraw into a bubble and earn a living. So learning to eat out successfully was a necessary survival skill for me.

I've generally found what Jax Peters Lowell said in the Gluten Free Bible to be true. People in the food services industry tend to be helpful, nurturing sorts that like taking care of people and they like for their efforts to be appreciated. I had to learn that if I gave them the information to take care of me properly and showed my appreciation after, we both have a good experience. Call or go by the restaurant at their slow time in the afternoon (typically between 2:30 and 5:00). If you are calling, ask them to fax you a menu before you call to talk with the chef. Tell the chef or manager what you need and if they sound iffy or don't sound like they are interested in working with you -- don't go there. And when they get it right, you would be amazed at how far a simple "thank you" phone call can go on the day after a good dining experience.

Yes, you are being served by humans so you have to watch for things like croutons because they won't always get it right on the first try. Dining cards do help. Read up on the potential problems in the type of restaurant you're wanting to try. Some of it's obvious -- soy sauce in Chinese food, free floating flour in the place that tosses handmade pizza or a cafeteria that swaps spoons around to serve the potatoes and gravy with the same utensil. It requires thought and effort but it is do-able.

When you've done it, you will find that you aren't limited to just the few restaurants that are enlightened enough to have gluten-free menus. And you have taught a general awareness of Celiac issues to a restaurant which helps us all.


Karen B.

diagnosed with Celiac Nov. 2003

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