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gffamily

Gluten + Multiple Food Sensitivities; Can We Go Out To Eat Too?

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Help. I need to find a way to make this more livable!

There is a new gluten free bakery in my area, but because I am gluten, casein, soy, and yeast free, I don't think they'll be anything there for me. I don't ever go out to eat because even at the places with gluten free menu items, I don't think I can eat the food. For some reason it's just getting to me lately. Maybe because my anniversary is coming up and I would love to go out to dinner with my husband. Or, maybe because I finally went yeast free after putting it off since the diagnosis 8 months ago, and it has been tough, (I did gluten, soy and casien right away because my daughter was already on that diet, and it was easy to just eat what I was already making for her). I feel like I had a limited number of things I could eat, and now I just cut that no. in half.

How do you all deal with this? Do you go out? Do any of you ever "cheat" with the other food intolerances so you can have a gluten-free meal at a restaurant?

Thanks. I think it might help to hear how other people are dealing with similar issues.

Pam

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Hi Pam,

I think eating out is a state of mind, in a sense. I love to eat out. I refuse to let a disease take away that pleasure for me. That was my mindset years ago when I was first diagnosed. I had lived in a world where eating out was part of being social, visiting with friends, etc. Over the years my perspective has changed. I still eat out, but not nearly as often. The main reason is I now have 5 allergies (calling celiacs an allergy makes it easier to understand for the average person) between three people. That gets hard. I never cheat on purpose. I never eat something that I find questionable. I never remove the piece of bread and then consider the rest of the plate safe. If in doubt I send the food back and go hungry. If a plate gets sent back, I request something different. For example if the burger no bun, etc arrives on a bun or with evidence of a bun, I send it back and get a salad with cheese, eggs, and veggies.

Overall, I have found restaurants that have a gluten-free menu are safer than ones that do not. I try to keep the meals as simple and naturally gluten-free as possible to make it easier on the staff. So, my youngest has a shellfish, dairy, and gluten. So when we go out to eat, she and I get the same meals. My other child does not have celiacs, so she has more choices but she has a peanut and tree nut allergy and is very sensitive to dairy. So our whole table is dairy free.

I look at eating out as a treat now. I have found the better, more expensive restaurants, have better trained staff for servers and cooks. The one perk for not eating out as often is that I pretend it offsets the higher costs of speciality foods :P I do eat at the inexpensive places, but I ma very picky and usually call the managers first. And even then I only get a hamburger, no bun, no anything and a baked potato. Boring, but it is just food.

For your anniversary, start calling the local restaurants that have gluten-free menus and talk to the managers. Explain your allergies and see what they say. Some will yes mam you to death and they make me nervous. Some will ask questions or ask that you talk to the head chef. Either way it is a good sign. Have a easy safe meal in mind when you call. Steak, chicken, fish, steamed veggies, baked potato. The key is the dairy and the grill. Butter makes a good steak great! So can the do something else for you that would be baked? Or keep your food safe on the grill.

As for the bakery, stop in and see what they have. gluten-free and casein free go together. That should be easy. Yeast free is pretty common - they may have yeast free gluten-free/CF foods available already. As for soy, I have no idea. I think that one is a hard allergy. But if someone is opening a speciality bakery like that, they are probably VERY interested in hearing who is a potential customer in the area and how can they better serve that customer. They may change their initial recipes becuase they find people requesting special diets will be in to buy more...

Good luck

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gfgypsyqueen,

You gave me alot to think about. I think in general I need to have a better attitude about the ability of other people to be supportive. I find myself assuming often that people won't understand / won't care, so I find myself avoiding social things that involve food. It's something I'm going to have to get over though, because if there is one thing I've learned, it's that EVERYTHING seems to involve food!!!!

Thanks. I need to hear sometimes that it can be done.

Pam

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I have your intolerances, plus egg. And I'm vegetarian.

I manage to eat out, but I find that my list of possible restaurants is less. You really have to do your research -- see what places the local celiac group recommends if any, checking online gluten-free dining searches (like: http://www.gluten-free-onthego.com/ ; here is a list of menus -- http://www.glutenfreekitchen.org/GlutenFre..._Eating_Out.htm ), doing google searches for gluten free and your location, etc. Then you slowly build up a repetoire of restaurants you can go to, and dishes that work there.

Some chains have allergen lists available online, or you can contact them. So you can find out if there is anything they serve that will pass all your food tests.

Also some restaurants are willing to work with you, leaving off problematic sauces, seasonings, etc. A number of times I will be looking at a menu in the window or at the maiter d station and will comment, "Nothing I can eat." They then pop up and say, "Well, the chef can do this, that or the other for you" or "let me check with the chef." I've had places come up with items not even on the menu.

Another time, we were at a restaurant where someone else had made the reservations. It was a big group and around Thanksgiving, and not even in my state [so I didn't know the alternatives], so it wasn't as if I could say, "Let's go to X, instead." I explained the problem(s) to the waiter, he brought the chef, and we negotiated something.

This obviously works better if the restaurant isn't real busy or has chefs with the ability to free lance.

This is no panacea. Maggiano's (a chain) has gluten-free pasta. The sauces all have dairy, but if you talk to the chef (which you will anyway, if you mention gluten-free) he can bring something without it. But then the last time I went there he got so centered on the dairy-free, I was served the regular pasta by mistake. Ack! So you need to verify.

Traveling around, I find that I can find items to eat at tapas restaurants. Middle Eastern can work, or Afghan. (Ethiopean only works if they make their injera from 100% teff, which I've yet to find in my area.) Indian works as well, as does sushi (I order veggie sushi, and use a bit of straight wasabi, omitting the soy sauce). You may be able to sub fish sauce for soy sauce at Asian restaurants, but you have to make sure that the fish sauce doesn't have wheat. (I made the exception to veggie eating when I found myself in an Asian restaurant before a movie and they had nothing that didn't have soy sauce, but suggested fried rice with fish sauce as the only alternative available to me). I found a vegetarian restaurant 40 minutes from me (with good traffic, which is rare) that actually has gluten-free, vegan (so casein & egg free), and soy-free options right there on the menu.

I will occasionally "cheat" with the yeast intolerance, because I simply don't seem to have a reaction. I was good for a number of months, too, and I've read that this one can go away on a gluten free diet.

I did try to have soy a couple weeks ago, in the form of soybean oil, which obviously wouldn't have much of the protein in there. (There is this great veggie restaurant close to me, but everything is made with soybean oil. Except for the steamed dishes, which all had tofu and/or seitan [straight gluten :o ] as their main ingredients.) I regretted that :(

I hope this gives you some hope. If anything else occurs to me, I'll post again.

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Hathor,

I sent you a message earlier because I noticed we have the same results, (I have egg sensitivity too, but haven't done anything about it yet.)

Funny thing is I was trying to eat vegetarian most nights of the week - sort of a gradual thing to ease me and my familt into it - when I figurd out my daughter couldn't have soy. (she was diagnosed first) I was making so much with soy in it at that time, that I didn't know what to do.

Is it very difficult to find stuff w/o soy at veg. restaurants?

I appreciate your thoughts about eating out.

Sounds like I have to get used to asking for what I need, (never been easy for me!)

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Hi Pam,

I just wanted to add that I have been absolutely shocked by the people I run into who know about food allergies and how supportive they are. Some people are not all that helpful, but the majority of people and restaurants are very helpful. You might be shocked at the friends who will learn to cook something, even if it is just one safe meal, for you.

You are right, EVERYTHING involves food! Get a few great recipes for things you can bring and share. You want these to be the best recipes you have, don't share the card board bread or you will never hear the end of it :P I bring chocolate desserts - who hates chocolate? By bringing a food to share you have at least one safe food to eat at the party (eat a small meal before you go.) BTW, I've been known to bring turkey and a baked potato to Thanksgiving dinner. My theory is it is not about what I eat, it's about being there with family.

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Hi Pam,

I just wanted to add that I have been absolutely shocked by the people I run into who know about food allergies and how supportive they are. Some people are not all that helpful, but the majority of people and restaurants are very helpful. You might be shocked at the friends who will learn to cook something, even if it is just one safe meal, for you.

You are right, EVERYTHING involves food! Get a few great recipes for things you can bring and share. You want these to be the best recipes you have, don't share the card board bread or you will never hear the end of it :P I bring chocolate desserts - who hates chocolate? By bringing a food to share you have at least one safe food to eat at the party (eat a small meal before you go.) BTW, I've been known to bring turkey and a baked potato to Thanksgiving dinner. My theory is it is not about what I eat, it's about being there with family.

It's funny you mentioned Thanksgiving. I just spent 1/2 hour on the phone with my mom convincing her that all was not lost with Thanksgiving this year. She is completely overwhelmed by the whole thing and is conviced that it's too much for her to handle when we visit. Needless to say, I don't let on to her about the trouble I have with the diet. :)

Good advice about bringing the tasty recipies over to friend's houses. I think I'll take it one step further at my mom's this year, and make some in front of her so she can see that I don't need a chemistry lab or "weird" food to do it.

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I have your issues plus some and I eat out on a fairly regular basis but I have my selection of places that I go to often. In fact, I am just back from a great lunch where the chef/owner has a dish just for me (actually, there are a couple of those in town).

I am very specific and ask a lot of questions if I have any doubts. I also send food back if it comes out wrong but I rarely have to do that now. Of course, I rarely go when a place is very busy either. I try to go on off nights or early.

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Is it very difficult to find stuff w/o soy at veg. restaurants?

For the most part, yes, but it depends on the restaurant. Certainly places that are Asian-oriented or have lots of fake meats seem to have lots of soy sauce, tofu, seitan, other sauces that rely on soy beans, soybean oil, you name it. Vegetarian Indian places seem to have more possibilities. The food allergy oriented place I mentioned seems to be unusual. I seem to do better at general ethnic places, or going to regular restaurants and ordering a bunch of sides. Although the place last night served us items with bacon in them, after we had mentioned being vegetarian :o

It is very frustrating because there are certainly lots of vegan possibilities that don't contain soy. There is a Yahoo group for gluten-free vegans that has scads of recipes in their files. Many vegan recipes are naturally gluten-free or can be adapted to be.

Subbing for soy sauce is difficult. I've heard of people making a combo of balsamic vinegar & molasses as a sub, and others saying that is awful. I've heard of sauces based on chick pea miso, but I've yet to find this in a store. I think I'm going to try some things with ume plum vinegar; the flavor seems similar, even if the stuff is pink. But these aren't possibilities in restaurants.

I just saw a recipe the other day for a soy free tofu made from chick pea flour. But no one on that list has had the guts to try to make it yet. It seems like quite an undertaking. I think everyone is waiting for someone else to try it first.

You may want to check out the www.vegiac.com board. Also, at the discussion boards at www.drmcdougall.com, there are a number of groups, including one about "gluten issues." (This is where the soyless tofu recipe is -- in case you are braver than the rest of us :rolleyes: )

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There was a replacement soy sauce recipe on here a while back that worked really well it had chicken broth, ginger, and I can't remember the rest but even the rest of the family liked it and agreed it was very similar, enough to substitute for soy sauce.

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