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Guest LittleMissAllergy

Eating Lunch At Whole Foods

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Guest LittleMissAllergy

So I haven't eaten in a restaurant for a couple of years now (which is tough, being so young and all, I miss going out!), due to my severe food sensitivities. I can't do gluten, dairy, meat, sugar or oil. This makes it extremely hard to go anywhere, and especially makes it hard to get by everyday in college. But ANYWAY, on to my question....has anyone tried eating lunch at Whole Foods? I tried the salad bar about a year ago, and got sick. I used things like lettuce, beans, onions, tomatoes etc., all things that I assume to be safe. So maybe this time around (I'm planning to go this weekend), I'll just bring beans, steamed veggies and salsa, and just get lettuce there. Does anyone have a better suggestion? Anyone know of any other options for lunch in whole foods besides the salad bar? I'm open to any suggestions you all have! The people I'm going to lunch with really want this to happen so I'm determined to do it, and not get sick. Thanks! :)

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So I haven't eaten in a restaurant for a couple of years now (which is tough, being so young and all, I miss going out!), due to my severe food sensitivities. I can't do gluten, dairy, meat, sugar or oil. This makes it extremely hard to go anywhere, and especially makes it hard to get by everyday in college. But ANYWAY, on to my question....has anyone tried eating lunch at Whole Foods? I tried the salad bar about a year ago, and got sick. I used things like lettuce, beans, onions, tomatoes etc., all things that I assume to be safe. So maybe this time around (I'm planning to go this weekend), I'll just bring beans, steamed veggies and salsa, and just get lettuce there. Does anyone have a better suggestion? Anyone know of any other options for lunch in whole foods besides the salad bar? I'm open to any suggestions you all have! The people I'm going to lunch with really want this to happen so I'm determined to do it, and not get sick. Thanks! :)

The problem with a salad bar is people can take the spoons, tongs or other serving pieces and put them in whatever container they want. I have seen people do this. So you don't know what has been cross contaminated. Also, you don't know what has happened to that food in the back room. When I see them fill the salad bar, they always take the food from sealed containers. But somebody put that food in the containers and they may have cross contaminated something when they did that.

We don't have a Whole Foods near us but we have Central Market here with a salad bar. They have a concert series during the summer and my daughter and I often go there for dinner. We do not eat the dinner they sell outside, but will buy food in the store and bring it out.

At the salad bar, we know we are risking cross contamination at any time. So far it hasn't happened. We check each compartment well before we take the food. If we see any stray food of any kind in there, we do not take that item.

We also buy things from the refrigerated section or off the shelves. These things might include a gluten-free cupcake that is free of her other allergens, a package of cookies, a bag of chips, package of rice crackers, container of hummus, bag of baby carrots, etc. I would not even hesitate to buy canned food to eat. I would either bring a can opener in my purse, or buy a can with a pop top which most of the small ones seem to have. Might be best for you to buy a can of beans there rather than bring your own. They might not appreciate your bringing your own food in. You might also consider buying washed bagged lettuce rather than getting the kind from the salad bar. You can buy just a container from the salad bar, or they might be nice enough to give it to you if you say you are eating there.

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I eat a light meal or big snack at WF from time to time before getting groceries. I usually get a frozen meal from Amy's(in part because they have dairyfree ones) labeled gluten-free. The ones labeled no gluten ingredients are evidently manufactured in a different facility. Just warm it up in the microwave. The WF closest to us keeps the microwave very clean and I always thank the person on duty in the dining area.

Another option would be the Indian Tasty Bite meals.


Me: GLUTEN-FREE 7/06, multiple food allergies, T2 DIABETES DX 8/08, LADA-Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, Who knew food allergies could trigger an autoimmune attack on the pancreas?! 1/11 Re-DX T1 DM, pos. DQ2 Celiac gene test 9/11

Son: ADHD '06,

neg. CELIAC PANEL 5/07

ALLERGY: "positive" blood and skin tests to wheat, which triggers his eczema '08

ENTEROLAB testing: elevated Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA Dec. '08

Gluten-free-Feb. '09

other food allergies

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I do eat from their food bars fairly often. I usually don't have anything that borders something that would contaminate a neighboring food, but I haven't had a problem. I don't have severe reactions, and have never noticed the serving untensils being moved, however.


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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Guest LittleMissAllergy

Thanks everyone so far for the responses...I'm still a little uneasy about this though. I'm starting to think that a salad isn't a good idea. I just wish that they had an online menu or something where I could see what they offered in their hot foods area or the other food areas in the store! Anyone have any specific things that they eat there that don't make them sick? Any suggestions?

I eat a light meal or big snack at WF from time to time before getting groceries. I usually get a frozen meal from Amy's(in part because they have dairyfree ones) labeled gluten-free. The ones labeled no gluten ingredients are evidently manufactured in a different facility. Just warm it up in the microwave. The WF closest to us keeps the microwave very clean and I always than the person on duty in the dining area.

Another option would be the Indian Tasty Bite meals.

Oh great idea! I didn't know that some of the stores had microwaves! That does open up some options. I tried an Amy's meal once, so I'll look those up again. I'm pretty sure Tasty Bite Meals have a lot of oil in them so I don't think I could do that. Hmm...are there any other things that you've heated in the microwave there before?

I do eat from their food bars fairly often. I usually don't have anything that borders something that would contaminate a neighboring food, but I haven't had a problem. I don't have severe reactions, and have never noticed the serving untensils being moved, however.

Okay thanks! May I ask what you usually eat there?

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After a fun filled (NOT) day of travel with my entire family, we found ourselves at a WF. I looked all over for something safe (but the Amy's in the microwave never occured to me). I asked at the sandwich bar and the woman working was super helpful, she let me make any sandwhich I wanted and put it on big lettuce leaves. I had her put extra paper down on the counter first and change her gloves, she was very accomdating. BTW - the turkey, brie with cranberry sauce.... yummmmy!


Ev in Michigan

GFDF since 8/20/05

Negative Bloodwork ~

Dr. encourages me to trust my

"Gut Reaction"

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Hi Little Miss Allergy! I think you have a very unique problem here...well as does everyone on here I suppose! But i think you are a little bit more complicated because you have so many restrictions. i would have to say, only eat what you KNOW you can eat comfortably and not worry you will get sick (sometimes that worry can make you sick anyway, and make it seem like it was the food when sometimes it's the expectation that it WILL make you sick that does you in).

I don't like to ever expect that someone that I'm ordering food from, whether in a restaurant or a Whole Foods knows exactly what I can and cannot have, and everything surrounding what might cross contaminate those things I CAN have. I would say, don't be afraid to do what YOU have to do to be safe and healthy. And don't be afraid to call them ahead of time and ask what they have that day, but at the same time, don't assume that just because it doesn't contain any of those things you can't eat, doesn't mean it hasn't been contaminated by someone not washing their hands or changing gloves (hopefully they're wearing gloves) in between making different dishes. or cleaning their work area. You just don't know. Don't worry that the restaurant might not want you to bring in your own food, you have to do what you're comfortable with, I can't stress that enough. Most places are VERY understanding about bringing something you know you can have rather than risk you getting sick from what they make. that's one of the last things they want. :) I hope it goes ok!!

-superbeansprout


superbeansprout

Boston, MA

Celiac since February 2007

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I was at Whole Foods today, and decided to grab something from the hot bar. Much to my EXTREME disappointment, the one thing I wanted looked safe, but wasn't. I am still baffled by this. They have always put the top 8 in bold, at the end of the ingredient list. However, I was going for the chicken caccitore - and saw NO obvious allergens. Thankfully, I read the label in it's entirety.... and "flour" was in the list. I was not at all happy.

As far as their salads go, I agree that cross contamination is a big deal in the bar. I've seen folks reach in and grab croutons with the same tongs they'd just used for hteir lettuce, even though there are separate tongs FOR the cro


Jayhawkmom -

Mom of three....

Jay - 11

Bean - 8

Ian - 3

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