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cinnamonroll

Eating With People

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Hi there,

I'm new to these boards... got an "inconclusive" for celiac on the blood test a couple years ago and a negative for celiac on the endoscopy/biopsy also a couple years ago... but have recently (last 3-4 years or so) had "problems" with wheat... stomach problems, headaches, and rough patches on my upper arms (the last symptom something I couldn't find anywhere online, but the patches are fading with almost 3 weeks wheat free and now cutting out gluten as well). I suppose I'm self-diagnosed gluten intolerant. I have an uncle who's celiac so it's not completely out of left field I guess...

Anyway, I just graduated from college in June and now live in LA, trying to get into the film industry. I guess I'm pretty busy.... no, maybe I'm just lazy... but I don't cook. When I do, the food doesn't taste as good as my mom's, which is another problem altogether.. but anyhow, I'm finding it hard to eat out anywhere except for the few good mexican restaurants I can find here and some thai places. Let me first say that even before I cut out the gluten I was having trouble finding good food in this town (and by good I mean tasty AND affordable, just so we're clear :P ). I feel so bad when people might ask me to go somewhere... like chicken and waffles (fried chicken + a waffle, with butter, syrup, and gravy... bad for you even if you aren't celiac? yes. tasty? yes.)... and I can't go. Or the day my boyfriend wanted pizza.. but didn't really want to admit it because he knew I couldn't have it.. but I could tell. So I ordered pizza for him and a salad for me. A SALAD! That's NOT a meal!!!

The worst part is that I've been skinny my whole life.. not from some food intolerance but from my genetics, my family, it's just how I am. Doctors always told me I was underweight (not severely or anything, but noticeably). Underweight compared to who? I believe I weigh the same as my mom did at my age, thank you very much. But now, I'm afraid to go to a restaurant and ask for a chicken burger without the bun. Or to order anything OBVIOUSLY without wheat in front of my friends. I don't want anyone to think I'm on a diet. Stupid Atkins. I would never buy into that fad.... and now I actually HAVE lost weight, and I'm not sure if it's because I"m not eating something I can't digest, or because I"m just eating less... no more free bread at restaurants... (p.s. I am 5'6" and used to be close to 115lbs and am now around 108)

And everything's just really frustrating and there are too many italian restaurants in this town.

And gluten is invisible and everywhere.

so anyway.. I joined this just for support... I've been gluten-free off and on ever since I thought it's what I have, and I"m hoping this time it's for good. I always cave and eat wheat again after I start losing weight but this time I didn't and I"m hoping I can keep at it. I already feel better and like I said the rough patches on my arm are going away.

And I want to know how I can eat with people when they want pizza and I don't want just a salad for dinner!

Thanks for letting me rant... and.. hello :D

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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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Well...I'm am big on calling the restaurant during off hours and talking to the manager. See if they have a gluten-free menu first. Find a way to explain that you have Celiacs without makingf it terrifying to them (legally). What I mean is if you explain Celiacs wrong, they might be terrified that if ANYTHING goes wrong you will die, need and ambulance, etc, which they just see as somebody ready to bring them to court. If you make light of it, then they don't take you seriously. You just need plain, unmarinaded meats and fries that are in a dedicated frier. No breads can touch your food or your plate. Try to just get one meal that is safe at each place you like. (Keep a list) I try to find naturally gluten-free meals like a burger and a baked potato.

I eat out a lot. I like to eat out. It is not always the safest, but I find ways to make it work. I bring muffin or bagle to Waffle House. Order eggs and bacon and eat my gluten-free item. I have been known to bring a hot tinfoil wrapped potato and butter to a restaurant that I can't determine before hand what they have for me to eat.

I bring soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce to Chinese and I order steamed food plain. I order double cheese burgers to make up for the fact that I have to eat that with a salad! (I agree salads are awful!) I bring 1/4 lb of lunch meat to put on a salad if they dont have any good filling salads for me. Bring my own dressing too. Bring cracker if you like them.

Check out Moe's and Chiplotes for affordable good mexican that have gluten-free menus. Otherwise I eat nachos with cheese, beans, onions, veggies, etc.

Burgers are generally safe, chicken is more questionable. I bring whatever I need to make a decent filling meal for me. I don't bring a big cooler or anything. The small containers usually fit in my bag. Pizza is just really hard. Try maybe an antipasta salad? Call the manager and see what food they have that is safe. Maybe you'll luck out and find a place that has good food that is gluten-free or they will heat a gluten-free pizza for you?Tomato and Mozzarella salad (bring your own dressing) and some kid of meat is pretty good and filling too.

Do you eat seafood? Shrimp cocktail, snow crab legs, etc are usually safe.

I always try to buy the drinks, salad, etc when I have to bring food with me.

Not sure what is in your area, but here are some franchises that I go to safely.

Chili's I have a very hard time eating there safely. Other people do fine.

Moe's

Chipoltes

Cheese Burger in Paradise - safe French fries:o)

Lee Roy Selman's

Outback

PF Chang's

Bugaboo Creek - used to eat there a lot!

Most seafood places you'll be able to eat something.

Beef O Brady's had safe stuff years ago

I do suprisingly well at Mom and Pop restaurants. Small enough to care. If you eat there regularly, they will really get to know you.

BTW, your boyfriend sounds nice to not want to go where you can't eat. Talk to him about it. I bet he would be willing to try new places or only eat out at certain restaurants because they can make safe food for you. Your friends will understand too. But people will always judge you for being "the skinny one". Find a way to enjoy it like "yeah it is the one bonus of this disease...I'm nice and skinny because it is hard as hell to find safe food to eat!" That usually stops the commentary for me :P

Also. please don't cave and eat wheat when you are too thin. I ate tons of sweets to keep the weight on when I had to. Milk shakes, gluten-free donuts, Chocolates, nuts all easy to find or easy to carry - and they'll pack on a couple of pounds for you. Not healthy but it is better than eating wheat!

Hope some of that helps.

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