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GlutenGalAZ

Restaurants

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I haven't been to a restaurant yet while eating gluten free. I am more of a eat at home person, but my In-Laws are wanting my husband and I to go out to dinner with them (they just asked us tonight to go out this weekend). Background: We work with my in-laws and they ask us a lot to go out and eat and we always just make up some excuse or that the place doesn't have anything I can eat type of thing.....so I am starting to feel bad about always saying no, sorry. Yes, I have tried many times explaining to them about gluten free eating, but it doesn't seem to sink in with them.

We have a Chilis in town and they were wanting to go there.

QUESTION: How does one go about with talking to the waiter? I don't want the waiter to think ahhhh about me when I order my food a special way. Or be so nervous I forget something important (ha like the bun j/k).

It is ironic b/c I have been looking at the Chilis menu thinking to myself how do I tell them where they understand what I am saying. I had been wanting to make my own bun at home and get the Bacon Cheeseburger to go (without the bun) yummmm :D

*I might just talk to my husband and maybe we will just think of something fun/safe to make at home and have them over instead. I am just nervous about eating out and getting sick (do not want to get sick :( ).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.


Rebecca

Partial Gluten Free March 2007

Completely Gluten Free February 2008

Tapioca Starch/Flour Free April 2008

No MSG July 2008

Cut out Nitrates//Nitrites January 2009

Problems with Tomatoes and Potatoes -- Cut out Nightshades Aug '09

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I haven't been to a restaurant yet while eating gluten free. I am more of a eat at home person, but my In-Laws are wanting my husband and I to go out to dinner with them (they just asked us tonight to go out this weekend). Background: We work with my in-laws and they ask us a lot to go out and eat and we always just make up some excuse or that the place doesn't have anything I can eat type of thing.....so I am starting to feel bad about always saying no, sorry. Yes, I have tried many times explaining to them about gluten free eating, but it doesn't seem to sink in with them.

We have a Chilis in town and they were wanting to go there.

QUESTION: How does one go about with talking to the waiter? I don't want the waiter to think ahhhh about me when I order my food a special way. Or be so nervous I forget something important (ha like the bun j/k).

It is ironic b/c I have been looking at the Chilis menu thinking to myself how do I tell them where they understand what I am saying. I had been wanting to make my own bun at home and get the Bacon Cheeseburger to go (without the bun) yummmm :D

*I might just talk to my husband and maybe we will just think of something fun/safe to make at home and have them over instead. I am just nervous about eating out and getting sick (do not want to get sick :( ).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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I love going to restaurants, but it can be a challenge. A couple of suggestions. Call ahead and speak to the manager (if at all possible) to ensure they are willing to accommodate your needs, keep it very simple (no sauces, dressings etc) stay with grilled foods and never be embarrassed to take the time to explain to the wait staff that you are allergic to wheat products etc. I am rarely disappointed when I do this and am often surprised as how knowledgeable and/or caring individuals are today. Enjoy - it is worth the effort!!

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Chili's has a gluten-free menu as well, just ask for it! It tells you on there what modifications to ask for, ie clean grill, no bun, etc.


Gluten Free since 10/07

Mildly Lactose Intolerant, slight intestinal symptoms after eating milk products, but easily corrected with lactase enzyme

Endometriosis- DX'd 5/07

Gluten Antibodies- "negative"...don't know exact numbers, am highly suspicious...

DXed celiac 12-19-07 via genetics/elimination diet- DQ2 allele

Brother with Celiac, aspergers...his tests were all negative (he didn't have genetics done), including endoscopy, but he definitely is at the least gluten intolerant...highly suspect my mother has it as well- she has hyperthyroid, fibromyalgia, hemochromatosis, and now colon cancer, and she has been weak and exhausted and just generally sick. She's going to get tested.

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I have been to Chili's and ordered off of their gluten free menu...I got baby back ribs and rice and I think a veggie and I was fine...in fact it's probably the only time I've ever eaten there that I didn't feel sick afterwards (I hadn't been there since being diagnosed...) They are pretty good about the allergies, they have a special book of stuff you can have. and they are very willing to accomodate. well at least the one I went to was! :) I hope it works out...don't be afraid of going out, just plan ahead! Call and ask a place before hand, and let them know when you'll be coming in. Ask to speak to the manager when you sit down to assure both yourself and the kitchen crew that they have to be extra careful. Good luck!


superbeansprout

Boston, MA

Celiac since February 2007

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Places with gluten free menus are great because you start off knowing that at least the ingredients are gluten-free. But I still go through the how to prepare without CCing my food speal. I suppose I don't tell them this beforehand, but a waiter who responds to my concerns and gets me a safe meal is well compensated when it comes to tipping! If you're really nervous, talk to the manager and have him deal with your meal. Some waiters are very knowledgeable, but some are young and don't know much about the diet. The manager should know about food allergies, though.

The first few times are tough, but eventually you start to know what questions to ask and where the potential pitfalls are when eating out and how to request a meal be modified.


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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Definitely ask for the manager. It may feel awkward, but its the best thing you can do to assure your safety. Also, I just wanted to add that if you don't feel comfortable about something, don't risk it. If you get to the restaurant and don't feel safe, don't order anything! I always take a snack in my purse just in case the manager or chef seems uninformed. Better safe than sorry.


~Angie~

Gluten free since May 2004

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This has become a huge issue for me because my husband really likes to go out to restaurants. Especially now that one kids is out of the house and the other is almost 18 so is mostly gone on weekends. For my husband, eating out is a social thing, almost a recreational activity. Plus, our closest friends are a couple who we often do "day trips" with on weekends, and while we frequently will bring a picnic meal, most often we still wind up at a restaurant, diner or coffee shop sometime during a day-long excursion. Although both my husband and our friends are extremely supportive, they still like those restaurants, and I hate to put a damper on things if I don't have to.

But last weekend I ate out twice in one day and 6 days later, I'm still paying the price. For breakfast out, all I had was a fresh fruit cup -- but the restaurant is famous for their huge biscuits, and I'm sure that flour is everywhere, on every waiter's sleeves, on every counter. Although I was very careful about what I ordered later for dinner and explained to the waiter what I needed and he came back and reassured me about the dish I ordered, I still got glutened sometime during that day (maybe twice).

I'm really worried about how to handle this. For those of you who only eat from "gluten-free menus", do you find that these restaurants that maintain a gluten-free menu really are more careful about the way they prepare the food? Or is it simply that the meal's ingredients are Gluten-free, but you don't really know whether someone stuck a spoon in a pasta pot before scooping out a gluten-free dish -- I suppose that 's why many of you recommend talking with the manager. If I'm afraid to eat out, is it best to eat something before we go and just order coffee? Is there anything completely safe besides coffee or tea (I know, without grain fillers. . .)?

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Thank you for all of the great input.

I think I am going to take it slow with the eating out thing. I normally just get french fries at fast food places (pretty much just In N Out -- since they definately do not use the oil with other things). I did have my first encounter with talking to a person when we went to In N Out the other day -- I knew my husband really wanted a hamburger from there so I told him it was fine and I talked to the guy taking our order about putting my fries in a different box than his....they were really nice about it. That was a nice push I guess you could say that maybe will start to clear the nervousness of talking to someone at a restaurant. I might just try something like Chilis To Go at first then try eating at the actual restaurant :)

Thanks again!


Rebecca

Partial Gluten Free March 2007

Completely Gluten Free February 2008

Tapioca Starch/Flour Free April 2008

No MSG July 2008

Cut out Nitrates//Nitrites January 2009

Problems with Tomatoes and Potatoes -- Cut out Nightshades Aug '09

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QUESTION: How does one go about with talking to the waiter?

allergicgirl's blog has a helpful 'protocol' for restricted eaters (she is gluten-free plus other food allergies) - click this link

if there isn't a gluten-free menu, be prepared to 1) give your educational speech, 2) ask manager/server about 2 or 3 likely items, with substitutions requested/suggested, 3) hear back from kitchen 4) complete your order.

Also ask that no bread be brought to table or that it be placed FAR away from you - don't be surprised if a runner brings bread anyway

Don't eat off of other's plates unless they have also ordered gluten-free

If sharing a gluten-free item, I 'drop' it onto other's plates (their utensils don't touch my food)

Dips (guacamole, etc), butter - grab your 'fair share' as soon as it hits the table, to avoid cc from others crumbs; if comes with gluten item ask for it to be separate (for example, pita and gluten-free hummous - may have to explain 'separate plate' once or twice to server to avoid it coming 'on the side')

I have learned that if the kitchen says "has gluten" or "not sure", I take a pass even if it seems like the item should be okay (for example, some food service polenta has wheat; some coleslaw uses malt vinegar, etc.).

kenlove has a bunch of helpful posts here

also some folks find gluten-free explanatory cards helpful - can make yourself or purchase online

Good luck!

It is more 'work' to be gluten-free and eat out, but imho worth the trouble to "practice" & get it right


gluten-free (except unintentionally) from 7 Dec 2007

3 gluten-free cousins and counting (1 gold standard, 1 pos blood/no endo, 1 self/dietary diagnosed)

suspect mother was celiac (also, cousin suspects my mother's twin is celiac)

Feb 08 testing 'normal range' for gluten antibodies, IBD and food allergies

Staying off gluten - dietary reaction is compelling for me!

"Hi, I'm the gluten-free diner at your table."

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Hi GlutenGalAZ!

What part of Arizona do you reside? I've visited the Pheonix/Scottsdale areas on several occasions and have not had any problems dining there. Z'tejas, PF Changs, Carrabba's, PeiWei, and Picasso's all had gluten-free menus. Also, there is a gluten-free bakery http://www.glutenfreecreations.com/ . I've also had good luck at smaller restaurants/diners where all of the food is made from scratch. They often have better knowledge of what is exactly in their food - many large restaurants serve foods that have been prepared offsite by their distributor and have no clue what's lurking in that sauce! ;)


Diagnosed & gluten-free - April 2004 :)

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