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jasonD2

Can You Guys Critique My Evening Please?

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Just to refresh your memories...Ive been on a gluten-free diet for almost two years, but not 100% strict....meaning I wont tell wait staff I have a gluten allergy and will just order things on the menu that I know are safe based on research and contacting kitchen managers via phone or email in advance.

Anyway, 3 weeks ago I decided that I want to be even more strict since there is a chance I might have celiac, so Ive been telling wait staff and being as careful as possible.

This evening I went to Columbia Restaurant, which is an upscale spanish restaurant chain in Florida and offers a gluten free menu. I asked the waitress for a gluten-free menu and then ordered...since I also have a dairy allergy & lactose issues I told her to specifically tell the chef no gluten and no dairy. She first brought out my salad which was fine..she then brought out my entree which contained rice that had butter in it. After taking a bite I spat it out and told her to bring me rice that had no butter and she did. I would like to think she was intelligent enough to make sure the 2nd plate of rice was also gluten-free and based on the gluten-free menu that rice shouldve been anyway.

Anyhow, after dinner I felt a bit bloated which could very well be from the food that was in contact with the buttered rice and I also felt tingling in my legs. This has been a symptom I have experienced on and off and have still been unable to determine if its gluten or another ingredient that causes it; sometimes I experience it with alcohol and I did have a glass of red wine with dinner. I guess its both a curse and a blessing that I don't have full blown reactions to gluten the way some celiac folks do, so therefore its really difficult for me to tell whether a 100% gluten-free diet will help me out in the long run or make no difference. Its tough which is why im almost contemplating never eating in a restaurant again cause even if there is cross contamination I will never really know for sure

So bottom line, could I have done anything different this evening? I would really appreciate the feedback

thank u

jason

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Hi Jason,

Congratulations on your newfound confidence in restaurants! I'm starting to find (after almost a year on the gluten-free diet) that if I'm very strict with my diet I have a little bit of wiggle room... which is good, because it's hard to guarantee that restaurant food is gluten-free. Even when you're careful and very clear with your needs. I'm pretty sure I was glutened at a Thai restaurant about a month ago. It made me sooooo tired and the food just sat in my stomach like a rock, but this time I didn't get a rash and by the next day I felt pretty good again.

Anyway... I was thinking about you yesterday when I was reading some things about vasculitis. There are lots of different types, some scary and some not:

http://vasculitis.med.jhu.edu/typesof/typesof.html

I know you were diagnosed with "IBS" at one point (grrr), but have you ever investigated any other possibilties besides celiac disease? (BTW... I'm not saying you don't have celiac... just thinking out loud about other problems that might be affecting you). Maybe you want to check on the tingling in your legs? It might be more than just a food issue. Vasculitis is one of the few autoimmune disorders that men get more often than women.

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Well thank you for thinking of me :-) Haven't heard of vasculits but to be honest when I read the description of every ailment & disease out there I think I have it, so if I have to throw yet one more condition into my encyclopedia neurotica I'm probably gonna but a gun in my mouth. The reality is I will never truly know if I have celiac disease unless i do the challenge diet/endoscopy but now thatd ive been off gluten i really dont wanna go back on and put myself thru that..so i feel like im gonna spend the rest of my existence in complete turmoil and confusion about what to eat & where to eat.

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Jason, sorry for what you are dealing with. I was JUST diagnosed a week and a half ago with Celiac (positive biopsy). From my understanding, you do not need to return to eating gluten to have the endoscopy done! It might be worth looking into! I hope you get some relief soon.

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Just to refresh your memories...Ive been on a gluten-free diet for almost two years, but not 100% strict....meaning I wont tell wait staff I have a gluten allergy and will just order things on the menu that I know are safe based on research and contacting kitchen managers via phone or email in advance.

Anyway, 3 weeks ago I decided that I want to be even more strict since there is a chance I might have celiac, so Ive been telling wait staff and being as careful as possible.

This evening I went to Columbia Restaurant, which is an upscale spanish restaurant chain in Florida and offers a gluten free menu. I asked the waitress for a gluten-free menu and then ordered...since I also have a dairy allergy & lactose issues I told her to specifically tell the chef no gluten and no dairy. She first brought out my salad which was fine..she then brought out my entree which contained rice that had butter in it. After taking a bite I spat it out and told her to bring me rice that had no butter and she did. I would like to think she was intelligent enough to make sure the 2nd plate of rice was also gluten-free and based on the gluten-free menu that rice shouldve been anyway.

Anyhow, after dinner I felt a bit bloated which could very well be from the food that was in contact with the buttered rice and I also felt tingling in my legs. This has been a symptom I have experienced on and off and have still been unable to determine if its gluten or another ingredient that causes it; sometimes I experience it with alcohol and I did have a glass of red wine with dinner. I guess its both a curse and a blessing that I don't have full blown reactions to gluten the way some celiac folks do, so therefore its really difficult for me to tell whether a 100% gluten-free diet will help me out in the long run or make no difference. Its tough which is why im almost contemplating never eating in a restaurant again cause even if there is cross contamination I will never really know for sure

So bottom line, could I have done anything different this evening? I would really appreciate the feedback

thank u

jason

Hi Jason, I am so sorry you were glutened at Columbia Restaurant. I live in Florida (near Tampa) and I can tell you from personal experience that I will never eat at Columbia again. I was glutened at the Saint Augustine location last Thanksgiving. Although they have a "gluten-free Menu", it is obvious that the waitstaff has not been educated on cross contamination. They brought me a salad with croutons and I told them to take it back (I told him I would pass on a salad and explained why). The waiter insisted that he would bring me a fresh salad. I caved in and what did I get?? When I got to the bottom of my salad...surprise..Croutons!! I was furious, especially since I had called in advance and spoken to the head chef. I recently paid a visit to the Sarasota location with family but refused to eat. Columbia is always very busy and has so much cuban bread floating around, it would be virtually impossible to eat a safe meal unless the manager made it for you (with your specific instructions).

Sylvia Ann

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Jason, sorry for what you are dealing with. I was JUST diagnosed a week and a half ago with Celiac (positive biopsy). From my understanding, you do not need to return to eating gluten to have the endoscopy done! It might be worth looking into! I hope you get some relief soon.

That is incorrect. You DO need to be eating gluten for several weeks before and endoscopy. U of Chicago recommends 4-6 weeks, I believe.

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You did fine.

Sometimes in spite of the best attempts, this is what happens.

Approach it from the mental vantage point of you want to make friends with this waitperson, because you want them to care whether or not you got glutened. Hence, sometimes I've eaten at places where it's a bit riskier because of no official gluten-free menu, and you'd think I would have had a higher chance of cross contamination, yet the outcome went very well.

Othertimes from the reaction of the waitperson, who has no idea on planet Earth what I am talking about, and can't communicate with the cooks because of a language problem, ("I went back and asked, and they don't know what is in it " :huh: ) I just sort of switch gears and go to something really simple like maybe a cup of tea, a glass of ice, and something completely plain, like a plain potato or salad with oil on the side and a slice of lemon.

I use the word "plain" a lot. Or "with nothing on it." in addition to gluten free, no wheat, and then my spouse always says SHE'S ALLERGIC, which, while not technically "true", they start to "get" it that they need to write something down and talk to the cook about it.

No dairy, they might miss. NO BUTTER, PLAIN, PLEASE they usually get.

Avoid restaurant butter at all costs unless it actually is coming to the table in a little separate pack marked "butter" with a picture of a cow on it and says "ingredients, 100% cream." You do NOT want to mess with restaurant "butter," that's one of the nastiest, most cross contaminated things imaginable, full of oil, margarine, flavorings, grain products, soy, really gross. The sickest I have ever gotten was off of melted restaurant butter.

(I can now eat cultured organic butter at home if I want, but I've been off of it for so long I don't eat it very much out of habit. It's more for my spouse.)

But I would not at all expect somebody to take a plate back for a re- do without repeating No Wheat, No Seasonings except salt, please, because I have done both waiting tables and restaurant prep and cooking, and a lot gets lost between the table and the kitchen. People just don't recall what is said to them, verbally, after a few minutes.

I went to a favorite little restaurant a few weeks ago, no gluten free menu, have only eaten there a few times, but the waiter recognized and remembered us and he was worried that the regular cook was off and that he couldn't communicate as well with the one that was on for the evening, but the meal was fine. But I need to learn how to say certain words in another language, I can read and understand it a little bit but my mind went blank with what was the phrase I needed to switch into to have him write on the order ticket. I thought ack! I have this at home but it needs to go into my wallet or it doesn't do me any good.

I get tingling in the extremities as a reaction, plus from cervical spinal disc damage and narrowing of the spinal canal, but the tingling/buzzing sensation has gone way, way far down compared to what I used to have constantly.

After 6+ years being off gluten I am finally getting a bit more sensitive to be able to pinpoint to when I have been exposed, but it's tougher as I have a slower reaction.

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Eating out anywhere is a real crap-shoot!

Having said that, You need to be eating gluten to take both the blood test and the endo. You don't have to to do the gene tests. You sound like the kind of person that would benefit from a diagnosis, but, remember, you can test negative on both and still be gluten intolerant. I didn't care what the results were - I will never injest gluten (knowingly) again. Going on and off the diet for several months was enough for me to know. I have been gluten free for 7 months now, but still get glutened and mostly through my own stupidity and always through cc. Hope you get everything straigtened out.

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I saw that another poster used "naked" to describe how they needed their meat served. That worked pretty well when I ate out this weekend. The word naked kind of grabs their attention. I also sometimes ask for the offending item to only be served on the side. Some waitstaff just think it's impossible to serve someone without say croutons. They just aren't able to do it! But they are used to serving dressing on the side so if you ask for something else served on the side, like butter, they do get that.

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