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jasonD2

Had Stressful Evening

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Had to travel to Miami for business. Arrived at 830 and was starving cause I had not eaten since 3pm. I drove around a bit and found a high end gourmet chinese restaurant...since i am on an anti candida diet and also avoiding gluten i figure i might just be able to get some chicken with steamed vegetables...the place was way too fancy and everything on the menu was soy this and soy that, so i passed...I then drove some more and was starting to get anxiety cause i didnt know where to go and what to eat. fortunately i stumbled on a whole foods and just picked up some rice cakes, avocados and applegate turkey and that was dinner.

Can anyone offer any advice on how i can better deal with these scenarios? I dont like to drive when im all wound up and its so hard to pass all kinds of amazing restaurants and not be able to go in out of pure fear

thanks

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I have found that the biggest KEY to surviving the gluten-free diet is PLANNING AHEAD. I always have to know where my next meal is coming from and what it will be. Traveling is hard. Packing lunches &/or dinners have been very important for me. I also get anxiety like you described and I find it much better when I do it this way. I already have tomorrow all planned out-breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It takes extra time to make food the day(s) before, but it's well worth the calmness of knowing what you'll be able to eat next. It makes it not seem quite so bad. Plus you'll be able to expand to more of a variety because you have more time to think.

Also STOCK UP; I started ordering the things I like and can eat by the case. Plus, going every 2-3 days to the store for fresh fruit and veggies. I prepare potatoes or rice in bulk to keep in the fridge. Also, chicken can be grilled ahead of time and I eat it for 2-3 days in a row, just in different things like a wrap or a salad or by itself.

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Planning ahead is definitly the key. I also pre-think/make ALL of my meals. and if I am in a situation where I wont be able to make something I make sure to find out where I will be able to buy something or order something gluten-free. It is a pain b/c it takes extra time, but it is worth taking the extra time BEFORE the situation arises where your extra tim is spent worrying about what you will eat.i I also always try to stock up on some gluten-free snacks that I can just grab and take with me if I am in a rush. I don't keep too many around b/c I have a tendency to binge on things, but usually one or two things to choose from that I can just grab and go.

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I have a folio with clear pocket pages that I take with. I print out gluten-free menues for restaurant websites and slide them into the pages. I keep in-town in the front. If I am traveling/going out of town I look up online, what chains are in that city. I am traveling to another state in Oct. so I have already checked it out. I think I googled "name of the town, state gluten-free dining" or something like that. It didn't take much searching to find the info. It is a rather small city but 2 rest. that I am familiar with, that I have eaten at here at home, are options there. I could also check Whole Foods site to see if they have locations where I will be going. The other thing I have done is to look up local(in the city/town that I am traveling to) celiac disease support groups/CSA chapters and e-mail them asking what options are available. I have gotten very helpful feedback and printed the e-mail and put it in my folio. Also local chapters may have their own websites. We have one here with lists of restaurants and members feedback on them. Our local website has the officer's phone numbers listed on it and I know that from time to time they receive calls from people from out of town who are either coming in for business or who have already come and need suggestions. I have other restrictions so I sit down when I have free time and go over the menues and highlight what options will work for me. If I have any questions about other ingredients-dairy, sugar-I e-mail or call them. That way I minimize the stress by planning ahead. I don't know that I will ever eat there, but there's Chick-Fil-A near a place where I/my son might need a quick meal sometime this year, because of schedule/activity so I checked it out just in case. The grilled chick breast is gluten-free but I needed to know other ingredient and nutrition info. so I e-mailed them and they e-mailed me the detailed label. It can take a week or two to get a response so it's best to do it ahead of time. I have also clicked on restaurants on mapquest for the city/town that I was traveling to and seen what is located where I need it. That time, there were no chains but a few places had menues online so I narrowed it down to two that seemed to have at least one or two workable dishes/meals and e-mailed them with my needs and questions. One got back to me with helpful info. and I found at least one workable meal. That's all I needed. I made sure to let them know, in my original e-mail that I would be a repeat customer if I found something workable.

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So my only option for dinner tonite was good ol PF Changs since i didnt have time to research restaurants in advance. Anyway I get there and order the steamed salmon with brown rice off the gluten-free menu- after a 25 min wait I get a piece of salmon drenched in soy sauce and the waiter couldnt confirm that it was gluten-free soy sauce, so i sent it back...another 25 minutes went by and the manager brought me plain salmon although it was barely cooked..the whole time everyone around me was eating delicious food while im sitting there with my thumb up my ass. So at that point I had my raw fish boxed (with no charge) and brought it back to my hotel and heated it up in the microwave...that was my amazing dinner. The waiter acted like i was a pain in the ass and i felt like the biggest loser sitting in that restaurant..im never going back to PF changs again

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Your waiter was a jerk. If you ordered off the gluten-free menu and he wrote the ticket correctly then it would have been made with gluten-free soy sauce. All he had to do was walk into the kitchen and verify that it was if there was any doubt. I wouldn't give up on the restaurant just because of one bad server. Next time you go ask to see the ticket before it goes to the kitchen and just make sure it has been noted that the item you order is gluten-free. I might call management and let them know what happened so they can train the server properly.

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I am truly sorry you had that experience. I myself have had a stress attack or two feeling totally unprepared and hungry, surrounded with food that I couldn't eat and crappy service. You may have already thought of these things but something to think about.

Things that I live by:

[*]A binder that I keep with me in my car or in my suitcase when I travel. I have printed out my research on food chains, grocery store generic brands, and helpful tips I have found googling gluten-free eating. I have pages of menus that I print and add periodically when new information surfaces kept in plastic pages for upkeep. My binder is a great tool when a restaurant is picked and I can look up what I can have and what sauces on the fly with no computer necessary.

If you have an Iphone or blackberry you can get gluten free apps to look up restaurants and menu items :) If you are in a pinch for time but have a computer this website is great (gluten-free Registry), just click the map for your state and select a city!

A gluten free grocery guide: (Cecelia's Marketplace) This book rocks my world! Tons of brand information on what is gluten-free, Casein, or Soy free. Best gift I ever received!

My back up plan:

I always have protein bars on me! Balance (Yogurt Honey Peanut) or L

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No its cool- good info!

Its just especially difficult for me because not only do i have to avoid gluten, but I cant eat dairy either...also tested positive for soy & egg allergies and im sure im positive for corn since thats all ive been eating since going gluten-free. Im also on an anti-candida regimen now and trying to address that issue, which ive managed to avoid for 6 years cause im stubborn.

Right now i truly feel like im living in a box and feel so withdrawn from the world and society because of my dietary restrictions. Ive been seeing a woman for 4 months and have lost my sex drive, dont feel like going out with my friends ..I walk around and look at people enjoying their lives & I feel so jealous of all of them. What I wouldnt give to just feel normal again.

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I have found PF Chang's staff to be horrible, too! I try hard never to go back because the waiters are always a pain, and the chef's always mix up the soy sauces.

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No its cool- good info!

Its just especially difficult for me because not only do i have to avoid gluten, but I cant eat dairy either...also tested positive for soy & egg allergies and im sure im positive for corn since thats all ive been eating since going gluten-free. Im also on an anti-candida regimen now and trying to address that issue, which ive managed to avoid for 6 years cause im stubborn.

Right now i truly feel like im living in a box and feel so withdrawn from the world and society because of my dietary restrictions. Ive been seeing a woman for 4 months and have lost my sex drive, dont feel like going out with my friends ..I walk around and look at people enjoying their lives & I feel so jealous of all of them. What I wouldnt give to just feel normal again.

You definitely have it harder than me (being just gluten free for now), I have not totally figured things out on just the gluten side so I can not even imagine being on an even stricter dietary regiment.

In my opinion, human culture puts a lot of emphasis on eating as a social experience. My work colleagues invite me out a lot and I tend to decline but I am afraid one day they will just quite asking or inviting me. I know I go out to eat with my husband for him way more than I would if it were up to me but it is important to remember YOU are so much more than just a meal.

Dietary restrictions suck and taking a "vacation" is just not an option. However, for me I had to change my social experience to not be about food. I am sure your girlfriend is crazy about you and not what you eat. The saying "you are what you eat" just means for you, you are disciplined, committed, and have more self control than most of the people you will know! Don't let the restrictions control you! I am sure you have many great qualities to work with and get creative. Invite your friends and girlfriend to do other things active besides meeting for meals, change your social experience to something healthy and uplifting to your soul. I look toward religion and art for my creativity and healing, you just need to find yours. Your drive will come back, you will feel sexy again because of it!

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Wish I could but for a person who always used to love food and activities surrounding food its hard to do other things & put it out of my mind. to be honest i dont even enjoy doing many activities now because the food issue is always there and prevents me from enjoying my life. The bottom line is EVERYTHING revolves around food in one way or another

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Jason, I hate to say this, but you received some good advice. For most of us pre-celiac, everything seemed to revolve around food. You just have to create a new life and a new attitude to food. You are no longer who you were. When my husband and I used to go out shopping the big question used to be, "Where are we going to eat lunch?" Now it's what fun thing can we do today that we haven't done before.

Granted, there are always occasions where food is the focus, but if you obsess upon them they will ruin your life. Accept your limitations, work around them, order things that will work for you, or just a beverage and some nuts if there is nothing, complain legitimately when you are mistreated.... but there is a life out there to live, really.....

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I can relate. Although gluten is not a problem for me (is for my daughter), I am diabetic. When I first learned of that, I refused to go anywhere where food was involved unless I were certain I could get what I needed to eat there. I was also a vegetarian (by choice) and that in itself was limiting.

Then I learned of other medical issues, food allergies, and now gastroparesis. Although I would like to be a vegetarian, I have to eat meat sometimes or get anemia. And I have to watch what kinds of meat I eat because I can't digest some forms very well.

I am thankful I found a few Mexican places that will make special meals for my daughter and me. Other that that, we just put up with it when we have to dine elsewhere. Could mean eating something safe that isn't what we wanted, or could mean eating most of our meal ahead of time and then just having salad or fruit.

Bottom line, I no longer live to eat. I eat to live.

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Right now i truly feel like im living in a box and feel so withdrawn from the world and society because of my dietary restrictions. Ive been seeing a woman for 4 months and have lost my sex drive, dont feel like going out with my friends ..I walk around and look at people enjoying their lives & I feel so jealous of all of them. What I wouldnt give to just feel normal again.

Jason, What you are saying here is a strong indication that you are slipping or into clinical depression. You could really benefit from talking to a counselor or therapist. It is not a sign of weakness to seek some help with this and seeing a couselor does not mean that you have to take psychotropic drugs. They will be able to help you develop some coping strategies that could make living in the gluten free world much easier. All the good advice you are getting here isn't going to do much good if you are not in a mental state to be able to implement them. The woman you have been seeing for 4 months sees something in you that she likes, or she would have booked a couple months ago. But if you continue the downhill slide you may end up pushing her out of your life, something neither you nor her want to have happen. I hope you will consider it.

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Jason, What you are saying here is a strong indication that you are slipping or into clinical depression. You could really benefit from talking to a counselor or therapist. It is not a sign of weakness to seek some help with this and seeing a couselor does not mean that you have to take psychotropic drugs. They will be able to help you develop some coping strategies that could make living in the gluten free world much easier. All the good advice you are getting here isn't going to do much good if you are not in a mental state to be able to implement them. The woman you have been seeing for 4 months sees something in you that she likes, or she would have booked a couple months ago. But if you continue the downhill slide you may end up pushing her out of your life, something neither you nor her want to have happen. I hope you will consider it.

What she said, Jason! ;) Ravenwoodglass has given some good advice here and I would definitely see about talking to someone. I can understand how you feel and I think it's directly related to your age category. Young folks are in the social scene way more than older folks and when you get older, you'll find being different is no big deal. People's attitudes change as they age and take more difficult challenges in stride. What you feel is completely normal but the way you are handling it is not. You need to learn more coping skills and have more time to accept what you've been given. There is nothing you cannot do, Jason, so remember that. Things will get better but talk to someone....please! You are not a loser and who the hell cares what a waiter thinks, anyway? <_<

BTW...I hate P.F. Chang's! I never really liked Chinese food anyway as it's way too salty for me. I figured I would give them a shot and ate there twice. Their food just isn't that good. Too salty and I was underwhelmed by the experience both times. Not going to go back at all!

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They will be able to help you develop some coping strategies that could make living in the gluten free world much easier.

A few years ago, I was facing a very frightening diagnosis. In the end, it turned out that I didn't have the disease after all - but when the doctor raised the possibility I quite frankly freaked out and stayed that way for weeks. Barely could function.

He referred me to a therapist who specializes in helping people cope with medical difficulties - cancer, diabetes, mental illness in themselves or a family member, severe allergies, that sort of thing.

I only met with her twice, but it was extremely helpful - and I was able to put her concrete suggestions about coping with overwhelming emotion to work in other parts of my life!

It was just non-threatening talk with some venting on my part, some good listening and acknowledgment on hers, and some encouragement and ideas for how to cope.

Jason, maybe if you have a heart to heart with your doctor about this, s/he could refer you to a counselor like that?

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I want to echo what's been said about looking into therapy for depression. The reason this is hard is not because events revolve entirely around food, but because YOU cannot separate events from food, mentally, and the inability to find coping mechanisms to deal with the food is making life feel lost to you.

(This is not a knock on you - this is hard to do, both harder for some people's personalities than others, and harder in some people's situation than others. It is doable, but you have to find coping mechanisms that work for you. Happiness is not solely dependent on food, but it may take some time - and some very targeted strategies - to work the two completely separate.)

(Hmm... let's give an example. If you go to a social gathering, and there is food, do you ever stop and just take a minute in your own mind? If you do - are you saying "oh god, again, all this food and there's nothing I can eat? woe!" or are you saying "look at all these friends here, so many different people coming together to enjoy each others company. I'm pretty blessed to have all these folks to spend time with"? Changing this becomes, partially, a cognitive therapy - you have to stop the negative thoughts and MAKE YOURSELF start thinking the positive ones. Otherwise, what is in your head but unhappy, negative thoughts? And how can you be happy when you're focusing on the negative instead of the positive.

That said, if this is developing into a true depression (been there, doing that...), *just* trying to do this on your own is going to be REALLY REALLY hard. Because those positive thoughts won't really get there. The happiness chemicals in the brain aren't active enough to let the happy thoughts through the negative ones. (Only a minor simplification there.) This is why getting the help of someone who knows more tricks and can help you find what works for you.)

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