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BoyzMomma

Help Dealing With Eating Outside The Home

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Hi everyone.

I am newly diagnosed with celiac and trying to figure things out and get my health under control. One issue that i am having anxiety over is eating out. idealy i would just avoid restaurants totally until i could better handle the situation BUT i cant. we have a trip to disney world booked for 3 weeks from now and paid for already so i will have to go, and eat out quite a bit as a result.I think i can handle figuring out what food is safest, ive been scouring the internet for ingredients and that sort of thing, but im afraid of cross contamination. Is there anything you do to try and limit the chances that your food is contaminated? Do you speak up and let them know that you've got an "allergy"? (do you say allergy or try to explain differently?") Do you ask that they wash their hands before creating your meal and not touch anything else while touching your food? any suggestions would be very much appreciated, this has my head spinning. Thanks in advance!

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If you have a Maggiano's by you, they will prepare meals gluten free for you. Since my wife and I like to go on cruises it was encouraging to see the major cruise lines will accomodate dietary needs so long as you give them 3 weeks notice prior to the cruise.

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Hi everyone.

I am newly diagnosed with celiac and trying to figure things out and get my health under control. One issue that i am having anxiety over is eating out. idealy i would just avoid restaurants totally until i could better handle the situation BUT i cant. we have a trip to disney world booked for 3 weeks from now and paid for already so i will have to go, and eat out quite a bit as a result.I think i can handle figuring out what food is safest, ive been scouring the internet for ingredients and that sort of thing, but im afraid of cross contamination. Is there anything you do to try and limit the chances that your food is contaminated? Do you speak up and let them know that you've got an "allergy"? (do you say allergy or try to explain differently?") Do you ask that they wash their hands before creating your meal and not touch anything else while touching your food? any suggestions would be very much appreciated, this has my head spinning. Thanks in advance!

You definitely picked the right place to go. What I've read about disney is that they are SUPER ready for gluten-free diets, I've read that they had gluten free waffles and a dedicated waffle iron at one restaurant. I would google 'disney world gluten free'. I also went and got the link to their help section for dietary needs on their website, here you go: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/

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Don't sweat the trip! Disney is FABULOUS! Are you staying on Disney property? Do you know which parks you are going to? Do you already have reservations at any restuarants? We actually now go to Disney just for the ease of eating! Literally! We don't go to the parks unless there is a restaurant inside one that we want to go to. We just eat at the resort restaurants. There are many walk up places with loads of gluten-free options and the sit down restaurants are completely fine with gluten-free. For sit down restaurants you just tell them either when you make the reservation or when you check in that you have a dietary need. They'll ask what and you tell them - Celiac - Gltuen Free, Celiac gluten and dairy free, whatever you have to avoid. They'll tell you to make sure your server knows, but usually the server will come to the table and say, "Who has the allergy?" In many instance the head chef will come to your table to talk to you about your meal. They will ask what looked good to you on the menu and then discuss what they can and cannot do. All the sitdowns we have eaten at (which is a pretty big percentage of them) serve tapioca rolls (Ener-G brand) warm with your own butter and either brownies or chocolate chip cookies for dessert (but there are some restaurants that have gluten-free dessert already on the menu - for example, the signature dessert at Coral Reef in EPCOT is a flourless chocolate cake filled with white chocolate). At the parks, you can stop at the guest relations center when you first enter the park and they will give you a list of what gluten-free foods are available at which walk up restaurants and snack shops. This list isn't 100% complete, there are more options than what are on the list, but it gets you started.

Here are a few places we eat at and some of the items we've ordered. If you would like more info, just let me know. I've always loved Disney, but after I saw how great they treated my son I became one of their biggest fans! I'm happy to help you enjoy your trip!

Quick Service

Magic Kingdom - Cosmic Rays - Rotisserie Chicken, green beans, french fries

EPCOT - Electric Umbrella - Chicken nuggets, fruit, gelatin, fries

Hollywood Studios - Pizza Planet - Amy's gluten-free pizza, salad, fruit

Animal Kingdom - Flame Tree BBQ - BBQ pulled pork, ribs, chicken

Sitdown

EPCOT - Coral Reef - Incredible grilled Mahi Mahi, flourless chocolate cake

Boardwalk - Kouzzina's - Flank steak, pork chop, cinnamon chicken

Beach Club - Captain's Grill - crab legs, steaks

Beach Club - Cape May Cafe - Buffet (not my favorite, but OK)

Hollywood Studios - 50s Prime Time Cafe - can't remember what he had there

Hollywood Studios - Sci Fi dinner theater - ribs I think, this wasn't one of our favorite food places, but the theme is neat

Downtown Disney - T-Rex Cafe - Boneyard Buffet (ribs and rotisserie chicken)

OK, this list could go on for a long time! Oh! You can get the menus of many of the restaurants off Disney's website. That can help you narrow down where you want to go. Don't be afraid to go places there. They really are amazing. Oh again! At the buffets the chef will take you around and show you what you can have. Then you can take from the buffet line directly if you feel brave (we don't do this, but I know some people do) or the chef can bring you items from the back before there is any chance for contamination.

If you're eating all of your meals at Disney, the dining plan is a very good value - especially for gluten-free. It's $41.99 per day and includes one sit down, one quick service, and one snack. Sit down entrees (for the ones we usually choose - steak, crab, etc.) are about $30, so when you add in the cost of the drink, tax, dessert, you're at the $42 with just one meal. The quick service includes an entree, dessert, and drink. Snacks are gluten-free brownies, cookies, a piece of fruit, Itsakadoozie frozen pops, Mickey shaped icecream bars, popcorn, candy bars, fruit cups, drink etc. You can trade in one quick service for 3 snacks if you want (we do this at end of trip and bring back the gluten-free brownies my son loves because we always have leftover snacks).

If you are staying on Disney property but going someplace else for the day, you can ask the chef at your sitdown restaurant to help you with a "picnic" meal to take with you. You can also get a fridge in most rooms (some rooms like the villas have full kitchens). If you have a car you can stop at Wal-Mart or some other grocery store and stock up on anything you might want for in the room, or you can order from greengrocer.com and they deliver directly to your room. Their prices aren't that much more than other Orlando grocery stores and they have free delivery on $200+ orders. We just used this for the first time a couple weeks ago when we were there and it was very convenient. You don't even have to be in your room to take delivery - the bellman will accept delivery and they have fridges for your cold stuff.

OK, as you can tell I get quite excited about Diseny and food! I'll stop now, but if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!!

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Thank you very much for your replies! i have read that disney is a great place for dining with allergies and that does put my mind somewhat at ease. We are not staying on disney property so the dining plan wont be an option but we are planning to hit up a grocery store and eat as much as possible in the house we rent.

If anyone can help answer my questions a little more generally about restaurants, not just at disney, but all restaurants in general because we are driving...it will take us 2 days...which will be 2 days of mostly on the go eating out and possibly fast food options.

thanks again for your replies, i was excited beyond belief about the trip and this has come up and kind of put a giant shadow over my happiness and your posts have helped me cheer up a bit.

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I just got back from Disney, and had a great experience. Honestly, Disney does gluten free so well that it makes me wonder why so many others can't get it right. There is information on their website with what places (sit down and fast service) have which gluten-free foods. However, I would highly recommend talking to a manager at each place you eat. In most of the cases, the managers (A) got excited to help me and (B) put my order into the computer themselves to be sure it was right. It didn't take long to find them either - we just flagged down a cast member and asked for a manager.

We also stayed near, but not at, Disney and didn't have the meal plan. In the close vacinity, there was: Uno's Chicago Grill (pretty decent gluten-free menu, with pizza that I really like), a Qdoba (their website has a list of items that have wheat or might have wheat), a Chili's (their website has guide for allergy suffers), and a Carrabas (they have a gluten-free menu available at the restaurant, it's pretty limited, and does not include pasta, but the food was very good).

There is a Whole Foods in downtown Orlando, and a natural / health food store called Chamberlain's that we shopped at for snacks.

For your trip, consider the following chain restaurants that have gluten-free menu / lists for your drive:

Wendy's (on their website)

Maggiano's (ask to talk to a manager, they have gluten-free pasta)

Carabbas (gluten-free menu at restaurant)

Chili's (see website for list of possible items, and follow that)

Outback (gluten-free menu - haven't been here, but I've heard good things)

Chipoltle (you can eat anything other than the flour tortillas - I usually just get a burrito bowl, but see the website for more info. I recommend asking them to change their gloves and for a single person to follow your meal all the way down the line)

Qdoba (Allergy info on website, ask for staff to change their gloves)

PF Chang's (gluten-free menu that has recently been expanded and is awesome)

PeiWei (limited gluten-free menu)

Uno (gluten-free menu at restaurant)

Honestly, I don't usually choose to eat places without gluten-free menus or published information because I've had some real disasters, and it makes me more anxious than its worth, in my personal opinion. However, you can purchase menu cards that give a simple explanation of gluten intolerance / celiac / cross contamination that you can have servers take back to their chefs. Otherwise, you need to ask a lot of questions - marinades, dressings, etc. I'm not very good at this. I have had good luck with sushi, so long as I stay away from any and all sauces and fake crab (ie your standard California rolls). Just be aware that most soy sauce has wheat in it so bring your own tamari.

Oh, and I absolutely tell EVERY place that I have a "severe allergy to gluten, which is wheat, barley, and rye." I don't usually explain about cross-contamination, but that might well be why I have had such a streak of bad experiences with places without gluten-free menus lately!

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I was looking through the rest of the site, and there is a huge post about chain restaurants called "what chains serve gluten free meals nowadays" with lots more info - including some I didn't know about.

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Get a good restaurant card(the one I use is from the food allergy and anaphylaxis network) and fill in the foods we can't eat. Give it to a manager or your waitperson. I have had greast success with this.no one wants to be sued (and even if I am not a suing person, they don't know this)

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Oh yeah disney is way on top of the gluten free. I haven't been to Florida but I live near Disneyland and we got there a lot with our passes. At City Hall they gave me a many page handout of all the gluten free stuff in the park. At restaurants I still talk to the manager and some of them have a special celiac menu they bring out for me. There are gluten free waffles, pizza, and spaghetti in the park. It's awesome!!!!!

Some places have gluten free bread or hot dog buns, etc. Have a great trip!

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