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Mama Melissa

Cross Contamination And Eating Out!

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Hello all!!!New to this board and newer to the gluten-free diet i have heard some many contradictory opinions on the cross contaminations of eating out with celiac.I myself have ate out once at outback steakhouse had a plain steak with butter a sweet pot w butter and a plain salad brough my own dressing and had no problems, i have done some research and have seen how many restuarants are offering gluten free even ITALIAN :) i want to hear some opinions on your experiences eating out?? did it get easier the longer you were on the diet (sensitive wise)????Also i love sushi i am aware i can't have imatation anything or soy sauce is there any safe sushi i can order???I used to love chinese as well but have came to the conclusion that maybe the only thing i can order from there would be steamed rice with vegis no sauce:(


Melissa

9/10 Diagnosed celiac via bloodwork/endo

9/10 Gluten free

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PF Changs does a great gluten-free menu and they seem to understand what that means. Some places have gluten-free menus but cook the gluten-free pasta or veggies in the regular pasta water. Or will give you a plain burger but won't use a clean place on the grill. Some have a gluten-free menu but it is plain chicken and plain veggie (boring). You will find some good places as you get into this. Use some common sense. If the place screwed up orders before you went gluten-free or has a huge turn-over of employees, Might not be the best place to go. Some of the more expensive restuarants are willing and able to cook on a clean pan without bread crumbs.

Here's a trick for finding a locally owned place that does gluten-free. I googled REdbridge and Bards gluten-free beer. Look at where they are sold. Found a couple of restuarants that way.


 

 

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thank you karen:) did you find your sensitivty demineshes over time???I seem to be more sensitive than ever but for me its only been not even 6 weeks on the diet..


Melissa

9/10 Diagnosed celiac via bloodwork/endo

9/10 Gluten free

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sushi is a go-to food for me if I can't find anything else. some have reported gluten in the rice, but I've never seen it. (seasoned rice vinegar, yes, but I've never seen one that had gluten.) if it's a very basic place, perhaps all I get is an avocado roll or a tuna roll, but some places have lots more creative things; menus vary widely by restaurant, so you'd have to check each one. (the place we love has a broiled salmon, cucumber, and lemon zest. very good. and a sundried tomato with avocado. yum!)


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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mmm sounds soo good i was told sushi is tricky i used to get california roll but i kno thats out unless the meat is real i heard stay away from tempura and sometimes the sesame seeds have gluten i dunno how true that is, i have asked some sushi places near me and they all seem clueless so the thought of eating there gets me nervous:( anyone live in new jersey who wants to befriend me and maybe teach me the ropes of eating out as celiac???


Melissa

9/10 Diagnosed celiac via bloodwork/endo

9/10 Gluten free

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I would beware of the butter at Outback because I read here that there is flour in it. Or at least there can be. I've never eaten there. Their menu does not appeal to me.

We have the gluten free pasta at Olive Garden and Old Spaghetti Factory but sometimes they still put croutons on the salad even when we remind them not to.

We eat at a few Mexican places that cater to people with food allergies. And we eat at a place that caters to senior citizens. It is easy for daughter to get side dishes there. Like canned pears, cottage cheese, coleslaw, potato salad and bacon.

There was a place here that did gluten-free teriyaki but they quit making it. We do not eat any Chinese food except for what I make at home. PF Changs does gluten-free but they use oyster sauce and I am allergic.

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I've gone out to four places: a Thai place, a Lebanese place, Burger King, and Wendy's. The Thai and Lebanese places are both local, family-owned places, not chains. And they're both great about making their own spice mixes, sauces, etc and being really careful about my food. They're both wonderful. Burger King and Wendy's are great as long as you explain that you have a food allergy and request that the preparer change gloves. I discovered that if you're nice to them, explain exactly what you want, and ask if the fries are made in dedicated oil, you can eat fast food easily.

The key things I've learned:

1) Beware premade spice mixes, marinated meat, shared grills, and restaurants that fry lots of things (fast food places are actually usually better because they often have a dedicated fryer for the fries).

2) Beware fish sauce in Asian restaurants because it often has gluten (also soy sauce, of course)

3) Explain that if the pan is clean, the gloves are fresh, etc then you are OK. I go back and thank the manager/server each time after eating so that they are rewarded and hopefully treat the next person well - especially because that might be me!

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Don't assume that menu items are gluten free just because they might be labelled that way on the menu. A lot of restaurants don't really understand what gluten free means. i.e. they label french fries as gluten free, but the fries are cooked in the same fryer as the onion rings. Or, they cook gluten-free pasta in the same water as the gluten pasta. Or, they say the burgers are gluten free, but when you ask them about the toppings and condiments they give you a blank stare and/or ask "uhhhhh, do those need to be gluten free too?"!!!

I've never had any luck with sushi restaurants. Most of the time its the language barrier. Also, flour in places I wouldn't expect - like the vegetables in the middle of a california roll. Apparently they dust them with flour in some places. I eventually gave up trying after several places gave me a lot of attitude like they'd rather I hadn't come.

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First of all, NEVER ASSUME a restaurant is safe. I made that mistake once (thankfully I caught it before we went there.). I always search for gluten free restaurants. A good place to look is your local support group's website. That's where I found a list of Gluten Free restaurants. I then posted said list here, and (most were chain restaurants so that helped) got advice from people here. But also then continue to check the menus before you go. Most restaurants publish their menus online. And then, CALL AHEAD and make sure they understand what gluten free really mean. And polish the menu's carefully. I discovered a restaurant that had a gluten-free menu. But when I looked close at it, one thing it said was chips are fried in same oil as breaded products. So instantly a warning light went off that told me... Don't trust anything fried. So, all the salads had bacon... and both appetizers. And then I looked and noticed, oh look some weird sort of dressings. I question that. And what on earth is in the herb mayo? Or how about the hamburgers? And then the 3/4 menu items that were fish/seafood... yeah I can't eat that neither. So I called. Turns out, I was right, nothing there was safe. So we went somewhere else instead.


Gluten Free since Oct. 1, 2010
Fish/Seafood Free since 1997
Chocolate Free (with a few taste tests to see if I'm just crazy) since 2001.
Officially Dairy free 8/5/2013 (mostly dairy free before that, but I like my cheese and things) (dx'd officially with lactose intolerance, suspect casein too though)
Esophagitis dx'd 8/5/2013 thus doing a diet devoid of acidic foods and stuff

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Unfortunately, there's a long chain of command from the time we order our food and actually eat it and we're at the mercy of several people! I've heard of people having trouble at really gluten-free-friendly places like PF Changs because the waitperson has to communicate to the cooks and info can be miscommunicated or misconstrued.

I've talked about it before but the last TWO times I've been to Chilis and ordered from their "allergy" menu, I've been served a salad filled w/ flour tortilla strips! My chat w/ the waitress was apparently not clear enough for her to go to the cook and say, "Please take special care w/ this menu item."

Smaller "mom and pop" places will be better because they'll get to know you, but we don't eat out very often anymore.


luvs2eat

Living in the beautiful Ozark mountains in Arkansas

positive blood tests and later, positive biopsy

diagnosed 8/5/02, gluten-free (after lots of mistakes!) since that day

Dairy free since July 2010 and NOT happy about it!!

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My experience has been that the more upscale the restaurant the safer I am. The nicer places seem to understand the importance of avoiding cross contamination. (I suspect that they also understand the importanc of "law suit")

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If you like sushi, stick with plain sashimi and a bowl of steamed rice. Bring your own little container of soy sauce and wasabi. (Most restaurants use a mix that contains wheat). I have never been admonished because I bring my own soy sauce/wasabi. I eat all the sashimi I love and rice and they always have fresh fruit/vegetables. It's my happy place. :)


Gluten Intolerance, Colitis, IBS, Lactose and Casein Intolerance, Gastro-Paresis, GERD, Arthritis. Taking Remicade and Asacol, 2 Prilosec/day among other meds. Officially a senior citizen! New knee is doing well.. now about that other knee...

Food is in my dreams and in my nightmares!

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I look at the menu first, not so much to see what is gluten free, but to see what else they offer. If most things on the menu would be things I couldn't eat, I don't trust the gluten free selection. Too easy to get cross contaminated.

Also don't assume that the things listed are the only ingredients. Often they just list the main selling point type ingredients - not every single thing. I always made sure the server wrote NO CROUTONS!!!! on my order.

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I eat out 2-5x a week. Some interesting findings for me:

Italian places are some of the most accommodating. They ALWAYS have steak and seafood (and they would NEVER marinate meat with soy sauce, just olive oil and herbs- if they put butter on it, I say no because of cc with crumbs in butter). They usually have the capresi salad with fresh sliced mozzerella and tomatoes, drizzled with v & o & herbs, and the carpaccio I learned to like. Olive oil on veg etc is less likely for cc than butter.

Sushi- they cut it on the same board as the artificial crab and all that. Upon my request I watched as they wiped the counter off with that rag they keep there that is full of gluten from wiping it off last time. Those tempura "crunchies" they americanize sushi rolls with nowadays are EVERYWHERE. Miso is not confirmed gluten-free. The sauces. The rolling mat they use to roll it up. It's very tricky.

Many places cook their rice in CHICKEN STOCK. :( and marinate meat in SOY SAUCE. They even sautee mushrooms in soy sauce.

SALADS are voted most likely to come back with a MISTAKE. The safest protocol is to order a clean plate separately and dump the salad on the plate and dig through it to make sure a "lost" crouton or pasta chunk didn't find its way in there. Both have happened to me several times, so I usually eat salad at home, or order COBB salad, which does not come with croutons to begin with.

Mexican places are deceiving. The meat can be good if it's authentic- marinated in lime juice. But often they cook their rice in jugo de pollo and fry their chips with chimichangas and stuff, and put flour in the beans to make them stretch (common in Mexico).

One place assured me that the fryer was designated, and after I dug in, they ran out to tell me they dusted the chips with flour so they wouldn't stick together.

Chili's is annoying because they change their menu every few months and their staff are hit n miss. I got glutened off the bottomless soup n salad (I always get) once, and I think it's because it was a different location, with different staff. Even tho I explained thoroughly.

The CARD- I used to give them that gluten-free dining card, but they never wanted to take it back to the kitchen, and even when they took it, I doubted they showed it to the cook a lot of the time. So I stopped using it, and then 4 yrs later, after explaining my needs to the waiter, he said You really should have a card. badum-bump!


Gluten Free since November 2005

.

"If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen.." ---Ed Polish

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Oh another suggestion I thought of, you should ask around and see what other gluten free people near you eat. And if you don't know any, you could try asking your local support group for a list of safe restaurants near you. I know my local support group has a list of restaurants on their website, and a lot of tips for eating out.

But like I said before, always preview the menu and look for signs that it may really not be gluten free. And CALL AHEAD!

But just to give you a start, here is some things to look for.

1) Never trust fried food if there are ANY breaded items on the menu unless it specifically states their gluten-free items are made in a separate kitchen. This includes things like, bacon bits, french fries, potato chips... etc.

2) A lot of places like Red Robin and Applebee's and places of similar nature have a signature "spice" that they put on their food. Watch out for things that would contain this spice, because undoubtedly it would have gluten in it. (Gluten is used to help it pour smoothly)

3) A lot of food may have flour dusted on it. DO NOT LET THEM DO THIS... At Buca Di Peppo around here, it says on their menu to remind your waiter to tell the cook not to dust items with flour. I personally don't like places like these, because flour can get everywhere even if you are not putting it on a certain dish.

4) It is good to remind your server every time you see him/her that you are eating gluten free. And when they bring the food make sure to verify before they even set it down.

5) Also make sure they know you are doing this because you have an "allergy." I have noticed a lot of people don't understand "I have Celiac Disease," or "I am intolerant to it." Usually saying those two things will generate a response of "Surely a little won't hurt." But if you say allergy, its like an automatic response in their heads, "Oh shoot, I better make sure I get this right or I will have a very sick customer on my hands..."


Gluten Free since Oct. 1, 2010
Fish/Seafood Free since 1997
Chocolate Free (with a few taste tests to see if I'm just crazy) since 2001.
Officially Dairy free 8/5/2013 (mostly dairy free before that, but I like my cheese and things) (dx'd officially with lactose intolerance, suspect casein too though)
Esophagitis dx'd 8/5/2013 thus doing a diet devoid of acidic foods and stuff

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