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Lexi

Could Not Believe What I Was Hearing!

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Just thought I would share my very frustrating experience while dining out tonight. So....my Husband and I went to Stonewood, and I asked for a Gluten Free Menu. The hostess told me that the manager would bring it to our table. The manager brought it over and said, "ummmm.....I was just wondering how serious your allergy is?" I said, "I have Celiac Disease.....so pretty serious I guess you could say." He said, "Well, I probably wouldn't get the steak fries then because they are cooked in the same oil as everything else." Really.....I mean really???? And it said right on the menu that the steak fries were gluten free. I didn't even know what to say. I felt like I couldn't trust anything on the menu at that point. I was surprized because it is a really NICE restaurant, and they just recently came out with a great gluten free menu. I was so excited to eat there. I ended up getting a delicious chicken dish, but I'm home now with a massive headache. Why is life so difficult I continue to ask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I'm so sorry, Lexi, but I do think we have to realize that most people don't "get it" the way we do, and they don't understand the ramifications of some of the basics. It is an unfortunate fact of life for us that we are 'different' and can't expect to go everywhere and have everyone have the same level of understanding of our predicament that we do. We can gnash our teeth and rant and rave, but the only ones who can really look out for us is "us". As long as they don't lie to us, and this manager told you the truth, that you could not eat the fries because of cc of the oil, well.... we do have to question everything, unfortunately and hope for a truthful answer, which you got :) As for what else you didn't ask about that "got" you, I am sorry about that, but at least you did enjoy it :P

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So I go to a frozen yogurt shop tonight which sells soft serve in cups, one that is more local than the others we've tried. Some of these vendors admit what brand of base material they are using, and have an ingredients book that lists ingredients in detail. They might even have it posted on their websites. Others are nearly clueless unless you want the fat free or sugarless. Ask to see the the ingredients book so I can check for allergens, and it's not got all the flavors they have on it. Since chocolate and vanilla plain tend to have less **** in it, I ask if they've got the ingredients pages for those. "Oh, I'm sure the chocolate is just like all the others, basically" she says, pointing to the vanilla page. I look at the "chocolate milkshake flavor" she points to next, saying that's their chocolate, and .... it has wheat in it. I point out that the chocolate has the ingredient I'm trying to avoid. It doesn't seem to make much impact. My spouse goes over to the machine and checks, and they have yet a different type of chocolate in it, "swiss chocolate," but there is no ingredients page in the book for that one, either. Cashier: "I'm sure it's okay." Me: "Uh, no, I think not, :ph34r: I'll take something that is listed." We finally find a match between the ingredients book, and one of the plain flavors in the dispenser server.

While I was researching this on the internet today, I see that a certain flavor that was listed as "okay" at a different store, last week, is listed in that particular brand as actually not being gluten free. I wasn't going near it anyway, because the more complex something is, the more likely that it is screwed up. And that particular frozen yogurt shop also did not have a full set of disclosure lists now, and was telling me their base ingredients hadn't changed.... I called b.s. and ended up giving the whole deal a pass.

Sometimes teenagers do "get" it, when I was at the county fair the teen in the cooking area was digging around for the containers with the ingredients and running them up to the counter for me to examine, with that happy co- conspirator look, while the older gentlemen taking the orders couldn't quite figure out why I was asking for this, as far as he knew "sour cream just has sour cream in it," and I didn't have any trouble with the baked potato.

Most places just sell to the majority, and it is the attitude of the management that matters, whether modest or fancy. One restaurant manager told me he loves serving gluten free pizza options because the look on kid's faces when they can have something they had to avoid, makes him very happy to be able to provide this. :) Now that is somebody who likes what they are doing ! The funny part is that they are near a frozen yogurt shop that actually labels the stuff as gluten free. Must be a pocket of 'em (celiacs and gluten intolerants) out there.

This is why I always have back - up snacks in the car with me. You never can tell.

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Just thought I would share my very frustrating experience while dining out tonight. So....my Husband and I went to Stonewood, and I asked for a Gluten Free Menu. The hostess told me that the manager would bring it to our table. The manager brought it over and said, "ummmm.....I was just wondering how serious your allergy is?" I said, "I have Celiac Disease.....so pretty serious I guess you could say." He said, "Well, I probably wouldn't get the steak fries then because they are cooked in the same oil as everything else." Really.....I mean really???? And it said right on the menu that the steak fries were gluten free. I didn't even know what to say. I felt like I couldn't trust anything on the menu at that point. I was surprized because it is a really NICE restaurant, and they just recently came out with a great gluten free menu. I was so excited to eat there. I ended up getting a delicious chicken dish, but I'm home now with a massive headache. Why is life so difficult I continue to ask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is certainly frustrating. I would be tempting and disapointing to see fried listed as gluten-free to learn that they are cooked in oil breded items are cooked. Good thing, is that you asked! I don't eat fries out at all. I used to work many years ago as a back-up cook and did all the fried foods. Fries could easy pick up breading from a previously fried item. The grease gets completely contaminated with batter when it is put in thsoe fryers.

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So I go to a frozen yogurt shop tonight which sells soft serve in cups, one that is more local than the others we've tried. Some of these vendors admit what brand of base material they are using, and have an ingredients book that lists ingredients in detail. They might even have it posted on their websites. Others are nearly clueless unless you want the fat free or sugarless. Ask to see the the ingredients book so I can check for allergens, and it's not got all the flavors they have on it. Since chocolate and vanilla plain tend to have less **** in it, I ask if they've got the ingredients pages for those. "Oh, I'm sure the chocolate is just like all the others, basically" she says, pointing to the vanilla page. I look at the "chocolate milkshake flavor" she points to next, saying that's their chocolate, and .... it has wheat in it. I point out that the chocolate has the ingredient I'm trying to avoid. It doesn't seem to make much impact. My spouse goes over to the machine and checks, and they have yet a different type of chocolate in it, "swiss chocolate," but there is no ingredients page in the book for that one, either. Cashier: "I'm sure it's okay." Me: "Uh, no, I think not, :ph34r: I'll take something that is listed." We finally find a match between the ingredients book, and one of the plain flavors in the dispenser server.

While I was researching this on the internet today, I see that a certain flavor that was listed as "okay" at a different store, last week, is listed in that particular brand as actually not being gluten free. I wasn't going near it anyway, because the more complex something is, the more likely that it is screwed up. And that particular frozen yogurt shop also did not have a full set of disclosure lists now, and was telling me their base ingredients hadn't changed.... I called b.s. and ended up giving the whole deal a pass.

Sometimes teenagers do "get" it, when I was at the county fair the teen in the cooking area was digging around for the containers with the ingredients and running them up to the counter for me to examine, with that happy co- conspirator look, while the older gentlemen taking the orders couldn't quite figure out why I was asking for this, as far as he knew "sour cream just has sour cream in it," and I didn't have any trouble with the baked potato.

Most places just sell to the majority, and it is the attitude of the management that matters, whether modest or fancy. One restaurant manager told me he loves serving gluten free pizza options because the look on kid's faces when they can have something they had to avoid, makes him very happy to be able to provide this. :) Now that is somebody who likes what they are doing ! The funny part is that they are near a frozen yogurt shop that actually labels the stuff as gluten free. Must be a pocket of 'em (celiacs and gluten intolerants) out there.

This is why I always have back - up snacks in the car with me. You never can tell.

Yet another thing we have to sometimes for-go when we are out because we don't know what is in it. It is very frustrating! I am just now getting where I can have little bits of dairy and am shocked to read labels and see what all we cannot eat that is in it. If it's not vanilla, I don't bother. It's too risky. I think the world is catching on though and all I can say is, thank goodness we live in todays generation as 20 years ago we'd all still be suffering cluelssly.

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I had a similar thing happen to me Friday night. I was out to eat with a bunch of friends and started off by telling the server that I had to be gluten and dairy free. He said, "Well, is it an allergy or just a sensitivity?" I actually hate the term "gluten sensitivity" because that doesn't even begin to cover it. I just said, "Listen, it's both...and if I eat either I'll be bedridden for days." To the restaurant's credit, the food was fabulous and they were very accommodating to me. I told the server I was so grateful because I usually don't get treated with that much respect, but his initial comment was annoying..."just" a sensitivity...

I feel like whenever I eat out I just hope for the best and I'm always expecting to get a little sick...

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Just thought I would share my very frustrating experience while dining out tonight. So....my Husband and I went to Stonewood, and I asked for a Gluten Free Menu. The hostess told me that the manager would bring it to our table. The manager brought it over and said, "ummmm.....I was just wondering how serious your allergy is?" I said, "I have Celiac Disease.....so pretty serious I guess you could say." He said, "Well, I probably wouldn't get the steak fries then because they are cooked in the same oil as everything else." Really.....I mean really???? And it said right on the menu that the steak fries were gluten free. I didn't even know what to say. I felt like I couldn't trust anything on the menu at that point. I was surprized because it is a really NICE restaurant, and they just recently came out with a great gluten free menu. I was so excited to eat there. I ended up getting a delicious chicken dish, but I'm home now with a massive headache. Why is life so difficult I continue to ask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think a number of restaurants recently have jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon as if it is only a fad diet without researching it properly. Then they start getting complaints of people getting sick from eating the "gluten free" food and have to backtrack, rewrite their menu, add a bunch of qualifiers or like California Pizza Kitchen did recently--completley pull the gluten-free menu. It IS annoying that the fries are on the menu but it was very nice of the manager to at least try to warn you about them. If the gluten-free menu is new, maybe they had just recently started getting complaints about the fries making people sick, figured out the cc issue and are now waiting on the revised menu. I wouldn't give up on them completely unless they made you really sick even after the manager talking to you about cc concerns or you go back much, much later and the menu has not changed. I would also write note telling them that you appreciate the effort by the manager to make your food safe but you were disappointed that the menu was misleading and listed things that were not really gluten-free. That way if they haven't planned to revise the menu or rexamine their pratices they may consider it. Don't tell them you plan on never going back (businesses never change for people that are not going to come back to them) but do tell them it made you think twice and you are hesitant to return unless changes to the menu are made. Be sure to praise the things they did right (the manager was honest with you) but also be clear about what you would expect in order to enjoy your next meal there (a more transparent menu, cc issues fixed, etc.).

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This is the problem with gluten-free being a "fad diet."

And with those people who go to restaurants and ask for a gluten-free menu and say something like, "I'm trying to cut back on my gluten" or "I had gluten on Friday, so I'm really trying to be good this week." It puts it into the server's heads that it isn't a big deal.

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This is the problem with gluten-free being a "fad diet."

And with those people who go to restaurants and ask for a gluten-free menu and say something like, "I'm trying to cut back on my gluten" or "I had gluten on Friday, so I'm really trying to be good this week." It puts it into the server's heads that it isn't a big deal.

I totally agree. And the professional athletes pretending to go gluten free doesn't help. Like Novak Djokovic who proclaimed after his last big win that he was going to pig out on gluten that night to celebrate. It downplays the seriousness of the issue for those of us with a real medical condition. (I'm not saying Djokovic doesn't have real issue with gluten - maybe he does, he's just doing a very poor job of managing his condition!).

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Restaurants can be so hard to navigate. And it really is best to do the inquisition *before* you are there to eat. But that is SO HARD - I get it. You may want to call them and see if they are interested in improving their gluten free service . . . if you have the time and energy to help them figure it out better. One restaurant local to me was so excited to have me approach him that he asked me to come in and talk to his entire staff with my super duper silly girl in tow. He wanted his entire staff to understand the severity of the issues when a gluten free diner approaches them (I also took the opportunity to explain that these diners were also on a spectrum, and the same diners may experience variabilities in their sensitivity - being extra cautious was always in order). I have also had a chef friend of mine that is super gluten savvy go in and interview/review the cooking procedures of a restaurant that we like to go to. I needed to know in a more objective way what my risks were. They let him observe the entire process of preparing his order, and they answered all of his questions. He reported back to me with so many fantastic details! I hope that you are feeling better!!

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It's not just with gluten though that helped to create this problem. There are some people out there who make claims of food allergies or intolerances to an ingredient in one food, but say that it is fine in others. It's the people who say that they are allergic to milk so they can't have the cheese on their salad, BUT then order a cheese burger and want the cheese. That is an example from my own personal experiences as a server in a restaurant. The problem with saying that you have a sensitivity is the meaning of the word. It is also generally used to describe a condition where something is just a little more of something that what is considered normal. By that definition it makes it seem that the reaction of a food sensitivity would be minor since larger reactions would be classified as something else ie an intolerance or allergy. Which becomes a problem when a person who is ultra sensitive tells a server that they have a sensitivity to a food but doesn't expand on the severity.

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