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Mom-of-Two

Fear Of Eating Away From Home.

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So I have been gluten-free about 2 weeks, I am afraid to eat away from home which I asssume is pretty common. We eat at home 99% of the time but we enjoy taking the kids out for fun things on the weekend, and their favorite place is Olive Garden. Hubby and I love Chipotle for lunches when out for an outing. I know the majority of their food is safe, it is more an issue of CC there. And they will change their gloves, but I still worry that the spoons for toppings were touching the flour tortillas. Do many of you eat there and find it to be safe?

Olive Garden has gluten-free choices, including pasta, can I assume they take proper precautions when cooking, maybe go at a slow time and get more personal attention?

I don't want to be scared to live life. With kids, we are active and often on the go, I have a cooler bag and of course plan to keep safe snacks with me, I am used to taking snacks for the kids everywhere we go (just because they are kids). But, would like to feel safe occasionally spending a date night out, or a day with the family when traveling and such. We travel by road trip in the summer, and I suppose the bulk of it will just be my bringing food, but it would be great to have a few go-to safe places to seek out!

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I eat at Chipotle comfortably. I usually order a rice bowl because I am not comfortable with a corn tortilla on the same iron they use for wheat.

When you go somewhere like Olive Garden, you can always ask to talk to the manager to see how they handle gluten-free food. If the answer satisfies you that they are taking reasonable precautions against CC you will be much more comfortable. I haven't tried Olive Garden because I didn't like their food that much before I went gluten free. :lol:

I tend to eat in sushi restaurants a lot, just ordering sashimi and rice. There are two pizza joints nearby with gluten-free pizza. They are really careful to avoid CC in the toppings and use separate boards to cook the pizza. There is a P.F. Chang's too, and they take good care. Indian restaurants are also good for naturally gluten-free food.

The places I find tricky are mom and pop style restaurants or ethnic restaurants. A language barrier can be formidable. Mom and pop restaurants rarely grasp the importance of avoiding CC, if they even know what gluten is in the first place. You know you're in trouble when you ask about gluten-free food and your waitress comes back 5 minutes later and says "you can't have the bread or pasta."

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We have eaten at chipotle safely many times - cc'd once. After that we tried to stick to early lunch or dinner to avoid the rush. I can no longer eat there due to food intolerance other than gluten - but my celiac kids still love it!

No experience with olive garden.

I can add that since I lost more than gluten I now enjoy going to restaurants more than ever...I bring my own meal...usually make something extra colorful and yummy - announce to our friends or family that no one should pity me because I am actually out of bed dinning with them and then order a special drink or something from the appetiser menu if there is something safe. It was hard at first but after two years of trying to eat out once per month and nearly always having an upset stomach or worse afterward - I am now having fun getting out.

PS...when traveling I have found most fast food restaurants have safe salads (submarina is my favorite pit stop -- my husband gets a yummy sub and my celiac teens don't feel deprived because the salad is a treat there) -- just make sure you have your own dressing or check their website.

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Rice bowls are all I order at Chipotle, and I was going to request they change gloves. Someone told me the cheese wasn't safe because they use hands to scoop it rather than utensils. I love Chipotle snd if that is the only place to get something on occasion I think I'll be happy :)

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Rice bowls are all I order at Chipotle, and I was going to request they change gloves. Someone told me the cheese wasn't safe because they use hands to scoop it rather than utensils. I love Chipotle snd if that is the only place to get something on occasion I think I'll be happy :)

Always ask for them to change gloves and you can ask for them to grab cheese from a fresh container - we have done for my son once we added cheese back into his diet.

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Thank you for starting this post. I'm going to show it to my restaurant that I'm working with Mary's in Redding. Show it to your favorite gluten free restrant too and say this is WHY you do what you do for us not to be scared and afraid and to be safe.The starter of the post really captured this point in the first post.

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Be careful at Olive Garden. They tend to put croutons on the salad even if you order gluten-free. You have to tell them not to put them on. Even then we did get a salad with a lone crouton that I think fell on there.

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From the reviews I read on the Gluten free registry, (written by fellow celiacs) the Olive Garden gluten-free pasta is just microwaved frozen tasteless crap that they charge over $12 bucks for. :o And I am with Skylark, their "cuisine" was not something I craved before DX anyway. Cheese-covered everything. blech.

http://www.glutenfreeregistry.com/gluten-free-state-search.do?state=FL

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I have eaten at Chipotle literally hundreds of times since being diagnosed and have NEVER had a c/c issue.

When first diagnosed, a manager literally let me read the ingredient list on everything, no issues other than the tortilla (I agree I wouldn't use the steam press due to c/c) and there's vinegar in red salsa...but most think vinegar is ok for Celiac patients.

That being said, here in CO, we tend to have cleaner locations than elsewhere (I've been to bunch across the country), so I worry less about c/c here.

I'm very sensitive and have never had a problem. Eat without worry!

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For me it isn't the ingredients that I fear though I do give them their due diligence. After four years of this I have found it is the cc that is the issue in restaurants. It is in the prep. Do they offer a dedicated prep area? If not there is a risk of cc and if your really sensitive like me, that could and usually means problems. Do they have dedicated cookware? If not ask did you replace pans when diagnosed? Why? Because of the risk of cc. If a restaurant doesn't have dedicated pans you run the risk of cc. In the end, each celiac must decide for themselves if the risk of eating out is worth it. Studies are showing even a minor intake can cause damageinternally. So when eating out, I ask very specific questions and if I'm not content, I don't risk it and just have a drink well my family enjoys. However, ymmv as I am extremely sensitive.

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For me it isn't the ingredients that I fear though I do give them their due diligence. After four years of this I have found it is the cc that is the issue in restaurants. It is in the prep. Do they offer a dedicated prep area? If not there is a risk of cc and if your really sensitive like me, that could and usually means problems. Do they have dedicated cookware? If not ask did you replace pans when diagnosed? Why? Because of the risk of cc. If a restaurant doesn't have dedicated pans you run the risk of cc. In the end, each celiac must decide for themselves if the risk of eating out is worth it. Studies are showing even a minor intake can cause damageinternally. So when eating out, I ask very specific questions and if I'm not content, I don't risk it and just have a drink well my family enjoys. However, ymmv as I am extremely sensitive.

I am beginning to think this is the case for me as well. :(

Even IF they have made separate sections in their kitchens and cleaned the area (because of course they have to comply with health code regulations) who knows what remains on areas/cookware/grills.

I have only dined out twice in the last year (except for lunches at a totally dedicated/ safe gluten-free cafe near me). These were both upscale places (hubs figuring freshly- prepared was my best option) where the staff was well-versed on gluten intolerance(and food allergies) and STILL, I had awful symptoms of a glutening after eating out. It takes me weeks to recover.

I did speak to the chef after the first episode, but it was a flourless cake on the menu that did me in (it was prepared off premises and he assumed it was okay) :rolleyes: He apologized profusely (but how many other celiacs got sick from that cake, too?) The second time, after dinner, the manager came over to see how dinner was and in a brief conversation, I could tell he knew ENOUGH about what he called "gluten allergy" <_< , but not enough that I felt he "got it".

It's very discouraging-- as the second time just happened last week :rolleyes: ---and I am on the first vacation we have been able to take in 5 years (because of my long unDXed celiac disease and being very ill) Frankly, being sick, in ramped- up muscle/joint pain and feeling out- of sorts- away from home is worse.

I feel as if I am a wet blanket/social pariah when I cannot enjoy the simple pleasure of dining out with friends and family without paying the consequences for weeks. My sweet hubs says "it's no big deal", but for a former major foodie like me, it IS a big deal. I hate that we can't enjoy this part of living/traveling because of me. As it is, I travel with a "small kitchen" so I can make all our own meals :rolleyes:

It's the one thing about this disease I find most maddening. The total lack of spontaneity --to be able to just eat anywhere, anytime--is gone. At least, in my experience thus far.

MANY veterans on here report successful dining out experiences and maybe someday, that will happen for me too! I never say die. :lol:

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The worry about c/c is exactly why I love Chipotle. There is no reason or opportunity for a flour tortilla to ever touch anything else (except "maybe" the gloves of the worker or the edge of a spoon when dumping onto the tortilla, that being said, I've never had a c/c issue with this...perhaps tortillas simply don't give off gluten to any degree).

Anyway, the tortillas are warmed ONLY in the warmer, not the grill, etc etc. As for the other prep areas, since no other ingredient has gluten, there is no reason for any other c/c.

If you are hyper-sensitive or concerned, you can always ask for new gloves and a new spoon.

IMHO, Chipotle is about as safe as it gets if you're going to eat out.

Best.

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The worry about c/c is exactly why I love Chipotle. There is no reason or opportunity for a flour tortilla to ever touch anything else (except "maybe" the gloves of the worker or the edge of a spoon when dumping onto the tortilla, that being said, I've never had a c/c issue with this...perhaps tortillas simply don't give off gluten to any degree).

Anyway, the tortillas are warmed ONLY in the warmer, not the grill, etc etc. As for the other prep areas, since no other ingredient has gluten, there is no reason for any other c/c.

If you are hyper-sensitive or concerned, you can always ask for new gloves and a new spoon.

IMHO, Chipotle is about as safe as it gets if you're going to eat out.

Best.

This is very good to know! Thanks! Cheers, IH

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The worry about c/c is exactly why I love Chipotle. There is no reason or opportunity for a flour tortilla to ever touch anything else (except "maybe" the gloves of the worker or the edge of a spoon when dumping onto the tortilla, that being said, I've never had a c/c issue with this...perhaps tortillas simply don't give off gluten to any degree).

Anyway, the tortillas are warmed ONLY in the warmer, not the grill, etc etc. As for the other prep areas, since no other ingredient has gluten, there is no reason for any other c/c.

If you are hyper-sensitive or concerned, you can always ask for new gloves and a new spoon.

IMHO, Chipotle is about as safe as it gets if you're going to eat out.

Best.

This is how I feel about Chipotle ( love eating there and never have problems), and how I judge other places. I look at the whole menu so that I can get an idea about likely cc issues. I feel really anxious if the rest of the menu is full of croutons and bread and breaded products.

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