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Lacey90

Worried About Eating Out

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Hey, I've recently just started again on a Gluten Free diet after being off it for 6 years, as my doctor mistakenly told me I'd 'grown out of it' but I discovered recently that this is obviously not the case, I have no symptoms nowadays apart from bloating and I'm English but now living in Bulgaria. My boyfriend has said he will go gluten-free with me so ours will be a gluten free house, but I'm worried about eating out, there is zero awareness here of Celiac disease and we like to eat out a couple/a few times a month. I don't think finding gluten-free foods on the menus will be difficult as they have a lot of salads, plain grilled meats, rice, potatoes etc, and I'm prepared to ask about any sauces or ingredients I'm not sure about, but I barely speak the language (though most restaurants have english speaking staff) and that coupled with the lack of knowledge of Celiac disease here I'm worried about cross contamination. My main worry is that as I have little or no symptoms I wont noticed when I've been glutened, so I won't know which places or meals to avoid in future. How much cross contamination would it take to start the damage again, like will one batch of chips fried in bad oil set me back to square one damage wise? I can't have blood tests here to check how I'm doing as I asked a Bulgarian GI doctor for one and she told me 'There is no blood test for Celiac disease' sigh. Will a bit of cross contamination do a lot of damage or am I pretty safe if it doesn't make me Ill?

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I also didn't get any GI symptoms in the beginning of my diet, so it was hard to tell if I ever got glutened. I did go to restaurants at first, but I learned in the end that avoiding them completely gives me more peace of mind and saves me the trouble of having to figure out why my mood is swingy or why I'm constipated. I enjoy picnics with friends and hubby now. I make appealing little bento boxes to lift the experience and make things more fun. It doesn't matter where we're sitting to me, as long as we're having something good together and chatting.

I'm sorry if this wasn't what you wanted to hear though. If you really can't give up going to restaurants then it's really just about going the extra mile to make sure they're not giving you anything contaminated, and that means that they've prepared the food using equipment and surfaces that are not shared with the ones used to prepare foods that do contain gluten.

I just learned from repeated unfortunate incidents that I can't trust them unless they've washed their hands before touching my food, and it's hassle to explain WHY.

They say that even the smallest amount of contamination will cause a reaction. How much damage is caused.. well they also say it's enough damage to be taken seriously.

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I do take CC seriously although unlike you I react quickly and violently when it happens. Eating out is a risk, every time and I simply accept that risk. I've found that it's "safe" for me to go to Wendy's for fries, frostys and chicken salads. I go about twice a month and haven't had any issues yet. Honestly though, I don't go anywhere near places that don't have staff that understand gluten free. I don't think eating one batch of fries from contaminated oil can do the damage that 6 years has done, but it will do damage. You're in an awkward position where you won't know if it was contaminated so you may go back and eat them over and over, which would be a much more significant problem. I suppose as much as it sucks to lock myself in a bathroom for half a day, those of us who have bad reactions are lucky since we can pinpoint issues and deal with them.

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They make little cards in different languages (just google it) for celiacs to take when they travel . . . then you just hand it to the waiter and they can read it. Not sure if they have one for Bulgaria, but I bet you could find someone to translate one for you. You could type it out and take a copy with you when you go out.

Cara

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They make little cards in different languages (just google it) for celiacs to take when they travel . . . then you just hand it to the waiter and they can read it. Not sure if they have one for Bulgaria, but I bet you could find someone to translate one for you. You could type it out and take a copy with you when you go out.

Cara

I was just going to say the same thing as Cara. Here's a Bulgarian card http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/bulgarian/

I print out the English version and the foreign language version and laminate them together (makes it waterproof but you could just glue them together) and give it to my server. Sometimes I get them back, sometimes I don't. This is a free site and very helpful. (They ask for donations so I did make a small donation, cause I've found it so helpful.)

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