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cmoore

Eating Out

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I have yet to get an official diagnosis but I had a question, Did some people fine it necessary to just not eat out at all in the 1st few months of going gluten free, as they got a handle on it?

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That would be very wise. I was diagnosed four days before going to Italy. I should have waited to start eating gluten free after the trip! Looking back I had so much gluten there it is not even funny. Get this - my husband ordered this fabulous pasta soup. He picked out the pasta and I finished the soup!! Anyway, you learn from these mistakes so it is recommended that you do not eat out until you can ask the right questions and be okay with others around you eating gluten. That can be tough mentally. At least it was for me. Thankfully a few months is not long in the grand scheme of things!

I see you joined here May 2010. Have you been eating gluten all this time? Just curious. :)

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We didn't eat out for a while (couple of months?). . . probably because I was knee deep in trying to figure it all out and quite honestly a little freaked out and self-conscious about the whole thing.

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I have yet to get an official diagnosis but I had a question, Did some people fine it necessary to just not eat out at all in the 1st few months of going gluten free, as they got a handle on it?

I was deathly ill when first diagnosed but started feeling better as each day went on that I ate gluten free. At least the gastric problems calmed down fairly quickly, which was good because I had booked a trip to London months before and if I did not get on that plane, I would have lost a whole lot of money. So, I decided to go. We had rented an apartment and we ate breakfast in so that wasn't a problem. For dinner I found a French restaurant that understood gluten free well and they cooked plain but delicious food for me and I did not get sick. I stuck with fish or chicken, potatoes and veggies and that seemed to work well. I am a cook so knew what I could and could not have to eat and knew about how not to CC food so it worked out better than expected. It wasn't the most adventurous eating I ever did on vacation but I did not get sick. It can be done if necessary but you have to eat plain at first so going out to eat won't be the fun it usually is. It did not impede my recovery at all and I am glad I went.

I actually got sicker on the vacation before that when I didn't know I had Celiac and ate a fancy French pastry one night. I was sick as a dog that night and thought it was the meat that made me sick! Who knew it was the wheat! ;)

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I personally did not refrain from eating out. I did refrain from eating anywhere I wasn't 100% comfortable with. Since my local Wendy's has an adult staff I was comfortable there and they have a great variety to choose from. (Even adding more restrictions over the weekend I'll still be able to stop in occasionally, yay!) Other than that in the first 2-3 months I mostly stuck with a local gluten free bakery and a pizza shop that makes great effort to prevent cc. The key to eating out safely is knowledge and asking questions. Never be afraid to walk out of a place that makes you uncomfortable and find somewhere else to eat.

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We did dine out but less than before. And stuck to the same boring foods that we knew were safe. Like a hamburger patty, baked potato and fruit cup.

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I have a few rules I follow for eating out:

1. Stay with places that you know, and know you. I am a regular at our local Carl's Jr., and the manager knows I can't tolerate gluten. I usually order the Low Carb burger combo meals or grilled chicken salad, and have never had a reaction to anything I've eaten there, (however I avoid the milkshakes because they use one blender to mix all flavors).

2. Inform the people waiting on you of your food sensitivities when you order, in my case wheat gluten, annatto, and FD&C yellow5 (tartrazine). That means no wheat or anything with yellow coloring added. Most places will check, or let you read the list of ingredients if you ask them nicely. Many places now actually have a gluten-free menu if you ask them, and many servers and cooks have gone the extra mile to make sure my food is prepared without gluten - remember to leave them a nice tip!

3. There are still times you find yourself in a strange town eating at a strange place, (toss out rule 1), and the servers listen to your explanation with a blank stare, or rolling eyes, (toss out rule 2). Play it safe, order a salad with grilled meat, ranch dressing or cottage cheese, or a baked potato with sour cream. If the salad arrives with croutons on it, (for example), dump the dressing on it before sending it back to the kitchen, that way you'll know if they made you a fresh one instead of just picking out the gluten bits. Yes, this has happened to me.

4. Don't feel guilty or intimidated about asking for special treatment. If you ordered a burger without onions or a pickle, they wouldn't bat an eye. Ordering one without a bun should be no different! You're going to pay them good money for good food, it's their job to serve you what you want. I just had a wonderful meal with friends at a great restaurant I've never been to before despite the fact they had nothing on the menu that was particularly gluten free. The waiter was very professional about my requests, and made sure everything was right before he served me.

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