I am brand new to this site, but was diagnosed almost 2 years ago after 9 months of being extremely sick. Typical story, I'm sure. I was down to 100 pounds when my doctors finally figured it out. I have severe reactions to any gluten, so eating out was really scary at first. Now I am not at all shy about speaking to waiters and waitresses, and asking for the kitchen manager if I have any doubts about the waitperson's understanding of my needs. If I know in advance which restaurant I'm going to, I get a copy of the menu and call ahead and speak to the kitchen manager or chef. I even ask them to read the ingredients to me over the phone, so I know what to order before I get there. Fast food is a little trickier. I live in Hawaii where there is lots of Asian food, which means lots of soy sauce. Thai food is the easiest for me to order, because many of the dishes don't use soy sauce. Our local Outback has been very easy to deal with, and they now know me and are extra careful with my food. I don't hesitate to ask lots of questions or to send things back to the kitchen at any restaurant, and I have never encountered any resistance to this. Restaurant folks want you to have a good experience and come back again. Those who take good care of me get huge tips and a sincere thank you as I'm leaving the restaurant. I also contacted the manager of my local grocery store (Safeway), because they already stocked a lot of Bob's Red Mill products, many of which are gluten free. I specifically asked for sorghum flour, since I use it in a lot of my baking. The manager not only ordered that, but now stocks Red Mill gluten free baking mix and gluten free bread mix. The bread mix can be made right in my bread machine, and I use the baking mix as a direct substitute for flour in all my regular non-gluten-free recipes. What I miss the most since I've been on the gluten-free diet is the convenience of just running through the drive-through and grabbing a quick bite. If I don't have my own bread already made, I often use corn tortillas for sandwiches, kind of like wraps. Just zap them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them up, and they work great for any sandwich filling you want to use.
It's nice to know there are others of you out there who have the same questions, concerns, and frustrations that I have. I'm looking forward to checking in frequently.