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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

I Need Your Top Ten Dining Out Questions/concerns
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I'm sure I'm repeating, but this is what comes to mind:

Communication: Is the wait staff communicating to the kitchen what the needs are.

Should they consider allowing direct communication to a manager or to the kitchen to avoid crossed signals? I often ask for this if I don't feel wait staff is "getting it".

Training: Do they KNOW what gluten is and how to avoid CC? Utensils, sauces, plates, counters, etc, etc.

Case in point: At PF Changs: server brings out gluten-free soy sauce and uses the same spoon to dip into the hot sauce and mixes it into my soy sauce. Not Cool. This is a place that supposedly has it down, too.

My two biggest. I don't really have ten, just what branches off of that.

-E

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Well informed staff.

I also like the idea of having the ingredients of every dish available for the asking. (Not just for gluten, but other allergies, nasty chemicals, personal boycotts of food because of company practices, etc.)

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All my concerns have been mentioned so won't repeat.

But I'd love if restauranteurs knew about the 2 things that go the longest way towards reducing my anxiety:

1. The sense that the staff has all already been trained-- I ask for the gluten-free menu and immediately a "gluten-free protocol" kicks in--the server knows what I'm talking about, they have a gluten-free menu on hand, the server writes gluten-free in big letters on my order, etc.

2. This includes not just when I'm ordering food but when it is served to me. At a few of the Outbacks I've been to, when the servers bring the food they look me in the eye and say "with extra wheat!" as they hand me my plate. As a joke, it got old really fast. But what didn't get old was knowing that the server remembered my special order without me having to ask, or prompt them, or doublecheck.

A couple of people mentioned how CC isn't a big deal for them. I was never sensitive pre-dx but find the longer I'm gluten-free, the more sensitive I seem to be to CC. I realise when I go out that I take the risk, and I'm willing to do that, but if I experience consistent issues with CC at a place I just simply stop going there.

One last thing for restaurant managers to know--I was the typical 20s-30s diner pre-dx--would eat at a lot of different places and not be particularly loyal to any one of them. Good gluten-free menus, well-trained staff and little/no CC makes me the most loyal customer you'll meet--and one whose friends with other potential customers ready to be loyal too!

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I love this post!

What an opportunity!!!

I agree with almost everyone that Knowledge is Power. If the waitstaff/hosts/cooks/managers have knowledge, I will instantly feel safer.

That knowledge should definitely include --

the hidden glutens -- what pre-packaged items do you get from corporate with preservatives, marinades, etc. how are they shipped - next to loose rolls and pies? or in safe, separate containers? Are there slices of bread in your brown sugar to keep it soft?

the ability (and willingness) to adapt -- if that hot fudge sundae always comes with a brownie, is it something that is removable due to packaging or do you put it together in house?

understanding of fear -- eating out is a huge risk for us. The raw chicken example earlier is a great metaphor! Something that every server/cook, etc. could relate to. We are not paranoid. We need to be careful, that's all.

I think it's also important to focus on the positive. What CAN we eat. If the information is overwhelming to us, and we deal with it everyday - think about how they feel! They do not want to make someone sick. If we provide strong, solid, do-able suggestions, then we as a group are a lot less intimidating!

My hubby is in the restuarant business, and just through my diagnosis and watching me go gluten-free, he has been able to win customers over and accommodate them - within a pretty restricted high-end menu. The options are few, but they are options he can offer with confidence. This is SO important!

Thanks for asking for our input!

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Here's another option.

There is a Restaurant in Nelson where we can go and get gluten free Chinese food and gluten free, deep fried fish and chips. They hired a Celiac cook who set up the kitchen so that we can eat there very safely. Of course they serve many dishes that aren't gluten free, but it's wonderful to walk in and order Chinese, or fish and chips just like a normal person :P

Now there must be some Celiac cooks out there ... suggest they hire a few :lol:

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This is a great thread.

I just got back home from a local restaurant (in a town of 6,000). The staff knows me, the kitchen knows me, my daughter works there part time while in college and I assumed.

I ordered something that was proven safe for me to eat. But, I did not identify myself to the new waitress, and further to the chief who is well acquainted with my diet ,although my daughter was eating with us.

I ordered my safe meal ( as i have checked with the cheif when business was quiet and we could talk )and when served it had a BIG POPOVER sitting on top of my graved meal. There was no indication that a popover would be plopped on top of my meal.

I sent it back, with apologies, (as my daughter works there) and was served a clean meal.

Moral of the story is, always make yourself known to the server, the manager and the chief.

It is so frustrating for us and perhaps the service provider. <_<

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these are all really great so i won't be repetatitve. i do really like the suggestion of a special menu section for gluten-free items. The only different comment i have to add is that if a restaurant has a special/unique gluten-free item, i would be more likely to go there. because lets face it, i can have a plain baked potato at home--with no worries (and probably cheaper... ;) ) so if there is some special item that i wouldn't make at home or get that "special eating out" feeling, i think that is a huge plus (like PF chang's chocolate dome thing or there is an entire gluten-free restaurant owned and staffed by 2 ladies that are celiac...both are about 2-2 1/2 hrs from where i live but i make special trips there just to eat :) ) so yeah, that may seem like a miniscule suggestion but all the good ones were taken... knowledge, CC, etc... :) i'd like to hear about how it all turns out with the restaurant!!

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[*]If I ask for a gluten free meal/menu, I don't want bread, crackers, croutons, bread sticks near me. (If I am eating with someone, ask if they want bread, and if so, put it next to them, and away from me.)

What I also don't like is, when something with gluten is served as an appetizer (like the bread in Outbacks), that they bring me an extra plate, fork and knife. If the waiter would be educated, he shouldn't bring a plate for me to begin with. Last time in Outbacks I told him, I don't need a plate for the bread, because I can't eat it anyway, after ordering a gluten-free meal and telling him more than once, that I can't have gluten. When he brought the plate I pushed it away from me, he looked at me as if I have three heads :blink: .

I ordered my safe meal ( as i have checked with the cheif when business was quiet and we could talk )and when served it had a BIG POPOVER sitting on top of my graved meal. There was no indication that a popover would be plopped on top of my meal.

What is a popover???

I agree with all the answers, that were given on this thread. I especially would like to know, if the staff knows, what gluten and celiac is. If they know about CC and hidden gluten. Then I would like the server treat me as a human being and not as a pain in the behind, because I always ask very friendly as well.

Then when I ask for the ingredients in the meals, I would like to order, I either expect a complete list to convince myself, that everything is glutenfree or at least a list of the allergens that are in those meals. I once asked the same question in an asian restaurant and they told me they can't show me the ingredients. When I asked, if they at least could tell me, if they used any wheat, rye, oats or barley in the meal I would have liked to order, they told me to leave and eat somewhere else. If this ever happens again, I will make sure, that everybody knows which restaurant this was. And then I don't care, if I get thrown out of a forum. I will make their name public, because this is outrageous and if it's the last thing I'm doing.

Thanks for listening.

Stef

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All the suggestions, concerns and ideas everyone has offered have been right on the mark but I think if it were me, I would direct this restaurant chain to contact the Gluten-Free Certification Organization run by the Gluten Intolerance Group out of Washington state. If this chain is serious about trying to accomodate patrons with celiac's then I think they would be best to go to an organization that is in the business of educating restaurants and chains about how to achieve that goal or better yet, go that step further, meet all the requirements and become a "certified" gluten-free restaurant listed on their site.

Maybe after you compile your list and give it to them, perhaps you could steer them in GFCO's direction....

Just a suggestion :)

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We've found an Indian restaurant that marks its menu, eg, everything with Gluten has a big G in a circle.

That means they don't have to have a separate menu, and that my DH doesn't have to check with the staff(which he totally loathes) about the ingredients.

It would be great if more restaurants did this.

Re fries or hot chips, we've found that many many places buy in ones that are slightly dusted with flour - to make them more brown and crunchy - so have given up on ordering them as the staff doesn't actually know the full list of ingredients. One way to eat more healthily!

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Tiffany:

I would like to talk to the chef/cook when my server is to flipant or looks at me with the deer in the head light look.

Also, I would like to be taken seriously. If the server doesn't "get it" I would like that person to get the manager.

I would like to be treated like my money was as important as anyone elses. That my need for sustanance was also important. I already give up over half of what is on any menu, I am sick of plain meat. I don't go to a resturant that is experiencing a "rush" . We make dinner reservations early in the evening to stack the odd's in our favor for a safe meal.

As I write this I think that is something I would like the server to have a feeling for, all of the sacrafices I made before I walked into their establishment.

And finally, if the server works with me, let them know I will probably tip better than 20% and definately better than most of my peers.

Debbie

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All the suggestions, concerns and ideas everyone has offered have been right on the mark but I think if it were me, I would direct this restaurant chain to contact the Gluten-Free Certification Organization run by the Gluten Intolerance Group out of Washington state. If this chain is serious about trying to accomodate patrons with celiac's then I think they would be best to go to an organization that is in the business of educating restaurants and chains about how to achieve that goal or better yet, go that step further, meet all the requirements and become a "certified" gluten-free restaurant listed on their site.

Maybe after you compile your list and give it to them, perhaps you could steer them in GFCO's direction....

Just a suggestion :)

I did already! They just want to know what WE want the servers to know. What do WE want the servers to be able to tell us at the table, right off the bat, without getting a manager, before we order, that kind of thing. The are already looking into GIG. Good call!

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The sense that the staff has all already been trained-- I ask for the gluten-free menu and immediately a "gluten-free protocol" kicks in--the server knows what I'm talking about, they have a gluten-free menu on hand, the server writes gluten-free in big letters on my order, etc.

Ah, yes - gluten-free on the order. Makes me think it would be great to have a gluten-free box as part of the order form, so the server can just put a big X in the box. Of course, any gluten-free item should still be gluten-free though. That's what having a gluten-free menu implies. There shouldn't have to be "special treatment" as if that meal would usually contain gluten. When the gluten-free item is prepared, the cooks involved use the proper ingredients and precautionary measures. Beyond the kitchen however, the staff does need to know how to handle the meals to avoid CC.

It's not all that different from ordering a sausage pizza - you won't get pepperoni on it, and there's no need to specify "no pepperoni" when ordering it. The only true difference is CC, and perhaps hidden sources. When all the staff are properly trained, there simply shouldn't be a concern. The person preparing pizza need not be specifically instructed every time how not to put pepperoni on sausage pizza.

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Since it came up on another thread -- remember gluten-free and cross contamination when packing left overs. either bring me the box or you pack it in front of me. And don't use the spoon you just used on my husband's gluten-full dinner to pack mine. :o

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Besides all the concerns that everyone else is listing, ask them why they can't have dedicated fryers for french fries. My daughter really misses being able to eat fries in most places.

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Y'all have pretty much convered what I would be looking for.

What about the chef's apron ? Can they change after baking something covered in gluten ? Cakes, breads, etc.

Also, I'd like to see some exciting gluten-free / allergen free items on the menu. Like the hazel nut crusted fish someone posted recently. Or the baby cakes brownies. I'm tired of eating plain baked fish or roast beef when I go out.

Most people like these foods anyway, so why not just add them to the menu. Baked in bulk, would the cost be much more than regular food ?

Marcia

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