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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?  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
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SandraD1971

Chili's

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Please beware - Chili's is not gluten free safe.

we called to see if Chilis had gluten free foods on the menu. The hostess assured us they not only had gluten free options but a special gluten free menu with many choices and she listed several.

I took my Celiac son to the restaurant only to find a paragraph above the gluten free menu stating that Chilis prepares the gluten free food with other food, including shared fryers! We were already at the restaurant with all my sons friends so I decided to order from the menu and stay away from anything in a fryer.

The servers knew nothing about gluten free foods and brought my son's hamburger on a bun!

If the restaurant cannot support gluten free foods, they should not adverstise they do! Do not go to Chilis if you have Celiac!

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Last I looked at Applebys on line gluten-free menu, it was like that too. It listed fries as gluten-free but in the small print at the bottom said that they were fried with the onion rings, moz sticks, etc.

I wish places like this wouldn't bother. I would rather they said it wasn't possible.

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I rather enjoyed my Chili's gluten free dining experience. Our waitress was aware of what I could and could not have - I was going to have cheese on my side salad, and she suggested that I not since it might not be safe. I had ribs with a baked potato and side salad - delicious and no issues. I never order anything that comes from a fryer when I'm out - even if they claim to use separate fryers...just not worth the risk

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I see that as more of a CYA statement. If you notice nothing on Chili's gluten-free menu is prepared in the fryer. Honestly anytime you eat in a restaurant you are taking a chance. When regular food is being prepared in the same kitchen CC is always going to be a factor. At least by offering the menu you have a better chance of getting something safe. My Chili's is typically very careful with gluten-free diners. The manager usually comes out to take your order and lets the kitchen know what is required.

My local Applebee's on the other hand is a disaster. They do have fried items on the menu listed as safe and then noted that they are fried with other things. I have never eaten at Applebee's and not gotten glutened. I'm pretty sure my one local Applebee's isn't representative of all of them, so hopefully safe meals can be had at other locations.

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...If the restaurant cannot support gluten free foods, they should not adverstise they do...

Restaurants having gluten free menus, or options, seems like the growing trend these days, and in some ways, I'm really happy to see it. That sort of thing spreading has to help raise people's awareness of the idea of gluten free, at least. I keep thinking that at least a few people have got to see it all over the place, wonder what all the hoopla is about, and go check it out on-line. Possibly discover that maybe this is something they should check out for themselves as a result, you know?

At the same time, awareness about allergens and avoiding cross-contamination in restaurants is typically pretty low. I've seen classes being offered to help increase awareness in the industry, however, to be fair.

I do think Lynnelise is right that they often have a CYA statement in place for a restaurant that also has gluten on site. But I think they have that in place because every time we go to a restaurant, it's a higher risk than eating at home, period, end of story. Now, the risk is hugely reduced to nearly nothing if the restaurant has a separate area to prepare our food, separate dedicated utensils, and a dedicated, knowledgeable chef/server for our food.

But how often is that going to happen? Because without that, the potential points of gluten contact are multiple chefs, multiple servers, multiple surfaces and implements and pots and pans and heck, the air itself for anywhere that is using flour. And these are all issues while everyone typically does the cooking and serving at a very fast pace, with lots of rushing around in ways that make it even harder to take that extra care with our food.

If a server gets bumped by another and sees a drop of glutenous sauce fly up in the air from the other server's plate and land in the middle of our plate, how many times do you think they will actually go back and tell the chef he has to make a new steak for us? I'm thinking 'not often.'

Most of the time, when I talked to a restaurant manager about their gluten free food, I would first get assurances about how safe their food was, and that yes, they could accommodate my needs. If I went that extra 'annoying customer' mile and got really, really specific about what I needed, about the fact that I cannot have food that has touched anything with gluten, or have gluten fall onto the plate, etc....

Most of the time the managers would admit that they were not really sure they could get me food that was safe, with the restrictions I needed. Some were more blunt and said flat out that it would be a high risk to eat their food, because while they would be as careful as they could, it was still likely the food would get contaminated.

Four times, with three restaurants, I had a manager tell me that they could accommodate my needs. 3 of those 4 times I got sick as a dog. The one time I didn't is not one I count as much of a success, because this is the same restaurant I went back to and proceeded to get sick at for my second time there.

I know that many of us can handle a little more gluten than others, and so grow tired of the CYA that abounds in the restaurant industry and the food industry in general. But from my standpoint, most of the time, that CYA statement is actually not a CYA, it's covering MY A, as it were. So...I'm actually kind of grateful for thes kind of warnings, most of the time.

Just wish there was some way that the food industry could actually calculate levels of risk in a way that we could experiment and use, so depending on our sensitivity, we could have a better way to determine what's okay for us, rather than the blanket statement that is too cautious for some of us and not cautious enough for others.

Heh, like a celiac version of the USA threat level, LOL. "This restaurant is threat level orange." :D

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Four times, with three restaurants, I had a manager tell me that they could accommodate my needs. 3 of those 4 times I got sick as a dog. The one time I didn't is not one I count as much of a success, because this is the same restaurant I went back to and proceeded to get sick at for my second time there.

I strongly suggest that anytime any of you gets sick after a server or any restaurant cook, staff or manager states they will ensure you only get gluten free food that you go back the next day or within a few days and you demand your money back. I have done this three times and only had one of the three places refuse to refund my money. At the place that would not refund my money, I went back and sat at the bar and had a few Patrons on the rocks and left a $5 tip for the bartender and told her to put the bill on the manager and walked past the manager and said thank you. He was not sure why I said thank you after the conversation we had where he refused to refund my money when he said how could I be sure it was his restaurants food that got me sick. Great customer service...

While I do not suggest you take things to the extreme that I do; but when you get something that makes you sick when you get assurances that they will accommodate and serve you gluten-free food that you stand your ground.

I do not put up with other peoples ignorance about gluten. Ok, enough of my rants.

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I'd rather see a shared fryers note than nothing. At least I know the food isn't safe! B.J.'s has that shared fryers note on their "gluten free" menu but they actually go to great lengths to keep their gluten-free pizza safe from CC, including separate toppings and pizza boards. I am pretty sensitive and can eat it. Weird, huh?

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As a former waitress I can tell you that even if you have a waitress who is concerned for your needs, very often the kitchen staff will disregard any instructions they are given. I once had a customer with celiac, and because my mom had it, I knew what she could and could not have. I told the cooks in no uncertain terms that they had to serve her steak (from the charbroiler where nothing but plain meat was ever cooked), and plain baked potato with NO BREAD ON THE SIDE. It was a busy night and they forgot - when I picked up her food there was a slice of garlic bread on the plate. I told the cooks they had to cook her a new steak. They took the bread off the plate and said that was good enough.

Fortunately at that restaurant, the waitresses were authorized to refuse to serve anything the cooks put out unless it was what they had ordered. (Probably because our tips depended on it so we were not only protecting our income, but the restaurant's reputation.) I told them the lady would end up in the hospital and the restaurant would be sued if they didn't cook her a new steak, so they finally did. But if it had not been a waitress who was familiar with celiac, she probably would have served it anyway.

I won't be eating in any restaurants anymore. I'll eat before I go and just order some iced tea when I go out with my friends, but I won't touch any food.

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I'm a big fan of Uno's. They have gluten-free pizza and, at least the one near my house, has an entirely separate area for preparing it.

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I'm a big fan of Uno's. They have gluten-free pizza and, at least the one near my house, has an entirely separate area for preparing it.

There's a pizza place near me that also has a separate area for gluten-free dough, a separate set of toppings, the pizzas are cooked on freshly washed pans, the cooks change their aprons, gloves, etc., and then the manager delivers it. It's worked well for me on two occasions...except for the $8 small pizza with a gluten-free upcharge of $6. Pricey, but tasty. I haven't tried the Uno's one yet.

Legal Sea Foods has a pretty rigorous gluten-free procedure as well. I've successfully had their lite clam chowder (with fresh baked gluten-free rolls!) a few times from the takeout counter without any problem. Their wait staff and management are all well trained on the subject. A while ago I tried their calamari cooked in chick pea flour - delicious, with no gluten effects.

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As a former waitress I can tell you that even if you have a waitress who is concerned for your needs, very often the kitchen staff will disregard any instructions they are given. I once had a customer with celiac, and because my mom had it, I knew what she could and could not have. I told the cooks in no uncertain terms that they had to serve her steak (from the charbroiler where nothing but plain meat was ever cooked), and plain baked potato with NO BREAD ON THE SIDE. It was a busy night and they forgot - when I picked up her food there was a slice of garlic bread on the plate. I told the cooks they had to cook her a new steak. They took the bread off the plate and said that was good enough.

Fortunately at that restaurant, the waitresses were authorized to refuse to serve anything the cooks put out unless it was what they had ordered. (Probably because our tips depended on it so we were not only protecting our income, but the restaurant's reputation.) I told them the lady would end up in the hospital and the restaurant would be sued if they didn't cook her a new steak, so they finally did. But if it had not been a waitress who was familiar with celiac, she probably would have served it anyway.

I won't be eating in any restaurants anymore. I'll eat before I go and just order some iced tea when I go out with my friends, but I won't touch any food.

This happened to me today. I went out for lunch with a group from work to celebrate and I picked the place because there was something for everyone. I had eaten there before so thought I'd be safe. I ordered an omelet and potatoes and specifically told the waitress no toast, I can't have wheat. Not wanting to create more havoc than I already had with this group, I didn't say my usual thing of 'please don't let anything with wheat touch my food'... roll the tape, I get my omelet and potatoes, the group is talking and laughing and I am distracted. I notice a cup of homemade jam on my plate and just remove it, even though the flag went up that perhaps there had been toast on top of my potatoes too... but continue to laugh and talk and enjoy... roll the tape again 1 1/2 hours later... I am in the bathroom at the office expelling said lunch and doubled over in pain.. I had to come home from work early as I couldn't function anymore. I think and I can't prove it but it's the only thing that makes sense. They put toast on my plate with the cup of jam and the waitress just took it off and threw it away because I said no toast... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr How can we educate the masses about this? I'm afraid to eat out anymore.. it happens more times than I care to think about.

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I'd rather see a shared fryers note than nothing. At least I know the food isn't safe! B.J.'s has that shared fryers note on their "gluten free" menu but they actually go to great lengths to keep their gluten-free pizza safe from CC, including separate toppings and pizza boards. I am pretty sensitive and can eat it. Weird, huh?

Unfortunately, I think it comes down to the individual staff at individual restaurants (chain or not.) We've been glutened eating the "gluten free" pizza at the B.J.s in Grand Junction, CO and at the B.J.s in Colorado Springs, CO. Our family policy is if a restaurant gets two strikes, they're out. No more B.J.s for us (although I did start making buffalo chicken and barbaque pizzas at home!)

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We went to Chili's (in Miami-Kendall Dr.) as a last mt decision & was very pleased. They has a bunch of separate menus for different allergies/problems--one for dairy, one for nuts, etc. And of course a gluten-free menu. DD had grilled chicken/rice off the kids menu. I had a potato soup with my meal & it was gluten-free so DD tasted it & she loved it. (& ate 1/2 of it) She was stuffed when we left and couldn't fit in the gluten-free chocolate shake that was available.

DD is not sensitive to CC so tho it was fine for her/us I couldn't say if anyone else would have a problem.

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I've had good and bad experiences at Chili's. Unfortunately, we live in such a tiny town that there's ONLY a Chili's for that type of restaurant.

I can chat up the waitress and the manager, but it can, and often does, all fall apart in the kitchen. The last TWO times I was there, I gave my wheat/celiac talk... and ordered a salad... and received their salad mix that contains flour tortilla strips even tho the salad I ordered had nothing to do w/ tortilla strips. Both times I had to send the salad back and ordered nothing else because I didn't trust them! I said that I'd give them one more shot before writing to the company, but we just never go out to eat anymore!

I'll enjoy some Chik-fil-A fries if we happen by one, but we just don't eat out anymore.

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I strongly suggest that anytime any of you gets sick after a server or any restaurant cook, staff or manager states they will ensure you only get gluten free food that you go back the next day or within a few days and you demand your money back. I have done this three times and only had one of the three places refuse to refund my money. At the place that would not refund my money, I went back and sat at the bar and had a few Patrons on the rocks and left a $5 tip for the bartender and told her to put the bill on the manager and walked past the manager and said thank you. He was not sure why I said thank you after the conversation we had where he refused to refund my money when he said how could I be sure it was his restaurants food that got me sick. Great customer service...

. . .

Ok, enough of my rants.

FWIW, I appreciate a good rant. And this made my day. Thanks. And please do continue (I'm tempted to look for other rants elsewhere on the board). :D

I don't know that I would do exactly what you did, but part of me wishes that I would and, at the very least, this will give me a bit more confidence--and something to laugh at (at least inwardly or afterward, but perhaps openly in the moment)--when I have to confront gross incompetence and/or indifference.

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I strongly advise against walking out of bar or restaurant without paying a bill. Unless you don't mind being arrested.

richard

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Since I am intolerant of gluten, dairy, and soya, I cannot eat at chili's. There is not a single menu item that appears on all three "free from" menus. I appreciate their allergy-friendly menus, but they are not an allergy friendly restaurant, imho.

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I have really good experiences with the Chili's and Applebee's where I live. Yes, they have screwed up a couple of times and I have had to send something back to the kitchen, but by and large they are very accommodating and I have yet to be glutened by either of them. Good rule of thumb is to try and go before a rush so that they have time to pay attention. Make sure to tell the server exactly what you need. And the first rule of thumb for me is if when I ask for a gluten free menu and get the glazed over eyes, deer in the headlights look, I know they are clueless and I go somewhere else. We have a couple of really nice restaurants here where I live where the owner is Celiac, so I know I can trust what they serve. If anyone is ever in the Kansas City area and have a chance to visit Waldo's Pizza, Go! They not only have the best-bar-none pizza I have ever had, toxic or not, they also have a safe salad bar and several gluten-free options for dessert. And I counted 6 different types of gluten-free beer on the menu.

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Silk, I think this is the first time I ever heard anyone state that they had a good experience at Applebee's! :) I'm glad there's one of us!

Problem with all these chains is that they think having a gluten-free menu is enough. They don't realize that they have to train thousands of employees about cross contact, etc.

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I have had good experiences with Chili's in our local area. The limited selection sucks as does the gluten-free menu. About the only thing that I can get there is the "Oldtimer" burger (no bun) but at least it does not make me sick.

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[Problem with all these chains is that they think having a gluten-free menu is enough. They don't realize that they have to train thousands of employees about cross contact, etc.

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What kind of items, other than burgers and fries, are you ordering at Chilis?

They have a large selection of grilled meats and fish, rice pilaf, fresh vegetables, and salads (cheese on the side). I prefer to avoid the gluten free breads and pastas altogether if possible.

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What kind of items, other than burgers and fries, are you ordering at Chilis?

They have a large selection of grilled meats and fish, rice pilaf, fresh vegetables, and salads (cheese on the side). I prefer to avoid the gluten free breads and pastas altogether if possible.

Didn't know they did any kind of bread? Never seen it on the menu. And I don't know that I have ever seen much of a selection of fish either? Where do you live? Near a coast line? I wonder if their menus are driven by locale?

The ribs are terrific. I also like their black bean soup. I really like the old timer's burger but I get it with a side of guacamole and picco de gallo. The fries are not safe due to CC in the fryer but their loaded mashed potatoes are pretty good.

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    • Lex_ I agree with Ennis_Tx. You need to take some Magnesium.  It works best as a Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium Citrate are easiest to find. Take it 2/day for the first couple weeks to see how much more energy you have. Then you can take it with each meal or 2/day and one hour before bedtime if it is not convenient to take it at work. If it is working you (right form of as a Magnesium Citrate or Glycinate) you will will experience vivid dreams. And wake up with enough energy to take on the day. **** this is not medical advice but it really helped my chronic fatigue symptom's. It is good for leg cramps too also known as charley horse's. posterboy,
    • I am sorry that I was not clear.    I only mentioned  your diagnostic background, not to discredit you, but because without any lab results (other than a positive gene test), how can you be sure that gluten (shampoo containing wheat protein) was the actual culprit (not a guess) of your symptoms?  It is common for celiacs to receive follow-up antibodies to monitor their dietary compliance.  This is not perfect, but it is the only tool in the toolbox for now.   My husband has been gluten free 12 years prior to my diagnosis.  He went gluten free per the poor advice of his GP and my allergist.  So, I am not trying to discount your diagnosis at all.  I am just trying to see if other lab tests (e.g. liver tests that were elevated previously for you when you were still consuming gluten) were measured after your shampoo exposure.   I am curious because I have had issues over the last year.  I was glutened last January, had the flu, a tooth infection, a cold and a tooth extraction, three rounds of antibiotics (verified to be gluten free) within a month or so.  Like, you, I am very careful.  I have no idea as to how I was exposed.   The last time I ate out was a year ago and even then it was at at 100% gluten free restaurant.   My hubby did not have any symptoms at this time.  He is like my canary.    I went to my GI and my DGP IgA was off the charts even some three months later.   My celiac-related symptoms diminished in three months, but I struggled with autoimmune hives for six.  My GI offered to do an endoscopy in the summer.  Instead I chose to follow the Fasano diet.  I still was not feeling well.  In December, my antibodies were 80.  They were either on a decline or they were increasing again.  I opted for the endoscopy.  My biopsies revealed a healed small intestine (you could see the villi on the scope too).  But I was diagnosed with chronic gastritis and had a polyp removed.   So, all this time I thought my celiac disease was active, but it was NOT the source of my current gut issues.   Again, my apologies.  I just wanted to know how you know for SURE that hydrologized wheat protein from someone else’s shampoo and conditioner could reach your small intestine to trigger an autoimmune reaction.  Maybe, like me, Gluten was not the actual culprit.    
    • The reason I think it was the shampoo? Process of elimination. Our house is almost entirely gluten free (except for this shampoo which slipped through the cracks until I read the ingredient label). My husband has bread that he eats at lunch, but he practices something that resembles aseptic technique from the lab when he's making his sandwiches. He's been doing this for years now and I've never been glutened from within my home. The previous week I hadn't eaten out, I cooked all my food, I don't eat processed food and I never eat something from a shared facility.  Usually if I get glutened it's a single dose sort of thing and it follows a very predictable course, to the point where I can estimate when I got glutened within 24 hours of when it happened. However, this time, I was feeling achy and arthritic and moody for about a week before it got bad enough for me to recognize it as the result of gluten exposure, at which point we went searching and found the shampoo (and conditioner, which does leave more of a residue than shampoo), which he immediately stopped using. Within three days I was feeling back to normal (which is the usual course for me).  Sure, it could have been something else, but I know how sensitive I am, and, as silly as it sounds, it was the only thing that made sense. The other thing you said: You're correct, mine was not a rock solid celiac diagnosis, but I have no doubt that gluten is the problem. I was SICK. I went through two different gluten challenges in an effort to get a more straightforward diagnosis during which I was a barely functioning human being. Consuming gluten may not have given me blunted villi or elevated antibodies, but it did inflame my gut, and actually started to damage my liver. If you look at my diagnosis thread, I had elevated liver enzymes, which have been correlated with celiac disease in the past. There was no alternative explanation for the liver enzymes, he checked EVERYTHING.  I too am a scientist and I have spent a lot of time with the literature trying to make sense of my condition.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26150087 I also have no doubt that gluten was damaging my intestines in some way, as any prolonged gluten exposure in the past has inevitably been followed by a severe FODMAP intolerance that goes away once I've eliminated the gluten and given myself a month or so to heal.  I also had a very fast diagnosis following the onset of symptoms (~1 year) so it's possible that the disease never had a chance to manifest as full celiac. I wasn't willing to eat gluten long enough to find out. As a result of my diagnosis, hazy as it was, I am *meticulously* gluten free. It is not a fad for me. I don't occasionally cheat. It is my life, for better or worse. All of that being said, I'm not sure what my diagnosis has to do with your question. You say you're not trying to be rude, but when you bring up my diagnosis in a thread that has nothing to do with diagnostics, it seems like you're trying to undermine the validity of my disease or the validity of my input in this forum. If I'm being hypersensitive, I apologize, but that's how you came across on my end. I'll admit that the fact that my diagnosis wasn't more straight forward does make me a bit defensive, but I promise that even if I didn't have a solid diagnosis, I interact with the world as though I did, and I'm not out there giving people the wrong idea about celiac disease by not taking it seriously. If there was a connection between your question and my diagnostics that I missed I would appreciate you giving me the chance to better understand what you were asking. 
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