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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

Nervous About What To Say When Ordering
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Hi everyone!

I was wondering if those of you with experience might be willing to share whatever little canned speech you give before ordering at restaurants. I've read about people using restaurant cards but can't figure out how you'd use one without it being awkward.

I'm a fairly shy person generally and would appreciate any advice on the practicalities of asking servers/managers to avoid cc. Also, I heard second-hand that you can ask for restaurants to grill meat on a piece of aluminum. Has anyone else requested that?

I don't have celiac myself (that I know of, will be tested soon) but my 2 year old has been diagnosed so I'm going to have to learn for her sake. I plan on making her food at home for the most part but am asking fit the occasional restaurant visit.

Thanks in advance!

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When I first started out I was a bit meek about the whole asking thing, to the point that my best friend spoke up during me ordering and said" She has Celiac disease so don't you dare let any gluten touch her food, write it in big letters so they can read it!!"(how embarrassing, I wanted to crawl under the table, now I could care less!) haha I remember that day like it was yesterday! She was a bit forceful so after the waiter left I told her she was a bit over the top. Her response, and I quote " It's your health we're playing with here". She's right! So now I speak up as soon as we sit down and ask for a gluten-free menu, and when I order I be sure to ask them to make sure nothing touches that it does need to be gluten free. I'm also an avid googler before I'll eat anywhere. I have to check out there menu and reviews by others. I use Find Me Gluten Free iPhone app, it will list restaurants with gluten free options in the area of the zip code you enter, that gives me a general idea of what to google and some options, also people leave reviews on there so it gives a general idea. Lol it's a starting point for me anyway! There's def a learning curve but it won't take you long to catch on! Good luck! 😃

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I usually look for restaurants that have gluten-free options. Just ask for the gluten-free menu. If you're really nervous you can ask what precautions they take to prevent cross-contamination of gluten-free food with wheat. I generally don't bother, though if they have fried foods listed as gluten-free I ask whether the fryer has been shared with wheat breaded foods. You'd be surprised how many places are unaware that frying oil CC is a big issue for celiac disease.

On the rare occasions I'm stuck eating in a restaurant that isn't gluten-aware, I say I have a wheat allergy. They can usually tell me what foods are safe, but sometimes the only things you can be sure of are salad and a baked potato.

You have to accept that sometimes your daughter will get glutened eating out. Do your best, but be aware there is always risk when someone else prepares food.

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I always call ahead and ask to speak with the chef or manager. Then they are prepared. Finer restaurants notify their staff as well but whenever we eat out (which is rare) we are assertive but quiet about it. I dislike attention drawn to myself. These restaurants also have many naturally gluten-free items on their menu and rarely have deep fryers. They sometimes even have house-made gluten-free bread during bread service or rice crackers to serve with things like steak tartare.

If I am unsatisfied with what I am told over the phone, I do not eat there. When in a foreign country things get a bit tricky and I do use restaurant cards. This no longer embarasses me. It used to, but this celiac thing has forced me to develop a stronger spine! :P When I go to restaurants I always must take along my lumbar support due to severe back pain. So, not only must I explain the celiac thing I must have my support so I must seem very sickly! That thing has been with me on many flights and in many situations. Every time I go out to eat I must walk around and do stretches in the bathroom. It is difficult when you have more than celiac to deal with when eating out! :(

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Thank you, all, for your helpful responses. I'm sure I'll get a thicker skin soon enough. :)

My skin was thin as toilet paper and my spine as firm as a wet gluten-y noodle. It will happen naturally. You can still be nice and kind yet firm enough to get your point across without the need to justify. :)

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Love2travel said: "Finer restaurants notify their staff as well but whenever we eat out (which is rare) we are assertive but quiet about it."

I can understand why you eat out only rarely. With the way you cook, I bet your family says, "Aw, do we HAVE to eat out?" :lol:

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Love2travel said: "Finer restaurants notify their staff as well but whenever we eat out (which is rare) we are assertive but quiet about it."

I can understand why you eat out only rarely. With the way you cook, I bet your family says, "Aw, do we HAVE to eat out?" :lol:

Thanks for the sweet words, bartfull! :) When my family comes over they do not want to eat out and have their special requests. They expect three fabulous meals a day! :lol: The only times my husband and I eat out is when we travel somewhere; otherwise we do not. We just do not want to - there is no need. Cooking makes my heart sing! :D Heck, I treat ingredients like children! :lol:

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My skin was thin as toilet paper and my spine as firm as a wet gluten-y noodle. It will happen naturally. You can still be nice and kind yet firm enough to get your point across without the need to justify. :)

Ha! Love it. I will keep the image in mind to give me strength when I'm ordering. :)

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Ha! Love it. I will keep the image in mind to give me strength when I'm ordering. :)

Me, too. I'll picture toilet paper covering my arms and legs and my spine wiggling around in there. :lol:

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I have been struggling with this as well. I have been gluten-free for 5 months, and didn't even think about eating out until I was 2 months into this new way of eating. Now, I don't eat out more than once a week (we used to eat out 2-3 times a week)

I am still trying to figure out how to order as well, but here are a few things that I have learned...

1. I typically try to go placed with gluten-free menu, or online reviews that they can handle gluten-free. There is still a chance of cross-contamination with gluten-free menu, but it makes it easier starting out. (I think I got some CC last week, so I am rethinking thisi plan...)

2. Do your research beforehand. If you want to go to a new place and you are not sure if they are familiar with gluten-free, send them an e-mail. I have done this twice, and both times ended up talking to someone at the restaurant to get the details (one restaurant had a chef call me). This takes some of the pressure off when you are at the restaurant because you have already prepped them.

3. You can also get triumph dining cards (there are probably other places that offer them as well). A friend of mine gave me a set as a gift after my diagnosis. I have not used them yet, but after potential CC last week, I plan to start taking advantage of them. What I like about them is that you can provide all of the information to your server (who can take them to the chef - avoiding the 'telephone game' problem). I also suspect that servers will not question the issue if it is written on a laminated card, and not just what I am telling them.

I believe this is just another hurdle in the learning curve of celiac...sigh...

Good luck!

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This may sound silly, but I find that the more comfortable and casual (but firm) that I seem about asking the questions, the easier it is and the better of a reaction I get. I also use the phone apps "Gluten Free Registry" and "Find Me Gluten Free" to see what restaurants are in my area that can do gluten free - they also have customers review their experiences so you know if there were any issues with cross contamination or uninformed staff.

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We travel a lot and I use the "Find Me Gluten Free" app on my phone also. A great help!

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I just discovered the Find Me Gluten Free app, and I think it's a good starting place. I had my first "special ordering" opportunity at Chipotle (first time I've been to a restaurant since going gluten free), and found that I kind of sucked at it, even though I'd been mentally rehearsing it. I didn't start out with the spiel because as I walked up, the server put on fresh gloves, but after handling my food she went on to handle a tortilla and then went back to my food... I had to jump in and say something and she kind of gave me a look. My fault for not being clear from the beginning. So, just learned THAT trick...

But I think I'll be sticking with "wheat allergy," because I have noticed how few people know what gluten is or where it comes from.

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Fast food - "Hi, I eat gluten free." If they give me a blank look... "which means I have a severe allergy to wheat. Do you mind asking whoever handles my order will change their gloves and be sure that no bread or wheat products touch my food?"

Sit down, with gluten free menu - "I eat gluten free, does the kitchen prepare (what I want to order) on a separate surface?" If they can tell me exactly what they do to keep things separate, then I ok it. If they can't tell me, I ask them if they can ask a manager my question.

Sit down, without a gluten free menu - Call first!! They usually can put someone on the phone who knows what can be made gluten free. When the waiter comes, tell them "I called ahead and was told (what I want to order) can be made gluten free." Usually they like to double check and can come back and assure you about the preparation, too.

You will get better at having this conversation... I've found that restaurants are very accommodating. It's better to speak up about your needs than get sick.

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Thank you! Just what I was looking for!

Fast food - "Hi, I eat gluten free." If they give me a blank look... "which means I have a severe allergy to wheat. Do you mind asking whoever handles my order will change their gloves and be sure that no bread or wheat products touch my food?"

Sit down, with gluten free menu - "I eat gluten free, does the kitchen prepare (what I want to order) on a separate surface?" If they can tell me exactly what they do to keep things separate, then I ok it. If they can't tell me, I ask them if they can ask a manager my question.

Sit down, without a gluten free menu - Call first!! They usually can put someone on the phone who knows what can be made gluten free. When the waiter comes, tell them "I called ahead and was told (what I want to order) can be made gluten free." Usually they like to double check and can come back and assure you about the preparation, too.

You will get better at having this conversation... I've found that restaurants are very accommodating. It's better to speak up about your needs than get sick.

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I just discovered the Find Me Gluten Free app, and I think it's a good starting place. I had my first "special ordering" opportunity at Chipotle (first time I've been to a restaurant since going gluten free), and found that I kind of sucked at it, even though I'd been mentally rehearsing it. I didn't start out with the spiel because as I walked up, the server put on fresh gloves, but after handling my food she went on to handle a tortilla and then went back to my food... I had to jump in and say something and she kind of gave me a look. My fault for not being clear from the beginning. So, just learned THAT trick...

I can totally picture something like that happening to me my first time. :)

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Along with the "I'm gluten free" I also add "I am celiac (or have a wheat allergy). I don't eat this way because it is a fad diet......" I add that as I feel like the current gluten free fad has hurt celiacs in many ways and I want the restaurants to take me seriously !!!

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Along with the "I'm gluten free" I also add "I am celiac (or have a wheat allergy). I don't eat this way because it is a fad diet......" I add that as I feel like the current gluten free fad has hurt celiacs in many ways and I want the restaurants to take me seriously !!!

I completely agree - I always feel pressured to say that I have Celiac so that they know that it should be taken more seriously. Those people who do the gluten free as a fad diet really tick me off - they should just go to Domino's.... :)

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