March 7, 2020

Eating out on a Gluten Free Diet

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I have just read a very interesting article regarding a young girl who when eating out with her family was taking her own pasta to ensure that she could get a meal suitable for her. The restaurant in question then decided that this should not have to happen. Here is a direct quote from one of the restaurant owners “I started feeling bad,” Hodapp said. “It was ridiculous that a loyal customer had to bring her own pasta.”

I have included a link below for you to read the full article if you wish.

This article brought back many memories of my own journey through life as someone who has had many challenges with finding Gluten free meals when away from home.

Going out for breakfast with my work colleagues was at first a bit of a challenge, but our favourite restaurant soon got used to me asking them to toast my bread for me and to cook me some bacon and tomato but not to give me the egg and hash browns that usually go with a request for this type of breakfast.

In the ten or so years since my Gluten and Egg allergies have been diagnosed, I have had many occasion to be away from home living in hotels and have not been able to have what I perceive to be a Gluten Free breakfast. (Other than maybe be plate of fruit and some yoghurt)  Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast but it is nice to have a change occasionally even if it is toast and marmalade. I therefore like our young girl in the article, had taken to carrying with me my own Gluten Free bread and sometimes even some Gluten Free breakfast cereal, now being a Scottish lady, and we all know the reputation the Scots have for liking value for money, I did feel a bit cheated as I was paying the hotel for a breakfast than in fact I was supplying most of myself.

It is an interesting situation when you have a special need as far as food is concerned. I over the years have always informed the organisers that I require a Gluten and egg free diet; I usually end up with a plate of fruit (fruit again no imagination here eh!). My husband who is a vegetarian always has quite an amazing selection of food to choose from as it is easier to make a sandwich for a vegetarian diet; and muffins are also usually on the morning and afternoon tea menu. I have even had an enormous plate of fruit handed to me for lunch (come on folks where is the salad, just as long as there is no mayonnaise)

I am happy with fruit, but a wee bit of imagination would not go astray. I for one know that there are many alternatives out there and a Gluten/egg free diet does not have to be boring.

A couple of years ago, when I was attending a Born Rich seminar in Hamilton New Zealand, it was a pleasure to find a plate of biscuits with labelled as Gluten free. Knowing the brand of biscuits I was happy to eat one with my cuppa. Normally if I was unsure I would leave them alone, as due to the fact that I am also allergic to eggs, and I know that some Gluten free products also contain egg, my motto is

“If in doubt I leave it out”

Over the two day seminar, I found that there was always a plate of something (other than fruit) that I could eat. At the end of the seminar when we were leaving the hotel, I took the time to visit with the hotel manager to thank him for his staff being so helpful regarding my situation with food. It turned out that when he heard that there was a requirement for Gluten/egg free, he took it upon himself to go down to the local supermarket to search out some Gluten/egg free products to ensure that his customer was catered for. He did also inform me that getting the Gluten/egg free was not an easy task.

Now I don’t know about you but that is what I call customer service.

At this particular venue, we were also having our lunch and main evening meal, lunch was a set menu but had very definitely been catered for all types of food requirements. The evening meal was ordered from a menu and I found that when I informed the waitress of my situation she would speak to the Chef and they then cooked my meal to my requirements. Great service.

Breakfast can be quite easy, ask for bacon, tomato and Gluten free toast. If they don’t have bread no problem, just do without. Years ago I would always have a couple of slices of bread in my luggage or bag. This does not seem to be quite as necessary now as most places tend to have some Gluten Free bread in their freezer. My challenge here is that some bread has egg in so I always ask to see the wrapper or again “If in doubt I leave it out”

Related Post - My IBS diet: cutting down on gluten

Lunch can be fairly easy too, salad, sushi or whatever you fancy you can also get a nice toasted sandwich if there is Gluten free bread available. Dinner can be a wee bit tricky, watch the sauces and gravies. I have found that it is better to inform the waiting staff of the challenges, some of them don’t have a clue, but when they go and speak to the chef, they are usually up with the play, if not don’t eat there.

Related Blog Post: Starting Out. Eliminating Wheat, Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I have over the years eaten out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At first I was a bit hesitant about what to eat, but everything I had ever read about IBS and allergies made the point that you must always inform the staff of what you are allergic to as any good Chef will be able to ensure that your food is free of the items you cannot have.

Living with allergies can be a bit of a challenge, but it does not mean that you cannot live a happy and fulfilling life.

I enjoy my life, I enjoy eating out and I hope you do too.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

JohnQuincyAdams 1767-1848, Sixth President of the United States

www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2020/02/16/gluten-free-food-becomes-popular-stores-and-restaurants/

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