3 Tips On Avoiding Gluten When Eating Out… My Scary Story!

I’d like to give you some tips on eating out on a gluten-free diet. Last night I had a very bad experience, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned. When I go to out to eat, I make it pretty clear (so I thought!) that I have food allergies, and that I have to make some adjustments to the menu item. I’ve eaten out a million times, and maybe I take it for granted how blessed I’ve been to have places accommodate my needs.

There is a new restaurant in town (that I won’t name because I actually love them <3), the delightful new addition to the menu: “Gluten-Free, Dairy-free Pizza”! Not just any dairy free, but with Daiya Cheese, the best you can find, soy free, vegan cheese:) Last night was my first chance to dig in since they’ve added the GF crust to the menu. I had a waiter who was fairly new to the establishment, and it was apparent that perhaps English wasn’t his first language. Naturally, I made sure I repeated my detailed order, and had him repeat it back to me. Sounded good. I was ready to eat, drink and be merry.

The pizza came out smelling amazing, it looked like a beautiful, delicate yet fluffy pie, with bubbled edges, yet not too crisp. Pieces of Italian heaven flew into my mouth. Topped with smoked salmon, caramelized onions, and capers oh my. Long story short, skipping my chewing and swallowing details, others at my table noticed that perhaps the pizza looked *too* good, and questioned the management about my pizza being gluten-free. I was too excited to actually eat a pizza out, that I didn’t bother to analyze. All I remember next, is my heart dropping into my stomach as the manager informed me that just devoured slices of gluten-loaded poison pizza and there was nothing I could do about it. I did my absolute best to keep composure. I nicely informed the restaurant and staff as they approached me one by one on how important it is take a Gluten-free order seriously. Gluten-free is offered on menus because it is a serious food allergy. It’s not because it’s fun, or trendy, but because people now have the advanced testing to finally figure out what the heck has been wrong with them, and they don’t want to reverse their progress of healing when eating out! Had I been a severe reactor and celiac sufferer, I would have had to be hospitalized at that moment. Thankfully, I’m not. It’s been 3 years since I’ve had any gluten, and I had no idea how my body would react.

I learned a few things that I think are imperative to people who eat out regularly, and live a gluten-free lifestyle. I think because I live my everyday life in such awareness of this allergy and sensitivity, last night’s experience was a reminder from above that the rest of the world DOES NOT live like me! The universe was cluing me in on helping some of you. *Please note: if you are a very sensitive celiac sufferer, then I do not recommend eating out at all. The probability of cross contamination is very high and not worth the risk. For rest us Gluten Sensitives… things to remember when you go to eat:

1. Call ahead to the restaurant to see if they will service your allergy needs. Some restaurants do not allow menu item changes, or have a chef and/or policy that will not allow you to special order. Honestly, most places will let you, and if they don’t, you probably didn’t want to eat there anyway.

2. Make it clear with your server that you are ordering Gluten-Free because you have a severe allergy to it. Sounds like common sense, but some people JUST DON’T GET IT. Servers are stressed, rushed, and at times all they care about is getting the order in, food on table, and seating the next victim. You have to create somewhat of fear factor that will stick with them. So when it goes into computer, it will be communicated with the kitchen correctly and show your important modifications with special attention.

3. Ask again! When it get’s to the table, just politely confirm it is the gluten free item you ordered:) I realized you can never be too careful.

Consider carrying an Allergy Card (English Version Click Here)
If you are traveling where there is a language barrier- click here to download a free allergy card the language you need:
Allergy Card- multiple languages.

The story ended well, I’m okay despite some GI upset (I’ll spare you the details), and the management was very apologetic, paid for our dinner (and wine, and dessert) as they should have… No one is looking out for you but you! Don’t be embarrassed or under state the significance of what you need. A gluten-free diet can be tricky when eating out, but with these tips, you’ll be sure to have an amazing meal, without the added stress (or gluten). Speak up. People care; they just have to
understand before they can care.

Do you have any tips for eating out? How about some Gluten-free Friendly Restaurants you love? I’d love for you to comment and share below!


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