Restaurants claiming GF on their menu’s can be very deceiving, just because they say gluten free, doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Staff members may not fully appreciate the complexity of Celiac Disease when it comes to cross contamination or understanding ingredients, even after you explain it to them.
Some tips for eating out:
- Call ahead to restaurant and talk to the manager or chef
- Test them on their gluten free knowledge
- Ask how they handle cross contamination in the kitchen with ovens, pans, utensils
- Don’t ever assume something is GF because in your mind it ‘normally’ is
- Don’t ever be embarrassed for being who you are and asking for what you need
- Check on Yelp or Google for reviews on eateries with GF items
- Be aware that fried foods are usually cooked in the same oil, the temperature does not cook the gluten out of the food
- Be aware of your cocktails, bloody mary mix a lot of the time has wheat or barley or malt as an ingredient
- Pizza places usually use the same pans and share oven space or prepare in a cross contaminated wheat area
Always, always ask questions, if you do not get an answer you feel comfortable with than do not eat it. Especially in the beginning when you are learning about gluten free, what that is and what foods you can eat; this is when it is the most dangerous. If you are still learning about your disease and the requirements, don’t assume that the people preparing and serving your food who are not gluten free, know anything either.
Make sure to do your homework beforehand so the whole day or evening is not ruined by getting accidentally glutened. This is frustrating, annoying and a downright pain in the arse. But and this is a big but, at least with this autoimmune disease called Celiac we have a pseudo cure, all the other autoimmune’s are still waiting.
Keep fighting the good fight.