THE MORE OUT WE GO, THE MORE KNOWN CELIAC DISEASE WILL BE.
Do not allow gluten intolerance affect negatively your social life. Just after being diagnosed, to eat out of home seems to be a really dangerous issue… but it is not… beyond of that, we (celiac people), are our own barrier to go out, and we must keep doing it, so foodservice companies realize the importance of offering safe gluten free services. Besides, we usually are very loyal customers, so it is a win-win for both parties.
Once you are diagnosed, your friends will ask you to choose where to go for dinner. You will probably have to be in charge of the booking, and that is a good opportunity to inform the restaurant about your eating disorders.
Nowadays, Celiac Associations offer a training service to restaurants, caterers, hotels… in order to make our life easier. Our contribution to their work is to go out.
Something you should always do is TO ASK!!
Most of foodservice companies are not used to deal with gluten intolerance, so it is possible that they do not pay enough attention. Unfortunately, you will have to do it for them.
- Even if you go to a certified gluten free restaurant, always inform the waiter about your celiac condition. There are not many restaurants that are 100% gluten free, so you must tell the waiter, if not you run the risk to be considered as non-celiac.
- Take care if you go to a restaurant that is not certified by a Celiac Association… they may have not received training about how to cook safe gluten free dishes. Though there is a regulation about products composition labeling (CE) 41/2009, this is not enough. Why? Because this regulation does not take into account cross contamination. To give an example: a potato is naturally gluten free until they fry it where they fried breadcrumbs… then it will be contaminated with gluten. This does not mean at all that you should only go to certified restaurants. You should be careful also with certificate restaurants.
- Be aware that sometimes, waiters do not know or don’t think of all the ingredients of the dishes they serve: salads may have bread crumbs; sauces may be thickened with wheat flour instead of cornstarch; fries may be fried in a multi-use fryer; take care with homemade desserts; etc.
- Do not reduce your out of home diet to grilled steak or chicken and salad… you will be able to eat a lot of other dishes, as far as the cook is open to prepare them and can make sure they can prepare it without cross contamination danger.
- If the waiter does not understand you well, ask him to show this celiac card to the cook. Click here to get the celiac card in the language of your destination with an explanation of the celiac disease in many languages.
- If you are the first person with celiac disease to eat there, do not panic, talk to them and explain them before choosing another place.
If you have any doubt, or you do not feel comfortable with the answers or the attitude of the waiter, do not feel embarrassed of standing up and going to another restaurant… at the end, it is about your health and to make sure you will not have any problem while being out of home.
- Contact the Celiac Association of your country/region. There are some restaurants that received training from the associations, so they are well informed about everything related to celiac disease and how to cook gluten free.
- Use Google and other blogs to find restaurants and opinions.
- Look for gluten free apps. Here, a list with the most interesting gluten free apps. By writting “Gluten Free” in App Store or Play Store you will find all of them.
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