RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EATING GLUTEN FREE OUT OF HOME
1. 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 should inform the waiter, otherwise you will run the risk of being considered non-coeliac.
2. Be careful if you go to a non-certified gluten-free restaurant by a Celiac Association… they may not have received training on how to cook gluten-free dishes safely. Although there is a regulation on product labelling (CE) 41/2009, this is not enough. Why? Because this regulation does not take cross-contamination into account. To give an example: a potato is naturally gluten-free until it is fried in oil where they have made croquettes with gluten… then it will be contaminated with gluten. This does not mean at all that you should only go to certified restaurants. You just have to be careful.
3. Keep in mind that sometimes waiters don’t know or think about all the ingredients in the dishes they serve: salads can have toasted bread; sauces can be thickened with wheat flour instead of corn starch; French fries can be fried in a multi-purpose deep fryer; beware of homemade desserts; and so on.
4. When you go to eat gluten-free out of home, don’t reduce your diet to grilled meat or chicken and salad… you can eat a large number of gluten-free dishes, as long as the cook is willing to prepare them separately and can make sure that there is no danger of cross-contamination. In our blog you will find a lot of real examples.
5. If the waiter doesn’t understand you well, ask him to show this gluten-free card to the cook: here you will find gluten-free celiac travel cards in several languages.
6. If you are the first coeliac to eat there, don’t panic, talk to them and explain how to do it before you go somewhere else.
MOST IMPORTANT: if you have doubts or don’t feel completely comfortable after talking to the waiter and/or the cook, don’t be embarrassed to get up and go to another restaurant… after all, it’s about your health and the last thing you want is to feel bad when you’re away from home.