Gluten Free Dining!

Dining Tips!

So How Do I Eat Out?  Very Carefully!  You might want to pull back eating out if you are newly diagnosed.  You need to get your health and diet under control and start healing.  There are safe ways to eat out but this should not be your top priority.  If you have to eat out because you travel for work then do it safely and never compromise! You can always leave a restaurant and go somewhere else.  You can also pack some light weight snacks and microwave food items so you will not starve.  

A Dietitian may be able to help you with this too - Speak to  your medical professional for a referral for a dietitian.

The Restaurant Card...

When you dine out, always use a restaurant card especially if the restaurant does not have a gluten-free menu.  A restaurant card let's the manager, chef and staff know what your condition is and explains the care needed.  You can find different versions of restaurant cards by viewing the links below.  Immediately following is my card.  I have been using this card for years and I have only had a few mistakes!  

Simply copy and paste to a word document (can get 4 to a page - in a table format) print - copy - fold - they fit nicely in your wallet.  When at the restaurant identify items on the menu that are easily prepared gluten-free (e.g., grilled, baked).  Write your order on the back of the card and then give it to the manager, chef and/or waitress.  Be very specific with the details on your order (e.g., grilled steak with only salt & pepper). Giving them this in writing lets them read and re-read as needed.

Here is a printable PDF version as well

Dear Chef,

I have Celiac Disease (or Gluten Intolerance/Allergy), which means I am 
severely affected by gluten (it actually destroys my intestine - or gives 
me severe symptoms).  Thank you for preparing a meal I can safely eat. 
 I really appreciate your efforts!!  I cannot digest the gluten in wheat, 
rye, barley or oats.  Even a crumb or speck of flour made from those 
grains will make me ill.  Please be careful not to make my food in pans  
that have flour or crumbs on them from other food preparation.  Please 
do not use oil previously used for frying breaded foods.

The list of items containing gluten is incredibly large; to give you just an 
idea here are some: bread, breadcrumbs, flours, wheat, semolina, soy 
sauce, rye, barley, barley malt, orzo, oats, starch, mayonnaise, yogurt, 
modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein, cakes, 
cookies, buns or rolls, and all sauces, dressings, etc.  Gluten is almost 
in everything we eat and it comes under different labels and ingredient 

Please do not put croutons on or near my salad or breadcrumbs or 
toast on my food.  Please do not put cookies in or near my dessert.  I 
also cannot have many marinated foods or foods covered in sauces and 
gravies unless we discuss the ingredients.

Safest: just bake, grill or broil and use salt, pepper, lemon and/or 
balsamic or red wine vinegar.

Thank you so much for your help! 
You can also find dining cards at the following sites

Gluten-Free Passport Restaurant Travel Cards 

Untitled The following tips will give you things to think about and follow whether dining in a none gluten-free home or at a social/business event.  Start by contacting the host/facilitator and explaining your medical condition and/or dietary restriction.  Then, find out what the menu is and whether it will be easily adaptable to a gluten-free preparation.  

  • Meats/Poultry/Fish: plain - grilled or pan sauteed with safe ingredients
  • Salads: plain - no croutons and bring your own dressing or ask for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Vegetables: no sauces, just olive oil or real butter.
  • Dessert: fresh fruit is the safest (note: even ice cream can have gluten)!
  • Remember, you are currently in the minority albeit this is changing!  
  • Hosts or Event Coordinators usually do not mind if you bring your own food, if the above arrangements cannot be made. Bring something that can be cooked in the microwave.  
  • Carry contingencies - crackers, snack bars or other mixes (carry in a purse or portfolio binder for unexpected delays or when you forget to plan ahead).
  • Only accept and eat items you know are safe!  
  • Always eat something ahead (or have contingencies) - mistakes will happen even with the best of intentions.  In addition, your stomach is full (or partially), seeing and smelling all the good uneatable foods will not bother you as much!
  • Make it simple and easy for the Host or Event Coordinator!  This no longer about eating for pleasure but eating to live!
  • Provide the restaurant card, if dining at a restaurant.  Follow the above guidelines and talk with the manager.
  • Never be intimidated or afraid to walk away from food!  If in doubt, just say NO! Walk away! Be tough!  You may or may not be understood but this is about life and living it in a healthy and safe way so that you my enjoy a long and normal life...

Be pleasant, apologetic and grateful!  

purse or portfolio binder for unexpected delays or when you forget to 
plan ahead).
purse or portfolio binder for unexpected delays or when you forget to 
plan ahead).
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