Monday, March 16, 2009
Eating out at restaurants or other people's homes can be a big challenge if you are eating gluten free. It is truly amazing how many items contain gluten. Outback Steakhouse, for example, has wheat in the seasoning on it's vegetables. Many places coat their fries in wheat flour before frying them. Most soups, salad dressing and many sauces contain wheat. And then there are the obvious sources--bread and pasta and cakes. If you can go on the restaurant's website before going there, you may find an ingredient list for its menu. Some have a special gluten free menu, online or in the restaurant. Usually it just gives you advice about what to avoid. Every now and then you find a restaurant that serves gluten free pasta and other items that replace the traditional items. When you get to the restaurant, ask the server about gluten. In some places, the staff is well trained about gluten free foods. In some places they will need to ask the chef. Other places have food lists that say what is in the food. I urge you to ask not only for your health, but because the more we ask, the more aware restaurants are of our needs. Maybe they will start carrying GF foods. When I go to friend's houses, I usually ask what they are preparing and then bring foods that work for me if necessary (like GF pasta if they are serving spaghetti). Or, I eat at home and just eat the items served that are GF. I generally take GF crackers or pretzels with me so that I can sample the dips and things they serve and still be safe. My very kind friends are aware of my needs and usually go out of their way to be sure I have safe foods. I try not to make a big thing of it though because it isn't a big thing. After all, it is only food!