Tips for Eating out on a Gluten Free diet

Whether you eat a gluten free diet because you suffer from Celiac disease or are just one of the millions of Americans who suffer the side effects of being intolerant to wheat, eating out can be a minefield.

Gluten free dieters have even more of a difficult job than low carb dieters when it comes to dining out, because wheat is used in so many food products, to thicken, flavor and stabilize food.  Celiacs also have the added issue of cross contamination to contend with so have to be extra careful when it comes to dining out.

Thankfully the catering world is fast becoming more aware of Celiacs and is starting to label their menus and products a lot better and train their staff to be aware of the needs of Celiacs, but it’s not always easy to spot foods that may contain gluten.

Do Your Homework

Make sure that you’re aware of the types of food products and meals which may contain gluten.  Also be aware of foods that could have been cross-contaminated with gluten – ie fries that have been cooked in the same oil as breaded products.  Most sauces unless labelled as ‘gluten free’ will probably have been thickened using some wheat product so it’s usually wise to give these a wide berth.

Stick with foods you know won’t contain gluten – un-breaded meat and fish, potatoes, vegetables, rice and salad without dressing or croutons are usually safe bets. If in doubt ask your server to check with the chef.

Ask Around

Local Celiac groups and internet forums will be a great place to find celiac-friendly restaurants. Don’t forget to spread the word yourself when you come across an eatery that caters for your needs.

Reseach Your Restaurant

Ring a restaurant up in advance to ensure that they can cater for your needs, or ask them to email you a copy of their menu so you make sure you can order something you know will be gluten free.

If you’re planning on going to an Italian restaurant – why not ring and ask if they’ll prepare some gluten free pasta for you, or take your own for them to cook along with one of their fresh sauces.

Know Which Questions to Ask

If you are in any doubt as to whether a menu item may contain gluten you’ll need to get your server to check with the chef.  Here’s a list of questions to ask that will ensure that you don’t accidentally consume any gluten.

Does the Salad come with croutons?  Can they be left off?

What is in the Salad Dressing?

Is the soup home-made or canned – if canned, ask to see a can so you can read the label

Has the fish or meat been marinated – if so, what in?

Has anything been dusted with flour?

Are the French Fries cooked in the same oil as breaded products?

Do you use imitation crabmeat or seafood?

Does the ice cream come with a wafer or cookie?

Are the mash potatoes made from scratch or from a mix?

Can this meal be served without the sauce?

Accept That You May Have to eat a Fairly Bland Meal

Sometime the best option will be to get the chef to prepare a piece of plain meat or fish with some side vegetables and potatoes.  It won’t necessarily be the greatest culinary experience you’ll have, but it will ensure that you have a good night out with your friends or family and not have to worry about getting ill.


The Lowdown on Celiac Disease and Gluten Free Diets

Take a stroll through your local supermarket, and you’ll notice a ton of new gluten free foods. Find out what a gluten free diet is all about, and whether eating gluten free might be a good dietary decision for you and your family.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a type of protein that is commonly found in most types of grain, in particular wheat, rye and barley.  Because gluten is found in most cereal grains then foods such as breads, cakes, breakfast cereals and many types of processed food where gluten is as a thickener need to be avoided by those who are sensitive to gluten.  Gluten can also pop up in other unexpected places such as medicines, cosmetics, lip-balm, and vitamin tablets where it’s used as a binding or bulking agent.

Why go Gluten-free?

Sufferers of the digestive disorder Celiac disease need to undertake a gluten free diet as gluten can cause severe damage to the small intestine.  This damage prevents the body from absorbing the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed from food, without these nutrients the body becomes prone to illness and fatigue.

Symptoms of Celiac disease include diarrhea, abdominal pains, weight loss, general weakness and even malnutrition. Those with Celiac disease are also more likely to suffer malabsorption problems with internal organs such as the liver and gall bladder, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, anemia, tooth enamel loss and internal bleeding. Untreated Celiac disease can be life threatening.

Who is Affected by Celiac Disease?

It’s thought that almost 1 in 133 Americans suffer from Celiac disease, although 97% of sufferers are unaware they have the disease.  Celiac is a hereditary disease that usually presents itself in early infancy.  However more and more adults are being diagnosed with Celiac disease, in particular people between the ages of 30 and 45.

It is prudent to get yourself checked out by your doctor if you think you have a wheat intolerance, as many people have been found to have undetected Celiac disease this way. A simple blood test can detect whether a patient is likely to have Celiac disease with a follow up biopsy of the small intestine taken. Celiac Disease affects both men and women equally and you are more likely to have it if a close member of your family is affected by it.

Studies show that those of Northern European descent are more likely to have Celiac disease, along with those from parts of India, Pakistan, North Africa and the Middle East.

How to Treat Celiac Disease

As yet there is no known cure for Celiac disease. The only way to manage it is to eat a gluten free diet.

Other Reasons to be Gluten Free

Many people now believe that gluten free diets for children can be beneficial for those on the Autism spectrum. While no clinical trials have taken place to confirm or deny this there is a definite growing trend for a gluten free diet to treat a number of ailments. From Parkinson’s disease to diabetes, multiple sclerosis to arthritis, research is showing that an improved digestive system leads to better overall health and sufferers of these, and many other diseases, are showing less symptoms and faster recovery times.

Gluten-free for Weight Loss

A gluten free diet will be low in net carbs and low GI.  It will also, by default, be high in protein which in turn makes it a very good diet plan for losing weight, providing that you’re not trading in your gluten for high sugar content food instead.

Gluten-free Alternatives

Thankfully there are lots of gluten free alternatives on the market, including chips, bagels, cookies, brownies, breads, cereals and pizza crusts.  We at Linda’s Diet Delights are online leaders in the Gluten-free market and stock a large range of gluten-free foods.

Thanks for reading our article! Did you know that there are many great-tasting gluten free food products on the market today that can make sticking to your gluten free diet a breeze? Linda’s Diet Delites is a leading online supplier of low carb food products, offering a wide selection at affordable prices. Take a look!

Michael Nace is a low carb blogger for Linda’s Diet Delites. He is not a Doctor, and his article does not represent the view and opinions of Linda’s Diet Delites, nor are his articles meant to be construed as medical advice.