When You Realize What You Are Missing

When I went gluten free I stopped eating in restaurants entirely. It has been nearly 3 years now. Originally I stopped dining out because I did not know what restaurants offered gluten free options. By the time I had done the research to find out I had realized how sensitive I am to any sort of contamination.

I am sensitive enough that if I get even the tiniest crumb of something on a plate I will have a reaction. I pretty much immediately get a headache that starts on my forehead right in between my eyes. This lasts for 20-30  minutes then turns into a full migraine with nausea and light and sound sensitivity. This lasts anywhere from one hour to four hours depending on how soon I catch it. Within the next day or so I start having digestive issues. For the next two weeks I suffer from severe brain fog and anxiety. This sort of reaction is not something I am willing to risk by eating in restaurants. Most of the time I don’t miss the luxury of restaurants but I certainly have my days. Especially recently.

This past weekend my parents left to go back to New York. Before they went we wanted to get together. We decided to go to a restaurant. Originally I was just going to go and sit and talk with them. Definitely not planning on eating.  After a little debating I decided to bring my own food so I could eat while they were. This is something I feel sort of weird about. I am never sure how people at restaurants are going to react to me bringing my own meal. No one at the restaurant said anything about it which was a relief. The only problem I encountered that night was remembering how much I enjoyed the social setting of eating out. I never knew how much I missed it. So now that I remember what I am missing I am trying to decide how to move forward.  I would love to be able to go out to have dinner with friends but I still feel weird about bringing my own food. I know I can’t eat in a restaurant that has any chance of contamination, I have yet to find an entirely gluten free restaurant in Colorado, but I am not sure that I am willing to miss out on things like this anymore.

I would love to hear about your experiences with dining out. Do you do it? If so do you worry about contamination? How has this sort of thing affected your life?

Thanks for reading!

~Chelsea

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4 responses to “When You Realize What You Are Missing

  1. This post made me so sad, I had to comment! Eating out is one of my greatest joys, and I can’t imagine not doing it for three years! I’m not sure what gluten-free restaurants there are in your area, but I’d advise you to start with places that are dedicated to gf meals only. You can make such great discoveries when you start eating out, and share the adventure with your friends/family. Good luck!

  2. The challenge is that most restaurants that do offer GF on their menu are making the products in a cross contaminated kitchen. Bartallota’s restaurants have made implications that they are attempting to create dual kitchens to avoid such issues. However; this is very costly. I worked in a restaurant for nearly 3 years where we catered to GF diets and had no issues with clients becoming sick (nor did I ever become sick from the food there). I find your story very interesting and would love to hear more. Despite the awful repercussions if you ingest gluten… are you willing to go out and try restaurants? Communication with the chef is key. Check out my blog where I am attempting to focus on the GF experience and making the journey. http://wp.me/UuDC

  3. Hey! Great News – A bunch of chain restaurants offer gluten free options. I have a pretty sensitive allergy too, but I’ve done okay at these places as long as I made that clear. Some of them include Applebee’s, Carrabba’s, Charlie Brown’s, Arirang, Chili’s – If you look online at their websites, they usually have an entirely separate menu just for gluten free needs. Although, I reccommend taking GlutenFreeGimmeThree’s advice and start somewhere that is strictly dedicated to GF meals. There are over 50 of those in the country 🙂 Good luck!

  4. If you are ever in Manitou Springs, CO, check out
    http://coquettesbistroandbakery.com. Entirely gluten free!

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