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!