Lazy Gluten Free: Why I Don't Eat Out (Much) Anymore

Why I Don't Eat Out (Much) Anymore


Prior to my diagnosis with celiac, I was a restaurant and junk food fiend. My favorite food was fried and I would never say no to a dessert or other carb (and gluten) laden treat. So you can imagine my devastation when I found out that basically all of my favorite foods were off limits after finding out I could no longer eat gluten. 

Despite feeling like I was given a death sentence by having to go gluten free, I was completely fed up with being in pain all the time and constantly feeling exhausted and bloated. Solely because I wanted to feel better, I dove right into a GF diet. And to my amazement, I felt so much better even within the first week. I vowed that I would never eat gluten again - besides the fact that it was slowly killing me. 

After being on the GF diet for a couple months though, I really started to miss eating out. It wasn't just the delicious foods served at restaurants I missed, it was the whole fun and excitement of it. I started looking up restaurants who could accommodate a GF diet and began checking them out. I had a few mishaps with getting glutened, but being not so far from going GF, I suffered the pain and moved on. I had no hesitation to try other restaurants. 

I went a good long while without getting glutened and It wasn't until 2013 when I ate at a GIG Certified restaurant and ended up ingesting gluten that I realized the true affects of celiac on a healed body. I was absolutely miserable - like spend the entire night throwing up miserable. I decided that night that I never wanted to eat out again. 

As you can probably guess, not eating out at all is easier said than done, but there's only a handful of restaurants I trust now. Also, I am not willing to try a new restaurant unless they actually have a physical "gluten-free menu" and the staff seems knowledgeable. Is it more difficult to avoid eating out? yes. But I no longer have that anxiety of waiting an hour or so after I eat at a restaurant to see if I am going to get sick or not. 

I've learned the hard way that even though so many restaurants mean well by offering a GF menu or GF options, they just don't understand the implications of celiac disease enough to accommodate the diet's strict requirements. Nor do they truly understand cross-contamination and the risks of cooking GF food next to non-GF food. It's just not worth it to me to eat out anymore, but don't get me wrong, I still have fun with my food at home and I don't really miss eating out as much anymore either.

In case you were wondering, these are the restaurants I trust: Bagger Dave's, PF Chang's, Outback Steakhouse and a few restaurants/bakeries in my area that adhere to a strict policy about preparing their GF food.