Tips for eating out gluten-free

A lot of my clients come to me well aware that they need to cut gluten out of their diets. For some it is because they know their body reacts badly to it – they can feel it with bloating and cramps (read gluten intolerance symptoms HERE). Some may have been given a diagnosis of Celiac’s disease (an autoimmune where gluten triggers the body to attack the gut), other autoimmune diseases, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or have irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowl disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s.

Going Gluten Free isn’t a cure-all and it isn’t going to help everyone, but for many people in the above groups, it is definitely worth a try to see if symptoms diminish.

However, the number 1 reason people tell me that they can’t go gluten free is because of eating out. Many of my clients are “90%” gluten free – but that doesn’t work (read HERE for reasons why).

I am gluten-free because gluten causes my thyroid disease to flare-up. My husband and son are also gluten free, and therefore, by default, so is my daughter. I’m also dairy, egg and soy-free (as these also caused adverse reactions, common for those with Hashimoto’s).

So, eating out can turn into a whole lot of aggravation and not a lot of pleasure. This is particularly the case with gluten-free kids. They want to have a good time and I don’t want to deprive them, but most kids menus have ZERO vegetables, or if they do it’s a token portion of grey peas with fish and chips. Everything on a kids menu comes with chips (which OK are technically gluten free…), and/or in batter or in a bun. I have to admit, this does annoy me – what example are we setting our kids about healthy eating? Anyway, that’s not what this post is about…

I have noticed recently that more restaurants are onboard with gluten free eating. I think this is probably because of a change in legislation surrounding food allergies.

My biggest gripes about eating out with intolerances/allergies are:

  1. The lack on information on menus – if the chicken comes with a cream sauce, write it on the menu!  If the kids sorbet comes on a bed of biscuit crumbs (even when you have told the staff he is gluten-free), write it on the menu!
  2. Being handed a ring-binder folder of spreadsheets documenting all possible allergens that may be in the kitchen, which doesn’t correspond to the meals on the menu, is not helpful. I didn’t come out to study.

Think you should be Gluten Free?  Check out my online Go Gluten Free coaching package. Provides you with the information and tools to go gluten free and determine if you have a problem with it.  CLICK HERE for more info. 

It’s true, while others are getting drinks and catching-up with old friends, I am usually scanning the various menus and spreadsheets for something to feed my family.  Do I get irritated every now and then when something turns up coated in breadcrumbs or slathered in butter, when I have spent half of my evening discussing gluten-containing ingredients with staff? Well yes. And for that I am sorry.

But, is being gluten free worth this hassle?  YES, absolutely.

So, my Top Tips for eating out Gluten-Free:

  1. Announce your intolerances when you book the table or at least upon arrival.  I still don’t enjoy doing this. Sometimes I just want to be “normal” and to not have the wait staff surreptitiously pointing at me and talking.  BUT, it can save you a lot of hassle at the restaurant. Some places like you to choose your meal ahead of time. This slightly takes the spontaneity out of the event, but could save you from being ill – it’s a trade off (as ever).
  2. Be prepared to be flexible. There may be one dish on the menu that they can adapt for you. It probably won’t be your first or even second choice, but try to go with it.
  3. Be aware of menu misinformation. Thinking I can get away with not announcing my intolerances has got me into gluten-trouble many times. I have fallen into the trap of ordering what reads on the menu as a simple chicken and vegetables or nut roast with seasonal veg.  This usually comes with some hidden allergen, like breadcrumbs in the nut roast or vegetables cooked in butter – see point 1, it’s best to announce your intolerances.
  4. Know your allergens/gluten-containing foods. Even though wait staff and chefs are now supposed to be trained in this, do not rely on them. On many an occasion I have been offered a “gluten-free” meal, which contains barely or rye or even breadcrumbs! Sausages, unless specifically stated, will contain gluten.  Crisps/chips with flavouring usually contain gluten. Most sauces and gravies also contain gluten, though some are thickened with cornflour. If you are in any doubt then avoid it.
  5. You can usually get an extra side of vegetables – ask!  I have noticed that once over the shock and fear of having to deal with someone with an intolerance/allergy, restaurant staff are keen to make a good impression (especially if they have handed you a folder and asked you to piece together your own meal). I often ask if I can swap things, such as a a side of garlic bread for an extra portion of vegetables. This is also often the case if they have to take something gluten-containing out of the main meal.
  6. As a last resort, if you are very worried that there won’t be anything you can have, then eat a small meal before you go out. Then order a starter or salad.

It can be hard, and challenging and frustrating, but sticking to your gluten-free diet when eating out is really important for your health. If in doubt, don’t have it.

Need some help with your Gluten Free diet?  Email me caroline@flourishwellness.co.uk or CLICK HERE for my Go Gluten Free package

Pre-launch offer “Go Gluten Free” online package – don’t miss out!

Do you think you may have a problem with gluten?  Yes, going gluten free has become a bit of a fad and many of us are sick of hearing about it.  But, if you have digestive issues, a thyroid disorder or any autoimmune disease, the evidence for going gluten-free is stacking up.  Go gluten free safely and healthily and reduce your symptoms – it’s NOT about swapping to the Free-from food section.

Read my Gluten posts HERE

It’s suggested that everyone with an autoimmune disease can benefit from going gluten-free. This is because gluten causes the release of a substance called Zonulin in our digestive system. Zonulin is responsible for the tight junctions between the cells of our gut lining. Tight junctions control the substances that pass through the gut lining and into the blood stream. When zonulin is high, the tight junctions are loose, meaning that large molecules and microbes can pass through into our blood and be detected by our immune system.

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“Leaky gut”, and therefore gluten, is arguably the root cause of autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (hypothyroidism), Grave’s disease, Celiac’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In fact, for thyroid conditions gluten causes the immune system to attack the thyroid tissue through a processed called molecular mimicry – your immune cells mistake your thyroid cells for gluten and destroy them.

In my Go Gluten Free package, I provide you with the information and tools to safely and easily go gluten free in a healthy and sustainable way.

Click here to get the Go Gluten Free package for the EARLY BIRD Price.

Here are just some things you have the potential to gain:bread-399286_1920

  • Better digestion
  • Better concentration
  • Better weight management
  • Fewer joint aches and pains
  • More energy
  • More stable blood sugar levels
  • Better mood
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease 

If you struggle with gluten, by completing this 4-week coaching package you’ll be healthier, have more energy and may have reduced your risk for chronic illness!

Just a few days to get the Go Gluten Free package for the early bird price.

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Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Everyone’s talking about gluten at the moment, so much so that if you mention you may have a problem with gluten you are normal met with rolling eyes or a comment like “you and everyone else…”

For those of us who genuinely react badly to gluten, this can be really tiresome and hurtful. Gluten is the root cause of many horrible symptoms in a lot of people and can cause and exasperate disease. I for one do not want to be unwell again (read my health stories here and here) and I know that eating gluten will set my health a long way back.

For those of you who brush gluten-free diets off as a fad, have a close look at the list of symptoms of gluten intolerance below and consider whether you’d like to suffer with them daily.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance:

Bloating
Abdominal pain/cramping
Diarrhea and/or constipation
Anemia
Arthritis
ADHD
Back pain
Stomach rumbling
Brittle nails
Mouth ulcers
Depression/anxiety
Dry hair
Fatigue
Flatulence
Unusually smelly stools
Hair loss
Infertility
Joint pain
Lactose/milk protein intolerance
Nausea
Numbness/tingling in hands and feet
Weight loss/poor weight management
Urticaria
Gum problems

Look out for my next post “The Truth about Gluten” – I’ll give you a run down of what gluten is and what happens when you have an intolerance to it.

Do you know you have an intolerance but are struggling to get gluten out of your C_14life?  Don’t worry! I’m launching my Go gluten-free online coaching package on June 24th 2016!  This package provides you with information, tools and strategies to go gluten-free safely and easily and to make it stick – for just £40 (US$58) and in just 4-weeks!

Not sure if you have a gluten intolerance? This package is perfect – I will guide you through the process of determining whether gluten is the cause of your discomfort.

Just think, in a few weeks you could shake all those symptoms you recognised above and finally feel better.

Get in touch now to reserve your package and receive the

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Be well!

Caroline x

Dr Caroline Puschendorf

caroline@flourishwellness.co.uk

P.S. Don’t forget that I offer FREE Discovery Sessions so if you have a health concern that you want to address, get in touch and let’s see how we can work together to achieve your health goals!

P.P.S. Concerned about your diet? Have a read of my post about Sugar HERE and Fat HERE