Gluten-Free Tips for Eating Out (Guest Post)

Gluten-Free Tips for Eating Out

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or have a gluten allergy, you need to avoid foods that contain gluten, and possibly wheat and related grains, even if you’re going out to eat. When you’re going gluten-free, it can be difficult to find restaurants to accommodate your needs. Here are some tips on how to eat out while keeping a gluten-free diet.


Check The Web

Most restaurants have a website and an online presence at this point, so many of those restaurants have their menus listed online. Even folks without dietary restrictions might check out online menus with a purpose of scouting their dinner ahead of time.

If you know where you’ll be dining, visit the website and see if they have a menu available. Some restaurants may even have a gluten-free menu posted. Restaurants frequently post nutrition facts or a list of menu ingredients as well. You could go as far as contacting the restaurant via email, social media or telephone to see if they have gluten-free options.


Ask Questions

After you’re seated, do not be afraid to launch a few inquiries in the direction of your server. You may want to ask whether the French fries are fried in the same oil as the breaded items, or if the grilled chicken, pork or fish is dusted in flour or batter. Many meals may include soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, so be sure to check if there is wheat in the broth, au jus or sauce. Ask about breading in the menu items you are considering, and be sure to ask which salad dressings contain gluten.

You know your diet and what works best for you, so it may be best to speak directly to the chef or restaurant manager. Even after you’ve received your meal, you should still take steps to ensure that it is free of gluten. Often, a member of the kitchen staff will deliver the gluten-free dishes personally, as a reassurance.

Make Requests

Don’t be afraid to make requests. Ask for a salad without croutons, or ask for gluten-free pasta that was not cooked in water or drained in a strainer that previously held gluten pasta. You can also request that your meat is grilled where bread and buns have not been toasted, and that the cooking utensils used to prepare your dish were not used to prepare any food that contains gluten to make absolutely sure that you don’t get “glutened.”

Ask to see the chef or manager if your server doesn’t seem to be knowledgeable.


Bring an Allergen Card

Fill out an “allergen card” — a card you can give to the chef or restaurant manager of the establishment that will let them know you have special requirements. Lisa Cooks Allergen Free, among other possible resources, has an allergen card available that you can print, fill out and present to your server the next time you dine out. It includes items to leave off your dish, citing your allergy or celiac disease, as well as tips for preparation that could avoid trouble.


Bring Your Own Sauces, Breads and Crackers

As long as you call ahead and inform the restaurant of your dietary needs, they should have no problem with you bringing your own sauces, breads or crackers. This way, you have something to snack on while everyone else is eating the bread or rolls provided by the restaurant.

When you’re dining out but need to stay gluten-free, just remember: don’t be afraid. Do your homework on the menu, ask as many questions as needed and make whatever requests you see fit. If you call ahead and provide an allergen card, your dining experience should be seamless.


About the author:

Chris Bekermeier is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for PacMoore (, headquartered in Hammond, Indiana. PacMoore is one of the leading certified gluten free food manufacturers focused on processing dry ingredients for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Its capabilities include blending, spray drying, re-packaging, sifting, and consumer packaging.

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FDA Passes Gluten-Free Labeling Rule

FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally set a standard definition of “gluten-free,” and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is here to tell you what it’s all about.

Please explore these resources on the FDA’s gluten-free labeling regulations and what they mean for the gluten-free products you buy.

NFCA Press Release about FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule

Read the announcement, including comments from NFCA President Alice Bast and other leading celiac disease experts.

Gluten-Free Labeling Fact Sheet (Coming Soon!)

Sign up to receive this free resource, featuring key facts about the FDA’s new standard definition of “gluten-free.”

Free Webinar: Understanding the FDA’s Gluten-Free Labeling Rules (Coming Soon!)

Don’t miss our upcoming free webinar on the topic – Sign up now and we’ll send you the date, time and registration link once it’s up!

Gluten-Free Food Labeling FAQs

View FAQs addressing the 2011 comment period for the gluten-free labeling rule.

FDA Resources

This post was written by National Foundation for Celiac Awareness


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Five Good Reasons To Get Tested For Celiac Disease

Five good reasons to get tested for celiac disease
Written by Janelle Holden of BodyMindLove

“So your grandmother had lupus …” my naturopath said.

“Yes,” I nodded. “She found out in her late thirties.”

“And your sensitivities to gluten were high on the food allergy panel … ” she continued.

Again, I nodded.

She closed my file and said. “I think you need to get tested for celiac disease.”

And I did. I am one of the lucky ones. I only went to one doctor and had one simple blood test to confirm the disease.

Celiac_InfographicMost people with celiac will wait an average of 7 to 10 years and go through multiple doctors to find out what is really troubling them.

They may be plagued by digestive disorders or they may have symptoms that seem entirely unrelated to the digestive system. Or, they may have no symptoms at all.

But let me back up a minute, because I’m assuming you even know what celiac disease is. It might be helpful to first explain what it is NOT.

It is not an allergy to gluten.

It is not gluten intolerance.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. And what an autoimmune disorder really means is that the body can’t tell the difference between a foreign invader (like gluten) and its own healthy tissues. And so it creates antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue.

With celiac, the healthy tissue destroyed is in the small intestine. The tiny finger-like villi in the small intestine that help absorb the nutrients in food get flattened when someone with celiac eats wheat, rye, or barley.

And when people don’t get proper nutrition for a length of time … they can develop all sorts of other chronic conditions and disease. Which is why celiac disease manifests in so man different ways. It may be the root cause of skin rashes and dermatitis. It may be the root cause of lupus and other autoimmune disorders. It may be the root cause of headaches and dental abnormalities. It may be the root cause of gas that smells so bad it will clear a room.

Ahem …

So, how do you know if you have celiac disease? You can a.) Get a genetic test to see if you carry the genes for celiac (if you don’t then you don’t have it) b.) Get your blood or stool tested for specific antibodies (have your doctor order a Transglutaminase Assay Panel) c.) Have a biopsy of your small intestine to see if there is damage consistent with celiac disease.

But, before you get tested: Do not stop eating gluten. The blood, stool, and biopsy
tests won’t be as accurate if you do.

Why should you get tested? Here are the top 5 reasons:

1. Celiac disease is much more common than you think. Recent research discovered that 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease. It’s the most common disease that remains undiagnosed in the United States. It’s not a rarity.

2. You have an autoimmune disorder or have a family member with celiac or another autoimmune disorder: Autoimmune conditions tend to run in families. One of the reasons my naturopath ordered testing for me was because my grandmother had lupus. If someone in your family has celiac disease, it’s time to get tested.

3. You are already gluten intolerant. Many people who discovered that they couldn’t handle gluten, dropped eating it before they got tested and now the tests aren’t accurate. Except … for the genetic test. You can find out. And if it’s in your genes, your family members may need to know.

4. You need a better reason to not “cheat” with gluten. I can’t tell you how many people tell me that they can just have a little bit of gluten now and then because they are just gluten-intolerant (not celiac). But how do they know that cheating won’t actually lead to the disease manifesting? It’s entirely possible that they could carry the gene for the disease and need to stop cheating in order to make sure that they keep a healthy digestive system.

5. You’re sick and you don’t know why. Nearly 350 symptoms are related to grain sensitivities. As the infographic from GlutenDude shows, many of the symptoms have nothing to do with digestive problems. It’s a simple blood test to find out. Go get it done!

Janelle Holden is president and founder of BodyMindLove coaching where she helps people with food sensitivities and celiac disease grab control of their diets and their lives. She helps people fall in love with health and wellness so that they can look and feel their best. Her weekly eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your body and your life to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at


See Janelle’s blog at

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Celiac Awareness Month – May 2013

National Foundation For Celiac Awareness has a month-long campaign going in celebration of Celiac Awareness Month 2013.

Please check out their website for valuable information regarding Celiac Disease and how you can help yourself and your family from the effects of Celiac Disease.

Here’s an overview of some of the great things you will find on the Celiac Awareness month’s page:

  • 2013 Celiac Awareness Month Toolkit (free download!)
  • Fuel the Family: Blogger Campaign
  • Gluten-Free Product of the Day
  • Celiac Awareness Month Events (including the upcoming free webinar, “Gluten-Free Menu Planning: Budget-Friendly Tips”)

I hope you all will go and check out this page as it has tons of useful information on it all the time not just during the month of May.

Looking forward to sharing the great information with all of you this month.


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Sex and the Celiac: Dating Tips for the Gluten-Free

Sex and the Celiac: Dating Tips for the Gluten-Free

When you have celiac disease or another gluten-related disorder, dating can be fairly tricky. With so much focus on restaurant outings, movie theater snacks and the post-date kiss, people with a gluten- related disorder have a lot more to think about than just finding the perfect outfit.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) shares these 5 tips for navigating the dating scene while staying gluten-free.

Pick the restaurant yourself. Suggest a few restaurants that you trust will serve safe gluten-free food. Do some research to find a few different options so your date can have a choice, too. If you’re not comfortable picking the place or bringing up your gluten-free diet on the first date, why not cook at home? You can always pack a picnic basket for lunch or dinner at a local park so you don’t have to bring up your diet right off the bat.

Be prepared to quickly and simply explain your gluten-free diet. You shouldn’t be embarrassed by your gluten-free diet (yes, this even applies to the men out there). If your date involves food, you can quickly explain that you can’t eat gluten for medical reasons and if you do, you’ll become very sick. Don’t feel pressured to give all the details on the first date, and focus on what you can eat. For example: “I can’t split the cake with you, but this place makes fantastic homemade ice cream. How about we each order a scoop?”

Skip the food. Who says a first date has to be all about food? You can go on a hike, head to a museum or show off your ice skating skills at the nearest rink. This way, you don’t have to worry about finding safe options on the first date and can just have fun and enjoy the company.

Be mindful of that kiss. Use your discretion when it comes time to lean in. Did your date just finish a bowl of pasta? It’s a good idea to hold off, at least until your date can find his or her way to a toothbrush. If you both shared a day of gluten-free meals, then you should be all clear for that smooch.

Relax! Your mind can do incredible things – including make yourself sick from worry. So relax, have a good time and plan ahead so you can enjoy the moment!

For more Dating Dos and Don’ts, see NFCA’s article in GREAT U.

Want more information about Sex and the Celiac? Register for the upcoming free webinar “Sex and the Celiac: A Focus on Reproductive Health” on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. PST.

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