I'll explain....I find that when I am with at my parents house where I know my mom did the prep and is well aware of what is and is not gluten free, I ask "mom can I eat this?". Yet, when I'm out at a friends house, and while I do trust they have taken extra precautions to ensure they are not serving anything harmful and they have checked labels etc, I ask "is this gluten free and can I see the package?". I even sometimes will ask about cross contamination, but I admit I do reserve that for meals prepared with gluten filled items. I have some amazing friends who when I am at their house they not only tell me what they're serving and how it was prepared but also what went into it. They even have called me to discuss before making it to ensure they are following the right precautions.
When I am at my in laws home I ask similar questions about preparation and if I can see the package and try to determine the finer details about what exactly went into the foods I am about to enjoy. I try very hard to not make a big deal about it. I try not to offend anyone, especially when I know they have tried really hard to accommodate my dietary needs.
I try to keep my mind positive and my face the same. If there is something I cannot eat, I might be disappointed or even frustrated, but I do my best to keep that to myself. I may not be able to eat what is being served and I know now that I have to accept that this may be upsetting to my host, especially if they have tried to make it safe for me. But I have to be sure to look out for myself and my health first and foremost.
Just as an aside here are some other things I have heard people say:
- Is this regular or ok for me?
- Well, what's it made out of?
- Is it ok for me?
- Do they [in the kitchen] know what gluten free means and how to prepare it?
- Is there wheat, flour, barley, malt, rye or oats in this?
What do you say or do?
When we are in a restaurant I find that I am more comfortable with being a so-called "pain" as I refer to it. I figure, this is their job, their livelihood and therefore they (the cook) should know what is going into their meals. We all know, last thing any restaurant wants is a bad review (gotta love the internet) or a customer getting sick and spreading it around that they were unwilling/unable to assist in safe eating.
Yet, sometimes I just plain "want to be normal" and not have to ask a bunch of questions, not have to worry that I am going to be glutenized (that's what I call it). I want to be able to go to a restaurant and order off the regular menu. I want to be able to not have to carry snacks in my purse for those "just in case" moments. I long for those times when realistically I could eat anything on any menu and my only hold up would be desire or lack of. That sounds just great to me.
These here are some of the many reasons why I loved all of the restaurants we checked out while on our trip to New York. I did my research before we left, I checked out menu's online whenever possible and I had my list planned out. Yes, it takes away from the whole idea of spontaneity, but who wants to get sick or spend the night/day in the bathroom while on vacation? Heck, people get upset when they get the sniffles while on vacation, imagine being stomach sick, ick no thank you! When on vacation I find it is even more important to me to be cautious.
Thankfully for us in Edmonton, there are plenty of restaurants that are aware and helpful when it comes to gluten free dietary needs. I love that the knowledge about gluten free needs is becoming more main stream and move readily available it really makes gluten free eating a whole lot easier and a bit less daunting when people out there understand and are willing to learn.
Check out our list of gluten free friendly restaurants for some new options for dining out in Edmonton.
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