Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GFCF Kitchen // Eating out

When you first realize the absolute breadth of feeding your child completely gluten, casein, and soy free, you think you may never eat out again as a family.It is actually very possible to eat out on this diet.  Here’re some guidelines and examples…

First – fast food isn’t do-able, and you shouldn’t eat fast food anyway for other health reasons. So goodbye PopEyes Chicken and Arbys curly fries.  Nice to have known you.

Second, Know your restaurants.  Look at their menus’ online.  Do they have Allergy Free menu items?    Call them before you go, and find out things about them:

1. Do they cook from scratch or are their products premade in a factory and delivered? 
Red Lobster, for example, doesn’t cook from scratch so they cannot accommodate requests to leave ingrediants out.   We once went to Joe’s Crab shack and had an argument with them because they premade all the broccoli and couldn’t leave the butter out. Bizarre thing to premake, if you ask me.  We haven’t been back since.

2. Do they offer allergy free menus?
 I know that On the Border and Red Robin have menus specifically for various allergies.    If they have an allergy free menu, they cook from scratch.

3. Can they cook your meal in a clean skillet instead of the grill (our Red Robin has a dedicated skillet for allergic folks).  Do they have a gluten free fryer? (5 Guys Burgers and Fries and Red Robin do). 

Be very clear up front with the server exactly what you want and what allergies your child has.    BJ’s brewery in Colorado Springs policy is to send a manager by to confirm allergy details before food is cooked which is a nice feature.   For Dominic, I ALWAYS order the same protein regardless of where we are – a plain grilled chicken breast.  Then I’ll order either potato some way or rice (no butter), and a steamed vegetable (no butter).   Most places can do this.  We’ve even managed to get Italian places (Carrabas) to safely feed Dominic.  Chinese and Japanese are harder but if you ask for Fried rice no MSG, no soy sauce, it can work.  The only Mexican that really works is the On The Border kind of place.

4. Inspect the dishes when they arrive.
We learned this lesson the hard way  and now we check all of his dishes for food residue every single time.

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