Celiac Rant: Just Order a &#%!@?! Salad??

gluten free salad

2 quick Dude notes before I start today’s rant.

1) This is my 500th blog post. That is crazy. Where does the time go?
2) I’m off to Minnesota today to visit with the Cheerios folks. Should be interesting.

Anyway, got a great email the other day from a newly diagnosed celiac who is handling her transition extremely well, except for one wee issue. Her rant is quite entertaining so I’m sharing it with you. That’s how the internet works…so they tell me. Enjoy.


Where to start? I’m 32 now and I’ve been sick since I can remember. Apparently I’ve been a celiac since forever but been diagnosed at the age of 31. For the last 10 years I’ve been going to one doctor to another trying to figure out what was the reason of all my physical pains, depression states, brain fog, stress, severe migraines since I was 8 yo and, please, don’t get me started on the irritable bowel syndrome I had experienced in the past 3 years.

The doctors’ answers to all that? That all my illnesses were NOT related AT ALL. But yet none gave me a proper answer to the question: “Why I am always so sick?”

I talked to different doctors about the possibility of being tested for food allergies. Once again, their response? NONSENSE. Even one of them told me to join a group for a experimental drug for migraines. (Believe me, the words “experimental” and “drugs” put together in the same sentence: not cool).

If all that was not enough I gained 55lb in ten years and being unable to lose a single pound. Once again doctors could not see a connection with any other of my illnesses.

A year ago, I started my own research to finally end up trying different alternative medicines and therapies; luckily, one of them pointed out that I should cut gluten out of my diet. I went back to my doctors to share the great knowledge! How naive I was! Their answer? That (and I quote) “alternative medicine was not enough reason to test a patient for food allergies” and that I’d better join the experimental drug program. One of them almost laughed at me.

But I was not discouraged and looked for a Nutritionist specialized on Diabetes and Celiac Disease who put me on a very strict diet, cutting all the food and reintroducing every item, one at a time, as if I were a baby. Non processed food. Not eating out. First I introduced veggies on my diet. Secondly, fruits. After a few months, I kept on with proteins and last but not least: cereals and dairy. OH LORD! Gluten and lactose rang the bell bringing back all my physical pains and illnesses and, after being blood tested, she confirmed me I was a Celiac and lactose intolerant. What a relief! What a great discovery! I could foresee a healthier and happier life!

But no.

I was once again very naive. I’m very happy and grateful because thank to being finally diagnosed I feel much better. And even when I get glutened by cross contamination or even when I get sick because a loved one promised me the food is celiac safe (when is NOT), even when I spent the whole f***ing day sitting (and shitting) in the toilet…even then: I am thankful because at least I know that I am a celiac and somehow it gives me peace of mind. Somehow.

But here’s the thing: **RANT ALERT**

– I can deal with the fact that I will not longer eat my favorite foods.
– I have come to understand that I will no longer eat those delicious donuts and pastries my coworkers bring every Friday to the office.
– I have made peace with the fact that every time I go out for dinner the struggle is real and the chances to get sick are 200%.
– I have accepted the fact that I should bring my own food to dinner parties (even I have accepted that there will be ALWAYS someone SO desperate to try my gluten free food JUST for fun, that I will have to share my expensive gluten free food JUST for fun).

I have accepted all that and the tedium that causes me explaining all the time why I cannot eat gluten, what is gluten, what happen to me if I have a tiny little bite of bread or what are the bowel consequences of being glutened by cross contamination. I have accepted ALL THAT.

But what I deny to accept is that every time I cannot find a gluten free or celiac safe dish in the menu, there is ALWAYS someone who says rudely: JUST ORDER A SALAD!!!!


(pause for take a breath and count to five Mississippi)



So yes, I have come to accept so many things since I have discovered I’m a Celiac and though I feel much healthier, I still have to learn how to stop myself from smashing against the wall the head of the person “suggesting” me very rudely to order.a.f***ing.salad.


My Dear Gluten Dude, thank you so much for your blog, the useful information and the opportunity you bring us to rant about the little things that make this disease even more difficult.

(You’re quite welcome.)

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85 thoughts on “Celiac Rant: Just Order a &#%!@?! Salad??”

  1. YES! I’ve been at this 5 years. I really don’t even want the bagel, or donut anymore. But I am HUNGRY!!!! I don’t want a salad either. I want a bunch of food! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up for events assured that there would be gluten free options for my daughter and myself (some of which we’ve paid a lot to attend) only to be shown to the lettuce with tomato and no dressing. Rant on sister. Don’t know if it gets easier…but it does sort of get easier. It sounds as if you’re learning the ropes pretty quickly.

  2. Even worse is when you end up having to order the salad (whilst envying the pizza across the table), and discover it has croutons in it, or is laced with some dressing containing unknown ingredients!

    1. PREACH!!!! I admit that sometimes I do just want a salad and would be happy with that. BUT and this is a BIG OLE BUT.. I am terrified of ordering a salad in a restaurant because of croutons and cheese that almost always find their way onto my plate even when I have been very very plain about my needs and assured proper precautions have been taken. Only to discover, after I have eaten half of it ,that was NOT the case ! So no..I won’t just order a freaking salad.. Preach on sister!

    2. yes I just learned that lesson the hard way, being very sick after eating “just a salad” and “gluten-free” pasta. I’m new to this so didn’t realize that Caesar dressing isn’t safe. that or they rinsed my (grocery store freezer quality GF) ravioli in the same pot or colander as the regular. already starting to learn you spend $$$ on food that doesn’t even taste as good. what do you do at restaurants if you can’t even trust the salad? do you bring your own dressing? (basically paying $$ for lettuce)

  3. Oh my gosh….I soooooo understand that!!!! Everyone says “just eat a salad” and I just want to punch them in the face!!!! How does a salad for dinner while everyone else enjoys pastas, burgers, and fried appetizers sound appetizing??? My mom who is uber supportive(most of the time) always says that to me! It’s INFURIATING! I don’t even eat salads when dieting…..salads go before a meal, they do NOT a meal make (For me at least)! Not to mention the risk of cross contamination is crazy high with a salad!

  4. *sigh* I hear ya. So many times when trying to choose a restaurant with friends I’ll suggest a place I know has options for me but there’s always the one person who says “they have salads” when she wants to go somewhere else. I don’t want to pay to go out to a nice restaurant and just eat salad! I finally turned the table one night when we wanted to go to a seafood restaurant and she complained because she doesn’t like fish..”that’s ok, they have salads!”. She wasn’t amused but I certainly was. 😉

    1. Jessica (that's my rant!)

      I totally agree with you. I don’t even bother to go out For dinner if I’m gonna eat just a salad , That I could Eat at home and it will be safer an cheaper!! ^^

      Usually the one person saying ” order a salad” is the person who later orders the pasta, garlic bread and dessert. What if we both order the f****** salad so you can experience what it is like to have a sad dinner while eeeeverybody is eaiting something delicious?

    2. // Her rant is quite entertaining so I’m sharing it with you.//

      And thanks, GD, for doing so. As a celiac myself, I feel her pain. (Anger? Pissoffedness? Despair? ?) I’m fortunate not to have experienced a lot of that, mostly because my wife and I don’t go out much anymore. Part of that is because of my problems with dining out. And part of it is that over the years (we’re both retired) we’ve learned to do some pretty good things at home. (And then there’s the alcohol/driving issue: we can drink wine at home without worrying about one of us staying sober enough to drive safely, but that’s a topic another time.)

      Actually, I’m one of what is apparently a minority who do order a salad sometimes. We do sometimes have salads at home, usually from bagged mixed greens, but it’s hard to put together an interesting salad at home without having a lot of remaining ingredients to be used somehow or eventually, regretfully, disposed of. I can get a Greek salad in some restaurants that has a little of this, a little of that, a little feta, half a tomato, and so on, and not have to deal with the rest of the stuff. And if I can convince them to keep all the gluten out of it, I’m happy with it. But I realize I’m in a special situation, and I really sympathize with those who work and social lives involve a lot of restaurant meals.

      chica63, I laughed out loud when I read your comment above, “… one one night when we wanted to go to a seafood restaurant and she complained because she doesn’t like fish..”that’s ok, they have salads!”. She wasn’t amused but I certainly was.” Beautiful! Great retort! Congratulations for thinking of it in time.

      That got me to thinking about a more general response to the the “they’ve got salads” refrain. One could pull a long face, as if seeking sympathy, and respond something like, “Oh, I know, but it gets so tiresome just eating a salad when other people are having stuff I’d rather be able to eat– could you order a salad, too, and keep me company?”

      1. LOL, great comeback! Then when they get that look on their face like they stepped in dog excrement, you can start getting all enthused, “It’ll be great! We can be ‘salad brothers’!” (or sisters/siblings as the case may be)

        For added effect, depending on how close you are to the person (or not, even), you can also hug them as you’re saying it. I suppose you could try coming off sarcastic about it, but I think it might actually work better delivered straight up without any trace of irony.

    3. I have already commented on this but I just read through more of the replies and am just astounded at how much better I feel after reading them. I always felt like I was being “difficult” for not being big on salads or being really annoyed at being asked to pay $15 for one at a restaurant while friends or family enjoy real food! While we are on this subject….I am happy that many restaurants offer gf options for us but how sick are you guys of the same handful of things at every restaraunt?? Here is a crazy question….WHY ARE RESTAURANTS ADDING GLUTEN CONTAINING INGREDIENTS TO FOODS THAT ARE TRADITIONALLY GLUTEN FREE??? There is no reason that I should go to restaurants that serve sides like mashed potatoes and rice and NOT BE ABLE TO EAT them!!! Why can’t restaurants carry gluten free pasta? Why does Olive Garden put gluten containing ingredients in their sauces??? It is so frustrating to go to restaurants with friends and family and ALWAYS feel deprived when much of it could be avoided if restaurants just got their s*** together!!

      1. Can I just say AMEN to that!!!!

        I am sick of knowing ahead of time what food I will eat, exactly how it will taste and how boring it will be to have to sit while others peruse the menu debating over item a OR item b OR item today’s-special. I gave up on “going out to eat” a long time ago.

        It did totally ruin my last job. Most important projects were given out over impromptu lunches. They always choose places suggesting “just get the salad”OR that I bring along my own non- peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

      2. It has been a while since I’ve been there, but we did have good luck at Tejas(?) de Brazil in Fort Worth. Whenever we were going (usually related to my husband’s work), I would call ahead and talk to the manager to explain that I could not safely eat from the salad bar or buffet even if stuff was gluten free because of the touchy-touchy. When we arrived, I would remind the hostess and she would inform all of the meat guys (it was always guys) that came round with those swords of meat that I could not have anything with dairy (all of the meats were GF) so they would not offer it. And the chef would make me an awesome plate of stuff in the kitchen and send it out. Mainly haven’t been because it is SO MUCH MEAT and you think you could resist but it is SO GOOD (back to veggie ways now for happy tummy). It’s also a bit expensive. The good news too was that the fried bananas were safe to eat too.

      3. or how about when they list “gluten free alternatives” on their menu and it’s just the burgers etc with no bun (and no condiments just to be safe, bc they’re not going toads sure those are GF). why bother listing a GF menu if you don’t really have one. it’s nice that some places are offering things like GF buns and pasta now but I’m still leery of the cross-contamination

  5. Reminds me of the time my MIL invited us all over to her house for dinner in honor of my husband’s birthday. She ordered pizza for everyone else and made me a salad!!! Granted, it was a really good grilled chicken salad, but still….I was SO mad. Nothing like watching everyone else chowing down on yummy, gluteny pizza while I picked at a salad. Had I known, I would have brought my own meal!

  6. I am tired of salads as well and I’ve had them brought to me with croutons and crackers. 🙁 At home, I make my own donuts, rolls, bread, spaghetti, cornbread, hush puppies, breaded fish and all of that, but sometimes, I get tired of cooking … oh well, that’s life I guess.

    I’m just glad my disease has a cure.

  7. Yes, and the person suggesting that you order the salad probably would never order one him/herself. It reminds me of times I’ve brought food to events, and someone remarks that my meal looks good. I know the person means well, but would they REALLY rather be eating my meal than the delicious food they have on their plate from a potluck, the slices of pizza they’re able to eat, or the yummy dishes catered in? Yeah, right.

    1. Jessica (that's my rant!)

      That’s it! That one person never orders a salad!

      Once, the person suggesting me to order a salad – who Was a friend of a friend and we didn’t know each other well- after her “kindly” suggestion she proceeded to order the most caloric dishes of the menu and try to make amends by asking me what Was the key to look so lean. I just answered : “there is no secret i just Eat very healthy and gluten free because I’m a celiac, you know… And I lost 55lb after being properly diagnosed..”

      Minutes later, when the food was delivered, to our table and the Waiter placed the lasaña For her, she had the courage to tell me joking: “I might start That ‘celiac diet’ one of these days!”

      I swear to God I almost punched her on the Face!

  8. I was in France a few years ago and I ate a ham and cheese salad at least once a day for three weeks. I never wanted to see another ham and cheese salad after that. Though every salad order did involve a rather comical exchange whereby the waiter tried to give me a baguette along with the salad and I would say no thanks. Then they would offer again saying it was free. Then I would say (in my limited French) that I was allergic and they would jump at least 5 feet back and exclaim “c’est dommage” with a look of extreme shock and horror on their face! My husband and I still laugh about it often.

  9. OH ….. WAIT……..
    You KNOW that Celiac’s can’t have anything else wrong with their stomachs – RIGHT? !!!!!!!!

    I have a ulcers from more than 40 years of undiagnosed Celiac. All that time every doctor just SHOVED NSAID’s at me in ever increasing strengths. My stomach lining has NEVER actually totally healed. Every time I get a really bad headache, flu, work a little to hard in the garden (as if I have the right to enjoy a hobby) AND I take an aspirin I am in danger of a GI bleed.
    (I already max out on Tylenol for a bad back totally unrelated to Celiac – OR IS IT???? But that’s another story)

    When the ulcerated part that surrounds the exit of the stomach gets inflamed, the food just sits in my stomach for 8 to 24 hours without digesting making me feel like vomiting in ever closer periods until I finally toss about a gallon and a half into my now constant throw up trash can always lined with the LARGE size liner (For easy clean up). Sorry TMI, but we Celiac’s are used to such discussions.

    I can’t eat anything RAW! No raw fruit, salad, anything. And many of them totally cooked will cause serious distress.

    So every time someone tells me, “there is salad AND fruit to eat”, I have several reasons to walk out and show them my other cheek.

    I am hungry for nutrition. I am NOT a rabbit.
    Neither am I a model watching her weight to fit in a size 2.
    I want FOOD!
    It is a cop-out to even offer salad to people as the only GF offering.
    Why not just say, “Go away. We don’t serve YOUR KIND!”

    OK, so I needed to rant just a little too. Thanks for inspiring GLutenDude to write this one. I so needed to vent!

    1. The back thing may be related. My back hurt so badly (and my knees) that I could barely bend over and stand up a lot of times and it all went away went I got off gluten. If I get glutened, it comes back. Could be due to inflammation. Can you tolerate juicing? That’s my go-to when I don’t feel like solid food but need the vitamins.

      I wish you luck on your journey to healing. Hang in there. 🙂

      1. Thanks very much for personally replying to my comment and for offering great suggestions. Sadly, my back was injured when I was in my 20’s several decades before the Celiac diagnosis almost 20 years ago. It never healed properly because of malnutrition. But then everyone just knew that I was really trying to starve myself not REALLY sick.

        20 years ago, when I was diagnosed, I could not flex my feet or walk without a walker. The pain was so terrible that I frequently passed out which is why doctors were willing to throw stronger and stronger NSAID’s at me.

        Like GlutenDude, I never eat out anymore. I eat ONLY fresh foods that I cook from scratch. I live perfectly fine without bread, cakes, donuts, and whole grains. Amazingly my bowels work just fine!
        So much for the Food Pyramid – have to wonder which manufacturer of grain based products came up with grains as the biggest BASE? I mean what did out species do when hunter/gatherer was mostly hunter? How did we ever beat out the dinosaurs without the help of General Mills and Kellogg’s????? LOLOLOLOL

        I try not to dwell on the fact that a diagnosis of Celiac might have prevented these things. It just seems pointless to live in the past.
        Bottom line, as we all know, Celiac is way more than “just go on a SIMPLE GF diet and you’ll be fine”.

    2. All that you wrote, we have in common. Even the ulcer history. Cannot tolerate dairy or oats, (and other food allergies as well) was told that Lymphocytic Colitis was extremely rare, was diagnosed with it and recommendation is eat ONLY well cooked food. Like your grandparents used to eat…. lol. It is a complication of Celiac Disease. With that – NO nsaids. If you have not heard of it- you may want to look into it. It could be a literal life saver. It does go WAY BEYOND gluten.

    3. You are really struggling. I feel so bad. I do have some thoughts that might help. Sometimes people don’t have enough stomach acid to digest their food. My husband has plenty. but for some reason, my thick, beef stew causes reflux. So, he takes a food enzyme pill each time he eats it. Personally, I have blood type A, which is known to have lowered HCL (hydrochloric acid). So, some times after a large meal, or if I feel food sitting in my stomach, I take an HCL capsule. This might really help you with the throw up issue. As for back pain–it could many things. Like needing chiropractic, for example. Or, perhaps, it’s inflammation from food allergies. I was having excruciating leg pains that my chiropractor said was too much rice. I cut out the rice, the pain went away. The pain comes back when I rely on too many rice products (rice cakes, cookies, noodles, rice, etc…). Your pain might actually food related like mine. Or, for the inflammation, I took a curcumin capsule (tumeric) and a black cumin seed oil pill, which counteract inflammation, while I stopped eating rice, and the pain went away. Did the pills lessen the inflammation? Maybe. I was in so much pain, I was willing to try anything. Just please be careful with the Tylenol or Ibuprofen. They are very bad for the liver and the ibuprofen causes GI bleeds. Dr. Oz did an episode where he showed the intestines of a lady who bled to death, most likely from pain relievers.

  10. So so true. My family lives in New Orleans and every time I go for a visit, we eat at all my favorite places and I have salad. It’s so sad to be eating salad in New Orleans: I could be eating that stupid salad anywhere in the world! What a waste! Add in that my whole family thinks I’m making this up … but that’s another column isn’t it?!

  11. My son was six the first time he heard “We have salad,” in response to the query about gluten-free food. It was the very first time I tried to buy food for him at a restaurant/coffee shop. I’m sure the person saying it thought *I* was the one who needed gluten-free food, because only adults with weird hangups need that, right?

    I was like, “Thanks, but he’s a kid, so he’s not really into salad. Maybe when he’s twenty.” And we left.

    And my kid was like, “Oh, so that’s when I’ll like salad.”

    Really though, I wanted to smack the guy.

  12. Long time lurker, first time ranter. Well, I lie; I rant all the time, just not here yet! 😉

    Agree, agree, agree. Fortunately, I *like* salads! but it gets old really fast, doesn’t it? I’ll add to the rant like this: if I somehow manage to get through all the contortions in researching the restaurant and ordering (it feels like interrogation at times) and get myself a safe-as-it-can-be real meal, all those carefree non-celiacs at the table happily sharing plates and tastes better Keep Their Damned Forks AWAY from my meal, despite the “ooooh, that-looks-so-good”-ness of my hard-won meal. I have been glutened more than once this way (why, yes, dining partner…swiping your bread through the sauce on my plate or swirling your gravy-covered fork through my rices IS a problem for me), and I have become pretty adamant about the plate swap thang. Gads, I sound like a misanthrope, but sheesh it’s galling to have a plate of GF food go from looking like dinner to looking like something I can only gaze at while the rest of the happy swappers eat. I am a non-violent person, but fork-stabbing starts to feel mighty appealing. Of course, I jest (or, do I?)

    A side note to Gluten Dude: sir, if you are in our fair Twin Cities for a visit, I recommend giving the restaurant Hola Arepa a try. EVERYTHING on the menu is gluten free (yay!), unless otherwise specified (and those few specified things must live on the dessert menu, which I did not look at). It is such a wonderful thing to sit down for a (delicious, non-salad)meal and not have to navigate the “aren’t YOU the special snowflake?” waters of ordering. Heck, the place cures me of my non-plate-swapping misanthropy.

    1. Regarding food sharing: “Of course you can eat off my plate. We’ll just add that meal to your bill and I’ll order a new plate.”
      Where in the Cities is Hola Arepa? I live in Tennessee now, but do get home occasionally.

      1. Hola Arepa is on 35th and Nicollet. Sweet little space, tasty food, and a fret-free zone for me! Here’s a link:

        And another food-truck-gone-brick-and-mortar is finally open, and is 100% (sqeeeeeee!) gluten free. Sassy Spoon, on 50th and 34Th Ave. S., just off Minnehaha Parkway. Their food truck fare was good; I expect the same from the sit-down. Oh, and I need to say it again for my own inner satisfaction: 100 freaking percent gluten-free. Their info:

        Check them out when you’re back in the Twins!

        1. This, in my humble opinion, is the way to deal with the disease. If we support restaurants that actually make foods 100% SAFE, we will make gains.

          1. I agree but unfortunately there are none in our area (Fort Worth) and even my trusted places have made me sick more than once – two strikes and they were out. Now, I don’t eat out unless it is a dedicated GF kitchen. In England, that is another story. Every eating out experience (~20) I’ve had there since being diagnosed has been positive (with advance notice and discussion, of course). They take it seriously there.

            1. So, it’s not fort worth, but it’s DFW. In North Dallas there is a restaurant called Kozy Kitchen. The chef and owner has celiac disease. Everything is GF other than a bread or two which is the only thing they DON’T make in their kitchen. They know how to keep it from the rest of the food though, since he shares the disease ;). They even have amazing cakes etc. It is worth a drive to Dallas. He is also considering opening another one in the area. I asked him to come to my town, but he is more likely to open in Fort Worth. Visit and tell him you want one in Ft. Worth. The food is fantastic to my non celiac family members as well.

            2. Good to know! Thanks. Has anyone tried “Unrefined” in Dallas? It is a GF bakery. I just ran across the info last week.

          2. Amen to supporting the restaurants that take it seriously; they get my dining dollars.

            I was reading some commentary on a local food forum that expressed some, um, impatient disappointment that the 100% gluten-free place did not find it necessary to *at least* offer *some* gluten-y dishes for those who want it. I. Just. Can’t. Even.

            That shoe-is-on-the-other-foot thing apparently disappoints. Imagine that.

            1. Ummmmmmmm…………………………………..
              Let them eat the ……….. SALAD!

              Sorry, I just could NOT resist.

    2. DITTO! The bread and fork swipe is enough to make me crazy! 🙁
      I’ve learned to be possessive of my plate…
      NOT to mention the date who is warned not to eat gluten or not to drink beer because you won’t be able to kiss them…and is upset you won’t let them kiss you later, but dating for Celiacs is a whole different thread…

  13. Sometimes the worst part is having to pay ridiculous amounts of money for a salad I can make at home. MUCH better and healthier too I might add. I hate ordering meals (that I will later have to eat another ‘meal’ after when I get home because I’m HANGRY) that I can make with my own two hands. Ughhhhh…

    1. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. Go out to a nice restaurant , pricey even and the only thing on the entire menu I can eat is a $14 burger, no bun, no cheese, no seasoning that half the time is burnt and dried out( that I could make 10x better myself at home) with steamed broccoli on the side. While everyone else is eating things like Fettuccini Alfredo and buttery garlic bread . That is bad enough and infuriating at best but to leave the place starving is adding insult to injury. Can I add a rant to this.. Why oh why is the ONLY safe vegetable in most places steamed broccoli or a plain baked potato? I swear if I have to eat one more bite of either I might just beat some one to death with it .

  14. I have always hated salad, so I really hate it when salad is my only option; I just don’t eat. I then have to not only explain Celiac Disease to anyone I’m dining with that doesn’t know me well, but I also have to explain why I don’t like salad.

  15. Haha the struggle is indeed real. My issue when people say to order a salad is that the risk of cross-contamination is still there– and I can’t even count the number of times they’ve served me one with bread on it despite my whole speech about celiac and gluten. Another landmine are the dressings– why must so many have gluten?!

  16. Bersy in Michigan

    I don’t know who that lady in the photo is, but I think I like her! I like salads as a side veggie once a week, and sometimes as a main dish. But going to a restaurant just to eat a salad (where they put croutons on it!) feels sort of desperate (and definitely a waste of money). When I’m going to a gathering and want myself and my kids to eat (first, before anyone else) I’ll bring a quinoa green bean/tomato salad. The gluten free folks like it, the vegans like it, and b/c it uses oil and mustard instead of mayo, it’s a little less scary in 90 degree picnic situations. Thanks Dude, for providing a safe Rant place.

  17. Isn’t that the truth! If I wanted salad, I would order it!

    But my gut is so inflamed, salad gives me diarrhea too!

    I have left restaurants in tears because the gluten free menu didn’t match the dairy free menu and the waitress said you can have salad!

  18. i have been in these shoes. Recently, after 5 years of ‘just ordering a salad’, I began baking gluten free. My husband, who has been gluten free 2 years thinks that some of the baked goodness in our home is better than any of his memories!

  19. I like salads sometimes but not the whimpy-ass excuse for salad that most places offer (lettuce, two slice of tomato, and a carrot stick if your lucky). Really, do they not know that there are more than just iceberg or romaine lettuce?

    Just for inspiration… salad: chopped kale, celery, zucchini (sub for cucumber – you won’t notice the difference), carrots, avocado, tomatoes, apple, bell pepper, and chopped walnuts topped off with a dressing made from coconut amines, fresh minced garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and pepper flakes. Yum, yum, yum! Delish and filling!

      1. It’s adapted from a recipe I found online… do it as a wrap or as a salad like I mentioned above.

        Thai Lettuce Wraps (or as a salad, add chopped kale or other favorite greens)

        1 1/2 cups Walnuts
        1/2 cup celery, diced
        1/2 cup diced carrots
        1/2 red bell pepper, diced
        1/2 cup fresh Cilantro,minced
        1/4 cup Scallions, minced (greens only)

        Another other veggies you like

        1 squirt of raw wild honey
        1/8 cup gluten free soy sauce
        ½ teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
        1 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
        1 Tablespoons hulled sesame seeds (can substitute crushed or other seeds if you don’t have them)
        1 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
        1 teaspoons red pepper flakes

  20. I have to go out of town for work for four days. In addition to bringing a bunch of extra food with me, I have had to eat salad every day for lunch because there is no other option from the place they ordered our food. Oh, and no dressing, of course, because I don’t know WTF is in it. Sadness.

  21. I am lactose and garlic intolerant which gives me no room to order ANYTHING on ANY menu in a restaurant. I have been insulted many times by the staff and walked out of many restaurants because they refuse to give me an off the menu choice. One time at a meeting in a restaurant, I ended up eating plain white rice with nothing else because the restaurant owner told me straight out that they don’t serve people with food allergies. Even when I point out that they have to pay attention to any sauce and spice ingredients, the message is lost by the time it reaches the kitchen. So ordering a f#$%ing salad is not working for me either and most of the time I end up with a plain chicken breast and steamed veggies with absolutely NO taste. What is wrong with salt and pepper?? I am dreading going to restaurant and avoid it as much as I can, which cuts into my social and business life.
    Thanks for the rant. I enjoyed reading it and feel for you. It also make me feel better knowing I am not alone.

  22. I was recently at an event that was held at a huge event center that has signs on the door that say “Please, no outside food.” I was working, learning and shopping at the event for 12 hours a day from Tuesday through Saturday. It is surprising how little I discovered I can eat. They contract with a company that is very good at gluten free in their restaurants, but their food kiosks at the venue were pathetic. One day I got popcorn and a diet Coke for $7. Yum..nutritious! The rest of the time I had GF Chex mix and a dried fruit and nut mix in my purse that I would sneak and eat. I felt like a criminal. Yes, one of the kiosks had salad, but I will NOT pay $12 for a bowl of lettuce!
    I am generally surrounded by very supportive people in my family and socially, but when we go out to eat, my husband will sometimes say “You can order a salad.” Sometimes I do, but next time I want to go to PF Chang’s, I will tell my husband that he can order a salad because he does not like oriental food. Generally, I go to PF Chang’s with my daughter, because we feel safe there when we have a girl’s day out.

    1. I proudly bring in my own and put it on the table and EAT. When someone comes over to point out “no outside foods”, I calmly and very politely ask for the GLUTEN FREE menu while explaining that $$ is no object – I am just as hungry as everyone else at XYZ event and need to eat to take full advantage of the (ticket price) that I paid to attend. I am happy to pay any amount for foods that will not KILL me thru malnutrition and other complications of Celiac disease. They usually just ask me to, “Eat quickly” and run away before I can explain the risks of such behaviors. I have never been approached twice.

      The key is to remain CALM, POLITE, and simply demand the same treatment that every other person at the event is receiving in the way of respectfully being allowed to simply consume food basic to life! NO one deserves to have to try to function while being deprived of nutrition – I think that’s called torture.

    2. I proudly bring in my own and put it on the table and EAT. When someone comes over to point out “no outside foods”, I calmly and very politely ask for the GLUTEN FREE menu while explaining that $$ is no object – I am just as hungry as everyone else at XYZ event and need to eat to take full advantage of the (ticket price) that I paid to attend. I am happy to pay any amount for foods that will not KILL me thru malnutrition and other complications of Celiac disease. They usually just ask me to, “Eat quickly” and run away before I can explain the risks of such behaviors. I have never been approached twice.

      The key is to remain CALM, POLITE, and simply expect the same treatment that every other person at the event is receiving in the way of respectfully being allowed to simply consume food basic to life! NO one deserves to have to try to function while being deprived of nutrition – I think that’s called torture.

    3. I am very sorry that this comment was posted twice. I am having trouble with my Internet Service Provider (ISP) who shall remain nameless. I guess the router is not as worthless as I thought at saving a cached copy and doing a post after a total failure.

    4. If I’m going to be anywhere for more than an hour or two and they don’t allow outside food, I always contact them in advance to explain the situation. I’ve never been told I couldn’t bring food that’s safe for me to eat. Even at places that have food kiosks or a food court, I’ll explain that I can’t trust that the food will be safe. Never had a problem. It works better for me to do that in advance so I can have a calm, rational discussion instead of waiting until I’m hungry and angry. Ask for something in writing and the name of someone you can speak to at the event to cover your butt.

  23. I just thought I’d add a positive experience I had in Luckenbach, Texas last summer. My husband and I had gone to the Texas wine country for the weekend, and carried along a cooler full of yummy foods that could be eaten cold or cooked on the BBQ at the B&B where we were staying. We decided to pop into Luckenbach since I hadn’t been there in 20 years and discovered they had a Waylon Jennings celebration going on. We got out of the car and headed to the entrance with a small bag of food and were promptly stopped by security. I politely explained the situation and asked if we could just eat in the grass just outside the event and he said to hold on a sec. Then he radioed the rest of security and said there is a woman coming in with a small cooler. She has food allergies and has to eat her own food, so don’t bother her about it. We had the best day, especially when we discovered that they had Angry Orchard cider at the bar. And we discovered what chicken poop bingo was…

  24. Oh… My god. Do I ever feel that pain. My boyfriend even says it but I think he’s gotten the point now. I don’t want a salad when I go out, I don’t want to have a Caesar salad when everyone is eating pizza or indulging in some awesome friggin chinese food. Just don’t say it. EVER 😛

  25. Oh, boy, oh boy. Ain’t that the truth. It’s remarkable how other people just dismiss the disease, as nuttin’ much. Just eat your salad, and shut up

  26. Just a question… does anyone ever whip out a doctor’s letter stating that they are gluten-intolerant, etc. when attending conferences and such? I would think there must be some legal deal about forcing someone to choose between non-attendance and starvation just because they don’t want to provide safe food or let you bring your own in. Or maybe an angry mob of people suffering from low blood sugar because they were able to eat would change their mind. OK. That wouldn’t help us really but it’s a fun thought (if you aren’t part of the mob, I suppose).

    1. CR: “does anyone ever whip out a doctor’s letter stating that they are gluten-intolerant, etc. when attending conferences and such?”

      I would be reluctant to do that. Because it legitimises placing the GF person on the defensive. When someone with a peanut allergy mentions this in a restaurant before ordering, the waitstaff doesn’t cop an attitude of “O rly? Epi-pen or GTFO.” We deserve the same respect.

      1. I didn’t mean to come across as suggesting one be confrontational about it. I was just curious if anyone carried one – I do for travel in case there is a problem with security or customs regarding my food. I just think if there is no other choice but to be somewhere (a conference for work, for example), it wouldn’t hurt to quietly ask them to make an exception and show them a doctor’s note, or ask for a manager (again, not making a scene about it). The difference with peanut and some other food allergies are that people are familiar with them – hopefully we’ll get to that point eventually with gluten. 🙂

        1. Hmmm… I’m not sure on whose part you’re referring to with that comment about confrontation, the GF person or the other party? My last comment was meant to say that if we allow others to put us on the defensive, then we’re basically *inviting* confrontation upon us.

          For travel security and such issues, I agree with you completely. Those people are NOT to be trifled with; if you want to board your flight efficiently, do what you have to. There are all sorts of scenarios in that environment where you’d BETTER have the right paperwork/etc with you; this is hardly the most contentious of them. With today’s post-9/11 security standards, I could easily imagine (wouldn’t be surprised by) someone with an EpiPen getting flagged for suspicion that it might be some sort of weapon (and hopefully getting the green light upon further review!). Just out of curiosity, have you ever actually had to use your medical certification, and did it save you from otherwise having to ditch the food? Either way, I think having it with you in that situation is still a good idea.

          What I don’t agree with is the notion that we should bear the onus of “proving” we need to be GF in other, more immediate food environments. I agree we need to get to the same point where peanut allergies are now, which wasn’t always the case on that front, either — I mean, there was a time up until around the 1970s or 1980s where if you believed everything you saw on television, then an allergy was just this minor inconvenience that only made you sneeze. But I don’t know if the shift from that, to where we are now today, happened because the peanut allergy people decided that sporting open-carry EpiPens was the way to go. 🙂

          As far as business travel, these conventions really do need to be up to speed on dietary restriction issues if they expect to charge for food they provide to delegates. And again, in a way that doesn’t put us on the defensive. If you want vegan, or peanut-free, or GF, or whatever, just tick the right box on the registration form and you’re done; no one needs to show any medical files. If there are differential fees for that, so be it (I *really* hope that PF Chang’s lawsuit gets tossed out of court ASAP), as long as it isn’t too exorbitant.

          For several years, I used to travel to an annual week-long (M-F) work meeting where they had a dedicated doughnut/coffee room. It was open 8-5 each day and all week long you could wander in anytime for a doughnut, or two or three — as long as you had your lanyard with you, it was basically eat as many as you dare. This was about a decade ago, well before my DX and long before today’s level of GF awareness.

          In all my years at these meetings I don’t once recall a single person ever pointing out that they couldn’t eat the doughnuts (whether there really were no GF people there or if they simply kept this info to themselves, I have no idea). In fact I’d even go as far to say that back then I didn’t even know GF was a thing, although I’m pretty sure that those doughnuts were NOT GF. I no longer attend this meeting or keep in touch with anyone who does; I wonder sometimes if they’ve since changed their set-up to accommodate GF folks, but I doubt it.

          1. John,

            I have not actually had to get the note out but I have mentioned it before. I was taking a very long flight and had been feeling sick so I had my favorite kombucha with me. I explained to the nice security lady what it was (she was familiar thankfully) and that I needed it especially as there was nothing but water that I could safely drink on the flight (can’t do alcohol/soda and never know which juice is safe with all that “natural flavoring”). Anyway, the just did that swabby thing over the bottle and let me go with it.

            I never heard of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance until one doc thought my issues might be related to thyroid which she prematurely medicated me for and then tried to kill me with Doxapin. She had mentioned that a gluten-free diet could help. Then I started reading and saw that so many people are misdiagnosed with other stuff when gluten is the real culprit. Glad she at least put in on my radar.

            One of the advantages of being female – you can carry a big purse and put a drink and snacks in it. Do it all the time at movies and such – no one ever asks and I don’t volunteer the information.

            It would be nice if they asked about your meal preferences and could actually accommodate them. They supposedly do on airlines but if you are GF and DF you are out of luck. I have to admit I was in tears sitting next to my husband on an international flight last year while he was fed delicious amazing food for breakfast and dinner. I ate the same snacks for 3 meals. A kind flight attendant felt bad for me and found some tasty apples. She was my hero for being so thoughtful.

            Sorry for rambling. 🙂

  27. I love your post. Throuout the rant you have such a great sense of humor and your positive attitude shines.
    THE SALAD. I’ve felt like taking my salad and dumping over persons head who said, “see, you love salads, that’s a big help right there” no, I’m not violent or even controversial!
    It’s a lot of work, especially mentally, but worth it!
    If you ever need an extra ear please get in touch with me.
    This site is one of the best things that happened to me in 15 years….

    1. jessica (that's my rant!)

      thank you Kim! I agree this site is a great discovery. The other day in a restaurant I had to order a plain chicken breast, no dressing, just grilled. I politely asked for some french fries, ordering them to be prepare in a clean new oil and pan so they are not contaminated. The waitress told me: If you are ok it is better to just order a salad…. I swear I almost lost it. XD

  28. I completely understand. I don’t even go out to restaurants, but a few times a year. The ones I go to have a special gluten-free menu. How about choosing restaurants that understand our health issues and how to prepare real non-salad foods. This web site might be helpful: http://www.glutenfreeregistry.com/ . Before going, check the ratings and comments to see if there have been any gluten mix-ups or rude waitstaff. After going, rate the establishment yourself. Someone told me that In N Out Burger was safe. I went. They said they would fry my fries in a separate burner. I still was itching with dermatitis herpetiformis (specific to celiacs) the next day. I went to a Thai restaurant once last year. Had no problems. Went back a second time. My order looked different than the first time, both dishes from the GF menu. The waiter or the cook forgot I was gluten-free, and put something gluten in there-noodles I think. The had to remake it, as I waited and waited hungrily at lunchtime with a full restaurant. The waiter brought it out again, but instead of the GF mint sauce, it had a brown sauce. I already knew they did not use GF soy sauce (not sure why! The previous time, I had asked if they mind if I bring my own.). So I asked if this was GF soy sauce. They took the food back for a second time to correct it. It was regular soy sauce with gluten. So, I don’t even put my health in the hands of ignorant, busy, careless folks. And, when I do venture out to a restaurant with a GF menu, I still am vigilant. Tell your friends, you are not on a diet, and to show some understanding towards you. They should either order a salad, too, so that you aren’t made to feel left out, a Biblical sin, or tell them that real friends and loving family are supportive and eat at GF restaurants or places with GF menus so all people can eat. Pf Chang’s has GF menu- limited, but it’s there.

  29. Thanks for this piece, Dude. And many thanks to the wonderful young lady that wrote it. This article provided the laughter I needed tonight. I’m bloated, nauseous and downright frustrated. Yeah, I’m glutened. I don’t even know how this time. I don’t even want to think about how it happened. I’m tired of trying to figure out how it happened. I know I should start my diet of oranges, green peppers and water tomorrow, but that just doesn’t seem like a great reason to get out of bed. Maybe I’ll get out of bed and check this blog for another reason to laugh at our collective misfortune.

    Keep the rants coming, and congratulations on escaping the GM compound alive.

    1. jessica (that's my rant!)

      Thanks My friend! that day, that rant was just what I needed. I feel your pain, how frustrating it is to feel bloated and sick when you don’t even know how it happened! Get well soon!

  30. I agree with the frustrations mentioned in this article. My dearest MIL expected me to eat 4 day old left overs, while they had fresh pizza from my all time favorite restaurant delivered for everyone else to eat. (Long story) But don’t you think that is rather disrespectful for a MIL to expect this? I get the comment get a salad ALL the time and these people just simply don’t get it!!! It’s frustrating!

    1. jessica (that's my rant!)

      The other day happened to me that I gathered with some friends for some drinks and one of them said: shall we grab something to eat? I assumed you have eaten before getting here right? so an we just pick an easy option to eat nearby…

      I swear my mouth dropped wide open. He “assumed” I should have dinner at home so I don’t bother them ! Terrific.

      1. A bit rude of them to not even ask or have a contingency plan. Because I still have problems with certain related persons and friends, I decided to write them all a note to explain and sent it out in a mass email – It explained briefly what Celiac disease was, how it affected me without gory details, the dangers of eating food not prepared in a gluten-free environment, that gluten-free at a restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean it was prepared safely, how it makes me feel not to be able to participate normally, and to ask for a little love and understanding when I say no to eating out, food based activities, or to their food as I’m simply trying to stay healthy and alive. Maybe you could do this too so they get it. If not, a good slap should do the trick. Ok, evil me talking there….

  31. I’m a big guy so when I get the “No we don’t have anything GF on our menu, but you could have a salad I guess” with that snotty smirk I always reply “salad is the food that my food eats.” Then I usually go buy a chocolate bar and pout. It is comforting to know so many of you feel the same way.

  32. Preach I too was diagnosed late in life ….i just hate when there are so many other things we could have they just messed it up adding gluten lol.

  33. I spent years with problems ,I’d go to the doctor and say I just don’t feel right .they would dismiss me and say I just was overworked .one doc finally tried to help he diagnosed me with lupus erythemous ,sent me to a specialist ,who promptly dismissed that diagnosis and sent me on my way.a few years later a new physician finally had me take a blood test and a test for ulcers as I was having a terrible time with throwing up and diarrhea,!And lost 15 lbs.without even trying . I Was 82 years old by then!!!!!

  34. I like salad, but after 102 times (I kept count, I’m not weird, your weird.) of watching a waiter pull the croutons off then bring it back (I eat at the bar, or where I can see the people.) I gave up. Plus, MEAT!!

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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