What to do if You’ve Been Glutened at a Restaurant

glutened at a restaurant

Now as most of you celiacs know, going to a restaurant can be an adventure in fear and anxiety. Really takes about half the fun out of eating out. Now let’s assume you get glutened from a restaurant. What do you do? What are your next steps? How do you respond?

Here’s an interesting email I recently received that asks these same questions. See below for my thoughts.

Dude – thanks for all the advice over the last 2/12 years since I was diagnosed w celiac. Have not seen this topic addressed on your sites: what do you do when you get glutened at a restaurant? This occurred at a rock-solid reliable favorite – it was crazy busy, not the best of circumstances, and stuff happens.

Do you contact the restaurant as a teachable moment? Do you let it go? File a complaint? Your experience and insight are appreciated.

Short answer: Yes. Kind of. No.

Long answer: While lord knows I’ve been hit over the years from eating out, there is only ONE time where I knew a restaurant effed up. Because they told me…as soon as I took my last bite. Here’s the quick story:

So I walk in to a sushi restaurant and go through my usual spiel with the manager.

“Are you familiar with gluten?”
“Is the sushi rice cooked with soy sauce or just vinegar?”
“Any chance of cross-contamination in the kitchen?”

Blah, blah, blah, blah…

It all seems safe. So I order my usual dish: three salmon and avocado rolls. I ask for the spicy mayo sauce on the side and again ask about the sauce to make sure it is ok. I am assured it is.

Mrs. Dude and I eat. Mrs. Dude and I enjoy.

As I take my last bite, the manager comes over and informs us there’s been a mistake. The spicy mayo sauce does have gluten in it. Our jaws hit the floor. “You’re telling me now??????” (Dude note: I have never had spicy mayo since.)

Guess what the manager did next? Let’s play multiple choice. Did the manager…

a) give us the check, charging us full price for both of our meals?
b) charge me a dollar extra for my poisoned sauce?
c) both of the above?

If you guessed C, you guessed right.

Now this is the first time I had ever known that I had gotten glutened so I had no idea what to expect. Would I start projectile vomiting on the table? Would I die a slow, tortuous death? Would I spend the next 5 days in the bathroom?

So what happened? Well, at first…nothing. That night…nothing. The next day…nothing. Was my GI doctor wrong? Maybe I don’t have celiac and it’s all been a big mistake. I’ll need to change my blog name to “Gluten Eating Dude”. And then on the second day…BOOM! Like a ton of gluten free bricks. Pure exhaustion. Stomach pains. Anxious. Just a mess. I was a physical and emotional wreck. Lack of focus. Lack of patience. Couldn’t sleep enough. And it lasted for SIX MONTHS. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

And what did I do with regards to the restaurant? A big, fat nothing.

What should I have done? Good question. Though looking back, I cannot believe I paid for my meal.

So here’s my advice. Unless you are 100% sure the restaurant glutened you, I don’t think you say anything. You don’t want to be accusatory unless you have facts to back you up. If you are indeed positive they messed up, yes, you definitely ask to speak to the manager or owner and let them know. It’s a teachable moment indeed and if you can prevent the next celiac from getting sick, at least some good may come out of it.

And then yeah…you let it go. No need to carry it around with you. Getting glutened is exhausting enough. Carrying the anger along with it won’t help you heal.

Do you file a complaint? This gets a big “it depends” answer. In your situation…no. Like you said, their game is usually on. But if the restaurant is callous about gluten-free, if they are not taking any precautions regarding cross-contamination, if their reason for offering gluten-free seems to be profit over people, then heck yeah, file away.

My two cents. Agree? Disagree? Do tell.

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37 thoughts on “What to do if You’ve Been Glutened at a Restaurant”

  1. I have zero doubt I would get glutened at a restaurant. I would then lose 5-7 days of wages from lost work, and have a body laying in bed pumped full of pain pills and antispasmodics. And then the weeks to full recovery? ….Several hundred dollars down the tube is just not worth a $25 meal.

    Restaurants just aren’t given a chance to gluten me.

    Not a direct answer to your questions, but my response to the post as a whole.


      I eat out at the same (2) restaurants and have the same meal and ask for the same waiter. The food is boring and I visit these places only occasionally when it is difficult for me to prepare a meal. I do not go back to any place that have gluten-ed me. Steak houses cook meat on foil so that it lacks flavor, never caramelizes and becomes rubbery. So those are off the list as I get too tired to eat after 45 minutes of chewing tough as nails rib-eye. My long list of restaurants has dwindled from 2 dozen to 2. I wonder why there are no celiac safe restaurants? I’d pay more per plate if the restaurant used all GF flour and GF sauces and did not bring wheat, barley or rye and other gluten containing products into the kitchens at all. Herbs are GF, but you will not find many coatings or sauces that do not have added wheat. Additionally there are no substitutions offered for bun-less, cheese-less, sauce-less burgers. I read that there is a 4 fold increase in celiac disease since the 1970’s (and these are of the diagnosed cases). Restaurants are hurting for patrons and yet the only answer is to remain safe by not eating out. My significant other likes to eat out, so I have a growing list of gourmet meals that, with practice, have become fast to prepare and cook. When he offered to take me to dinner, I suddenly had a vision of a dry, tasteless burger, I replied; “I’ve got a new recipe!” He beamed ear to ear. The meal tasted wonderful and is a new addition to fast celiac safe meals list.

  2. Dude,
    I recently went to a restaurant that seemed to be very careful with their food. I found out after eating dinner that they make their own pizza on site (read flour flying around occasionally). I didn’t think anything of it until late that night when I lost my dinner into my friend’s toilet. I don’t feel the restaurant was necessarily to blame and am more than willing to go back there. I want even going to tell them until I this timely post. Now, I’m thinking teachable moment. I’ll be sending them an email later just letting them know that i did indeed get sick. I’m thinking that their gluten free cheese sauce on the gf Mac and cheese is probably in a warning pan that is uncovered, so I’ll be commenting on that in an effort to educate, not criticise not complain. Thanks for the tip!

  3. The last time this happened to me it was at a place we frequent. I always order the same exact thing (it’s Mexican, so I get fajitas with corn tortillas). I ate the first one and I asked the waitress are you SURE these are corn? She came back in horror….no, they are flour – they had a new cook. My jaw hit the floor. Since we are regulars, they didn’t charge us for our meals (hubby or mine) and we left. I had NO idea what to expect. Like you, I felt ok at first and wondered wow, maybe nothing will happen. But then it did. About 6 hours later I was projectile vomiting. It. Was. AWFUL. We still go back there to eat and I still order the same thing, from the same waitress and now she always confirms for me.

    If it’s cross contamination I think it’s a teachable moment. If it’s full on glutening like in your case no, they shouldn’t have charged you for your meal OR the freaking dollar extra for poison sauce!

    1. I’m sorry to hear this! Lucky, for me, I’m Hispanic and can tell by looking what a flour tortilla looks like. Corn tortillas at restaurants are a bit stiffer than flour tortillas. Flour tortillas are also usually white…Corn tortillas are yellowish. Since most “Mexican” restaurants don’t make their own tortillas, they buy, the corn tortillas are smaller than flour ones. If you get a huge taco, burrito or enchilada…its a flour tortilla! And one last tip: if you bit in and it’s soft…it’s a flour tortilla…corn is a bit, not tough but… “grainier”. My mom makes homemade tortillas all the time.
      Good luck next time!

      I have severe Wheat Allergy…tested positive for Wheat 3 times (and dairy 5 times) but negative for Celiac. I react like a Celiac if I get glutened, however. Plus, the itchy throat and asthma-like feeling. I avoid all gluten. Been gluten free since 2007. I used to miss bagels and pasta…not anymore. I do miss yogurt and Ice cream though! Fake ice cream is not the same!!!

      I go with salad if I can’t find anything GF at a restaurant (even chain restaurants): greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, no dressing, ask for sliced lemon/limes plus grilled plain salmon or chicken. I add salt and lemon. Dessert: plain fruit or gin & club 🙂 . I like it…it’s safe and they can’t mess it up. It’s about socializing when I’m out…I can make a gourmet meal at home any time.

      1. I have to do the same with ordering salads to be safe. BUT beware of some grilled meats, especially chicken. Many restaurants have gluten and/or dairy in their grilled chicken. I’m just getting over the diary’ed chicken from Qdoba. 🙁

  4. If it’s not a 100% dedicated gluten-free kitchen, I don’t complain anymore. I have in the past but then I realized it’s a risk I am taking. There is a restaurant in my town with a menu that is heavily GF. It is heavily frequented and raved about by Celiacs in our community. However for ME, I have gone there a handful of times and have had a very mild reaction each time. Despite their menu and handling, there is still forms (they have sandwiches on the menu prepared in a separate area) of flour floating in the air which I happen to react to if exposed to it long enough. Many Celiacs do not react to it. It’s a mild reaction but enough that I will only go to the restaurant occasionally. Should I complain? I don’t think so. There’s gluten in the kitchen. I know this going in. It’s a risk I am taking.

  5. Marion Kirkham

    My two daughters and I (all caeliac) ate at a pizza restaurant the offered GF pizza. Open kitchen so I could watch the entire cooking procedure. They did really well until they took the pizza out of the oven with the same paddle they took all of the regular pizzas out with. I was pretty horrified and really hungry, so we ate the toppings off the pizza and spoke to the restaurant owner after we ate. He apologized and said he would speak to the cook, who was there and listening. We paid for the meal because it was a very small place and the owner was so contrite. So many ways to cross contaminate.

    1. Same oven would have been mu “no” tip off. Shared pizza oven a huge risk even if they use separate area, all separate tools.

  6. I’m routinely most accommodating and always forgiving; however, under your stated circumstances, I would have given the manager his own personal multiple choice quiz as a direct result of his ignorance (but honesty) and as a learning experience for him (plus it helps I represent restaurants):

    Will the …

    a) Manager apologize for misinformation, tear up check, & NOT charge us for either meal since I know how sick I’ll be for months? (I would pay anyway if Manger had offered this option first especially as result of his honesty.)
    b) Customer send the manager an invoice for customer’s damages suffered after being glutened specifically after asking all appropriate questions unless Manager wisely chooses (a)?
    c) Customer never return to restaurant again unless Manager wisely chooses (a).

    Choose wisely grasshopper…

    One of my favorite restaurant owner / manager stories involves one of my favorite restaurants. Server brought my meal and the meat was still squealing from the sight of its own blood. I’m ok with some red with beef but not my bone in pork. I asked for & owner quickly came over. I didn’t have to say anything – the horrified look on his face was my answer. However, by time they returned my meal, Sweet Wife was long ago finished with her fish and on to dessert. Owner profusely apologized when he saw situation and I asked to just box up my meal so I could take it home. I told him no problem everybody makes mistakes and I’ll enjoy just as much later & we’ll always be back. He wouldn’t have it any other way – He comped both meals and dessert (including my usual tip) well over $150 at this restaurant. When I told him not at all necessary, he replied “it’s my pleasure for some of our nicest customers and I’m happy to do so – you wouldn’t believe complaints we get from some folks.” Yes, yes I would.

    Incidentally, this is same restaurant where the ignorant employee intentionally glutened me when I first started my CD journey so I know, like and respect the owner very much. Even though I have rarely eaten out this year, I still trust this restaurant and have not gotten sick there anymore.

  7. The problem with not using a teachable moment (hopefully they’re rare!), is that gf inquiries can be dismissed as “fashionable” rather than for safety, and become just another irritant in the extremely hectic lives of servers and cooks. I’ve generally found that when people understand it is a safety concern, they try (somebody DID follow up and check the mayo for you…). After inquiries about the gf desserts on the menu, I wasn’t 100% confident the server hadn’t actually bothered to check, but she assured me so I ate. Afterward, we went back to the kitchen to thank the chef for an amazing meal and I tied my sweater over my by now painful and very bloated stomach. I discretely looked our server in the eye and removed my sweater. I didn’t need to say a word – it was just a moment between the two of us – but the look on her face told me she knew she hadn’t checked and that the next celiac who came into the restaurant would be safe.

  8. I feel that if you are eating at a restaurant that does not proclaim to GF but are accommodating you then it’s your gamble. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat at places like that but you need to trust who is serving you and if you are respectful they are more likely to work hard to earn your trust. If you are not a gambler or if your consequences are severe just don’t eat at restaurants like this (sniff, sniff… I know. I have had to cut out most of my old favorite places).

    If the restaurant has GF items (and we all know that that term at restaurants can have wildly different meanings) then you may want to speak up. If it is probably due to cross-contamination then I would tread lightly only because you “catch more flies with honey” then if you are one of “those” horrible complaining customers. I have been known to respectfully let servers know how easy or bad cross contamination can be for some people. I’ve had many positive conversations with good servers and I’ve always tipped them well for asking questions or for being informed.

    If the server/cook/restaurant blatantly messed up (whoops…there was gluten in there…sorry) then I think it is perfectly ok and justified to be upset and to let them know. It sounds like they should have offered Dude a free meal but put on the spot I’m not sure how I would have reacted. I probably just wouldn’t have went back and possibly sent them an email or even called later after I knew how it affected me.

  9. I agree with your advise, but what on earth were you thinking paying your bill.. or at the very least the extra GF charge when they admitted they fucked up Gluten Dude? I certainly would have made a stink about it…no pun jntended

    1. If it were me, I would have been so horrified over the thought of things to come that my mind probably wouldn’t be on the check at all!

  10. Dude, I think your advice is spot on. The only time I have complained is when I catch it before a bite or when it is egregious.

    On many occasions I have caught the gluten before a bite. Sixth sense maybe? One time stands out in particular. I went to a Thai restaurant with a colleague and asked all the right questions before ordering pad thai (no soy sauce, made in its own pan). When my pad thai arrived it was topped with tempora crunch. When I asked, the waitress says, “Oh the customers like that better than peanuts.” Never saw that coming in a million years. So, I politely explained that the crunch was a) not listed as part of the dish on the menu and should be b) not mentioned as part of the dish during our discussion and c) something I cannot eat because of the gluten, same as the soy sauce etc. I told her they would need to remake the entire dish. They did, and I paid for it because they were great about it. That was truly a case of ignorance. They didn’t know tempora had gluten in it and didn’t think twice about putting it on my food.

    The barbecue restaurant in Charleston, SC where the manager deliberately lied to me about the food, that is another story. I can’t even remember what I ordered, but I was traveling with a group of students and coaches from my alma mater, volunteering as a judge for a huge debate tournament. I used to compete on the team and many of the students and coaches knew me and were well aware of my Celiac Disease (I went to nationals with an informative speech on Celiac Disease in 2006). Like always, I asked tons of questions before ordering. The waitress even brought over her manager when she didn’t know the answers and he assured me what I was ordering was safe. When it arrived, I took a few bites and knew right away there was gluten in it. I called the manager back over and said to him that I believed he was mistaken, that there really was gluten in it. He admits (ADMITS IT!) that he knew there was gluten in it, says that gluten is bull shit – a fad, not real – and that I was making his waitress “upset” with all my questions so he told me it was gluten free to make me “stop.” Then holy hell broke loose. See, he told this to a table of nationally-ranked policy debaters and coaches. I didn’t get to say a word. The coach, the team, everyone immediately goes off, giving this manager the full run down of his stupidity, the reality of Celiac disease and a graphic description of what would happen to me shortly. During this loud exchange, several other customers at other tables got up and left. I was so upset. I was traveling. I knew the hell that awaited me and it was overwhelming seeing everyone jump to my defense, so I ran to the bathroom and cried. (not my best moment) The waitress followed me, also crying, and apologized repeatedly for what happened and told me she hoped I would be OK. While I was in there having a good cry with the waitress, the coach was demanding the name of the owner and threatening to file a negligence lawsuit against the manager and have him fired, and the team was taking photos and notes, should they be called to testify. It was a horrible mess. In the end, no lawsuit was served. The owner apologized. Our entire check (10 people) was comped. I had driven to SC from my home in PA with another judge. We ended up having to stay two extra nights along the way back because I could only make it so far in a day before the violent illness required me to stop and rest. I was sick for months.

    I believe the situation will dictate what you do. Maybe next time you (person who wrote in) are in the restaurant, if they know you, ask to talk to the manager/owner or a waiter you know. Make it clear you are not upset but ask if he or she could oversee you order to ensure it is made safely and suggest they take advantage of training for new employees that includes awareness of gluten and allergens.

    I have found some people genuinely can’t tell corn tortilla from flour ones, don’t know that flour is made from wheat or that soy sauce is too. I actually had a discussion once with a waitress who assured me that because the food was made with white flour not wheat flour I would be OK. And once I asked about gluten at a restaurant and was told “Honey, we don’t put sugar in nothing here.” I firmly believe we get nowhere with scenes like the one my friends caused in that barbecue restaurant. Yes, that manager was 100% wrong and should have been fired. But there was genuine ignorance there too that I doubt was corrected with our brouhaha. Any time I can politely and respectfully educate someone, I try to not let the opportunity pass.

    1. Kate, I’d have PAID to watch that! I am married to a ‘debate champ’ who has 35 years of Toastmasters under his belt and I can just imagine the scene. I am sorry that you had to go through that, but HOO-boy what a teachable moment!

  11. Dude, I too would have been in shock, having just learnt that I had been glutened. I would have paid the bill because that is what one does when they go to a restaurant.

    Now that I’ve been dealing with celiacs for over 2 years, I not only wouldn’t have paid the bill, I would have taken the names of the manager on duty, the server and anyone else who was responsible for preparing my meal. Then I would have written a letter to the Owner of the restaurant to let them know what happened. I did this. No response. Oh well.

    The first time I was glutened in a restaurant, I showed the server the crumbs of fried dough in the basket of french fries that I was assured were fried in a separate fryer than items coated with flour. The server and the manager argued with us that they were, in fact, fried in a separate fryer basket. “Basket” seemed to be where they got hung up. “Fryer” was the word I had emphasised, along with cross-contamination. I had ordered off of the Gluten Free menu. This restaurant/factory no longer has a gluten free menu. Thank God and all the people who used their own ‘teachable moments’ to spark that change. The restaurant comped my meal, but they never agreed that they had glutened me.

    Sooo…I eat at home. Or in our motorhome when we travel. Or at one of 3 100% gluten free restaurants that I trust because I’ve eaten there before and not gotten ill. And when I asked the tricky questions (what kind of vinegar…soy sauce…teriyaki sauce do you use?) they were very understanding and were willing to talk it thru to assuage my fear.

    Eating out, with celiacs, is asking to be glutened. I don’t expect anyone to be as careful with my health as I have to be.

  12. I have been glutened at least two times like this in New York City. The first time was at a popular Asian restaurant that has a GF menu. Within 20 minutes, I knew what was happening and had to throw money down on the table and leave immediately. This was during a celiac meetup too which made their screw up completely unacceptable. When I called them out on this, they denied there was any chance I got sick. When I called after three days of being violently ill, they said “Oops, sorry.”

    The second time was at CookShop where I asked the waiter, manager, and CHEF if the polenta fries were gluten-free. They all said yes and then at the last bite of the last one came out and told me “oops, semolina has gluten right? The fries are dredged in semolina flour.” WTF??? They charged me full price and didn’t bat an eye that said I would be sick in a matter of minutes.

    Knock wood, these were isolated incidents but based on this comment section I think not.

  13. One thing (out of many, of course) which bothers me is how variable we celiacs are in our response to ingestion of gluten, and not knowing where I am in the range. Some people start feeling the reaction before they leave the restautant. Some (e.g., Dude) get hit the second day after. It probably, at least for some of us, depends on the amount of gluten consumed, and maybe also on the form (bread or barley-malt beer, well hydrolyzed). It may even depend on what else is eaten at the same time.

    I was diagnosed 9/11/2013 and have been eating GF since. I’m strict about it, so I’ve had very few problems. (Or maybe I’m close to being one of the “silent celiacs”, and it takes a lot to may me react.) The only one I’m very sure of was from a rice dish that I had about six weeks after I went GF (it was cooked in a clay pot sealed with wheat dough). It only took a few hours before I knew I’d been glutened, and the effects (controllable with immodium) lasted about three days. (But that was shortly after I went GF, and I was still healing, and maybe it would not affect me the same way now.) There have been a few times when I think I may have gotten trace amounts of gluten, but I can’t be sure I didn’t just have some bug. (Just because I have celiac, it doesn’t mean I can’t get a virus or get conventional food poisoning like anybody else.)

    Recently I spent a few days in New Orleans, followed by a week on the American Queen (a beautiful steamboat) on the Mississippi up to Memphis. Came back with a nasty cold, which has dragged on for about two weeks now, leaving me with a cough much like my chronic prediagnosis cough and with fairly constant fatigue. Maybe I’ve been having an ongoing reaction to low level cross-contamination from a week on the boat eating food from a mixed kitchen, and that has made recovery from the cold so slow. If I’d had blood tests and an endoscopy about a week ago, maybe I’d know for sure. But all the damn “if” and “maybe” etc. is hard to live with.

    I’d like to give the AQ some credit for the way the dining room staff took care of me. On more than one occasion, someone would go back to the kitchen to check on something. (Why would there be wheat in baked beans??! But they said there was.) Once a shrimp and grits dish was featured on the lunch buffet. I checked, was told it was okay, took some, then someone checked and found out is wasn’t okay (this was before I’d even gotten through the line). So I took a clean plate and went through the line again. A bit later, the dining room captain came out with a plate of shrimp on rice for me. Very nice recovery. I’d like to say the AQ was safe. But I’m not sure, given my condition for the last couple of weeks. I hate the uncertainty.

    As far as Dude’s glutening experience, I probably would have at least refused to pay for the gluten free sauce I didn’t get. And someone suggested following up with an email; I think that would be appropriate. Of maybe print out this post and all the responses and send it to the restaurant so the restaurant manager would get and idea of how mistakes like that affect celiacs.

    1. It is my opinion that if a menu says it is gfree, then it should be legally bound to make it celiac safe or risk lawsuits. I am sick of companies making money off of my illness. I’d rather not see a “GF menu”, then have it be a lie. THIS INFURIATES ME!
      When will we all be mad enough to make these restaurants and all of the food industry be accountable??!! Getting glutened is NO effing joke.

      From DickL, I liked this answer the best. “maybe print out this post and all the responses and send it to the restaurant so the restaurant manager would get and idea of how mistakes like that affect celiacs.”

  14. Sushi alert – I’ve been seriously ill for a few months and my coeliac levels were through the roof when IU had my bloods done. Turns out some brands of rice wine vinegar that they often use in the rice contains gluten – it’s derived from fermented wine. $#$#@!!!!!! I had no idea – and it adds another level of scrutiny to the questioning when buying sushi – giving a major head’s up to your wonderful coeliac community – be careful peeps!

  15. I got glutened at a pub after asking THREE different people (the chef, the waitress and the money taker) if the meal contained gluten. NO, NO, NO..they said. Okay I think I have that covered, I thought. Big mistake! my horrors always start exactly 8 hours after gluten consumption and it’s so utterly unpleasant and debilitating that I can barely stand up to walk for the next week or so. (doubled over). when I could finally manage to walk upright I went to the pub and demanded to see the manager who got an earful. and then he said “so what do you want? another meal?” I replied: are you kidding me? I’ll never eat here again and I am informing every other coeliac in town to keep away. You really need to NOT DO THIS to someone else. He sent me an email a few weeks later saying that they were more gluten aware. and NO I never went back…

  16. I no longer eat at restaurants – too much risk for too little reward. That said, when I did eat at them and get sick, and I knew it was them, I’d call and let them know the next day. Not to accuse, but to suggest that they need to change things if they really want to be safe for Celiacs. Usually, this was met with sincere thanks. Sometimes with the offer of a free meal. Occasionally with defensiveness and derision. The defensive ones were the ones I always knew were off the list – never again. If they’re not willing to look at their practices to see if there’s something missing, they’re not worth risking.

  17. I think your reaction to actually paying the bill was done out of pure shock, nothing else 🙂 Perhaps an honest review on Yelp or Google? Hope you’re feeling better and please never change- love your honest posts

  18. It is my opinion that if a menu says it is gfree, then it should be legally bound to make it celiac safe or risk lawsuits. I am sick of companies making money off of my illness. I’d rather not see a “GF menu”, then have it be a lie. THIS INFURIATES ME!
    When will we all be mad enough to make these restaurants and all of the food industry be accountable??!! Getting glutened is NO effing joke.

  19. I actually don’t think you should complain to the restaurant in a nasty way, but make things clear to help. Since I’m naive and optimistic I like to think that restaurant try to do things right but sometimes they make mistakes, so let’s help them to make things more right.

    What is important, in my opinion, is to inform the celiac community about safe/not safe places. You’re blog is great, Gluten Dude, why don’t you open a space for this? A list readers can contribute to saying which restaurants are safe/not safe for celiac (can be divided by states, cities etc etc.).
    In this way there could be a systematic review of places where one can expect to eat out without worries. And, if one place turns out to be “not safe”, the community can know about it.
    Just an idea, but I’d definitely appreciate something like that and I would contribute with names of safe places in my area….

  20. Since the restaurant is one that you got to regularly, and they usually do a good job, I think you should let them know, politely, that the meal made you sick. They may have changed suppliers for an ingredient, or a product they use may have changed their recipe, etc. Or it could have just been normal cross-contamination. Just let them know, and keep being a regular. I agree with others who say that it will make them take the next gluten free request more seriously if they hear from someone, especially a regular customer, that carelessness can have bad consequences for us.

  21. It might be better to use something like “Find Me Gluten Free”, which supports reviews and is well-known. It’s current coverage is (IMO) spotty, but it has a tremendous number of places listed already, and a few have a substantial number of reviews. Besides, the Dude has a lot on his plate, and probably doesn’t need another thing.

    I think you have the right idea. Mea culpa, I have not been as regular as I should be in reporting on the few places I have eaten. But we should all record our experiences, good or bad, for the benefit of all.

    1. The problem I have with this app is that it is rarely updated. There are restaurants on their in my area of California that no longer serve GF food nor did they know they were on the app. Also, the last time I checked Delight GF magazine had “sponsored” some of the restaurants and that magazine was sold last year. I find it a bit misleading. I always suggest to my blog readers to use the app but also call ahead so you aren’t disappointed when you get there.

  22. Once a week, a group of us who used to work together get lunch at a local restaurant. For a long time, we ate at the same one. Then, I started feeling sick – specific symptoms that correlate to gluten. I couldn’t figure out the problem – my gluten reaction is delayed, and the specific symptoms that scream “glutened” can be as much as 48 hours later. That restaurant had a Gluten Free menu insert and I had been using it for some time.

    After months of this, not knowing where the gluten came from (my reaction is usually 12-24 hours late), I asked for the manager and asked details about how things were prepared. He said “we’re not Gluten Free, we’re “Gluten Friendly!” WHAT??? The menu said “Gluten Free” in big letters. He told me there were a few things that were not contaminated, but by then… well… I went back a couple of weeks later to try one of the safe things, and the menu insert still said “Gluten Free” but I then noticed, in smaller letters, “Gluten Friendly.” I don’t know if that was added after our talk, or before, but wow! Anyway, I got sick again on one of the “safe” things.

    Our group has not been back and we will not go back. I still don’t know what changed, but “Gluten Friendly” is just wrong – especially when the title is “Gluten Free!”

    So the morals of the story:

    1) Look out for “Gluten Friendly”

    2) Restaurants that used to work can go bad on you, without warning

    3) *Always* ask in detail how the food is prepared, and if you don’t hear exactly the right thing, just don’t eat there!

  23. I think any suspected glutening should be a teaching moment almost always. How do they know otherwise that they need to change something ? I can not tell you how many restaurants I have been to that casually say yes we serve Celiacs all the time, we have you covered! That is now a red flag because 99.9% when I question them further they don’t have their info straight and I get something like “well you must be extra sesnitive because other people with Celiac come in here and eat our french fries that come out of the deep fryer we use for ( insert gluten food ) are ok” or something a like.

  24. I got glutened today at Red Robin. This happened because I let down my guard.

    Two visits ago, I asked about gluten free, and the manager came out and did this big song and dance about their “Burnin’ Love Burger” that could be served on a gluten free bun or wrapped in lettuce. And how they have separate fryers for gluten containing items, and gluten free items. I was assured how seriously they take the issue.

    So I trusted them. They seemed to be serious about it like no one else.

    Today, I ordered the same burger. “The Gluten Free Burnin’ Love Burger, please, wrapped in Lettuce instead of the Gluten Free Bun, and the Gluten Free Sweet Potato Fries.” Seriously. I said it THREE TIMES.

    Half way through the burger, I discovered deep fried jalapeno medallions. My heart sank. I frantically waived down the waitress. “That is a gluten-containing ingredient, isn’t it?” “Yes,” she replied.

    My world starts to spin. I had some idea what this will inevitably cost me because of how I used to feel before going 100% No Apologies Gluten Free. I phoned my nutritionist, trying to determine the best course of action.

    I went into the bathroom and washed my hands. I stuck a finger further down my throat than the finger had ever been before, and retched all of the contents into the porcelain bowl. I puked until I was sure I had nothing left to sacrifice.

    I came out, at which time, the manager promised me a copy of the incident report. 15 minutes later, she told me I couldn’t have a copy.

    She cancelled the charges for our meals. I wasn’t very nice.

    I left quickly, drove over to a supplement store, and purchased a bottle of activated charcoal and water, and have been taking four every hour since. I sincerely hope that it works, because life stops when I get sick.

    I don’t want that to happen again. I’ve been so careful, and so completely rigid about my diet. I didn’t deserve this. I’m sure no one thinks I do. Thanks for listening. 🙂

    1. Oh Karen, that really sucks!! I’m sorry you had to go through all that. That panic almost makes me faint from the amazing fear of it all. Sadly, mistakes like that are all too common and it is the only reason I do not go to any restaurants UNLESS they are 100% gluten free. Please let us know how the charcoal worked out for you!!

      Hang in there!!! Hopefully you will bounce back soon.

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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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