Now, our forays into dining have become limited (and strangely, my bank account has had a respite...). But with a few modifications, you can overpay for marginally safe food too! I have some helpful tips that were hard at first, but have become second nature.
Things I have in my car:
- Packets of soy sauce (SanJ GF)-you can find them in a box of 12 or so. I got mine at the Gluten Free Specialty Store-I like to support small business-but you can pick them up most places. I have seen them at some Raley's and Safeways
- Packets of salad dressing, single servings (I bring along the Newman's Own Light Italian Dressing)
- Liberate the single serve items from your fave fast food-Mc D's carries Newman's dressings
- Go to Minimus.biz They carry all sorts of travel sizes, including a variety of natural items that you can buy by the single item. They ship fast, too! And, they seem to be adding more and more natural items. I love them for nut butters, hummus and GF crackers, too. I keep them in my car in case of a spontaneous meal out
I worked in a couple restaurants back in my day, so I know many people ask for special accommodations. The key to this is remembering that these people work incredibly hard, and usually deal with douches, assholes, freaks, drunks, and people trying to show off for their friends by treating others like shit. You may not have a choice about what you need to eat, but you always have a choice in how you ask for help. I use some of these:
- Sorry, I'm "one of those people" that likes to make your job difficult-I would like the (fill in the blank) but leave off the (blank), (blank), and (blank). [Then, I use a charming, self-depracating smile-practice this in a mirror so you look properly apologetic]
- Hi! I have some serious allergies, and I hate to be a pain, but can I modify the (blank)? [The answer is 99% yes and if they say no, you really don't want to eat there anyways]
- Just order it how you want it. Remember your manners. "I would like the chicken club, no tomatoes, cheese or mayo, on lettuce instead of bread, please. Can I substitute fruit instead of fries? Great, thanks!" Yeah, right, I'm TOTALLY macking on the fries. Do as I say, not as I do.
Once again, technology is your friend. Allergy Eats. It's a website that allows people to rate their local eateries based on how accommodating they are to people with allergies. I learned to ask my local sushi place to change knives and cutting boards from this website.
Oh, and don't forget about technology-(I'm starting to sound like a broken record/8-track/mp3, aren't I?) If you know where you are going to eat, go online and check the website. There is tons of info available. If the website of the restaurant does not have info, Google, "Red Robin Gluten Free" (Actually, Red Robin has GREAT info about allergies, but I was using them as an example-their fries are da bomb!). Many other people have blogged about their experiences, or have posted info about your favorite places.
Obvious choices for GFCF dining:
- Sandwiches and burgers, served protein style (lettuce instead of buns), no cheese, no mayo
- Salads, with your own dressing (no croutons, no bread on the side, no cheese, ask how the chicken is cooked and what seasoning is used, soy sauce is common)
- Sushi and sashimi, with your trusty soy sauce you have in the car (No teriyaki!)