Now that it’s been a few months (weeks? Who knows!) I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of eating gluten free, at least at home. It gets a little trickier going out to eat. But, since I refuse to live a miserable existence for the next 90 years, I won’t be letting that get me down.
I figure, if I could learn HOW to eat gluten free at restaurants, I won’t miss out on any of the more social and fun aspects of going to restaurants and traveling. Especially because June is a crazy month for me. I went to a weekend bachelorette party in Boston, I’m currently doing a week in Disney and in two weeks, I’ll be spending another few days in Connecticut.
I’ll start by saying I’ve been blessed enough to not be so sensitive that cross contamination is an issue. I have, however noticed that I’ve started having actual physical reactions to eating obvious gluten. I ate a graham cracker recently (I know, of all things to waste a gluten-ing on) and felt terrible. But of course I’m stubborn, so I assumed it was a coincidence and I tried a piece of flatbread while I was in Boston. Literally, I almost died. I think i finally learned my lesson… maybe.
The trip to Boston was certainly a challenge. I found we were eating in a lot of gastro-pubs that didn’t necessarily cater to the celiacs of the world. I had a lot of burgers with no buns. However, the day I left, I found a place that had gluten free buns and I was able to have a burger WITH a bun. It was an exciting day.
Disney, on the other hand, has made eating gluten free so easy I actually don’t even have to think about it. I called Disney about a week before we came and told them about my allergy. I also told them we were celebrating my moms birthday and asked them to sing to her at every restaurant. She has not been pleased.
Every restaurant we’ve been to has given me an allergy friendly menu and offered to have an Allergy Specialist come to the table to discuss my needs with us (aka, with my mom). The allergy menus have almost exactly the same food, prepared gluten free, dairy free, nut free, whatever you need, they have it. There’s even awesome dessert options, which is great because many desserts are made as gluten-y as possible.
All my meals have come out with cool “allergy” toothpicks to ensure nothing gluteny goes in my dish. Since I’ll be coming to Disney at least once a year for the rest of my life, I think I’ll save the toothpicks and build my future home out of them.
The waiters and waitresses have also been fantastic. We had one waitress who looked near tears when she told my mom and sister the soups of the day, and then explained none of the options were gluten free. While I appreciated her sympathy, it was 94 degrees and I really really had absolutely 0 interest in soup. The same waitress brought my mom a complimentary dessert for her birthday and made sure it was gluten free so we could all share.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I totally can eat out, but it’s important to go with a plan. Googling menus and communicating with the waitstaff is key… something I didn’t do in Boston but have had a lot of success with in Disney. I’ll let you know how it goes when I try it in Connecticut!