When dining out, most people don’t think too much about every ingredient in their food. But people with celiac disease always need to be on high alert for one specific thing – gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, malt and rye. In people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an immune response that attacks the small intestine.
Having to watch out for gluten in every single thing you eat can be stressful, especially when dining out. However, here are some simple ways to have an easier, more enjoyable dining experience:
- Understand which foods contain gluten, which can be hidden in many dishes. Common foods that contain gluten are pastas, noodles, breads/pastries, cereal, baked goods, croutons, sauces and gravies (using wheat flour) or even beer.
- Select restaurants with gluten-free options – Many restaurants serve gluten-free items, however not all of them advertise these choices. Be sure to do some research ahead of time and see if the restaurant has an online menu containing all their offerings. Don’t be afraid to call the restaurant to discuss your options. Ask if they have a gluten-free menu or if any of their items can be made gluten-free.
- Inform your waiter and don’t be afraid to ask questions – Once your waiter arrives to your table, inform him or her that gluten makes you ill. If your server isn’t informed about items containing gluten on the menu, ask to speak with the restaurant manager or the chef. If there is a food item that you want that is made or coated with a sauce containing gluten, don’t be afraid to ask for that item without the sauce or ask whether there are gluten-free substitutes.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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