I thought we knew it all. It was going to be an easy switch. All we had to do was not eat wheat, barley and rye and boom, my son would be healed. It started off that way, but there was definitely a learning curve.
Little did I know that gluten was not only found in grain sources but hidden in sauces, used as a thickening agent. Gluten is cheap filler essentially.
We first began learning about this during a trip to the Big Island, Hawaii last summer. Up until then, Maximus had ZERO gluten episodes, since his cracker incident. I was feeling pretty good with myself and probably getting a little to confident in his gluten recovery.
The Path to Dining Out Gluten-Free…
What to watch out For
Ordering items that are naturally gluten-free, does not mean they will be prepared gluten-free when dinning out. Cross-contamination is a huge problem. We first learned of this when we ordered sweet potato fries on our trip. Soon after enjoying them, within fifteen minutes he was in the bathroom with a stomach ache and diarrhea. Lesson learned. Fryer’s not only fry potatoes but breaded foods too! The oil is loaded with gluten from the cross contamination! We have found one restaurant locally that does make gluten-free sweet potato fries, so we go there for a treat!
When dinning out, always tell your server that you are avoiding gluten and there is an allergy. Restaurant staff is becoming so much more aware of it and most know the precautions. However, some do not.
Always ask that your meal be prepared:
In its own separate and thoroughly washed pot or pan.
Using separate and thoroughly cleaned cutting boards and utensils.
With care by the food handlers to avoid cross-contamination of foods.
Avoid the fryer at all costs, unless they are 100% sure they only fry potatoes and other gluten-free items in it. Instead, make the BEST Sweet Potato Fries at home!
Hawaii is known for their Pacific Rim cuisine which has an asian influence. Teriyaki sauce, marinades and dressings contain soy sauce. One of the main ingredients in soy sauce is wheat gluten. A big no-no. We ordered steak, rice and veggie bowls for the boys, and again, 15 minutes later Maximus was in the bathroom having another episode. The steak was marinated in a soy sauce concoction. We learned here just how sensitive he was.
Always ask the server if soy sauce was used in making the meal or in the meat marinade. You can always bring a gluten-free alternative to the restaurant with you, especially if you are going to enjoy some sushi! One we love at home is Braggs Liquid Aminos! It is a delicious alternative to gluten containing soy sauce. If you are avoiding soy, Organic Coconut Aminos is delicious as well!
Other asian inspired foods to watch out for all Chinese, Thai (Pad Thai or noodle dishes), and Japanese.
Gluten-Free Pasta and Creamy Sauces at Italian Restaurants
Once we started learning about cross contamination. We made sure to begin asking questions at all restaurants. It became second nature. Italian is our all time favorite food with my husbands Italian roots and me living abroad in Italy in college, I was worried how this would affect us. Eating gluten-free Italian can be done!
Again, just because the pasta is gluten-free make sure it is prepared in its own fresh pot of cooking water. Authentic Italian Alfredo doesn’t contain flour, but some Italian restaurants add it to thicken the sauce. Be sure to ask that it is made without flour. Avoid breaded items, like eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, and chicken picatta. Make those gluten-free at home easily with almond flour. Avoid the bread basket, order a salad or antipasto plate instead. Doesn’t that just sound so much healthier anyway!?
One restaurant we LOVE to go to is Cucina Alessa in downtown Huntington Beach. They serve homemade pesto sauce with their bread. Right away we tell our server that we want to pass on the bread, but would love a side of sautéed broccoli. My kids LOVE to dip and dipping broccoli in pesto is a pretty darn good alternative!
Say NO to Beer
Beer to drink, beer battered, or anything cooked in beer. Beer is made from water, a glutinous grain (usually malted wheat or barley), yeast and hops. Stay clear when dining out or in for that matter!
However, There has been some new experimentation with gluten-free beer. If you are craving a cold one or want to do some gluten-free cooking with beer, Check out The Gluten-Free Craft Beer Guide. They have some great options.
This is my boy Maximus! He is now thriving and growing like crazy. Celiac disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence to enjoying food and life. All it takes is a little time, dedication, and a commitment to better your health. Traveling to Hawaii was a big wake-up call for us. We had so much to learn, but learn we did! We are all back on the path to health, healing and eating gluten-free!
Not only does gluten effect those with celiac disease, but really everyone can benefit! Even if you do not suffer from many of the major effects. Removing gluten can only make you healthier!
Cheers to health, wellness and longevity! Be sure to check back on some of my favorite gluten-free recipes, Grain-Free Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins, Paleo Peach Cobbler, and top with Paleo coconut whipped Cream