Out of the biggest challenges I’ve had since being diagnosed with celiac disease has been eating out. We used to eat out about once per week. It was often a treat or an opportunity to socialize. With the renovations, grabbing a quick meal became a bit of a norm. We had fast food meals on most weekends. Unfortunately, with the need to be gluten-free that limited where I could eat. I ate a lot of In-N-Out Burger and Asian Box – both great places to get gluten-free meals, but after a few weeks I was getting rather sick of them.
When friends said they were picking up dosas (South Indian Food) I had them ask about gluten. The restaurant confirmed that they were gluten-free with little risk of cross contamination, and so I asked for one. I figured I might as well give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed the potato filled dosa with some coconut chutney. Originally, I thought I’d only have a bite or two, but I realized that if I’m going to get exposed to gluten, the difference between a bite and an entire dosa doesn’t matter. My body will react the same way. And so I thoroughly enjoyed the dosa. It’s been a couple of days, and I’m still feeling good – which means that the dosa and chutney were indeed gluten-free.
Now that I’ve been gluten-free for several months (since October, 2015), I’m feeling like my stomach and skin are finally healthy enough for me to branch out a little. I’m also feeling like I cannot live with a constant fear of getting sick. I cannot live with anxiety around having lunch with friends – or asking my friends to only ever eat at one restaurant. I need to feel that I can be more flexible but also that I can enjoy not just the social aspect of lunch with friends, but also the eating part of lunch with friends. I’m a foodie. I love good food. I want to be able to enjoy good food.
It occurred to me that I need to approach my restaurant / eating out in a similar manner as elimination diets. Now that I’m feeling ‘healthy’, I can add one new thing (probably once per week) and experiment with what I can do without getting sick. Being able to eat different types of cuisine and having different restaurants to choose from really helps me manage life – especially social life and travel. So now I just need to find out where my friends got the dosa, so I can add that restaurant to my list of options!