A different type of elimination diet – #celiac and eating out
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!