Living with Coeliac Disease – Part 2
For the second part of our conversation with Vandna, a postgraduate student who was diagnosed with coeliac disease earlier this year, we asked her about the difficulties associated with eating out.
Have you been able to eat out at restaurants etc. as much as you did before your diagnosis?
No. I went to Paris soon after being diagnosed and it was very difficult to find something to eat. I felt I was annoying my friends after a bit because I just couldn’t pick a place to eat where I would feel safe to eat. I felt like a right fusspot!
Even here in England, there are certain places that I feel safe to eat in for example Pizza Express and Pizza Hut but there is so much gluten-free pizza I can eat (I would not be saying that to normal pizza but the gluten-free pizza base tastes very dry).
I don’t go out to each much at all anymore. My family have stopped going out to eat at the family-favourites because of me too. Although sometimes when they bring back a take-away I feel jealous and sulk in the corner haha.
What has put you off the most about eating out now you need to avoid gluten?
a) I feel fussy. I know eating gluten makes me ill, but I’d rather just not go than come across very fussy. I know my family didn’t understand at the start, so I just assume everyone else will be just as difficult to explain to so instead, I just don’t go out to eat. I can easily just sit and have a hot drink but again, that’ll bring the focus on to me. It’s best to just avoid the ”Why aren’t you eating?” ”You’re not on a diet are you?! You’re already so thin!” comments.
b) I just don’t feel completely safe eating out because there may be certain additives that aren’t listed on the menu and I just don’t feel comfortable or reassured even having asked the waiter/waitress if a certain food is gluten-free. Sometimes the restaurant just says there isn’t anything GF to avoid complications. And sometimes (especially in Indian restaurants) they may say it doesn’t contain anything with gluten but they may miss the small additives and flavourings.
List GF items separately or just acknowledge and write on the menu that a certain food is/can be made GF. Furthermore, I think if the manager or someone higher up came out and reassured me that anything that is listed as GF is in fact GF, I would be more likely to go and visit the place again. I feel that sometimes the waiter/waitress isn’t trained or educated about allergies and how serious they can be and it can be intimidating.
Are you aware of the changes to EU laws regarding allergens this December?
Is it that every food has to have any containing allergens beside the food in the menu? If it is that then that’d be AMAZING!
Unfortunately, eating out is one of the major things that those with food allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease find themselves having to give up, due to a mixture of feeling ‘fussy’ because others don’t fully understand the implications of their allergies; and because of worries that they will accidentally eat something they’re allergic to. Training the staff at your restaurant or food business means they can put your customers at ease and provide food which is completely safe for those with food allergies. Food Freedom provides everything you need to put these measures in place in an expert, bespoke course.Tags: Advice, Allergen labelling, Allergy Training, Coeliac Disease, Eating out, EU legislation, Food Allergies, Information
Categorised in: Coeliac Disease