Tips for Handling a Bad Gluten-Free Dining Experience

What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?
What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?

What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?

I travel frequently and love to try new places, despite living a gluten-free life. I put my health in the hands of strangers all the time but it never gets easier. The language barriers seem to be one of the hardest situations I encounter when explaining that I can’t consume gluten.

But through all the experiences, some are wonderful, positive and delicious and others leave little to be desired.

So, you had a bad gluten-free restaurant experience? Now what?

Anyone who lives a gluten-free lifestyle has survived a less than enjoyable experience in a dining establishment. Whether you deal with an agitated waiter or an uneducated kitchen staff, the experience still leaves a salty taste in your mouth. No one wants to go out to eat and have a great time, only to leave there a feel a gluten poisoning coming on to ruin the next few days of your week.

Most recently I entered into a dispute with a manager from a place I’ve eaten at before and received wonderful service from the girls working there, over their gluten-free menu. He told me it didn’t exist and when I asked for the orange menu from behind the bar with the gluten filled items scratched out on it, he told me the menu was exactly the same as the regular one. No kidding, I know it’s the same, but this one very clearly has it blacked out the items they can’t make safe for me and giant warnings about their chips not cooked in a dedicated fryer. He literally argued with me for 5 minutes about it before I just sat down and talked to my server about it.

I’ve been poisoned before and had a bad experience. Here are my tips on how to handle an unpleasant gluten-free restaurant experience.

  1. Try not to fly into an immediate rage or hysterics. While certainly you are emotional and for all the right reasons, now isn’t the time to go into antics. Compose yourself and ask to speak to the manager.
  2. Hopefully, the manager will offer to make it right or at least take care of your bill since they made you sick and it will end with them. But, sometimes you need to take it up the chain. One time I suffered from a horrible experience at an Asian themed restaurant where they served me an entire plate of regular sauced food and I was sick immediately. I barely made it out of there without changing my pants. The manager was less than sympathetic and assured me I received the correct meal. Clearly by my dash to the restroom before I even finished eating was a sign he didn’t know what he was talking about. I had no choice but to take it up a level.
  3. I wrote an email to the corporate office of the restaurant. I explained the situation in a calm, descriptive manner. When they didn’t respond within 48 hours, I wrote a blog post about my experience.
  4. The blog post was shared with their Facebook and Twitter pages and sure enough within 12 hours of the post, I received a message from them and spoke with their communications director who offered me a gift card in exchange for my experience.
  5. Then I wrote a review on Yelp and copied it to other sites with the corrected information about how they made the situation better and finally responded to the problem.

I am NEVER quick to write a bad review. I believe the business has the right to remedy the situation prior to it escalating to a negative review or blog post. When I write the review, I will mention the problem and then clearly explain how they decided to make the situation better.

If the manager and/or owner fail to respond to my attempts to get them to remedy the situation, then I will make it known very publicly about the situation and my attempts to offer them the opportunity to make things better.

Have I gone back to a restaurant after having a negative experience? Yes. But, if I have a problem on the second time, I can tell you it will be my last time eating there.

There are also times where I’ve gone to places that I loved because I always felt safe and they failed me. It happens everywhere and we need to always have our guard up.

 

It’s okay to be in a funk!

Funk.

I. Am. In. A. Funk.

I’ve  been traveling a lot lately and I think it is starting to take a toll on my body. There is this funky feeling I haven’t had for quite some time now and I don’t know exactly how to put my finger on it.

I just feel off. Not on my A game.

Am I worried something might be going on with my body? Absolutely.

Do I think it’s probably a combination of stress, anxiety, traveling, how busy I’ve been and just generally trying to keep my head above water? Yes.

If you are reading my blog, you know all about feeling “off.” That feeling you get when something isn’t right and you aren’t quite sure if it was the food you ate, how you are sleeping or something internal. Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac disease and endometriosis, I think I am much more in tune to my body than every before. I pick up on patterns now and realize things much faster than before. But even now, I still get stumped by things.

My weight keeps on increasing despite attempts to get back on the fitness program. I know I’ve been snacking more lately and drinking alcohol more than normal but not to the point of where my weight is now. I recommitted to myself 4 days ago and am on the right track. I’m motivated and ready to go. So, then why have I had a migraine for 3 days? It’s like there is always something to get in the way lately and I haven’t been in the mood to push through it.

Sometimes I am hard on myself. I’m in the fitness industry, I own a gym and I write fitness articles so I assume I should look the part. But, on the flip side, I have a few chronic diseases that people can’t see which control my body in more ways than one. It’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. Actually, my therapist last year said that “frustrated” is just a nicer word for anger. Which is true, I am mad at myself and my body today.

I think it’s important to share my feelings on good days and bad days for all of you to know I’m not perfect (as much as I’d like to think I am though lol). I go through those periods where it just seems like everything goes wrong and you just want to watch TV all day. I’m trying now to pull myself out of it and it’s tough but I can do it. Last night the last thing I wanted to do with a headache was do a workout, so instead I took the dog for a walk. He enjoyed it and his happy tail wagging helped me with my mood. Aaron even came out with us last night and did a tour of the neighborhood. It was nice.

I’ll get through this! I know I will. I want you to know you will too. If you feel like you’re in a funk and just can’t get out of it, that’s okay.

Sometimes, we just need to hit the restart button.

I have a ton of stuff going on in my personal life that I can’t talk about publicly yet (all good stuff!) but they are major life changes (no I’m not pregnant) and have consumed a lot of my time and life the last few months. I need to pay attention to everything wonderful in my life and just keep treading water until things get better!

Conquering Self Doubt

decisiontotry

Self doubt. I’m not immune to it. Some days it completely fills my thoughts.

Tackling a major project can seem so difficult. The goal looks so far in the distance and completely out of reach. It feels like you are never going to get to where you want to go. I started writing my book about 2 months ago and finally submitted it to my editor today!

Talk about time-consuming and feeling like you are never going to get something done. I’m celebrating at the park where I’ve been writing my book for the last few weeks and just enjoying blogging without feeling guilty for not allocating this time to writing my book. I apologize for the sporadic blog posts the last 2 months, but when you take on the project of writing 60,000 words for a book, its tough to keep going for a blog post. But, I didn’t forget about you, I promise!

When I took on this book writing project, I knew it was going to be difficult. It was doing to be hard. I went deep into my own life to share my rock bottom stories with you and how I moved on to see another day. A better, more positive day. I can’t wait to get this book to print!

Everything I read said “write every day.” And, I did. Even if it was 300 words, I added to my book every. single. day. The days added up and so did the words. I submitted the book a week later than planned. But had I turned it in last week, I would have been sub par at best. I needed more days and more time to fine tune it. I’m so glad I took that time. Although it’s just my rough draft, I’m happy with the first result.

I honestly doubted myself the entire way through this process.

Could I write this book?

Who will read this book?

Who cares?

I started Pretty Little Celiac with the same doubts and look where it’s grown to this day. If I gave up a year ago, we wouldn’t know each other and you wouldn’t be reading this blog! I’m writing my story to tell how I overcome adversity to live a happy and full live. I share my deepest and darkest secrets from my life to help you heal and move on – I swear, I am sharing EVERYTHING.

Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on the status of the book. It’s set to come out mid-October, just in time for my speaking engagement at the Food Allergy Blogger Conference in Las Vegas November 2-5.

Of course, I’m already planning my celiac book for summer 2014!

Thank you for sticking with me and sharing your stories! It pushes me to work harder and help even more than I already do

 

Recipe: Clean and Gluten Free Rotisserie Chicken

chickendinner
Clean Rotisserie Chicken

Maybe I should have called this Fauxtisserie Chicken because it tastes like it but without cooking it the same way!

I’ve been pretty bored with our options lately at home and feel a rut coming on with dinners. In order to stop it, I found some ideas for clean gluten-free dinners and I’ll post them as we go each week. The first one was a home run and I’m thrilled to tell you about it!

I wanted to get a rotisserie chicken but I think we need to open our eyes to the hormones in those chickens and fillers to make them so cheap at the grocery stores. I guess technically this is a baked chicken but it looked and tasted just like a rotisserie so I’m going to call it that!

So, I ran over to Trader Joe’s to see what they had in the store that day. I found a small, organic, young chicken which weighed about 4.5 pounds. A little big for Aaron and I but I figured it would make great left overs.

Here’s how I made it

Ingredients

-Small Chicken – preferable hormone free and organic
-4 Tablespoons of coconut oil
-2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary
-2 Garlic pieces – chopped or minced
-3 Tablespoons of unsalted grassfed butter – we use Kerrygold
-2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean the chicken with water and then put it in an oven save dish or roasting pan. I used a clear pyrex baking dish because that’s all I have to work with.
  3. In a small saute pan – I threw it on low heat and mixed the coconut oil, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and butter for about 5 minutes to let the flavors mix together
  4. Once the chicken was clean I put it in the glass pan and grabbed a marinade brush to rub the dressing all over the chicken making sure it covered the whole surface and I poured the rest inside the chicken.
  5. Cook the chicken for 25-30 minutes per pound. My 4.5 pound chicken was done in about 75 minutes
  6. We let it cool for about 1o minutes prior to cutting
  7. It was served with broccolini that I baked and threw some kerrygold butter on after taking it out

I was delightfully giddy when my husband cut into the chicken and the juices streamed into the pan. I don’t care for the skin but it was crispy as you can see from the picture! It was amazing. It’s  very rare I venture out to try new things like this but I must say this was a home run. Something I will make in the future. It only took about 15 minutes to get ready so the cooking time took the longest.