Diagnosed as coeliac and finding it hard to find restaurants with gf options and no cross-contamination

Hello! I am new to this community and have very much appreciated the posts I've read on this site. I am finding it tough to eat out anywhere as the restaurants I have visited will say they have gf options on their menus but can't ensure that cross-contamination hasn't occurred. I go home and sometimes get reactions from eating out. Guess I may be very sensitive to cross-contamination? Are there good restaurant chains that guarantee gf in their menu options?

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  • Dont think any eatery would fully guarantee that you wont be cross contaminated unless it is a completely gf restaurant and they are few and far between and probably expensive. Funily enough one showed up on a coeliac fb page a week or so ago in london.

    Are you sure its not something else in your new diet which is causing the reaction? Many are lactose intolerant and despite supposedly being ok malt barley ie. vinegar is a big nono for many, myself included.

    Can you remember what you had previously to cause your past reactions? Others also find that having coeliac throws up lots of unsuspecting food intolerances eggs, onions and garlic being just a couple.

  • Hi! Thanks so much for your response and the suggestions of other possible intolerances in things like vinegar and other additional hidden ingredients. I am not sure but I could be milk intolerant? My sister can't have lactose. It makes me wary of ever going out to eat. I may go on an elimination diet if symptoms don't improve Thank you for the help and support!

  • I don't think anyone will guarantee lack of cross-contamination as it would be very risky for them legally! However, I think you can find ways to eat out even if you end up sticking to chains.

    I'm very wary of eating out in untried places but personally have never had any problems with Côte and Carluccio's (both of which have special gluten-free menus if you ask) and Brasserie Blanc.

  • Ask restaurants have a special gf menu with good selection 😃

  • Hi! Thanks for the tip about Ask restaurants. We have one where I live. 😀🙏🏽

  • Have also found Giraffe and Zizzi have some good choices.

  • Randomly Nandos are great, you can even have the chips! And Cote are good, as are Cafe Rouge and many other big chains like pizza express, Zizzi and Dominoes.

    I particularly like Pho where everything is Gluten Free except one pudding and if you order that, it comes out in a plastic bag so that it doesn't contaminate everyone else! I love the reverse freakery of that!

  • Thanks so much for these tips! I don't think we have a Pho near us, but the others are all close by so I can try different places and their menus. Didn't know about Nandos, great news!

  • Chiquitos is also very good - they have just updated their menu and I had fajitas with GF soft corn tortillas! They also have a nice GF beer that isn't lager - B said it tasted like proper beer 😆

    That said, it can be a bit like Russian roulette when eating out, especially if you're super-sensitive but things are getting better!

    C xx

  • Oh! I do love the Mexican and thanks for the tip about Chiquitos. Think there is one locally, hurrah! Great tips, with much gratitude. :D

    Steffenheffen xx

  • Arriba!! 🌮🍻 xx

  • As you have been recently diagnosed you should maybe bear in mind that it can take as long as 18 months for the digestive tract to heal properly and you can still get symptoms for a while. Also some newly diagnosed coeliacs are initially intolerant to lactose due to damage to the gut but this should heal in time.

    Another thing to consider is that many recent additions to the gluten free range contain oats and from personal experience this upsets me more that gluten.

  • Yeah, I hear you about the oats problem. I have to be very careful with anything containing oats, even gluten free ones. It's only been about 5 months that I've been on a gf diet (with some continuing symptoms) so yes, I will give it a bit longer to see how symptoms improve...sometimes I feel one step forward and two back, but generally I am feeling much much better overall. :) Thanks for the post!

    Steff xx

  • On oats, my dietician advised no oats (even GF) for 18 months / 2 yrs after diagnosis just to give everything time to heal properly and to have some time asymptomatic. And on lactose, try to still have dairy (e.g. hard cheese or lactose free milk) otherwise you can start to develop allergies. Again, my dietician says I may never get tolerance to lactose back but it doesn't mean cutting out everything, just making small changes. Best of luck!

  • I believe some coeliac react to the gluten found in oats, and some don't. I asked for blood tests before and after eating oats to see if there was a reaction. I think they measure something called tissue transglutimanase antibodies, or Ttga. The oats that I eat are 'gluten free', meaning they don't contain gluten from other grains through cross-contamination. From a visit to a dietician a few years back, I understand oats are very good, being wholegrain and containing calcium.

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