Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Glutened ?

I know this going to sound stupid but I wondering if I have been glutened ?

I had a night out with my brother in Brussels ( I know it does sound very glam ,but he lives over there ) .

As a treat to a niece we ate out at The Hard Rock Cafe ,I didn't want to make to much of a scene so just avoided the oblivious gluten stuff ,I had a rack of lamb with a BBQ sauce .

And yes I know I should have got them to check .

We went on to a few bars and even with all those fantastic Beligan beers I stuck to wine,cider and a Whisky .

A few drinks were taken as we had a lot of catching up to do .

The following morning was mainly spent close to the loo !!

My question is ,was it due to the drink or have I been glutened ?

Confusing for me as I have never had any illness / symptoms in the past .


10 Replies

Hmmmm I'll ignore the 'you should have grilled the manager and asked for gluten free food!' comment that I want to make.

I think you basically know that you should've spoken up and were probably glutened. From my distant past I vaguely remember The Hard Rock Cafe being full of fries and burgers with buns.

Lamb itself of course should be GF - yet I have suspicions about whether the BBQ sauce you had was. Did you eat anything else there?

Of course mixing grain and grape in the drink department didn't help you either ; )

The general consensus worldwide is that Whisky is GF due to the distillation process - although many members of our forum here will argue it can still cause a reaction. Remember that alcohol is inflammatory to the stomach. So you are probably suffering some glutening and a combination of drinking a lot of drinks which you wouldn't normally do that have also irritated your stomach lining.

A lot of people on here - myself included - never had any obvious symptoms in the past. But the longer you stay GF for often the more severe your reaction can be to the smallest amount of gluten. Also as CD is an autoimmune disease remember that the body can react differently to it. Do remember that whether you have an 'obvious' reaction or not ingesting gluten as a diagnosed coeliac will damage your villi and more! It will slowly shorten your life so why risk it for the sake of asking a few simple questions? More to the point why don't your friends and family ask you where you can eat easily? Surely they don't want you to suffer cancer, osteoporosis and a myriad of other diseases associated with CD?

That being said I'd now recommend you take a practical approach. Drinking lots of tonic water works for me - the quinine within it relaxes the stomach, reduces bloating and lessens some of the foul wind after effects. Ginger tea can also help with any nausea.

If you find it hard to speak up for yourself - consider the example you are setting for other Coeliacs and the impression you are leaving with people who know you. If you don't speak up they won't take Coeliac Disease seriously nor will your friends, relatives or restaurants you eat out at. Which would be a real shame.

Good luck getting over the effects.

Here's some useful Belgian blogs to keep you on the straight and narrow in future...

PS I'm not in my most sympathetic mood as I've been glutened by a new Lemongrass paste I used in my fave homemade thai curry last night. How do I know - 4 hrs sleep, foul wind and a long time on the loo! And no I don't normally get reactions either... Next on my list is replying to the producer about my complaint. No gluten ingredients were in it but it's the only new thing I used. My point is where you can avoid glutening - do. Who wants to be stuck on the loo or bugger their body up and out it at risk of Cancer?


Thanks Fiona ,

Maybe this is the wake up call I needed ,trouble is I hate being the awkward one and making a scene ,really I should make more of an effort .

My Brother bless him stocked up on a load of GF stuff ,cereals ,crisps ,beer and freshly baked bread which was delicious .

Didn't get a chance to visit the above shop because it was closed for Easter holiday .

Think I need to be more assertive and strict with diet .

The worse thing was it the day we travelled back and I dreaded getting the train etc .

Thanks for your feedback ,helpfull as always


Myleshead - you know, we all hate having to ask a load of questions when we eat out but we do it so we're not made ill. And our real friends and family don't give a shit as they want us to be well. So who are you worried about asking - a total stranger you'll probably never see again? Silly isn't it? If you were on a low salt diet and needed to ask for no added salt in your food you would. Being a Coeliac is no different it's just dull, boring, stressful and irritating to constantly ask the same questions over and over and over again when we eat out. I'm seriously considering doing a voice recording on my phone so I can just swig some wine whilst I do my boring Coeliac questions. Life can be shit. But we could be a lot worse off. And if you go back to good local restaurants the manager's remember you and you don't have to start from the 'let me explain what coeliac disease and gluten free is...'

It gets easier. But you really have to start to find that out...


I am so like you in hating to be the one who appears awkward and fussy, even though I know if I do not check when dining out I will invariably suffer the consequences. I do like Fiona's tongue in cheek suggestion that we use a recorded message to get through 'the boring bits' before we make our menu selections. Many more restaurants are gluten free aware but that doesn't mean we won't still get glutened as they haven't all grasped the cross-contamination issue have they? Best we keep plugging away and try to be braver when dining out! :)


Jools make yourself a series of business card size notes to hand them if it works but being silently hopefully doesn't as I'm OCD/ Anal with my questions and I still get glutened. In fact you often have to be more careful in places with GF menus. Example...I rang Prezzo's head office to ask why the fries and kids pasta was GF on their allergy list online. It turned out they'd made a mistake and the pasta was normal and the fries were cooked in the same oil as gluten. Now the restaurant manager told me he would just have told me it was all fine as they run with whatever the head office give them. I chased Prezzo for a day so they amended their website and explained how dangerous getting a typo on an excel spreadsheet could be for a coeliac - especially a kid. Mistakes happen. Always always always ask difficult questions. It's your health not theirs ; )


Sometimes barbeque sauce has soy sauce or (wheat derived) thickeners. It's one of those things that could easily be gf but isn't always. :-(


Oh the embarrassment factor of eating out! Ordering... it's the part of the evening that nearly always gets very tricky. I also think it's horrible, but at the end of the day is it any worse than being glutened? While you have my heartfelt sympathy, I agree with Fiona on this one - you do have to ask again and again until you are totally sure they know what they are doing.

The more people who show courage each time and do this; then hopefully in the long run the easier it will start to become for everyone.

It is a steep learning curve in the beginning though as I found to my cost...

I hope you're feeling a little better now.


I've eaten at the Hard Rock Cafe and was fine but I did ask. It may have been cc that got you if the staff were unaware of your needs or it may have been the bbq sauce. Alternatively, although they say gf, I cannot safely drink whiskey. Whether that is certain brands and not all I haven't investigated...something to do with the process and the barrels.

I tend to carry the restaurant cards with me, even in the UK, and generally hand one over to whoever is serving and ask if they could have a word with the chef as to what he can make safe for me to eat. I have found this approach to be easy and without huge fuss. In fact, the biggest fuss is the chefs who want to please and come out to offer all sorts of concoctions in their endeavours to make sure I have a great meal. Download the cards from they come in virtually every language.


A good point Jillp we often only consider the cards when going abroad but they can help in the UK as well. And you can copy and save a version onto your mobile as well.


Thanks Everyone for your responses , all very helpful , like so many of you have said it is better to ask and clarify rather then be ill the following day ,just need to be assertive ,after the last experience I think I will have to ,I never used to get any symptoms but it seems the longer you are GF the more sensitive you become ? Who knew ?

Thanks again


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