There are many food sensitivities out there that wreak havoc on the digestive system; but for many those sensitivities can turn into something more. Celiac disease is one of them.
Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing certain parts of foods that keep us healthy. The damage and lack of absorbtion is caused by an ingredient called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is also used as a base ingredient in many food products and therefore can make it very difficult for some to stay properly nurished.
I have come across many individuals with such a disease and it’s heart wrenching to see the trials they go through to give their bodies the nurishment it needs. As restaurants and markets become more educated on what it means to be gluten free, and what gluten is, the more freedoms those with such a disease will have in finding the right foods. Here is a list of websites for those with a baking craving or sweet tooth. All of these sites offer gluten free recipes and products: 123glutenfree.com, authenticfoods.com, nuffinsbakery.com, thepurepantry.com, glutenfreemixes.com, simplyorganic.com, stonewalkitchen.com, eatpastry.com and 3 fellersbakery.com.
While celiac is not the only digestive sensitivity out there, it is one of the biggest. But there are many others; lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, crohns, acid reflux and colitis are just a few. For many people the idea of going out to dinner is not one of pure enjoyment, but instead of pure agony. Thought and planning needs to go into every meal choice for people with digestive diseases. That alone can make someone opt out of dining out.
To many food is just something that sustains us, keeps us going and gives us the strength and nurishment we need to stay healthy. But try taking those freedoms of what to eat away and you’d find yourself in a whole different world of appreciation when it comes to food.
Recently I met a woman who was diagnosed with a food disorder. Now in her sixties, she explained how difficult it is to combat years of habits she’s had; eating whatever she liked, albeit healthy for the most part. She said someone had recommended my blog to her and she now follows it weekly to get updates and tips. As we talked I listened to her frustration on dining out; how hard it is for her to go to dinner and feel like she has the right to ask for adjustments to her food choice. I will tell you the same thing I told her……. You have the right to ask! Use it. Chefs are trained in multiple areas of cooking. They know their ingredients, and if they don’t know you should. Know what your body can handle and what it can’t. Look up ingredients ahead of time, do your planning and then go out. You have every right to say “I can’t have cheese in this. Does this dressing have dairy? Do you offer a gluten free pasta? Are there nuts or grains in the dressing on the chicken?” Ask. Ask. Ask. Who cares if you notice the server getting frustrated; your health is the most important. And for many people, they don’t understand because they haven’t had that freedom taken away from them. But you can get that freedom back.
Get educated- and then get out to dinner, you deserve it.
I will continue to post new food reviews on places that offer gluten free options along with organic and many other choices. Please check back here often…. I will do my part- you do yours!
I agree whole heartedly. You’ve become a great advocate. We should push and encourage restaurants to be considerate to those of us who have sensitivities as well as severe allergies to certain foods (i.e. nuts). Keep it up.
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