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8 Things You Need to Know Before Going Gluten-Free

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8. Don’t just assume if your order at a restaurant will be gluten-free.

Remember all those guidelines about cross-contamination in the kitchen? They apply when eating out, too. Always be sure to ask kitchen staff how they handle food in the kitchen and what measures they take to prevent cross-contamination. Ask specifically if they have a gluten-free menu available. You can even ask to speak directly to the chef or manager before ordering anything if you feel unsure about the restaurant. (And if you’re still worried about cross-contamination, don’t feel bad about leaving and finding another restaurant.)

Just remember: even if a food should be naturally gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s safe. I’ve heard restaurant horror stories about rice pasta being boiled in the same water as wheat pasta, or crumbs from regular pastries falling onto gluten-free pastries in a display case. An otherwise gluten-free salad will be unsafe if croutons are added on top — and just picking them off probably isn’t good enough to prevent you from getting sick. Likewise, french fries are often fried in the same oil as items that have been breaded, making them unsafe for a gluten intolerant person.

To sum everything up…

By now you should have a pretty clear idea of the pros and cons of going gluten-free. In short: the upside is that if you suffer from celiac or gluten sensitivity, you’re going to feel a whole lot better than you did before. And who doesn’t want to feel healthier, have more energy and lower their lifetime risk for serious health problems?

The downside: eating truly gluten-free is difficult and often incredibly frustrating. It can be even more difficult if you live in a household with family members who still eat a regular diet. You can feel depressed and isolated when going out to eat or attending social events, where there may not be anything safe for you to eat. It’s not a diet I’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t truly need to avoid gluten for health reasons.

In the end, it’s a deeply personal decision that you’ll need to make with the support of your doctor.

 

Related Stories:

Can “Gluten-Free” Food Be Trusted?

Is Going Gluten-Free The Right Choice For You?

Consumers Still Waiting on FDA to Clearly Define “Gluten-Free”

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Photo credit: Moyann Brenn via Flickr

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573 comments

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3:38AM PST on Mar 3, 2015

Thanks for the information especially since my system tends to respond well to gluten free foods.

8:17AM PST on Feb 26, 2015

Useful information. Thank you

3:42AM PST on Feb 21, 2015

Thanks for sharing

4:29AM PST on Dec 24, 2014

Very informative, thanks.

1:22AM PST on Dec 9, 2014

Thank you

3:08AM PST on Nov 28, 2014

thanks for the article, very useful info

6:11AM PST on Nov 27, 2014

Humans are not designed to eat grains. Birds are designed to eat grains.
Wheat inparticular is very addictive it contains opioid like substances.
Processed Carbohydrates like pasta bread pastries biscuits etc etc are high in sugars , and are mainly behind alot of people contracting diabetes and other diseases.

8:25AM PST on Nov 25, 2014

Thanks for the article.

1:59AM PST on Nov 25, 2014

Thank you for sharing

1:34AM PST on Nov 25, 2014

Thank you for sharing

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