10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Have a Good Attitude

34 Comments 14 May 2012

Eating Out Gluten Free:  Have a Good Attitude

On Friday, I shared my fifth tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Affirming that a restaurant does a great job serving those with gluten intolerance is crucial to promoting gluten awareness and expanding dining options.

Eating Out Tip #6 is…Have a Good Attitude.

For about a year after my diagnosis, I rarely dined out.  I was tired of arriving at a restaurant only to learn that I could order two items on the menu if they were prepared completely differently than described.  Bland.  I was usually left with a piece of chicken or fish lightly coated in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and a side of steamed vegetables.  Don’t get me wrong.  That’s a nice, healthy meal.  But it’s an ordinary meal that I could make at home for one-fourth the price.

Let’s face it, when we go out for dinner, we want something special.  We don’t go out and order something that we can quickly toss together in our own kitchens.  We’ve gotten used to having options, and when those options are taken away, we frankly develop a bad attitude.

Thankfully, options are much better for gluten-free diners today.  But we will still have those occasions when restaurant meals are less than ideal because of our limitations.

In those cases, we need to have a good attitude.

Don’t focus on the fact that you only have three choices on the menu.  Be thankful that you even have three choices on the menu!  You may feel limited at this particular restaurant, but let it be a reminder of everything that you have to be grateful for.  You are far healthier with those three choices than you were before your diagnosis when you had limitless options on a menu filled with gluteny items.  Be thankful that your life is different.  And better.

There’s more to a dining experience than the food.

Consider the ambiance.  How is the décor, the lighting, the music contributing to your experience?  You might be eating another piece of chicken and a dry potato, but you aren’t eating it at a kitchen table covered by today’s junk mail.

Consider the luxury of being served.  You didn’t have to make this meal, and you won’t be cleaning the kitchen or washing dishes afterwards.

Consider the company.  The people you are dining with are far more important than the food that you’re putting in your mouth.  Enjoy the conversation with the people you’ve chosen to dine with.  Take the focus off yourself and focus on your friends or family members.

It isn’t easy to stay positive when food issues are so personal, but staying optimistic can prevent dietary restrictions from ruining the evening.

Time for your daily entry to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card!  I’m giving away two at the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free.  Submit another entry today by leaving a comment below. You can leave two entries by answering a second dish question or letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter and “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page or shared this post on Twitter or Facebook.

Giveaway Guidelines:

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older.
  • You are allowed two entries per “10 Days of Gluten Free” blog post for a total of 20 entries on this blog.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts).
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm central time on May 18, 2012.

No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Don’t forget that this is a blog hop.  Hop on over to these talented Gluten-Free Gurus for more tips in our 10 Days of Gluten-Free.

Readers, Dish!

  • How do you stay optimistic even when you’re faced with limitations?
  • What advice can you give to someone in the first six months of gluten-free living?
  • If you win the P.F. Chang’s gift card, who will you take with you to dinner?

Contest closed, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Your Comments

34 Comments so far

  1. Jessica E. says:

    If I win, I would take my husband to dinner. I know he sometimes feels frustrated that we can’t share a pizza, etc.

  2. Natalie says:

    Great advice. I, too, have been upset by the lack of variety for the gluten free lifestyle.

  3. Thank you, sometime I need to remember to have a good attitude. :)

  4. Cindy says:

    I try to have a good attitude, and I think it’s becoming easier because so many restaurants offer GF dishes.

  5. Cindy says:

    I would probably take my oldest son to PF Chang’s. He hasn’t eaten there yet and I’d like to treat him to a nice dinner.

  6. Tonja says:

    I’ve never tried PF Chang’s, but I know that you have to keep a good attitude and not get frustrated. I have six gluten free kids and my husband and I are gluten free also. Sometimes it’s just too much on a waiter and we have to have patience!

  7. I know what you mean about attitude. There have been times – like when I was served filet mignon that had been cooked on foil with no seasoning – that I’ve had to focus on the social aspects of the meal instead of the food. (For the record, the steak was inedible.)

  8. Debra G. says:

    Great message.

  9. Jeannie Parker says:

    A good attitude will always get you far in life. It is especially important to keep a good attitude when your forced to do without so many things. A bad attitude just makes you bitter and anti-social.

  10. Bonnie B says:

    Thanks for the reminder which we all need at times!

  11. Emma says:

    When I used to go out to eat and my order would come back “contaminated”, if made me want to crawl in a hole for having to be THAT customer. Now though, I’m much calmer about it and can deal with the unpredictable-ness of eating out.

  12. Emma says:

    What advice can you give to someone in the first six months of gluten-free living?

    Go out to eat only places that have a dedicated GF menu and good reputation. The last thing you want is to get glutened while you are trying to learn the ropes.

    If you win the P.F. Chang’s gift card, who will you take with you to dinner?

    Sharing? What that part of the package? I guess if I have to I’ll bring my BF… :)

  13. Lynn says:

    Thanks, great advice

  14. Jessica B says:

    Thanks for the great reminder.

  15. amber says:

    Oh Heather, I just love this post. I can’t agree more. Attitude change can be huge. I struggle with the same thing when dining out (with trying to follow the SCD). But I LOVE a night out once in a while with girlfriends, and I always find something to eat. I’ve become experienced at being kind, but direct with servers about the food.

    Thank you for this great post! It seems simple, but not everyone focus on the positive!

    You’re awesome lady!!


    P.S. I like you on FB and subscribe! :-)

  16. julie says:

    If I win, I would take my family with me!

  17. julie says:

    My advice to a newly diagnosed celiac-cause I am one-would be to read as much as you can and work on recipes in your own kitchen before you venture out to the restaurants. It can be so daunting

  18. Jeanne says:

    You’ve made some very good points. I’ve been gluten-free for nearly 30 years, and I’m still hesitant about going out to eat.

  19. Cindy W. says:

    Sometimes it can be challenging to stay positive – but you are right.

  20. Cindy W. says:

    I would definitely take my daughter to PF Changs. We love the lettuce wraps.

  21. I couldn’t agree more about your post! My husband was very bummed when he was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease. He hated eating out. But now he realizes how much better he feels and is truly grateful for the items on the menu he can eat. It’s amazing how helpful a waiter or chef can be, if you tell them you need to avoid gluten. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts in this series!

  22. pat J says:

    I agree with you completely. Always so much better to look at the positive side of things than the negative.

  23. Deborah says:

    I, too, hibernated at home for the past few months. A less than optimum experience at a steakhouse confirmed my fears. Then we went to PF Chang’s last weekend and wow! It was wonderful.

    We’re on a pretty tight budget so I hope we win the gift card so we can go back!

  24. Vicky says:

    Something in me got mad when after I told the waitress ‘No bread on my plate’. Thinking how dumb was she did she really forget it that fast, after I sat and told her, ‘Please I cannot have any bread etc. on my plate due to I was very allergic to them.’ And behold I get my plate of food and here was a tenderloin with the bun. Really? I yelled at her, forgetting my place and demanded another new tenderloin WITHOUT THE BREAD! When I finished I talked to the manager and told him of my experience and he said me it would not happen again. The next time I came in the waitress remembered me and said, ‘Oh it’s you again!’ And I smiled at her.

  25. Michele says:

    This is all new to us and we wondered how eating out was going to work. I would take my husband to PF Chang’s to encourage him that it is still possible!

  26. Natalie says:

    I liked your post on facebook.

  27. Gina says:

    My attitude when dining out is usually good, even if I have limited options! The fact that I’m not having to cook the meal, is usually enough of a boost that even limited options are enough of a special treat! Also, the fact that it’s hard to coordinate the schedules of my busy family means that when we can all go out to a meal together makes it a special occasion!

  28. Gina says:

    As to who I would take if I won the gift card? Definitely the long-suffering hubby who misses our spontaneous date nights and has endured some of my less memorable gluten free creations!!!

  29. Cara says:

    The best advice I can give is to find a gluten free support group or an awesome friend who will be with you through this process. :)

  30. Angel R. says:

    I would love to win a P.F. Chang’s gift card. We have never been there!


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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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