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Monday, July 30, 2012

You don't have to be nice...You have to be strong!

You don't have to be nice... You have to be strong.  Being an advocate for yourself is never easy, it takes time and dedication and a constant mental determination.  You need to be strong for yourself, for your physical health and for your mental health.  You need to be gluten free and you MUST eat gluten free - it's not just a random choice, it's not an option.

Eating gluten free at home in your own little bubble is easy and simple and you can fall into your own little world.  It can become comfortable and limiting.  I went for a very long time - probably months just eating hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, and peanut butter.  Not very exciting you may think - but those happen to be my very very favorite foods but I soon realized that I could venture out of my comfort zone and I needed to - I absolutely needed to because although I was healthy in one respect, I was greatly neglecting my nutritional needs.

Thankfully I had a very strong support system - many supportive friends and family who were more than willing to eat at restaurants where I felt comfortable, where I had researched ahead of time and where I knew the menu.

Here are some tips for Dining Out successfully:
1). Do your research ahead of time - google is a wonderful tool!  Also don't be afraid to call ahead, ask for the executive chef and question the menu or whether they can accommodate gluten free needs.
2). Take your support system with you - two advocates is always better than one, but don't let them explain for you.  You need to explain your special needs.
3). Become a regular.  Get to know the waitstaff - they will be much more accommodating.
4). Always show your appreciation.  I'm a big tipper if a waiter goes above & beyond for me.
5). Never pretend to understand a menu term.  ASK QUESTIONS about everything. Refer to my previous post about menu navigation.  If the waiter doesn't know - don't be afraid to ask for a manager - be strong!
6). Never pay for what you can't eat.  Even if it's no one's fault - send it back and explain why.
7).  Be prepared to sit there and not eat if you are unable to find something on the menu or if the restaurant is unable to specifically accommodate your gluten free needs.  Better safe than sorry.  Keep a snack in the car for emergencies.
8).  Never EVER accept anyone's best guess, however sincere.  Insist on verification that what you're getting is gluten free.  If it can't be proven, don't order it / eat it.

Lazlos in the Lincoln, Ne Haymarket area - not my favorite place to eat but definitely a great choice for eating gluten free easily!  They are very gluten-free friendly.

You can do it!!