Dining out should be about trying the best item on the menu or the most decadent dessert. For those with digestive problems, it lends itself to anxiety- guessing what is okay to eat or what food will make you head home early. Following these tips will make dining out more fun!
Make a list of restaurants and keep them in your phone. Why is this important? Aside from the obvious, if you continue to build a list of restaurants in your phone (like I do) then its super easy to pick and choose when you get the Friday text asking if you want to go to drinks/ happy hour/ dinner. The list is a compilation of places I've tried, or places where I called to talk to the chef about their menu and deemed "Caroline approved". I didn't want to be the person having the waiter go back to the kitchen 15 times because "Is the slaw made with apple cider vinegar?" and "Can you check if the fish is wild caught?” By calling ahead of time and asking if their pad-Thai sauce has any High Fructose Corn Syrup will save you time and reduce the chance of the waiter spitting in your food. People with digestive distress don't get the sympathetic "Oh, you have a severe peanut allergy and I completely understand". No one understands so it looks like you're just picky or following a Gluten-free fad. Having a go-to list will make things less stressful when you're there. For instance, when I knew I had to cut out gluten I called all my favorite bars to see which one carried Chopin Vodka (made from potatoes) and thus that place became a staple for friends and I to enjoy a fun night out...that didn't exclude me.
Follow the Foods to Avoid section under 'Fix My Belly' and figure out your culprits. Once you do that it’s easy to do Step 1. Check out their menu online and call the restaurant to ask if the meal you want has X, Y or Z in it. Easy peasy. Restaurants want your business so they are more than happy to try and work with you. Some chefs even welcome my challenge to make something corn, gluten, sugar, all grains except rice- free. And some chefs serve me a piece of cold tofu with sliced Zucchini. Raw. Way to go 4-star hotel.
Learn to enjoy eating out again. You won't be able to eat everywhere but your body will reward you by feeling great and you can now participate in tomorrow’s activities instead of being locked in your house feeling awful. There is nothing worse than missing out on a gorgeous Saturday because you really wanted that pizza loaded with cheese on Friday. We can't all have everything so learn to work with what you can/can't eat.
Find more activities to do because this is a life changer!