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The Struggles of Eating at Restaurants With Food Sensitivities

By No Comments4 min read

Ever since I developed my food sensitivities (read my story here: going to restaurants is something I’ve avoided doing due to the struggle of trying to find something I can eat. My sensitivities are not common and aren’t really allergies, so they are not listed under the 8 major allergies, which include food products restaurants try to avoid by having alternatives, such as a gluten-free meal. Since my problem is uncommon, there isn’t really alternatives I can eat.

With that being said, I don’t really like to go to restaurants and I try going as little as possible. I prefer to make everything myself, that way I know what’s in the food, how it’s cooked, and that it won’t bother me. However, when I go away for a couple days and don’t have a kitchen in the hotel room, then I have to go to restaurants. That’s when I discover the restaurants I can’t really eat at as well as the restaurants I can eat at and might actually go to again.

Every time I do go to a restaurant, I have to inform the waiter/waitress that I have allergies and tell them what I can’t eat. I usually tell them what I have in mind for a meal and they come back telling me whether it’s safe for me to eat or not, or say perhaps I can eat the meal, but not the side that comes with it, then they usually give me suggestions of sides that I can eat. The waiter/waitress usually have to speak to the manger to ask them about ingredients in the food. Then the manger usually comes to talk to me. Each manger I’ve talked to has been very friendly and very understanding as they want the best for the customers. The staff are also pretty understanding and seem like they care about the customer. Each waiter/waitress I’ve spoken to was more than willing to ask the manager about the ingredients, which is great service.

Since the foods I can eat are very limited, there have been times where there wasn’t really anything I could eat, but there also have been times where I was surprised with the foods I can eat. I remember being at a restaurant where they cooked the meat in canola oil, I couldn’t eat the breads, and most of the pastas had soy lecithin in them so I couldn’t eat that either. The only thing I could eat was gluten-free pasta, which didn’t have soy lecithin in it, with some Alfredo sauce, which was good, but it was kind of disappointing that there was only one improvised meal I could eat. I wish they had more choices of food products that I could safely eat or at least didn’t use oil for the meat, or perhaps used a different oil. I like to go back to restaurants where I know there are more options I can safely eat.  

There have also been times where I found out I could eat fries because they use a different oil other than canola, which was very exciting since I haven’t been able to eat fries in over a year. One restaurant, Johnny Rockets, has mainly sandwiches and although, most of the bread I couldn’t eat, there was only one type of bread I could eat, plus I was able to get fries, which made me really happy. Even though, I could only eat one type of bread, there was still something I could eat, plus the ability to eat fries, so I wouldn’t mind going to Johnny Rockets again. Also, at Five Guys, I was able to eat their fires, but they also have mainly sandwiches and the ingredients for their bread was unknown, so I just got fries and a milkshake. I would, however, go to Five Guys again just to get some fries.

Each restaurant is different and I find something new I can eat every time. Some restaurants have pretty much nothing I can eat, and others have at least one meal and some fries, which I’m okay with because who doesn’t like fries? For the most part, because I don’t know what’s in the food, how it’s cooked, I have to ask every time I go out, and there is a very limited option of foods I can eat, I try not to eat at restaurants. The only good thing about going to different restaurants is that I may find something I can eat, like fries, and I may go back because I know that I can at least eat their fries. Other than that, I like to make food myself and prepare it to my liking knowing it won’t bother me. The only time I’ll go to a restaurant is if I really have to, such as being away for a couple days, but I prefer not to. One day, I hope I will be able to go to restaurants more often and have the ability to have a few options to choose from.

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