From first hand experience I can say that it is very difficult. It is quite annoying when you are out with friends having fun and they decide to go eat at a restaurant, and you are unsure if you are able to eat there, especially when you are hungry. When they are taking orders around the table and they come to you, everyone is looking at you and you are taking your time because you are being careful and you ask the waiter, “Do you have anything gluten free?” Inevitably you start getting the comments from friends, the ones you have heard so many times that you are actually fed up of hearing, like “there’s always one.”
But it’s actually more than one. Coeliac disease affects one person in every thousand. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 45. As a naturopath I have seen children as young as five with this type of intolerance.
While restaurants are getting better catering to people with intolerances, they are still not quite there. They need to do a lot more to cater for those who suffer from intolerances. Future Health Management maintains a list of restaurants in West London that cater for those who would like to know what restaurants they have available to them. For example, I find Butlers restaurant is pretty good when it comes to intolerances.
It’s not only about food intolerances either. I always ask for no MSG if we eat out at a Chinese restaurant, not because of I’m intolerant, but because i don’t want to put this into my body.
Going out to such a restaurant wouldn’t be a chore for you or the people you are with, in the sense that they would be thinking of you and the things that you could eat, and you would be thinking of them and the restaurant that they couldn’t go to because they don’t cater to your intolerance.
Restaurants are getting better but I still think they have a long way to go. We will get there in the end. In the meantime we can try to minimize our symptoms by working on the liver and excluding those foods that make us feel so ill.