ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Paradise

Updated on June 22, 2013

Enjoy restaurants, on a special diet

Yesterday, our family enjoyed an activity together for the first time in 6 months! It's something everyone probably takes for granted. A simple meal out at a restaurant. Not drive-through fast-food. A sit-down restaurant with a waitress. We discovered paradise! Cheeseburger in Paradise that is. We ordered a gluten-free, dairy-free meal (with a bun!) without a deer-in-the-headlights look! Or a, "your one of those people that make my job miserable" looks.

Our daughter has Asperger's symptoms and her doctor recommended a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. A common story these days. We have been changing our diet pretty well at home, but it is very difficult to find appropriate foods at restaurants. Our poor teen's only restaurant meal has been Wendy's Chili. We want to offer her more choices! Let's help each other by using this space as a forum for rating great restaurants and our favorite meals.

Why are you eating gluten-free and/or dairy-free?

See results

Our Favorite Fast Food

Our very first meal eating out was at Wendy's. After checking on the internet, it seemed this was an easy place to start. My daughter had the Chili and we asked for no cheese on it. Please. We have been getting the fries. Our Wendy's has a dedicated fryer only for the fries. So that limits cross-contamination with gluten foods in the oil. You will need to ask this at your local restaurant.

I enjoy the Baja Salad with Chili on top. Don't eat the tortilla strips or the dressing! They contain milk. It can be a big fuss to get them to make it though. Apparently, the cheese is already mixed in the greens, so they have to go get a new container of greens. Boo Hoo. One time, they didn't even add the guacamole or the onions! My faithful family withstood my rantings and reminded me to count my blessings! Out of the mouths of babes! My long-suffering husband called to report the offense, and the manager offered us a free salad on our next visit.

I've also tried the plain baked potato. It's a healthy choice, but not quite the same without gobs of butter and sour cream! Ah, I digress. You can ask for broccoli topping and put dairy-free butter on it at home. If you are really prepared, you will have pats of said butter in your purse!

Here are Wendy's Gluten-Free Menu, and Ingredient & Allergy Info. PDFs

Do you eat Wendy's fries if they use a dedicated fryer?

See results

U.S. Labeling Laws

Effective Jan. 2006, U.S. labeling laws require the top known eight allergens to be printed along with all ingredients. This includes

Milk, Wheat, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, and Shellfish.

QAI gluten-free seal
QAI gluten-free seal

Look for these gluten-free seals:

This seal by Quality Assurance International and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, promises no more than 10 ppm of gluten.

The Gluten-Free Certification Organization of the Gluten Intolerance Group, uses two standardized testing methods to certify products have less than 10 ppm of gluten.

Use gluten-free dairy-free Condiments! - Travel size is perfect for car, purse or camping!

What are you eating?

Label Watch
Label Watch

Compare ingredients in over 25,000 name brand products!

Please help us find a delicious dairy-free pizza! - Any suggestions? We miss Pizza Hut!

Do you enjoy dairy-free pizza?

See results

Maureen McDonnell, R.N.

"...many of the children lack the [dpp4] enzyme that allows them to break down the peptides from gluten and casein. As a result, a subset of autistic individuals have these improperly digested proteins which...pass through the blood-brain barrier and interfere with neurotransmission. When this happens, Dr. Karl Reichelt, M.D., Ph.D., and others, have shown that these opioid-like substances can be responsible for poor attention, odd behavior, a deficit in socialization skills and poor speech."

Cross-contamination possible!

I've noticed most restaurant menus have a disclaimer in tiny print basically saying, "Eat at your own risk!" So if you have serious allergy symptoms, beware!

Do you dine out with your special diet? - Or is it easier to just cook at home?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Much easier to make things at home, although some restaurant foods are acceptable.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I am licky to have a few restaurant which can offer good choices nearby. But I ALWAYS double check that they served me the gf option before I eat. I have had some bad experiences too though

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 5 years ago from USA

      Very interesting lens. I'd never heard of gluten or dairy exacerbating Asperger's symptoms.