I know that a lot of people roll their eyes whenever they see “gluten free” touted on menus. I do, too, when it’s obvious that the restaurant is pandering. And also when people jump on the gluten-free bandwagon without knowing why they’re doing it. (And for the record, most bandwagons are naturally gluten free.)
In fact, according to an article by Peter Jaret for WebMD, keeping gluten — a protein found in wheat and other grains — from your diet may be robbing you of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.
But for some people, particularly people who suffer from celiac disease, which affects the small intestine, keeping gluten from the diet is essential. I fear that the wave of people who are following the gluten-free fad without reason are doing a disservice to people who truly need to follow a strict dietary regimen. It can be a problem if some of those eye rollers I mentioned above include waiters who tell guests that, sure, the meatloaf is gluten free without knowing for certain that none of the fillers include wheat, barley or even rye. Ingesting even one bite can be devastating to someone who is sensitive to it.
So eating out can be a minefield. It helps to have someone who understands and can offer some guidance to navigate a restaurant menu. Some friends told me about Eating Out Without, a blog by Amanda Carroll that includes restaurant reviews throughout Central Florida with an eye to finding menu items that are gluten and dairy free (lactose intolerance is probably more common than celiac disease).
Amanda’s reviews are well written and concise, with lots of details and personality that belie her 18 years. And her reviews don’t just cover Central Florida restaurants and food trucks, she also has recommendations for eateries in Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The girl gets around!
Take a look at the blog, and check out some of her recommendations. Amanda and her service dog, Locke, are off to college soon. I hope she keeps up her restaurant reviews.