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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Just for the heck of it 
11th-Nov-2009 10:42 am
Everything hurts/Doesn't work
So you can see why soy allergy + shellfish allergy + celiac have me going oh crap.

Here's the gluten-free menu for Elephant Walk, which is highly recommended for celiacs. Extensive menu. Good!

Items on menu: 23
Items which are dessert and will therefore be disregarded for now: 3
Items on menu that will kill me: 6
Items on menu that will just make life really suck: 12
Items that will not cause me physical harm but that I do not consider food: 2

Items that I can eat: 3 nontoxic salads, flank steak, chicken breast.

So okay, things exist, but this can get very boring very quickly, you know?

PF Chang's menu is vague enough on their vegetables that I can't guarantee gastric safety; broccoli's a common vegetable at Chinese places, and it causes the stabby pain. So there are two dishes on that menu that could maybe be safe.

My intent here is not to piss and moan, just to illustrate how prevalent soy and shellfish seem to be on gluten-free menus and, as we saw in the supermarket last night, how prevalent soy is in gluten-free packaged foods (microwavable meals, crackers, et cetera). Not a small challenge.

EDIT: On a happier note, when I was lamenting the loss of butternut squash ravioli last night, doeeyedbunny pointed out that I could have sweet potato gnocchi. Because gnocchi is potato flour, not wheat flour! I had forgotten that! So in Italian restaurants, I can have risotto or gnocchi. And Nebo in the North End has an extensive GF menu that, yes, has shellfish, but has a big selection of non-shellfish, too. So next time someone takes me out on a date, that is where they are taking me. Potential dates, you are On Notice.
11th-Nov-2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Yeek. Have you looked into any raw foods options at all? I know there's at least one raw restaurant in Boston> that's supposed to be awesome.
11th-Nov-2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Will look into it!
(Deleted comment)
11th-Nov-2009 04:24 pm (UTC)

And yay pony!
11th-Nov-2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
===Not sure how you are in regards to fungi, but be careful of it in resturants. I have had a number of issues with how they seem to be soaked in soy sauce, probably in the can.
===I tend to cook more and more at home, due to things like this...(then there was that order of fries that hurt me, due to soy oil AND shelfish, combined!
11th-Nov-2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
...how did fries have *shellfish*?
(Deleted comment)
11th-Nov-2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
If there is a Maggiano's Little Italy near you, you may want to give them a try- they advertise their menu is highly customizable and welcome folks with food allergies. Granted, there is a LOT of pasta, there might be a number of meat dishes and such (gnocchi!) that you can probably have.
The head chef actually came out and talked to me about my cinnamon allergy.
11th-Nov-2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Huh! Never heard of a cinnamon allergy! *reminds self not to send you molasses gingersnaps*
11th-Nov-2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Two things:
Bryanna and I wish you well on finding dishes that will not make you sick. She is "sad that you cannot have soy, pasta, and shrimp, because most of the things that I can have, taste really good. That really sucks!"

Which brings me to my question: In regards to shellfish (mollusks such as clams and scallops), are you also allergic to crustaceans? Are there other types of seafood that make you sick?

"That which doesn't kill us, makes us gassy and irritable."
11th-Nov-2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
omg, lunalovegoddess...the last quote...almost made me spit my coffee out because I snort-laughed! :D
11th-Nov-2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Shadesong...I joke with my friends that I eat like a cavegirl now...meat, some fish, veggies/legumes, a little fruit, maybe some nuts and that's about it.

In the beginning it is frustrating and very hard not to focus on the "I can't haves" but it will get easier.

You're already ahead of the game knowing what else to avoid that isn't good for you.

And as someone who used to cook professionally, I never, never, never, never minded when someone made special requests in regard to allergies...so feel free to ask the server if you can have something modified or different from the menu. Besides, us cheffy types like that - it's a challenge! ; )
11th-Nov-2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
I may need a Cave Buffy icon if I go that route... :)
11th-Nov-2009 04:45 pm (UTC)

Kosher places would help with the shellfish issue, but not the gluten issue. :(

Does bok choy also give you the stabby pain?
11th-Nov-2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Don't think I've tried it...
11th-Nov-2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
eek. all that and the soy is no fun at all - I'm very sensitive to soy and it's becoming harder and harder to avoid, especially when eating with friends who need to be veggie/vegan gluten or lactose free.

Good luck.
11th-Nov-2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Is it just wheat that you can't eat? Or are other grains (like quinoa, amaranth, barley, oats) also on the no-eat list?
11th-Nov-2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Barley is out (as are some oats), but amaranth and quinoa are gluten-free.
11th-Nov-2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I was going to ask about gnocchi, it is awesome!
12th-Nov-2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Careful about the gnocchi, though! Some places may use mashed potatoes and regular wheat flour. Probably best to ask. :/
11th-Nov-2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
PF Changs puts soy sauce on EVERYTHING. I swear it's even in the table water. Besides, they're a chain that's expensive for no good reason.
11th-Nov-2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
My friend sunatrya is about 2 months ahead of you on the gluten-free due to celiac disease path, and is having similar problems. There are a bunch of communities here on LJ that she likes, and she's also found a few good books on the topic. I'll ask her for recommendations.
11th-Nov-2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
Be careful with gnocchi - about 99% of the time it's dusted with wheat flour. Yes, evil bastards, I know. :(

I hear you on the multiple food sensitivity thing. I can't have gluten, dairy, peanuts, or shellfish, and to top that off I was vegetarian until I got pregnant. I swear everyone I know is so sick of me always begging to have Thai when we eat out because it's the easiest thing for me to eat (protein + veggies + coconut milk curry + rice = win).
11th-Nov-2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
I second this on gnocchi- they can be gluten free but aren't alwsys.
11th-Nov-2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
Man, Soy is just all OVER the place as a cheap filler..much to my wife's chagrin when she became allergic to it.
11th-Nov-2009 08:19 pm (UTC) - Gah.
The shellfish and soy allergy do complicate the mix. (shudders at the thought)

Being gluten/wheat sensitive, and I'm learning fast just how hard it is to go out to eat with just that to contend with.

Basically, I don't go out much anymore, unless someone can give me an intelligent and informed answer as to whether or not there is wheat/gluten in a dish. Too often people at restaurants assume that if it's not obviously bread or pasta, that it's safe -- forgetting entirely about sauces and dressing that could include them as a thickener. ARgh.

Fun, ain't it?
11th-Nov-2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
Many of the PF Chang's side dishes are just one vegetable -- asparagus, or snap peas, or spinach. So if you order those you should be okay... my usual order there is to make a meal out of spring rolls and side dishes. (It's one of the few places that celiac-Mom and veggie-with-food-allergies me can easily eat together.)
12th-Nov-2009 02:43 am (UTC)
Ok, I gotta know. What 2 items did you not consider as food?
12th-Nov-2009 02:45 am (UTC)
Salmon and tuna loin. Both fall under the "oh dear god the stench" category. Of the two, I could try a bite of the tuna, but salmon is Just Not Food.
12th-Nov-2009 02:50 am (UTC)
hmmm... for eating out (me=no corn, wheat, soy, seafood of any kind, plus less than 20g/day carbs so rice, potato, etc are limited to a few bites) i find that i do really well at:

good quality italian restaurants (they'll do unbreaded chicken, beef, or veal with things like mushrooms, pancetta, and a salad for me, and most big city restaurants are familiar enough with allergies to not complain or poison me)

good thai (more soy-free options than chinese/japanese - my favorite is thai lamb lollipops over a bed of asparagus; but be careful to know the restaurant and double check ingredients - worst dinner out in at least a decade was a highly rated thai place, i ordered a dish with rice noodles, thai chicken and vegetables, but didn't think to ask about the broth they cooked the noodles in (it was seafood stock - throwing up rice noodles which wrap around your tongue piercing and... and i didn't manage to clear the dining room before it started, however, the reaction was so quick hospital wasn't necessary)

indian and ethiopian food - most of the time they only use flour in breads, which can easily be skipped (although for ethiopian you probably need to ask for your own plate and silverware as typically that is scooped up w/ bread and eaten)

greek restaurants from Daphnes (chain in CA) to your local sit-down place - they typically don't use flour/cornmeal except in breads, slow cooking and/or greek yogurt is the trick to their rich sauces and stews

for conventions and travel, i've found that the best thing i can do is bring a small cooler filled w/ a cheddar or other cheese that travels well, peppers & cucumbers, fresh hummus, a resealable package of salami, etc and if i have it, some kim safe bread or cookies or http://www6.netrition.com/ktb_wafer_crisps.html - they'll even let you carry on the cooler as a purse if you have medication stored in it that needs to be kept cold (TSA doesn't really know what needs to be kept cold, so pretty much any prescription will work for that); i can then snack on the plane or in my hotel room without worrying about food that will kill me, refill the cooler at a local grocery store if needed, and not feel bad about spending a bit extra on dinners at places i know are safe
12th-Nov-2009 02:55 am (UTC)
and one other thing that travels really well - individually wrapped slices of crustless quiche (my recipe is here: http://alumiere.livejournal.com/332314.html#cutid1

as long as it is well wrapped and kept cold, it'll keep for 5 days or more - i slice the pie in 8ths, wrap each piece in press & seal, then throw the whole batch in a ziplock to keep things dry and separate from the ice when i travel
12th-Nov-2009 04:16 am (UTC)
I just did an Epicurious.com advanced search and excluded gluten, shellfish and soy - 438 results!

Not too bad!

Pleasingly, the recipes are all yummy sounding. There are desserts in there, but even so.

...many references to steak... *drool*
12th-Nov-2009 05:35 am (UTC)
My mother noticed that large numbers of gluten-free foods use soy to help make them work -- which she can't have. They also use potato flour -- which she ALSO can't have.

Multiple food issues are suck, but I do know people who have experience with multiple food issues, and I can try to put you in touch with some of them if you are lacking other type resources of usefulness. My friend Sharon Rose in particular is good with the creativity because at one point I think she was essentially eating just green vegetables and meat.
12th-Nov-2009 07:08 am (UTC)
I like gnocchi for A) how it tastes and B) how it kinda sounds like "nookie."

(P.S. Future Dates of 'Song (and THAT sounds like a lyric, too (or a Moody Blues album)), you want to keep her happy. Yes you do. *nods like 'Song* *though not as cute 'cause I'm not as cute as her*)
12th-Nov-2009 08:13 pm (UTC) - Gluten-Free
Hi Shira,

So...I'm not a celiac, but my baby brother is, so I've become very involved and am actually launching a website called www.glutenfreebrooklyn.com with tips, advice, recipes and resources. Based on the comments here, I want to say :
1. gnocchi will usually have wheat flour, and even if it doesn't, will usually be cooked in a restaurant in the same water they use to cook pasta - so stay away!
2. ravioli - please try everybody eats...http://www.everybodyeats-inc.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=69&zenid=a7c0978bd7478d6020c19df64b74a060
It is mad expensive, but super good and super safe, their entire facility is gluten free. Please let them know you were referred by glutenfree brooklyn, if you order. I may be able to get you a small discount in the future - 5 percent or so, I am working on this.

3. your own stuff - you need your own colander, and your own toaster. I also would not use a common wooden cutting board, get your own. Also, limit areas if you can - try to make one counter gluten free only. Limit or cut out any non-gluten baking, cause flour does get into the air. Inhaling gluten can be bad too.

4. check meds and personal care products.

5. While this sounds exhausting, if you can, the first few weeks try to eat a very simple diet, mostly at home. Try to cut out all dairy products, prepared foods, even gluten free ones, and try to buy rice that is labeled gluten free - rice is sometimes coated with wheat starch in processing. Also, commercial spices sometimes have gluten based products to prevent caking - try to buy spices from a health food store or in bulk as opposed to supermarkets. Concentrate on veggies and grains and some simple meat stocks. Stay away from spices etc. I highly recommend reading Gluten Free Girl! It details her experiences with diagnosis and how she recovered.

I am happy to answer questions! You can email me at yanafeldman@gmail.com. (user nola_lola but I don't keep a LJ)

Good luck!!!
12th-Nov-2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Not all gnocchi uses potato flour, especially not exclusively. I've made some that uses regular flour. Best check.
13th-Nov-2009 07:24 am (UTC)
I particularly hate raining on parades, but many if not almost all gnocchi are made with some form of semolina or other wheat flour in there somewhere - yes, potato is the main base, but the flour is there too. I remembered Mario Batali making gnocchi on his Food Network show and it had flour - he said something about a 2:1 ratio of potato to flour. I decided to do a quick Google search on gnocchi recipes. Every single recipe on the first page listed flour. I got the same result for sweet potato gnocchi. Do doublecheck with any restaurant, please. I did find a celiac-friendly recipe here, with a bit of corn starch in there. Some sort of flour is always required for decent gnocchi from what I can see.

There are some decent rice pastas out there now. They're not so good on the fiber count but I think some (at least) are soy free.
15th-Nov-2009 03:07 am (UTC) - Speaking from experience with allergic friends...
The shellfish makes it difficult for Thai food: they use shrimp paste in some things. Conversely, a vegetarian Thai place would probably use soy sauce instead of fish sauce. But check with a few and see if you can find one that can leave out the shrimp paste.

Most sashimi should be OK, if you do sushi -- it's fish, rice, rice vinegar and seaweed. Mexican will probably also have a *bunch* of edible stuff (more if you aren't allergic to other legumes.) The "realer" the Mexican food, the less likely they are to have random problematic ingredients.
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