I want to share a fantastic restaurant experience. I hadn’t eaten in a pizzeria since I was diagnosed with gluten ataxia five years ago. But I recently enjoyed a gluten-free pizza at Amici's East Coast Pizzeria, a restaurant chain in northern California.
A renaissance is taking place in the restaurant industry and people on special diets can taste the benefits. From independently owned restaurants to national chains and fast food franchises, the food service industry is recognizing food allergies and sensitivities as a market that can no longer be ignored. The shift in awareness is due to the growing number of people on special diets¡ª12 million Americans have food allergies, 3 million have celiac disease, and millions more have dietary concerns due to conditions like lactose intolerance and diabetes. The increased need for allergy-friendly dining options has generated industry interest in the special-diet diner. It¡¯s a win-win situation that¡¯s sure to increase business for restaurants and provide a wider trough of choices for food-sensitive diners.
More restaurants are serving up special-diet menus. Here are a few things to remember or some nutritional facts you might not have known about regarding everyday food ingredients.
Contact the manager during non-peak hours and explain your food allergy or sensitivity. When you make the reservation, have staff note your allergy next to your name. When you arrive, ask to speak to the manager or chef to confirm your special needs.
Cross contamination may affect these menu options if you are not careful.
These restaurants currently offer gluten-free menus and may also accommodate other special dietary needs. Call ahead or visit restaurant websites for additional information.
Halloween HelpWhen it comes to feeding your little ghosts and goblins, Halloween doesn’t have to be scary. These kid-friendly suggestions for gluten-free Halloween party fare will be gobbled up by young and old alike. Snacks are a must at any gathering, so be sure to serve a salty option to offset all the sweet treats. Arico’s Cassava Chips are good—and good for you. Original and Sea Salt varieties are kid favorites.
My mom is thrilled there’s a magazine with recipes, ideas and substitutions for making so many different types of foods. She says maybe this year when we all come home for the holidays I won't be sitting at the dinner table with only a few things on my plate and that she won’t have to apologize for not knowing how to make holiday favorites for me.