Eating Out with Food Sensitivities from Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Getting the Information You Need

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Are you on or considering a special diet to help manage symptoms of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome? If so, you need to be especially careful when eating out. Fortunately, a lot more resources are available to you than there were just a few years ago.

The gluten-free craze is largely responsible for restaurants making information about ingredients much more available. Sometimes, you can't find out about anything but gluten; however, you can sometimes find comprehensive lists of foods containing common allergens or even complete ingredients lists.

Some of the resources I present here are aimed at Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, but the recommendations work for people avoiding any type of food. You may not need to be as strict about it as what's advised, depending on how sensitive you are to the thing(s) you avoid. It really depends on how little of the food bothers you.

Use the Internet

The Internet is your friend when it comes to finding appropriate restaurants and meals to suit your diet. Especially at websites for large chain restaurants, you can generally find information on allergens these days.

I've found that it pays to print out things like allergen charts and gluten-free menus because that information may not be available in house.

Large chains present certain problems, though. Some of them make a lot of items from mixes, and they may not have ingredients to use for substitutions. They also may not have cooks who know how to get creative with a recipe.

Going Local

Small local restaurants can be exactly the opposite of chains – it's often harder to get information online, but easier to get it in the restaurant as well as to get special requests accommodated.

A nice thing about local places is that you're more likely to be able to talk directly to a manager and/or cook, and they're more likely (in my experience) to be flexible about recipes.

You'll have the best luck if you call ahead or go in at an off time, when they're not busy.

Depending on where you live, you might even be able to find local places that cater to people with special diets. Also, restaurants that specialize in things like organic or locally sourced ingredients often have a clearer idea of what's in everything they make – as well as fresh ingredients for making something to your specifications.

More Resources

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