Eating out will always be scary territory when you have IBS, especially as you attempt the wonderful world of FODMAPs.
Eating out used to terrify me. It would make me feel anxious and I’d end up with a nervy tummy before I’d even left the house. In the past I used to cancel as it’d all get too much but now I know that after one loo break and a change in attitude, I’m good to go. I’ve tried to stop worrying so much, which is hilarious really as eating out while maintaining the Low-FODMAP diet is so much trickier than before.
Trying to navigate a restaurant menu for dairy and gluten is one thing and what I’m used to, but cross out garlic, onion, my fave vegetables, fructans and many other things I can’t even remember let alone list, and it becomes a bigger problem.
I know the other ladies in my FODMAP group hadn’t felt like eating out while on the diet but I’d already made plans and figured I’d give it a good go in the name of research and in the name of not letting my IBS rule me.
So I hit up three places and here’s what happened.
I was lunching with Gut Heath Empire creator Sam and the Symprove crew and we chose to eat at Zizi because I know I could get meat, veg and potatoes and be ok. And it was next door to where we were meeting. What we didn’t factor in was the staff. Sam I both ordered chicken wrapped in prosciutto with a side of green beans and potatoes.
It came with a white wine sauce but worried about what ingredients and potential triggers could be lurking, we asked for it to come without. Well, Sam asked, as she was ordering first and was met with the response, “oh, you don’t want the sauce? But the sauce is great. You should try the sauce. Do you want it on the side?” After sharing that annoying but fairly persistent eye roll together, we agreed to have it on the side. Safe to say I didn’t touch mine at all.
2. Palm Court Brasserie
I met my former work wife for a catch up and we ended up here because Flat Iron had a 2 hour wait and ain’t nobody got time for that. My stomach would have eaten itself and I do believe it’s possible.
Despite the French’s love for garlic, I ordered the char-grilled chicken and chips, a combo I don’t believe I could have gone wrong with. My god you should have seen my face when half a bloody plump chicken turned up on my plate. I attacked it with gusto and managed to eat a fair bit and remember to stop before the need to pop the top jeans button.
3. Flat Iron
After the disappointment of a long queue a couple of days before, I took my mum here after our little wedding jaunt into town. I adore a banging steak and skinny fries. You can’t go wrong with that can you! Well you can if you try the side salad as it’s covered in a honey mustard. Luckily I’d only nibbled a couple of leaves before noticing. The good news is you don’t go to Flat Iron for the salad so all was not lost.
The saddest part was not being able to have the delicious smelling chocolate ice cream at the end. Dammit.
As it turns out, two out of three ain’t bad. But it’s a tricky life trying to navigate a menu when not all ingredients are listed. Or the constant need to check everything with the waiter who doesn’t necessarily know. That’s not even mentioning the negotiating part, where you ask for a dish without X and Y and try to replace those ingredients with A and B.
Bring on Treat Out, the guys who are paving the way for full menu transparency and showing you where you can eat with your restrictions. That’s what I say!
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