Eating out can be a nightmare if you are Gluten Intolerant or have food allergies. Trying to figure out which restaurants will serve you allergy free dinners on their menu or if they will alter their menu items to accommodate you, can be challenging. But according to Living Without Magazine, this is changing:
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—12 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.
The article continues with a special focus on a restaurant owner, Kevin Herron, who is catering to allergy free customers. What I found especially interesting about this article was the mention of the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. According to their website:
The Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) facilitates a relationship between individuals with celiac disease and other forms of gluten intolerance, and restaurants. The relationship builds a win-win opportunity for restaurants to provide service to people following a gluten-free diet, and to gain increased patronage. Participating restaurants are able to provide gluten-free meals from their regular meals. GFRAP is a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.
If you dig deeper into the site, there is a page to locate a Gluten (and allergy) Free restaurant by state and zip code. Since Idaho, where I live, is a relative small state (by population, not by size), I looked up the restaurants that are registered on the site.
Only eight restaurants are listed, and most of those are in the Boise area. But what I found interesting is that the Outback Steak House is listed in several locations. So now I know that if I go on a trip, I can find an Outback Steak House — which is located in most areas.
Since I live close to the Washington border, I checked the Washington listings and found several pages of restaurants listed including several listings for the Outback Steak House, Old Spaghetti Factory, Jet House Pizza, and Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza! Once again, if I find any of these restaurants, I will know they are save for Gluten Free menu items.
The site also has a recipe database that you might want to check out!