Eating out with IBS – Success!

I did it!!

I went out for dinner at a restaurant with my family, communicated my needs to the staff and was served a meal that was nutritious and appetizing.  The meal seems to have been cooked according to my dietary needs – it contained certainly no diary,  (no diarrhea!), no eggs and was FODMAP friendly.  I felt great! It can be done…  Eating out with IBS – success!

We arrived at Moxie’s early, because I know that serving staff and a chef who aren’t too busy are more likely to take the time necessary to hear, understand and follow my dietary requests.  With a little help from The Husband, I managed to sit near the edge of the table so that I could talk with the serving staff without shouting across the table.  I ordered a drink along with everyone else, but skipped looking at the menu (why torture myself?).  When the drinks came, I was very please to hear the server ask if there were any dietary concerns at the table.  I felt special, instead of a bother!!

I showed the server my Chef’s card, who then took it back to the kitchen to give to the chef.  She came back later to ask if I’d like the fish or the chicken (I got a choice!), and let me know that the starch would be baby potatoes, and the veggies would be steamed broccoli.  It might not be fancy, but it sounded safe and nutritious to me.

I know that I’m not getting an elaborate gourmet meal, with a complex combination of flavours.  This is no longer my goal when I go out to eat.  My expectation is to be served something safe and appetizing, enjoy the company, and to really enjoy not having to clean up after dinner.  I want to eat safe food, and not stand out as ‘the picky eater’, among the people I’m dining with.  If I can have this, I can have fun.  A glass of wine helps too :).

My meal arrived with everyone else’s and we proceeded to enjoy dinner.  I was served very generous portions and the chicken was delicious.

safe and yummy!
safe and yummy!

After dinner, it was a fairly natural thing to sit back and finish our drinks and wait for the bill.  This gave my gut the 30 minutes it seems to need to decide if it’s going to get diarrhea from dairy.   I was fine and really enjoyed having someone else take the dirty dishes away and wash them up!  (a huge joy of eating out for me).

The next day is when I usually feel the effects from FODMAP unfriendly ingredients or egg or beef (those two seem to be really hard on my gut).  But I’m so pleased to say that I woke up the next day with no unpleasant symptoms and carried on with my weekend just like everyone else.

The meal was very generous in portion size so I couldn’t finish it all – I ended up taking some home with me.  If I was travelling, these leftovers would have been doubly valuable to me, but as it is, they still make a nice lunch for the next day.

One last thing about Moxie’s:  they have nice washrooms (at least the location I was at did).  In addition to being clean, the stalls were quite private, so if I had ingested a diarrhea-inducing ingredient, I would have been able to recover in relative privacy – the walls of both the stall and door came right down to the floor.  I never used to notice this sort of thing but I do now!!

Moxie's washroom: clean and private!
Moxie’s washroom: clean and private!

I give Moxie’s a 4-star and a thumbs up rating from me.  Their approach to dietary restrictions really helped me feel comfortable with eating out.  Eating out with IBS – Success!



Eating out with IBS

I’ve got a dinner invitation that I’m not sure I can refuse… it’s a family thing, and everyone thinks they are being kind to me – so I don’t have to cook.  It’s hard to tell family that eating out with IBS and food intolerances is a LOT of work.

However, I am determined to rejoin the greater world, despite having IBS, AND, I’m feeling much more confident after our road trip experience this summer.  So I’m going to do my best to make this dinner out work for me.

My first step is to go online and check out the websites of a few restaurants.  I went with larger chain restaurants, because they seem to be much more aware of food allergies, and will sometimes be so organized they provide nutrition and ingredient listings online.  I checked out three:  Joey’s, Moxie’s, and Earl’s.

I discovered that Earl’s didn’t seem to have a printable allergy/nutrition listing online (that I could find).  Moxie’s has a guide available and it very clearly lists out many of the common allergen ingredients in their food (including the common FODMAP foods).  Almost everything on the menu has either dairy, gluten, onions and garlic, though.  Joey’s didn’t have any of this information on line, but they did have the option of emailing the restaurant with a special request.

I have decided to go with Moxie’s because their on-line information is the most comprehensive (although, you do have to do some digging).  Their website shows the phone number of each restaurant, so my second step is to call them.  I managed to get the manager and he was terrific to chat with.  He assured me that they take food allergies special requests very seriously, and I found this to be comforting.

Moxie's on line allergen information is well laid-out.
Moxie’s on line allergen information is well laid-out.

We’ve booked the restaurant, and now I just need to make sure I eat gently in the days leading up to the outing.  I want my stomach to be calm, and I want my nerves to be collected when we walk into that restaurant!  I think I’ve messed myself up in the past by letting my anxiety get to me, so I’ll work to trust in my plan. (step 3!).

My fourth and final step for preparation will be to print off my chef’s card to bring along with me. I’ll make sure to speak up confidently (but cheerfully!) to our waiter and ask for their help.

I plan on giving this to my server each time we go out to a restaurant!
I plan on giving this to my server each time we go out to a restaurant!

I’ll prepare The Husband by letting him know that he might be on tasting duty if I have any suspicions about what gets served to me.  I will also repeat my usual 30-minute wait request:  I like to sit about 30 minutes after a meal (that I haven’t prepared myself) to see if I have an immediate reaction.  My reaction to dairy is this fast, and I don’t want to be I the car when a case of diarrhea hits.

As for the egg and other FODMAP unfriendly ingredients, I’ll just have to wit to the following day to see if I had success in eating out with IBS at this particular restaurant.  Wish me luck!