Eating Out


Eating out can be an absolute nightmare for patients with BAD. Just the same as it can be for people who suffer with food intolerances. Gluten free is becoming much more readily available but try asking for gluten free and dairy free, the only option you'll get will be salad (and then it will be loaded with an oily dressing which will be no good for your BAD) - it's a vicious circle and a very frustrating and unfair aspect of being diagnosed with BAD.

My recommendation would be to give the restaurant a call before you go and talk to their chef about making you a simple dish of grilled meat with potatoes or rice and some steamed vegetables. It doesn't sound very exciting but it will allow you to join your friends or family out for dinner every now and again and you'll know that what you're eating won't upset your stomach and leave you in the loo all night. Before I was diagnosed and when I was eating strictly gluten & dairy free I would call up all the time and from experience I think you'd be surprised how accommodating people will be. They want your custom afterall. In the States it's far more acceptable for people to ask for something off the menu and to ask for dressing on the side for example, or to swap and change side dishes to suit you. Don't be afraid to do this.

My tips for eating out are:

  • Phone in advance and ask for a custom meal or a menu meal to be altered for you
  • Ask for grilled meat or fish with no sauce
  • Choose side orders like baked or boiled potatoes, rice or steamed vegetables (most standard side dishes of vegetables will be covered with butter or oil so be careful)
  • Ask for the dressing or sauce to come on the side
  • Don't be afraid or embarrassed to explain what you can or can't eat
  • Go simple
  • Don't expect to be able to have dessert except fruit or sorbet, very few places will offer any low fat or no dairy dessert options (I know….I've asked!!)

The other situations you may find yourself struggling in is when a friend offers to cook for you or when you're out and about travelling or on holiday. In all of these situations I would suggest forward planning and taking your own food with you. Unless your friends or family are very understanding about your condition it's unlikely they will be able to successfully cater for you and you probably can't expect them too. It was very common for me to take along either my own meal in a tupperware or to make something that I could share with everyone that suited me. It will save them a lot of stress and avoid any awkward moments.

And when you travel it's even more important to have on hand a ready supply of foods and meals that you know will be safe for you to eat. I used to do tons of research on hotels or holiday destinations that were listed as being gluten free friendly only to find the most basic items weren't available. I have travelled in the past with entire suitcases packed full of food just for me and just in case! And I was always glad I did!