On the hunt for Italian

So last night my family and I decided we would all go out for dinner. We picked our old go-to place, Olive Garden, which is an American-Italian chain of restaurants, but of course since most of the items on their menu contain pasta, I hopped on over to their site to see what allergen free options they had. Quickly my heart sank. Even their wheat-gluten free options had soy. So I was like ok, I’ll just order their Chicken Marsala, it’s just chicken and mashed potatoes no biggie. Eh, WRONG! I scrolled down to that section and it also contained soy.

Trying to decide what to order on the menu

So I called up my local Olive Garden and spoke with Dina* who was more than nice enough to explain that most of their sauce bases come from a manufacturer that uses soy and most likely other preservative ingredients. Great. So I asked her what other options they could provide me instead. She said: plain chicken and broccoli or gluten-free pasta with tomato sauce. I quickly figured out that this dinner outing wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t want to go to a restaurant for something I could eat at home, so I kindly thanked her for her time and hung up. Sigh.

Well I can’t say I’m not surprised, dining out and eating clean can be hard, but I was thinking/hoping they’d have more options to cater to my needs, but all hope is not lost; I’ll just have to find a place that does. I think I’ll start by going to a more authentic family-run Italian restaurant and see what I can find. Stay tuned!

Have any suggestions on restaurants with more options? Leave a comment :)

*Name has been changed


7 Replies to “On the hunt for Italian”

  1. I feel your Itailian Pain. If you have an Old Spaghettii Factory, they have a few GF pastas. I cannot howver confierm the presance of soy. :(. My last trip to Olive Garden was a steak as they do not offer GF pasta in my area at this time. Keep looking and talking. The more we talk, the more people listen and someday all choices will be easier, not just the top 5 allergons. :) Huggles.

      1. Ooo I’ll have to look them up! Thanks! And I agree, the more open discussions we have about it, the easier it’ll be for us in the future. Looks like we have a lot of talking to do…luckily I have the gift of Gab ;)

  2. I feel you on the restaurant struggle! I have gone out to eat twice since starting my elimination diet. Once was at a local place that uses local and organic ingredients good stuff like grass fed beef. The menu is coded to help find gluten-free and vegan options. The hamburger buns are even made from sprouted flour! But I still had to request a special aioli on my hamburger and that it be prepared without tomatoes. They were super helpful, though, and it tasted delicious. Maybe there is a place like that near you?

    The second time we went out for brunch and I kinda said, “Screw it” and had pancakes with Aunt Jemima syrup. Yeah…I didn’t really care that day. I’m lucky I didn’t get sick.

    1. Haha you’re lucky you didn’t get sick. Sometimes I’ll say screw it as well and I won’t get sick, but since I had a reaction to something last week I knew I didn’t want to push it last night.

      I’ve found 2 restaurants that prepared something to order for me and I loved how patient they were about it. I’m sure there will be more, I just need to start hunting them down:)

  3. I did not quite realise how hard it is for folks like you who have either give up or are allergic to certain ingredients. It’s also surprising that they don’t have more options for you. Jusy a suggestion, couldn’t you have ordered grilled chicken with a house salad? Without the dressing of,course or perhaps a safe dressing for you?

    1. Hi Nenne,

      I could’ve done a grilled chicken but they cook in soy bean oil, which I wasn’t aware of. So that was a no-go.

      Yea the options are limited for us allergic folk, but that’s simply because there isn’t enough awareness. But I think the crusade for people who have Celiac Disease and gluten-intolerance(I don’t, I’m just allergic to Wheat/Flour) has really opened the door to more GF and other allergy free items out on the market. There’s still a long way to go, especially for people who have soy allergies like I do, but I’m on a mission to change that ;)

Leave a little thought...xx Rakhi

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