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Special Dietary Needs


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As you know I suffer from Crohn's Disease and have to be on a low fibre diet and have a special dietary need. When others hear the term do they think allergies right away or do they think diseases such as diabetes. What does the Egullet community feel about diners with these needs?

kevfoodvan

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To me the term "special dietary needs" would refer to all types of individual concerns, especially those which require careful monitoring of either certain types of foods and/or specific foods due to a specific disease, allergy, possibly other serious medical conditions. Some examples of conditions that may require special diets include:

Diabetes Type 1

Crohn's Disease

Celiac Disease

Food Allergies

Weight Management

Vegetarian/ vegan

Religious requirements (kosher, halal)

Low gluten issues

Lactose intolerance

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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An excellent defintion, so based on that how many diners in the general population would this cover... 33%?? if so then would that mean that 1 in 3 diners ask for a change to the presented menu on any given day?

Is it less or more? is this a regional occurence?

To me the term "special dietary needs" would refer to all types of individual concerns, especially those which require careful monitoring of either certain types of foods and/or specific foods due to a specific disease, allergy, possibly other serious medical conditions. Some examples of conditions that may require special diets include:

Diabetes Type 1

Crohn's Disease

Celiac Disease

Food Allergies

Weight Management

Vegetarian/ vegan

Religious requirements (kosher, halal)

Low gluten issues

Lactose intolerance

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So since we have a great definition and an anology. I ask the question would restaurants benefit from receiving a "special dietary needs" card that lists the information of what the patron can and cannot have? Would this make the process of dealing with this issue easier?

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Many people with Celiac utilize the sort of card you are describing.

If your needs are very specific, anything that will simplify the explanation

and reduce the chance of miscommunication is beneficial.

Menu modifications should not be problematic, but it is important to

make sure they are accurate!

Damian du Plessis

Bravo Restaurant & Lounge

Chilliwack, BC

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That seems to be another issue the accuracy of the person and the menu modification. Are the patrons just being "picky" versus they really can't due to illness have the item that they wish to be modified. Maybe a card for "picky" eaters might be necessary also?

Many people with Celiac utilize the sort of card you are describing.

If your needs are very specific, anything that will simplify the explanation

and reduce the chance of miscommunication is beneficial.

Menu modifications should not be problematic, but it is important to

make sure they are accurate!

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dietary handicap

yep, I can only eat pureed foods, which limits our range of resturaunts as we have to call ahead and see if there will be anything I can have.

I have a card explaining my needs.

Edited by binkyboots (log)

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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To me the term "special dietary needs" would refer to all types of individual concerns, especially those which require careful monitoring of either certain types of foods and/or specific foods due to a specific disease, allergy, possibly other serious medical conditions. Some examples of conditions that may require special diets include:

Diabetes Type 1

Crohn's Disease

Celiac Disease

Food Allergies

Weight Management

Vegetarian/ vegan

Religious requirements (kosher, halal)

Low gluten issues

Lactose intolerance

Eh? The first 5 items and the last 2 items on your list would fit

your definition above. But since when is religious requirements or

plain veg*an preference (for religious or other reasons) a "condition"

or a "dietary handicap"?

:blink:

Milagai

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Your right but if you were a restaurant owner it would be something that would come under the generalized definition of "special dietary need that would require menu modification".

To me the term "special dietary needs" would refer to all types of individual concerns, especially those which require careful monitoring of either certain types of foods and/or specific foods due to a specific disease, allergy, possibly other serious medical conditions. Some examples of conditions that may require special diets include:

Diabetes Type 1

Crohn's Disease

Celiac Disease

Food Allergies

Weight Management

Vegetarian/ vegan

Religious requirements (kosher, halal)

Low gluten issues

Lactose intolerance

Eh? The first 5 items and the last 2 items on your list would fit

your definition above. But since when is religious requirements or

plain veg*an preference (for religious or other reasons) a "condition"

or a "dietary handicap"?

:blink:

Milagai

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Did you have to pay for your card through a non profit organization or did you create your card yourself?

dietary handicap

yep, I can only eat pureed foods, which limits our range of resturaunts as we have to call ahead and see if there will be anything I can have.

I have a card explaining my needs.

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I had a homemade one but eventually printed off one I found online and had it laminated.

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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So since we have a great definition and an anology.  I ask the question would restaurants benefit from receiving a "special dietary needs" card that lists the information of what the patron can and cannot have?  Would this make the process of dealing with this issue easier?

My sister has a severe dairy foods allergy. She's made up a card that she shows at restaurants when she's traveling. I think she even had it translated into German for a trip to Germany. It makes things much easier in restaurants because she can communicate her dietary needs without any misunderstandings.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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When you dine out with your sister does she look online for sites that provide her with this type of information or does she call ahead or just show the card and most places accomodate her?

So since we have a great definition and an anology.  I ask the question would restaurants benefit from receiving a "special dietary needs" card that lists the information of what the patron can and cannot have?  Would this make the process of dealing with this issue easier?

My sister has a severe dairy foods allergy. She's made up a card that she shows at restaurants when she's traveling. I think she even had it translated into German for a trip to Germany. It makes things much easier in restaurants because she can communicate her dietary needs without any misunderstandings.

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In her case, she just tries to go to places she thinks she'll like (that have the type of food she enjoys and can eat) and takes her chances elsewhere. For instance, with her dietary limitations, it's easy to order at most Asian restaurants, excluding Indian/Pakistani, because they rarely use milk, butter, or cheese in cooking. So if she's in an unfamiliar city, she'll head for an Asian restaurant as her first choice.

I'm sure nowadays she can do some menu research online. Still, it's not always possible to determine the exact ingredients in a dish, for instance, even an Italian pasta dish purporting to be made with olive oil may have been "enriched" with butter or may contain cheese that isn't mentioned on the menu.

You may similarly find that there are certain types of restaurants -- cuisines, types of preparation, chefs, chains, etc. -- that have more foods that fit within your dietary limitations without any adjustments, or that can be adjusted easily. I wouldn't want to go to a traditional French restaurant, for instance, and demand that the chef cook without butter, or a vegan place and demand low fiber! It can be done, of course, but generally not without a lot of pre-planning on the part of the kitchen staff.

If there's really someplace special you'd like to dine, say a 4-star restaurant everyone's been raving about, perhaps you should call ahead, explain that you've always wanted to dine there but must follow a restricted diet for medical reasons, and ask if the chef can prepare a special dinner for you. Flattery can get you far!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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