In this day and age, many people are finding that they have a gluten sensitivity or severe gluten intolerance. If you're one of these people, you have probably had to drastically change your diet to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms that consuming gluten brings. But living gluten-free doesn't mean that you have to give up all of your favorite foods and cuisines. Use the following tips to enjoy a meal out at a Mexican food restaurant when you are on a gluten-free diet:
Beware the Chips
Complimentary chips and salsa are one of the best things about dining at Mexican food restaurants. But before you begin chowing down, ask a few questions about the chips. Obviously chips made from flour tortillas are not okay to eat on a gluten-free diet, but corn chips are often okay. However, it is important to ask your waiter about the oil that the chips were cooked in. If the fryer is only used to cook corn chips, you should be fine; but if the fryer is also used to fry items that contain gluten you may want to avoid them in order to avoid gluten contamination. This question should also be asked if you order a meal that comes with a hard corn taco shell.
Ask About the Marinades
When ordering tacos, fajitas, or any other type of dish that contains seasoned meat, ask what ingredients are in the marinades used. If the marinade is made in house, it should easy to get an ingredient list for you to look at to see if there are any hidden sources of gluten. In the event that the marinades are made off-site and a full ingredient list is not available, it is in your best interest to request that you meat be grilled plain with just salt and pepper.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask About Other Ingredients
It is amazing how many food items have hidden sources of gluten in them--pre-shredded cheese often contains flour to prevent the cheese from sticking together, and items like sour cream can have gluten-based products as thickeners. If you don't want to deal with the consequences of consuming hidden gluten, ask as many questions as possible.
Inform the Chef and Manager
With the increase in the number of people eating a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, many restaurants are very sensitive to customers who are caution about what they are eating. If you know that being exposed to gluten even in small amounts can make you feel ill, don't be afraid to inform the chef and manager of your dietary limitations. A good Mexican food restaurant will likely do whatever they can to accommodate you and ensure that you have a great meal.
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