• Welcome to Crohn's Forum, a support group for people with all forms of IBD. While this community is not a substitute for doctor's advice and we cannot treat or diagnose, we find being able to communicate with others who have IBD is invaluable as we navigate our struggles and celebrate our successes. We invite you to join us.

At the restaurant

Hello! I'm a guy that got diagnosed with Crohn's this year but I've had symptoms for years (and had surgery yet still wasn't diagnosed for some reason). I guess I'll vent away here for a little since I recently had a bad experience at a restaurant. This is my first time on a Crohnsy forum so I'm not sure how to start. But here it goes:

Being in a restaurant is a very loaded experience for me and for the people around me. They know that I have difficulties with certain foods, and they also know that the restaurant will probably not adapt for me. So, I make a special order. It gets denied. Then I just order rice and when I get rice, it has non-friendly-for-Crohn's vegetables and some weird oil in it. So, I stay hungry and eventually leave the table because the experience is just too painful. The stark contrast of steak, roasted potatoes, fatty sauce and fresh salad against my inedible rice is too great for me to bear. My family sees this, and their facial expressions throw oil to the fire that is inside my head. I remain calm on the outside for as long as I can and leave when it gets too much for me. Outside the restaurant, I look for a place to hide so that I can cry out my frustrations, but I can’t find anywhere to do so. So, I just end up going to a library and try to distract myself from my emotions. These emotions which have been swept under my carpet of consciousness will probably be used as fuel for the next loaded experience in the future.

Is this what adjustment disorder is like? Cause it feels like I just can't adjust to the fact that I suffer and can't have restaurant food while 99% of the population can. (Pulling this 99% of my ass here btw, but I know that 1% on average have Crohn's in western countries.)
Hi sorry for your experience and welcome to the forum. You didn't mention any medication? Are you currently on any treatment plan. My son has Crohn's and is being treated and can eat almost anything except for a few items. He can go to a restaurant and enjoy a meal. You should be able to as well once you have the right treatment.
I share your frustration, I've had CD for over a decade, and eating out is difficult. I tend to bring my own foods, as food/eating is such a social thing that it can't always be avoided completely.
Welcome to the forum, and thanks for posting this topic !

I think many people here can relate to your situation

Is this what adjustment disorder is like? Cause it feels like I just can't adjust to the fact that I suffer and can't have restaurant food while 99% of the population can.)

This condition brings many things to the table

food anxiety ( for lack of a better term, I just made that lil gem up ... lol ... ) is kind of a thing for many of us in a public setting

Coworkers, friends and neighbors can be confused by this particular problem, and it can definitely cause a lot of anxiety on everyone's part. Sometimes, just the choice of the restaurant can foretell disaster, as the main board of fare is heavy on spices / seasonings.

It was really bad for me when I would travel for work and group concensus chose the restauarant. It was either eat there, or slink off somewhere else and eat by myself.

This would really suck when they picked edgy or trendy bistros

In my case, it's the ebb and flow of the disease and it's ever changing symptoms and presentations that causes me some of my most difficult and challenging moments.

... there's time I can eat just about anything and everything
... and other times that anything other than like a bone broth is going to cause big time discomfort and chaos

... it is what it is ...

Thankfully, there is a lot of things one can do about it.

One of the best things any crohns patient can do is keep a food log of everything you eat and your reaction to it.
It will help identify foods you are reactive to, and others you can eat almost anytime (your safe foods )
Over time, it will also help you identify patterns and help you predict when it's best to stay to simple dishes you tolerate well

There's an excellent diet / supplements subforum here that has a lot of very usefull information as well

There are a few things one can do in a restaurant setting as well.

I will often ask the front end staff for a word with the server when about dieatary restrictions when we are being led to the table

... it's a lil awkward, but the results are often well worth the effort, as you can speak to the server privately and most of the time they are absolutley happy to accomondate your requests
... it's much more discreet than a public discussion at the table that makes everyone (especially me ) a bit uncomfortable

The server will then talk to the chef/cook and most chefs can make adjustments to their dishes, as well as omit certain ingredients that you may be sensitive to if they asked nicely

... I always go waay out of my way to compliment any and all of the people who accommodate my needs and make sure they know just how much i appreciate their efforts on my behalf.
... i do tip as well, ( but not outlandishly because i'm poor, lol )
... i think staff appreciates heartfelt kind words almost as much as money
... people like to feel appreciated,
... and a kind word about your experience to the manager on the way out the door is often quite helpful to the staff ( as the manager decides who gets the best shifts as well as who has to do the dirty jobs )

In many cases, when we return to the same restaurant, the staff there remember me, and will often offer their services without being asked, and I often get "hooked up" with extra portions and additional sides to make up for any omissions in the main dish.
... drives my coworkers nuts! ... lol ...

One other thing one can do if there's no way to work things out behind the scenes is to ask to order ala' carte

Often times, you can specifically ask for "just rice", ( please and thank you )
... or whatever you think you can tolerate...

Best of luck to you on your journey!

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to post up or start another thread.
... there's a lot of very experienced and knowledgeable people here who can share their wisdom

Lynda Lynda

Hi viquita. I have had Crohn's for almost 6 years, but have been sick for over 26 years. I understand what you are talking about. I haven't been able to eat whatever I want for years. Eating restaurant food is tricky, you don't know what is in the food and how it is prepared. Yes, I have eaten dry toast at family breakfast gatherings while everyone else is eating a plate of yummy, flavorful breakfast foods. They eat big plates of food, I order 2 pancakes. I guess what a person has to do is to not focus on the food part of the gathering, but instead celebrate the interesting and colorful conversation with family and friends ? I have some family and extended family coming to my City for a few months this Winter so that they can enjoy the warm weather here. They all know that I am sick with an inflammatory bowel disease. Sitting with my Auntie on her outdoor patio drinking herbal tea is fine with the both of us, as she is really health conscious and enjoys tea over coffee. I just purchased a book written by folks at the Mayo Clinic regarding bowel diseases and will soon start reading it.