Chinese restaurants are a killer for me. Every time I eat there my blood sugar goes into the mid-high 200's several hours after eating, and stay there despite multiple boluses and higher temp basal rate on my pump.
I would watch out like hawk for deadbeats using MSG.
Make sure they not use. It causes liver to dump glucose like crap and ignore metformin.
The better the Chinese restaurant the less likely they use MSG. MSG is designed to "boost flavor" and if the ingredients are fresh and quality they don't need boosting.
If I know where I'm going, I try to scope out the menu in advance. But the impromptu outings are hard, I agree. Hard with friends. I feel anxious trying to pore over the menu AND make conversation at the same time.
Going for something salad-like plus an appetizer/side is one way to go. Sometimes I ask the waitstaff for help.
Hang in there--it gets easier!
I usually order alternatives or things that are not on the menu...Most places have basics like veggies and salads, or food with no sauce. If not then just eat half portions.
I agree Indian food is tough. I like it a lot but there's samosas w/ potatoes in them, naan, more potatoes in the vindaloo, who knows what's in the sauce. I left 1/2 drink on the table on Saturday because 1) I wasn't sure how much soda was in it and 2) I wasn't sure how much gin was in it. I don't think I'd done that for like 20 years?
When I eat out it's usually with my husband and he is gluten sensitive, I am not, but one really "good" thing about having a food allergy is the staff usually fall over each other trying to give as much information as they can regarding the menu and ingredients. My advice tell the server you have an allergy and need to know what's in the food. Generally they're so afraid of poisoning you they are much more forthcoming.
Tomorrow night I am going with my niece to a highly regarded restaurant. It is "restaurant week" in Boston so a 3 course meal is $ 30.00 there is a set menu and I looked up what was on it. I called the restaurant to see if they had any carb information and they did not, but they were very curious why I was asking. I told them and my guess is tomorrow night they'll be able to give me a more concrete answer as to the carb content in their restaurant week menu. The owner of the restaurant is Ming Tsai who is a founding member of Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. His kid has a life threatening food allergy so I am sure he will be able to relate.
Yes, eating out is hard for me, but I think part of the issue for me is that I'm a vegetarian and it's hard to cover both vegetarian and lower carb needs. I try for both and breakfast and lunch are easier than dinner. But as being vegetarian is non-negotiable to me I often go into it with the idea that I may only have a pasta option and that is ok. That way I'm not so stressed. As for my success at bolusing for these meals it varies. I think I've gotten better at it with practice. The type restaurants I prefer (non chain) rarely have carb counts so I'm used to just estimating. To me dining with friends is all about the conversation so i really have to say, "ok, hand on while I think about carbs, test and do my bolus, then we can talk!
The food allergy community has been advocating hard and pushing restaurants to make ingredients lists available and raising awareness about the severity of food allergies (cross-contamination, etc.). This is the main reason restaurants are MUCH more aware of allergies these days than they were 10-20 years ago. Maybe the diabetes community should do something similar. I think one problem with diabetes is that it varies, some people eat carbohydrates and some don't, but ALL of us need nutritional information available. I think a lot of people don't realize how important nutritional information is to people with diabetes, and that when we don't have it we are just making guesses at insulin doses, which is dangerous.
I can't agree more. For the most part I make an educated guess when eating out. I always ask if the nutritional information is available and was absolutely shocked when the KFC kid actually gave me the complete nutritional information from their entire menu. OK I have admitted it, I ate at KFC. But wow that would have been useful to have when I was pregnant, I felt so guilty eating the cole slaw, I had no idea what was in it that was 1990. Places we regularly eat at have been very open with whatever info they have.
One of the reasons there is more information regarding allergens is that anaphylaxis can kill you, miscalculating your insulin dose can kill you, but it will take a lot longer.
Today I ate half of a dessert when eating out with co-workers. It was kind of funny because three of us (out of a group of four) have severe food allergies. So there was lots of shuffling food around and asking if eating such-and-such would bother someone (the smell) and checking of ingredients.
Two hours after eating lunch I tested at 14.4, and commented that I shouldn't have had that dessert. One of the people I'd eaten out with was like, "Well, at least it tasted good!" as if the fact that I now had high blood sugar didn't matter at all. The comment actually really annoyed me. You would think someone who has dietary issues like an allergy would get it. I felt like saying, "Yeah, it tasted good but now my blood sugar is going to be slowly damaging my vital organs for the next four hours ..." But since I'm not going to drop dead from eating half a piece of cake that I had no nutritional information for and had to guess (and obviously guessed wrong), it doesn't matter to most people.
I sometimes wonder if it's common knowledge that high blood sugar increases risk of complications, because a lot of my friends (even those who know me well) act like I'm being too paranoid about highs. I've had diabetes since I was a kid, so I really don't know what non-diabetics know about how blood sugar control works.