Eating out and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Some patients are embarrassed when they are invited to a meal in a restaurant as they quite naturally don’t want to draw attention to their IBD, and are worried that if they are ‘choosy’ or ‘picky’ about their food they may be thought to be being difficult or awkward. This is quite wrong. You have a perfect right to choose a food which you enjoy and which does not upset you, and it is the restaurant’s duty to provide it for you. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter exactly what each dish contains and how it is cooked; if you are upset by dairy products, make it quite clear that the chef must not put any butter on your fish! This is not being awkward – it is being sensible!

Some find that it helps to telephone the restaurant before leaving home to discuss your diet with someone who can ensure that your needs are met without the requirement for long and possibly slightly embarrassing discussions with the waiter in front of your companions. If that is not possible, don’t be afraid to stick to your guns and make sure you get just what you want – even if it means sending back the first dish which you are served! Remember that a simple steak or grilled fish and salad are foods least likely to upset anyone with IBD, and are useful ‘stand-bys’ in case of difficulty.