Eating food prepared by other people is possibly the most difficult aspect of living with LPLD/FCS and is the time when you will have to be the most assertive about your needs as a person with an ultra-rare and little-recognised condition.
Eating out with friends – planned
How you approach this will depend on how much your host likes to cook. If they are comfortable in the kitchen you could discuss with them what you can and can’t eat and ask them to suggest what they could prepare for you in advance, and make amendments if anything needs to be changed. It might be useful to show them your can eat/can’t eat sheet to use as their guide (if you have one).
If your friend isn’t comfortable being creative in the kitchen, or you don’t know them too well, you could suggest something plain and easy that you can eat. Try to avoid feeling obliged to eat something you can’t in order not to appear rude, or to make life ‘easier’ for yourself or them.
Eating out with friends – unplanned
Spontaneity can be very difficult for people with LPLD/FCS. You may find yourself in a situation where you are at a friend’s house and there is nothing suitable for you to eat. How you deal with this will depend on you.
If you are unsure of your eating arrangements you could take some food with you -maybe your leftovers from the night before. If it’s not needed you can just take it home again.
In a restaurant – planned
If you have plans to eat out at a restaurant you could try and find a restaurant that could adjust to your needs relatively easily. If you live in a relatively large town Japanese restaurants offer sushi, many of which are suitably low in fat which means you can eat without needing to ask for any amendments to the dish. (Be careful not to ‘treat’ yourself to ‘just a couple of the sushi with a relatively high fat content like salmon or avocado. Small amounts of fat can add up quickly into relatively large amounts without you noticing.) Broth based noodle dishes could also be suitable if you ask the chef to not fry anything.
If you can, ring the restaurant in advance to make your needs known to avoid undue stress when you go out to eat.
Thai and Vietnamese restaurants can offer a soup based meal with noodles and vegetables or perhaps fish. Ask the chef to provide you with something that’s not got oil or any other fat in it (egg yolk). Usually rice vermicelli are the safest type of noodles to eat.
Seafood-based restaurants can be a good choice but be aware that your choice of fish will be very limited and check that fat isn’t used in the cooking process.
Serious pre-planning: Some chefs will be happy to engage with you about preparing your food and providing something both delicious and suitable. You could ring the restaurant and ask if the chef is willing to accommodate you.
It can be helpful to engage with the chef directly, possibly sending them your can eat/can’t eat document in advance. They can then suggest what they could prepare and you can make amendments. Although this can be a lot of effort the enjoyment of knowing that the food put in front of you will keep you well can be well worth it!
The cuisine is completely unsuitable
If there is nothing suitable on the menu and you are unwilling to take the risk, you could ring the restaurant in advance, explain your situation and ask if they would mind if you brought your own food in to eat at the table. Although possibly less enjoyable than sharing the food experience with your friends this could be a better approach than eating something likely to harm you or avoiding the situation altogether.
Restaurant – unplanned
If you think this may be a possibility try to have some food with you that you can eat if there is nothing easily adaptable to your needs. Explaining your situation and asking if it is ok that you eat your own food usually gets a favourable response.
If you do not have any food on you and there are sudden plans to eat out, you could perhaps try to find a local store that you can pop into to buy something suitable (easier if you live in a town) and take it with you.
If you have any other tips we’ve not covered, please email them to us here.