Author Topic: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.  (Read 52864 times)

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Twik

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #105 on: January 23, 2013, 11:20:15 AM »
Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners haven't had the press coverage that nuts have had as allergens. So, a restaurant may really not understand that many people do have bad reactions to them.
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VorFemme

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #106 on: January 23, 2013, 11:52:46 AM »
Yeah - "major digestive upsets" aren't given the press that more visible hives or anaphylactic shock do - turning blue because you can't breath is kind of an issue if the ambulance shows up at the restaurant where there are a lot of other people eating.  Leaving to go to the ER to throw up or go home to sit in the bathroom frequently doesn't get noticed.

Which is why people have absent-mindedly (we'll be charitable and say that instead of "didn't believe it was THAT big of a deal") forgotten that there is asperagus, flax seed powder (fiber additive), or artificial sweetener used in their "family recipe".  Because it doesn't cause problems for their family and she doesn't end up leaving their dinner party in an ambulance or making a mess due to IMMEDIATE digestive upsets - they don't see her inner pain and being unwilling to leave the house for three days (that's how long it usually takes to "get it out of her system" since she's never thrown up before).

I've asked my mother to remind me about allergens before making anything to take to their house for visits in the past.  Strawberries, pineapple, flax seed, asparagus, artificial sweetener, and seafood are on the list right now.  I don't take seafood anywhere - too perishable in the heat in Texas!
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alkira6

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #107 on: January 23, 2013, 01:14:18 PM »
This is why I can't eat at Friday's - I can have (an extremely limited amount of) artificial sweeteners but they put it in everything.  Fortunately I "pass" everything within about 24 hours, but not without a lot of bloating and pain.  The one near me is also very bad about cross contamination of food items with each other, so they are not really safe at all for those with allergies.

RegionMom

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #108 on: January 23, 2013, 07:17:33 PM »
I wonder with the push to have restaurants share their caloric intake per food item on the menu is causing an increase in "fake" zero-calorie sweeteners.

If normally this dish is 540 calories, but I put in the artificial stuff, then the count goes down to well under 500 so I can put a Healthy Heart icon by it, and please the nutritionist board.

Huh.  I actually prefer real sugar, and I can usually tell the other stuff from aftertaste.  Rarely eat at chain restaurants, but I will pay more attention now!
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VorFemme

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #109 on: January 23, 2013, 07:32:47 PM »
I wonder with the push to have restaurants share their caloric intake per food item on the menu is causing an increase in "fake" zero-calorie sweeteners.

If normally this dish is 540 calories, but I put in the artificial stuff, then the count goes down to well under 500 so I can put a Healthy Heart icon by it, and please the nutritionist board.

Huh.  I actually prefer real sugar, and I can usually tell the other stuff from aftertaste.  Rarely eat at chain restaurants, but I will pay more attention now!

That's my theory - Fridays is trying to be the place to hang out with friends, eat, drink, talk, order more appetizers & desserts & drinks...which means keeping the calories down so people don't realize that they SHOULD have eaten three days worth of food by the end of the evening.....if there wasn't fake sweeteners & who knows what else replacing the REAL food (with calories) to keep the calorie count down.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #110 on: January 23, 2013, 07:34:10 PM »
VorFemme, I'm very sorry for your sister, but happy you posted about this.  My sister has a bad reaction to all of them too.

I would have never thought a restaurant would use artificial sweeteners like that. Sure, add sugar to the flatbread crust and tomato sauce, but I wouldn't have thought they'd put in artificial sweeteners since so many people strongly dislike the flavor and they are more expensive. 

I bet RegionMom is correct about them using it in an effort to be able to reduce calories.

kherbert05

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #111 on: January 23, 2013, 08:42:52 PM »
Word of advice re: asking about allergens. Big chains the employees often don't know what is in the food they get from corporate. I have found that calling them in off peak hours, explaining that a member of our party could die right there in their dinning room if exposed to (in my case peanuts) gets are more complete answer. As in I have to make a couple of calls can I call you back answers.


Small independent places tend to know exactly what is in their food. If you are going in a time they are going to be slammed call ahead.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #112 on: January 23, 2013, 09:05:48 PM »
I have a friend who has a binder of restaurant menus she got online that have info on the ingredients so she knows what they have and she can plan her meal ahead of time. 

I consider myself very blessed that no one in our family has food allergies or intolerance.  Just seasonal allergies, and my oldest is allergic to amoxicillin.  I'll admit I didn't even know people were intolerant to the artificial sweeteners beyond just not liking the aftertaste.
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Elfmama

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #113 on: January 23, 2013, 10:10:54 PM »
I'll admit I didn't even know people were intolerant to the artificial sweeteners beyond just not liking the aftertaste.
They give me migraines.  One of the worst I've had recently was the run-up to a colonoscopy.  Among other instructions, they said "Get this stuff at the drugstore and drink three bottles the evening before the procedure."  I didn't realize until I tasted it that it was "sweetened" (NOT!!) by saccharine.  :P (Artificial sweeteners don't taste sweet to me. They're bitter.) It was too late to get pills or whatever they might be able to use instead, so I choked it down and went to camp on the toilet in a darkened bathroom.  That was worse than the procedure the next morning.

IN any case, thank you, VorFemme!  I don't know that I've ever been to Fridays, but now I know to avoid it.  Now I'm wondering if hidden artificial sweeteners were the trigger for some of the other migraines that seem to hit out of the blue.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 10:13:15 PM by Elfmama »
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greencat

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #114 on: January 23, 2013, 10:16:38 PM »
I experienced a brief bout of lactose intolerance a few years ago.  I went to a nearby pizza place to play trivia with my friends.  I discovered that, despite ordering food that should have been dairy free entirely, I was still reacting badly - meaning that there was a cross-contamination issue in their kitchen.

I had an issue with actual food poisoning (Salmonella) at a Friday's - fortunately not the one near my house.  Weirdly enough I also accidentally gave myself salmonellensis from their brand of frozen chicken wings - as the package wasn't particularly clearly labeled as being raw rather than cooked chicken, I was insufficiently careful heating it, and ate a piece thinking it tasted rather odd before I got a really good look at the inside of the second one.  They changed the packaging shortly after that - I gather that my experience wasn't terribly uncommon.


MommyPenguin

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #115 on: January 24, 2013, 12:44:14 AM »
Along with allergies, some people might have other reasons for avoiding artificial sweeteners, like pregnancy.  I was told that only sucralose (Splenda) was safe during pregnancy.  My understanding is that the jury is still out on saccharin and aspartame and they are probably fine, but it should be people's decision about whether that's okay with them.  It does sound like some of it may be an annoying but not surprising result of laws about nutrition, menu listings, etc.

Ambrosia Hino

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #116 on: January 24, 2013, 10:43:22 AM »
I'm glad for the head's up about TGI Friday's too. I have similar, but milder, reactions to artificial sweeteners as my aunt (Vorfemme's Lil Sis). Splenda, I can handle in small doses, but its started leaving a "chemical" taste in my mouth, so I avoid it too.  Luckily, Friday's doesn't have any stores near my house, and its easy enough to avoid when we're on a trip.

The fun one I've been trying to avoid is zucchini - so many places have it in their "seasonal veggies" and I react badly with it too.

VorFemme

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #117 on: January 24, 2013, 10:46:31 AM »
Update - someone from TGIFridays called us last night (the only number I could remember while rattled at the ER with Lil Sis) - I gave them her contact information and they are supposed to be contacting her today.  I'm not sure what they wanted to talk to her about - but if she updates me, I will update you all.

She has other chronic & serious medical conditions (auto-immune, kidney, & nerve issues).  At least one gets worse whenever she's sick or under the weather and she's on immuno-suppressant drugs.  The exposure to an allergen/known sensitivity (whatever you call it medically) has caused a set back before and she mentioned a higher pain level the last couple of days.

She is really not happy with the results of her ignorance about Fridays and their heavy use of artificial sweeteners - but she hadn't wanted to turn into a Worry Wart who asks about all the ingredients in every dish set before her....it looks like she might not be over-reacting, though.  We would have eaten elsewhere if we'd had any idea about their food being so "artificially enhanced".
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Virg

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #118 on: January 24, 2013, 01:35:16 PM »
Elfmama wrote long ago:

"But I think the picture of the chicken, hamburger, or whatever, is necessary because of illiteracy rather than innumeracy."

The pictures of food joke goes way back, but it has nothing to do with illiteracy.  Illustrated consoles were mostly designed to simplify accounting and speed up the ordering process.  Up front, the cashier just needs to select what the customer ordered by item, and internally the computer handles setting up the order, tracking the inventory and throwing the price up on the screen.  If changes need to be made to the price of a product, the cashiers don't need to worry about it, they just select "chicken sandwich".  If the store runs out of onion rings, one update tells the console to disallow ordering of that item so the cashier immediately knows what to tell the customer.  Pictures of the product speed up "reading" the console for most people, even highly literate people, so they can find what the customer wants quickly and get the kitchen staff working on making it that much faster.  All of this was designed to streamline ordering, cut down on pricing problems and simplify the training process, not because the people working the counter are generally not smart enough to handle the old way.

Virg

JacklynHyde

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #119 on: January 28, 2013, 09:06:03 PM »
My husband is soy-intolerant.  It is nearly impossible to go to a chain restaurant and avoid soy oil (used for cooking and in salad dressing) or soy flour.  We have had to become major locavores, because we can ask the chef directly about the ingredients and be assured they are honest with the answers.  On the positive side, I love that I know our milk is sourced from a guy named Warren, who also supplies cream to Jeni, who makes ice cream at the parlor down the street.