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I prepare all my own food because I have worked out which foods are the worst... and it's most of them.

Therefore, when friends or colleagues want to dine at restaurants, I bring my own food. Doing so has come to feel less and less awkward - I am so bloody sick of rolling the dice at restaurants that bringing my own food is a relief.

HOWEVER: At some restaurants, the staff tell me I can't do that. I tell them I have a health condition, and they tell me they have a policy (some mention that it's for insurance purposes). Some are flexible enough to let me go ahead anyway, but in one recent situation a manager approached our group after dinner and said we could not bring food next time. He was trying to be polite - but I fought a very difficult internal battle to avoid giving him a long, grating speech about the dietary tightrope I walk every day.

What would you do if a restaurant's policy says no self-made food, but leaving the restaurant would mean inconveniencing your friends or colleagues?

I am planning to start calling restaurants ahead from now on, but it still disgusts me that a restaurant's inflexible policy should inconvenience the entire group I'm accompanying.

> If you bring them a doctor's note, does that change anything?

> Joking (mostly): If I brought a generic waiver that says I indemnify and hold harmless [insert restaurant name here], and I signed it and handed it over to the manager, what do you think they'd say? LOL.
 

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That is frustrating that they said you couldn't bring your own food. When it comes to social gatherings, most people love to go out to eat and drink. This isn't as easy for us IBS folks. Usually I don't go out to meals with my friends, we just will go out for a drink. One alcoholic drink doesn't seem to upset my GI tract too much. It is just too much of a hassle to eat out, especially because I'm lactose intolerant too. I have to be super careful. I always take a lactaid pill when I do eat out, you never know if things were cross contaminated. So my advice for you is either eat before or try and order something safe. Or just don't eat with them at all. I feel like a weirdo when I order a salad with basically everything picked off, but sometimes it is the price you pay for hanging out with friends. Good luck!
 
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