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Jun 29, 2014 08:08 PM

Special Diets: Restaurants, Shops & Local Products

Starting this thread for those of us who can't eat everything any more.

Low carb, low sodium, allergies, gluten sensitivity, you name it.

Let's talk about accommodating restaurants, and where to find speciality items (especially if it's locally made).

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  1. To start, I have a gluten allergy and I've been low carb for about 18 months now.

    One helps with the other, but they're not interchangeable, so I have to be careful.

    Here's some of my go-tos:

    1. P. Terry's wrapped in lettuce
    --The fries are GF, since they don't have any breaded items that go into the fryer. Yummmm.

    2. Soto
    --The chefs make a GF sushi & sashimi kawasaki lunch for me, which is amazing.

    3. Beanitos
    --GF & low carb, and seriously delicious.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dinaofdoom

      thanks for the heads up about the beanitos. I'll have to give them a shot. which flavors have you tried?

      As a type 2 diabetic who is required to do low carb I love this thread!

      If you have any other good grocery items please let us know.

      1. re: chrisdds98

        ok, i'm so glad i just looked because... they're coming out with new products!

        these taste really good. not exactly like doritos, but the beans make them "heftier" if that makes any sense? low glycemic and tasty? yes, please.

        better cheddar, nacho cheese & restaurant style are my favorite. usually i prefer black beans in their whole form but white and pinto seem to work better for the chips.

        HEB frequently has them on sale with the yellow coupons, such as buy 2 and get $2 off, etc.

    2. Dinaofdoom, I've low carb-ed for about 14 years and now for me it's old hat. however, I don't yet have to worry about gluten (knock on wood).

      1. The medium rare fillet with a double side of sautéed garlic spinach at ALC is probably GF and certainly hardly any carbs.

      2. The sausage omelet topped with cheddar cheese at Mi Madres (not on the menu, the sausage is a fine grain and homemade and very black peppered, very good). I usually get a side of beans and rice and give most of that away to my lady.

      2.5 Mi Madres also has a "low carb" plate with scrambled egg, fajita meat, and avocado if I recall correctly. can be boring but it works.

      3. sashimi at soto and DK (closer to my hood).

      4. oysters with the green sauce (when not milky) and tom yum soup at Deckhand.

      5. double lobster with black peppercorn sauce and any of their cruciferate veggies (cabbage, bok choy, chinese broccoli, etc.) at Sea Dragon. If you want to cheat on carbs, I bet any of their fried rice stick dishes (veggie, meat, combo meat / seafood) are GF and they are heavenly in my book.

      6. Ma Po Tofu at Asia Cafe. Spicy fish isn't high carb but certainly has breading. Jade (asparagus) chicken I think is thickened with starch not flour. It's a mild dish but we like it.

      7. I read elsewhere (yelp I guess) that Miguel will make up a GF sonora hot dog and burrito on I think corn tortillas. Not low carb but not as bad as flour. corn tortillas are lower glycemic index compared to flour.

      more to come…..gotta go work.

      1 Reply
      1. re: slowcoooked

        thank you so much for the post! asian food is challenging for GF, since a lot of it uses soy sauce. sometimes they are able to sub tamari, which is why it's so easy to eat GF at sushi joints, but much harder at chinese places, where a lot of the sauces and stuff are already made.

      2. and if you haven't yet, go through the posts by mcf over on special diets board. encyclopedic low carb information granted not about Austin per se.

        1 Reply
        1. re: slowcoooked

          oh yes, she's a gem & her posts are very informative!

        2. slowcooked just reminded me of one of my fave GF & LC dishes at zorba: the chicken or salmon, sub the pilaf for sauteed spinach (with mushrooms, onions & peppers, yum!) and the hummus for baba ghanoush.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dinaofdoom

            nice call dinaofdoom, that spinach sounds great.

            1. re: slowcoooked

              it really is tasty and leftovers reheat well!

          2. I've become allergic to formaldehyde and propylene glycol.

            Ingesting either causes the skin on the palms of my hands and soles of feet to char, thicken, crack, and bleed, and itch like crazy. This caused 9 trips to the dermatologist 5 years ago. The constant pain, itching, and stinging actually made me fantasize about how I could convince a surgeon to amputate my hands and feet.

            It was diagnosed as several different maladies. Nothing seemed to help. Finally I (yes, me, not the MD) suggested, "how about an allergy test?" Turns out that's all it was. Within 24 hours of eliminating formaldehyde and propylene glycol from my life, I felt the "fire" in my hands and feet go out.

            Given that I haven't done a frog dissection since 8th grade, I thought formaldehyde shouldn't be a problem. However, I also had to stop reading physical newpaper(s). Apparently it's in the print.

            Given that I don't drink antifreeze, I'd think that propylene glycol would be easy to avoid. However it's in a ton of skin and hair products instead. It's not allowed in baby products because it's a known irritant.

            How does this relate to local products I can't eat? Shockingly...

            1) HEB's store-made desserts.

            Once a month I crave a blueberry muffin. However, HEB adds propylene glycol to their muffins and some store-made desserts. It's right there, plain as day, on the too-long label of ingredients.

            I said the F word out loud when I saw it. I've seen dog food commercials advertise they no longer add propylene glycol into their dog food for heavens sake.

            2) Beer on tap, bottle, can, local, whatever that doesn't list its ingredients.

            Propylene glycol makes beer foam foamier.

            I don't know for sure who uses it, but when I drink the 55 calorie light beer, I feel the changes in my feet skin start to happen.

            So I've stopped drinking beer unless
            - they list their ingredients, which almost none do. The beer lobbyists defeat legislation requiring that every time.
            - it's German beer that abides by that 1815 purity law called the Reinheitsgebot


            The Spec's beer guy can pronounce it with ease.. "YES we have Reinheitsgebot beer!"

            4 Replies
            1. re: sweet100s

              Wow - thank god you got that allergy test. Maybe I should check labels, too. If I use deodorant with propylene glycol, my underarms turn beet red after a few hours. Very painful, like an itchy sunburn. Why in the heck would one need propylene glycol in a muffin?

              1. re: rudeboy

                formaldehyde is a known poison / carcinogen - probably good to be allergic and therefore alerted to being exposed to it. as for PG, the new "environmentally friendly" antifreeze, I too would prefer to avoid it, but it's toxicity is considered low compared to the well known analog ethylene glycol (the compound in most traditional anti-freeze varieties) that will kill humans and pets (they like the sweet taste) and fry the kidneys. A female MD anderson doctor was charged with poisoning her MD anderson doctor friend by putting EG in his coffee. he wound up in the hospital 4 hr later with kidney failure and a lethal level of EG. he survived. not sure what happened to that lady.


                1. re: rudeboy

                  Propylene glycol, like many food additives, is used to help extend shelf life. In breads it helps maintain a perception of freshness (doesn't evaporate like water). It's also used in popsicles and other frozen ice products for its antifreeze properties. Also as a solvent for suspending artificial and natural flavors.

                2. re: sweet100s

                  some of the people on the special diets board here have developed allergies or sensitivities to some things i had to look up.

                  as trendy as gluten free is getting, my hope is that it changes labeling so that everyone knows what they are putting into and onto their bodies.