Question: What to say when asked for dietary requirements?

"I've eaten out a few times recently where I've ordered from a large-ish menu and chosen the closest thing on the menu and asked for minor changes (ie, without bacon, or with baked potato instead of fries).

In the next couple of months I've got a couple of events where there's going to be a set menu and I need to RSVP with my dietary requirements. What can I say that will cover most of the Overcoming MS requirements, without being enormously complicated (ie, more than a couple of dot points)? There's also the issue that I won't be RSVPing directly to the venue but via a friend or colleague, and that I haven't told many people about my MS diagnosis and don't want to get into a conversation about it/the diet.

I'm thinking of saying that I'm vegan and can't eat coconut... do you think that that's a fairly simple response that will mean my meal will be 90% compliant? I know it won't be perfect but it will only be for a couple of occasions. Thanks for your help 😊"

Answers: Re: What to say when asked for dietary requirements?

“Tell them you are mostly vegan (that should get you out of the saturated animal fats discussion) and that you have recently been tested for food allergies and intolerances and that should get you out of any of the other foods you don't want to eat. Works for me everywhere I've used it, especially at work luncheons. Best wishes”


“What I summarise my request to is: no meat, no dairy, no oil, no coconut, I do eat seafood/fish.”


“Vegan + fish, no fried food, no added oil”


“I say gluten free (but that is just me), dairy free, no meat or chicken, seafood OK. I haven't had to add no deep fried, as gluten free enforces that anyway. If it was likely to be Thai or something like I would add no coconut, but I may have to add saying it as a matter of course as there is such a BIG push to the cooking with coconut oil everywhere at the moment. Even the lovely Janella Purcell who spoke at one of the Gawler conferences in Melbourne in 2011 cooks all the time with coconut oil in the recipes on her blog. So disappointed. Hope this helps CB.” - Diagnosis Apr 2010, Coeliac Nov 2010. Procrastinated a bit. Fully Overcoming MS Sept 2011.


“I have been to a few events recently involving large scale catering. Some with more success than others. I basically have said low fat vegan but can have fish. i tell the organiser that if i don't stick with this diet I become ill, without being more specific. The food I have been given has generally been very bland, usually a piece of grilled salmon with boiled veg and potatoes. However at a charity dinner last Saturday, I took my own dressing with me which livened the food up a bit. Think I will do this in the future. Will need to buy some miniature pots to put into my handbag. Good luck.”


“My standard is Vegan with seafood, no added oil, no coconut and salad dressing on the side. I bring my own salad dressing. I find the more high-end restaurants and caterers are generally good. I stick to salads with grilled salmon or fish (if available!) at pubs or family restaurants...”


“Personally, I have found that many, many people have no idea what vegan means! Or else, they think they do, but in reality are very far off. I would tell them I don't eat meat or dairy and no oil please. I, like many others, stress that I am allergic to dairy. People will take you very seriously if you say this. In the past, I have found that dairy needed to be specified (like no cheese, no cream, etc). You would think it would be self explanatory, but again, it is not. If it is just one meal, I would let the oil pass before I would touch the other things. That's just me though. Good luck! I have been in your position and it can be a little stressful.”


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