Out to eat as a family

When we first learned how rigid this diet can be we immediately came to the conclusion that we would have to hide in our house, stop going out to eat, limit our travel, and protect Drake from being exposed to a world full of off-diet choices. I despaired that Drake would be a food jealous, food unconfident, limited in his life experiences, sad little kid. Maybe I was a little bit overdramatic at first.

So after a few months we were happy to find out that we could still take Drake out to eat again if we were careful and managed expectations. We no longer went to our favorite kid-friendly restaurants, a Mediterranean Bistro and a Mexican Restaurant, but instead favored places with a really good hamburger. You can get a burger at a grill with no bun and it is generally pretty safe and only cooked in oil (but ask your sever if you have any concerns about hidden carbs). We stress to the server that Drake can’t take a bite without two sides of mayonnaise, and that usually does the trick for bringing the all important mayo with the meal.

We also order broccoli, or celery or carrot sticks with ranch dressing for his side. You could also go to a seafood restaurant and order grilled salmon or mahi-mahi with extra mayo, or switch out the vegetables for green beans or peas. We sometimes bring along extra heavy cream from home if we are concerned he won’t be getting enough fat with his meal — but dinner is usually our one meal that Drake eats the fat on the side anyways, and then we rely on his snack at bedtime to keep his ketones high through the night till breakfast time.

If you are strict about daily calorie counts and protein restrictions you can bring in your scale and measure out the protein portion and serve with a packed-in pre-calculated and pre-measured side meal. You will probably have to explain to your server what your doing as you are picking apart the meal, but I’m sure that once they find out what you are up to they won’t mind that you brought food in from home.

We now skip going into the whole spiel of Drake being on a special diet for Glut1 Deficiency and having dietary restrictions, and so on and so forth — which usually leads to a long conversation and lots of explaining and then sometimes confusion on the server’s part. It can be frustrating that restaurants take food allergies more seriously than dietary restrictions.

We make sure that Drake understands that he can still only eat keto-friendly food in a restaurant, and not any of the off-diet foods like the French fries or hot-dog buns that his younger brother usually gets. Ken and I have been eating Keto ourselves to help Drake feel better about the diet and to show him our support (and as a bonus I’ve lost 15 lbs and Ken has lost 20 lbs so far). But we learned the hard way that Drake does notice if we go off diet in a restaurant and will start questioning why he has to be so strict himself. Ken and I are not super strict all the time ourselves, we love a good date night where we can enjoy ourselves and eat whatever we want, but we learned that solidarity helps Drake continue to have the will-power to resist whatever junk food comes his way.

This diet does require changes to your thinking, some extra planning and implementing new routines. But once you get it down and everyone has adjusted, it is not that significantly hard. I always think about the nut or dairy or gluten allergy kids whose parents have to worry about cross contamination. This diet isn’t harder than other dietary restrictions, just different.

Out to eat at our favorite local restaurant — The Mason Jar.


Author: Debra Lane

Debra & Ken Lane maintain this blog to chronicle their son's journey of living with the rare neurometabolic disorder, Glucose Transporter Type 1 Deficiency Syndrome (Glut1 DS for short). And hope to raise awareness and understanding of the non-epileptic form of Glut1 DS. Drake’s Glut1 journey started at the age of 3 with episodes of Ataxia and Dyskinesia. Now at the age of 8 he is 2 years symptom-free — thanks to the right diagnosis and the ketogenic diet.

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