More people are turning to gluten-free diets. In fact, one in three Americans are doing so, according to a recent study. Restaurants are taking notice.
Lauren Meiers is gluten-intolerant, which means no grains such as wheat, barley and rye.
"If I consume a lot of gluten, I usually get pretty moody," says Meiers. I`ll have a stomach ache sometimes."
Gluten affects the gastrointestinal system of those who are intolerant.
"The villa in your intestines become shortened and you`re not able to absorb the nutrients you need," explains Amanda Ihmels, a certified dietician at Sanford Hospital. "Sometimes you end up with some severe [gastrointestinal] issues. "
Traditionally, restaurants have been limiting, and Meiers says, it can be frustrating. "We don`t want to eat at home all the time."
Restaurants including Erbert and Gerbert`s carry items labeled G.F., for gluten-free.
Some are very sensitive to gluten, and even the smallest trace of the protein can be problematic. Erbert`s and Gerbert`s has a separate station for their gluten free ingredients.
"So there is no cross-contamination from our regular sandwich making area," explains Brad Fandrich, director of operations for Erbert`s and Gerbert`s.
Fandrich says the demand for gluten-free has been high.
Partially because "It`s kind of a fad diet now," says Ihmels.
She says if you don`t have celiac disease or a gluten-intolerance, the diet can deprive you of important nutrients, and there is no proof cutting out gluten will make you healthier or lose weight.
But the restaurant options are out there for those like Meiers.
"You just have to do a little more research and make sure you ask," says Meiers. "I still get a little embarrassed sometimes to ask if they can make it gluten free, because you kind of feel like the odd one out, but it`s for your health and safety."
Among some other local restaurants with gluten-free items: Lucky Ducks, Taco Del Mar, and McKenzie Restaurant.
Many national chains also accommodate gluten-intolerant eaters. It`s important to just ask. Some people are extremely intolerant of gluten, so eating out depends on his or her comfort with another person preparing their food.