Eating Gluten Free at Chipotle

Eating Gluten Free at Chipotle

Topics discussed:

00:39 – What did you have to eat today?
1:22 – Van’s chocolate bar
1:55 – Beef Bourguignon – get the recipe here -
02:45 – Topic of the week: Chipotle Gluten Free
03:55 – Do you go back to a place you got sick?
05:45 – Ever gotten sick from Chipotle
06:55 – Cliff Bar accident
07:20 – Are you afraid to go back to Chipotle?
08:16 – I have no choice
08:55 – Rebecca’s go-to item
09:15 – Is it worth it?
10:55 – How much are you willing to risk going out to eat?
11:24 – Education on eating out is key
16:01 – Listener Feedback
18:52 – News & Updates – GF Magazine is now on the iPhone
20:20 – New PLC website
22:16 – Think about it
24:05 – “I would die if I couldn’t eat bread ever gain”


Rebecca: It’s been very rare that I have had somewhere say, “No, we have no options for you.” Honestly, I would rather have them say, “No, we have no options for you,” than say, “Oh, we’ll try to figure something out and then I get sick.

Andrew: Yeah. Welcome to the GFMagazine Podcast with Andrew Cordova and Rebecca Black. Join us as we discuss how to make living gluten-free just a little bit easier.

Hi there. Welcome to the GFMagazine Podcast episode no. 11. Andrew Cordova here with my co-host, Rebecca Black. How are you doing, Rebecca?

Rebecca: Great! Great, great. How are you?

Andrew: I’m doing pretty good. What did you have to eat today?

Rebecca: I had sushi and I had a Van’s chocolate chip bar and some grapes. I’ve not had too much tonight. I think tonight we’re having just chicken and rice with [inaudible 00:01:00].

Andrew: Where did you get it? Did you have sushi from like – you went out to eat or you did it yourself?

Rebecca: Yeah, I went out to eat.

Andrew: I thought you were going to say you made it yourself.

Rebecca: No. No, no, no.

Andrew: I’ve made sushi. I make sushi sometimes when I go to my brother’s house. It’s actually pretty simple and it’s way cheaper than going out to eat.

Rebecca: Oh, I’m sure.

Andrew: Yeah. A Van’s Chocolate Bar. Is that like a brand?

Rebecca: Yeah, they’re pretty good. They’re new. They’re like a granola bar. They’re actually really good. I like them better than any of the other bars I’ve had.

Andrew: Did they have milk sugar or anything?

Rebecca: No, I think they’ve got – I’m not sure what they have. They’re not horrible for you.

Andrew: No, I’m just wondering. What did I have to eat? Last night, I made a super delicious dish I’ve never made before. I think it’s pronounced beef bugnion or…

Rebecca: ber-ney?

Andrew: Is that what it’s called?

Rebecca: Oh, I don’t know.

Andrew: I forgot what it’s called. I can’t even think right now. Beef bugnion, but I don’t know. Anyway, it’s with red wine and then some carrots and mushroom. It was super good. And then some mashed potato and a potato chowder last night.

Rebecca: Yum!

Andrew: I’ve had that for breakfast. I had leftovers. It’s probably one of the best beef stews I’ve ever made. I will link to the recipe in the show notes, Yeah, that’s what I’ve had.

But today, I want to talk about – just the other, was it yesterday? Sunday? It was on Sunday. I went to Chipotle. I go there pretty often. I took a picture while I was in there. I posted it on the Facebook page, And what I said, I posted, “In Chipotle, you ever eat here?” I got like 200 responses. I would say probably 75% of them said, “Yes, I love it there.” A lot of people commented, “I love that they take precaution and change gloves.” And then one person usually takes care of your order. They don’t skew it down the line and have a different person do it. But there were some people that said, “Oh, I always get sick when I go there” or, “Now they changed their spices and now it’s now gluten-free.”

Rebecca: They struggle sometimes. For me, I know that their chips do bother me.

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve never eaten chips. I don’t know if…

Rebecca: I don’t know why because I know that’s the only thing they cook in there I think – or maybe not.

Andrew: I don’t even know if they cook them there. I don’t eat the chips, but the only thing that isn’t gluten-free at Chipotle is the tortillas, which are flour. And then you can also order the corn ones, but I’ve always ordered the [inaudible 00:04:03].

Yeah, I just wanted to talk about – I guess probably just a few things. I’m wondering the people that have gone there and gotten sick – like if you go somewhere and you got sick, do you never return there again or do you?

Rebecca: I mean, I think it depends. Actually, in the last GFMagazine, I gave some tips. That was the question from one of the readers. It was ‘how to dine out gluten-free?’ For me, I think it’s more – if it was my careless mistake, then I am likely to give the restaurant another opportunity to try it because I was the one that screwed up.

Now if I go there and I took all the precautions, I asked all the questions and then I feel like I did get sick or something happened in there, I’m very hesitant to try it again especially somewhere that I’ve heard I shouldn’t try and then I do anyway and I have the same experience.

Andrew: But without something really simple like a Chipotle, they’re a chain. I’m not 100% if their claim on the website, ‘gluten-free’ and anything like that, but I know that…

Rebecca: They do say they do have the nutrition and the food allergies on their website.

Andrew: Okay. That place, I go there. I’ve heard from a million people before (I even went to [inaudible 00:05:40] that it was safe) and they told me like they change their gloves and one person just handles your food down the whole line. Like I’ve just said, they don’t pass it on to the next person.

Have you ever gotten sick there?

Rebecca: No, but I have watched them drip food into the other containers. I have watched them use utensils and take them out of the bins and physically touch the spoon of the flour tortillas and then put it back in the pot – basically cross-contaminating the whole entire thing of black beans.

Andrew: Beans?

Rebecca: You could have the best person who does the greatest thing of making sure that they do that, but for people who are uber sensitive, they’re still – I mean, especially when they’re busy and they’re just trying to get orders done, I think I do definitely the way that they use their spoons and stuff, I think there’s a risk of cross-contamination there.

Andrew: So are you uber sensitive?

Rebecca: I am not – I mean, I am, but I am not to what some other people have told me.

Andrew: Okay. So…

Rebecca: I’ve eaten a Clif bar by accident and I farted a lot. It wasn’t like I had this huge reaction. I mean, I had a reaction to it, but I think sometimes depending on what it is, it gives me a different reaction.

Andrew: So are you afraid to go back to Chipotle? “Oh, I’ve seen that they’re not perfect so I’m never going to go back there ever again.”

Rebecca: No, I’m not. I mean, it is honestly convenient. Like I said, the only time I got sick is when I had chips, so I stopped eating chips, so I’m wondering if they’re not safe.

Andrew: Interesting! I’m going to…

Rebecca: I also noticed that the different meats irritate my stomach. I usually get Barbacoa, but I’ve noticed that the steak and the chicken tends to irritate my stomach more. So I don’t know…

Andrew: I’m just looking on their website really quick to see if I can find anything about the chips.

Rebecca: Yeah, I don’t know.

Andrew: Chips, they make them in soy bean oil. I think that’s what it is. But no, they are glute-free. I’m looking at the website right now of Chipotle. Only the soft flour tortillas for the burritos and tacos contain gluten.

So I’m wondering – someone posted on our Facebook page (I’m not going to name names or anything), they said that 75% of the time that they eat there, they get sick. Would you continue to go eat somewhere that you feel sick even if it’s the only place?

Rebecca: No.

Andrew: What did they say? I’m going to scroll down and just look for this comment really quick.

Rebecca: I mean, how could it possibly be the only place.

Andrew: Here, “About 75% of the time, I don’t feel well after eating there. Sometimes when I’m on the road, I have no choice.” What do you think about that “I have no choice?”

Rebecca: There are grocery stores everywhere. I don’t believe that someone doesn’t have a choice. For me, my go-to item is a Wendy’s baked potato. I mean, there’s definitely other options – not a lot, but there are other options.

Andrew: I’m probably going to butcher this. There’s a guy. His name is Robb Wolf. He leads the Paleo Movement. He talks about he has Celiac disease – err, does he have Celiac disease. I’m not sure if he has Celiac disease. I think he does and he’s very, very, very sensitive. He always talks about the – it’s like a balance between, “Do I want to…” When you weight one thing, “Okay, there could be a likelihood of cross-contamination or…”

Rebecca: Like “Is it worth it?”

Andrew: Yeah, basically, is it worth it?

Rebecca: I mean, Chipotle is good, but it’s not that good. It’s not worth making me miserable for a week or anything.

Andrew: So you know that it’s probably safe, right? You’ll go back there because you haven’t had a problem. So when someone knew – let’s say it’s your very first time or someone is brand new to go in and try Chipotle or some other place that is relatively safe, basically, yeah, is it worth it? Is trying out a new food and finding something that could be very convenient and tasty and not horribly bad for me? Is it worth for me to take this risk to try it out or never even try it and never have the option?

When you try out a new place, I’m asking you because I feel like you eat out way more than I do. Literally, probably like 99% of the meals I eat are at my house or like two other restaurants and I feel 100% safe because I know the people in the kitchen and they feel like almost family because my family has been eating there since I was like 5 years old.

You know when you go try somewhere else, somewhere when you’re out and it doesn’t say – let’s say they didn’t have a Celiac-friendly menu, it doesn’t say ‘Celiac’ on it, but they might say that they have gluten-free options, but you don’t know the back of the house…

Rebecca: But the reality is unless it’s a truly gluten-free facility, nowhere is a Celiac-safe restaurant. Unless it’s a true gluten-free bakery where they have no other anything there (nobody else is allowed to bring their own food in there), it’s never going to be Celiac-safe. That’s the reality of the situation. So it’s how much are you willing to risk going out to eat?

The other component of that is how educated are you on ordering at a restaurant to make sure that you’re safe.

I’ll give you a perfect example. It just happened today.

I went to the sushi place. I’ve been there several times. I just couldn’t remember which rolls were like the gluten-free rolls that I have had that didn’t have tempura or sauces on it. She goes, “Oh, all of our rolls are gluten-free except for the ones with the tempura.” And I said, “That’s not true because you use crab stick, an imitation crab has gluten in it.” And she said, “Oh! Well, okay. I didn’t know that.”

So had I not educated myself to know that those are not safe options and relied on her who had no idea, I’d put myself at risk of getting sick.

Andrew: Yeah.

Rebecca: So being able to ask the right questions, know the right things before you go to the restaurant, that’s the only thing you can do to make sure that you’re going to be okay.

Andrew: Right! So besides that, you do your due diligence, you’re okay with trying a new restaurant?

Rebecca: Oh, yeah. I do it all the time. I mean, I travel a ton. I love venturing out to different places. It’s been very rare that I have had somewhere say, “No, we have no options for you.” And honestly, I would rather have them say, “No, we have no options for you” than say, “Oh! Well, we’ll try to figure something out” and then I get sick.

Andrew: Yeah. No, I bring up this topic because I feel like there’s a lot of people that are not – I’m not going to say they’re hermits, but they’re just so afraid and they don’t have someone like you or I to talk to like, “Oh, what do you think about this?” or, “Have you tried that?” or, “How do you this?” or, “How do you do that?”

Rebecca: Right!

Andrew: So I wanted to bring up this topic to just make it – like you say, you lived your life just as – you’re not afraid. You’re living your life with Celiac disease. You’re thriving. You’re totally fine. You’re not complaining…

Rebecca: Well, ‘totally fine’ is a relative term.

Andrew: What I’m saying is you wouldn’t be able to tell by speaking to you that it doesn’t seem like you’re depressed right now…

Rebecca: Right!

Andrew: …or that you’re bummed out that you have Celiac disease or you want to kill yourself because you can’t eat super soft bread with that one texture that will never be emulated without gluten.

So yeah, I just wanted to bring this topic up to just let people know it’s okay to try new places. Just be smart when you’re trying new places. Don’t let other people scare you into like, “Oh, don’t ever go there. I got sick there once. It’s probably going to happen to you.”

Just like I brought up the Chipotle place because it’s a big chain. You can see everything right in front of you. The kitchen is right in front of you. I would just like to let people know that it’s not super scary and you’re not going to get sick every time you go out to eat.

Rebecca: Well I’ll give you one place that I typically struggle with is Jason’s Deli. Jason’s Deli, I’ve been to probably a handful of times and only one of those times have I felt there feeling confident that I wasn’t poisoned.

A part of that is if you eat in any of those places where there’s breadcrumbs flying around – I ate at Jimmy John’s once and it was a disaster. Listen, you just used that spatula to wipe mayonnaise all over all these other people’s bread, you can’t use the same spatula to get the mayonnaise on my lettuce. I had to explain that they had to go get another container of mayonnaise that wasn’t dipped in all the breadcrumbs. Honestly, the food wasn’t worth the hassle of ordering it.

That’s always my threshold. How easy is it for me to walk in there and eat? If it’s easy, I’ll go there, I’ll try it, I’ll try to make it work. If it’s going to be a huge pain in my Celiac rear end, I’m less likely to make the choice to go there, you know?

Andrew: Yeah.

Rebecca: So it’s risk/reward I guess is what you’re trying to say.

Andrew: Yes, that’s exactly what I was trying to say.

Let’s move into the listener feedback.

Rebecca: Well, I just have to say that I’m really overwhelmed with all the positive feedback we’ve been getting from our listeners. Isn’t that just amazing?

Terry D who says, “Inspiring!” and gives us five stars, she’s in the United States, she says, “I was just diagnosed with Celiac one month ago, so I crave information. I have listened to all eight podcasts – a wealth of information for me. I always look forward to the email announcing the next podcast. Thanks, Rebecca and Andrew for making the podcast so interesting and giving tips that you have personally learned along the way. I feel like I am sitting down listening to good friends.”

Oh, that’s nice.

Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s so awesome. I think it’s awesome. I was on my way – where was I going? I was going to Fresno – oh no, I wasn’t going to Fresno. I was going to Union City this weekend to go see my niece, to go his soccer and I was like making notes and I editing my last podcast on my way up. I came across this review. I was thinking like – I think I probably say this every single podcast. I repeat myself all the time. There’s no one else in this community of people – there’s nothing else like a podcast. It’s in your ear, you’re listening to people and these conversations that we have.

It’s so rare that you will ever have this type of conversation with anyone else. Even if they are gluten-free and you know them or they have Celiac disease or whatever, I just think it’s such an awesome avenue or medium for us to just share information. Like Terry said, it just feels like you’re listening to good friends just like in a regular conversation.

I’m just super stoked that we started the podcast because it helps me and I’m pretty sure it helps thousands and thousands of people just to feel normal and have it like part of your day where you feel like you’re talking with people that actually understand what you’re going through.

So yeah, I’m super stoked about the feedback. Keep it coming. If you’d like to comment on this episode, go to or head on over to iTunes, search ‘gluten-free podcast’ or ‘GF podcast’, ‘gluten-free magazine podcast’, something like that. We should pop up as no. 1. Click the ‘write a review’ button and let her rip! Let us know what you think and if it’s super awesome, give us a 5-star.

Okay. And next is the news and updates. The GFMagazine, the actual magazine is now available on the iPhone and iPad. It’s been there for about a week now and I’ve been getting a ton of downloads. A lot of new readers and I’m pretty sure a lot of new listeners now (because I put links to the podcast inside the magazine).

Also, I’ve updated it with kind of a text version of each issue. So if you’re on your iPhone, I know the pinch and zoom thing isn’t always the best option to read articles online or whatever, so there’s a little button on the application now that you could click and it will bring up a text version, which is kind of like a really basic version of each issue, so it’s easier to read.

And also, what was I going to say? Oh, yeah! The magazine, the next magazine will be out – it’s probably already out now that you’re listening to this because we record it like a week or two ahead of time. I’m going to be publishing them about 2-3 times per month now and they’re going to be much shorter, so I think it’s going to be easier to digest. And also, just so we can have more frequent interaction with each other.

Actually, I’m going to test it out. I don’t know how well it will do. If it does well, I will continue to publish them on – probably like a weekly basis almost. And yeah, so we will see how that goes.

Rebecca, any news and updates with you, your website? Actually, I saw your website. You updated it, right? It looks pretty cool. It actually looks more – it looks nicer.

Rebecca: Clean, yeah.

Andrew: It looks clean, yeah! It looks more professional.

Rebecca: I love it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Rebecca: So my news is that I just got back from BlogHer. It’s fantastic! I had a great time, some cool stuff to incorporate in my blog going forward.

The biggest thing is that I registered for the International Celiac Disease Symposium. So it is official. I’m going. I’m paid. I’m registered. I’m sleeping on a friend’s coach so I can afford to go since the rooms are so expensive. I plan on bringing back tons of information and just hopefully lots of research and new updates to share with everybody on my blog.

So if you’re interested about finding out more about Celiac disease or my progress – not my progress, my experience at the symposium, make sure you head over to and sign up for my newsletter. It’s right there on the website, so you will get all of the updates and all that fun stuff. Fun stuff!

Andrew: Yeah, it’s pretty expensive. All hotels in DC I think are pretty expensive. I went there probably a couple of years ago for a conference about Internet marketing and I think I dished out close to $300 for a room. I was surprised.

Rebecca: Yeah, this is a lot. And since the conference was $500, I decided that I would save money and sleep on someone’s coach. I mean, it’s only for two nights, so who cares? It’s not like I’m there a week.

Andrew: They’re not strangers though, right?

Rebecca: They’re Aaron’s fraternity. One of them is his fraternity brother from college that we know pretty well. His apartment is cleaner than mine, so I think I’ll be fine.

Andrew: Alright! Well, let’s go to the ‘Think About It’. Today, my quote is:

The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage…

…by Carrie Jones. I think it’s from her book, Need. I never read it, but I like the quote.

How can I tie this into what we’ve been talking about today? Happiness is like finding out that gluten has been the problem in your life and the secret of being gluten-free is having courage and it’s not being afraid to go out, to go eat, to go try something new. Yeah, that’s how I tie it into what we talked about today.

On the Facebook page, people are saying, “It’s all crazy. Don’t ever go to Chipotle” or whatever. When something is relatively safe or they get good reviews and they have good practices, then be open to go try it out. It could be a place that you can go eat. You don’t have to eat at home all the time.

I know that’s the no. 1 thing that people complain about, “There’s nowhere safe to go out to go eat.” If you try, you’ll never find any places that are safe to go out to go eat. So be courageous in your food adventures… but be smart! Be smart. Don’t be stupid.

Rebecca: Yeah! No, yeah. If you know you’re super-sensitivity, then I would avoid going out to eat. That’s just unfortunately the way it is. I mean, your health is more important.

Oh, I do have a great interesting conversation I had with someone at the BlogHer Conference. Of course everyone that I meet when they say, “What do you about blog?” I say, “Celiac disease. I blog about gluten-free and fitness and stuff.” It immediately provokes the conversation of, “Oh, my God! I have a gluten allergy” or, “My sister has Celiac disease” or whatever.

So this one woman who was asking me lots of questions about what happens when she eats bread and et cetera, et cetera, I said, “Yeah, I can’t have any of that anymore.” She looks at me dead in the face and said, “Oh, I just think I would die if I couldn’t eat bread ever again.” I paused for a moment thinking about how I would respond to her question. I turned and I just said, “You know what though? What if you knew bread was actually killing you? Would that re-evaluate your decision of giving it up?” She said, “Oh, my gosh! I’ve never thought about it that way.”

So my quote is from Samuel Gee who was a British physician and pediatrician who did lots of studies on Celiac disease. And actually September – I think it’s the 13th is National Celiac Awareness Day. One of his most famous quotes on Celiac disease is:

If a patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet. So to truly cure our disease, we need to re-evaluate what we put in our bodies and what we’re eating.

So if you have Celiac disease, you’re very sensitive, you have other food issues and you don’t feel like you can be safe putting your hands in someone else’s responsibility, then it’s unfortunately (or fortunately) a decision that you’re going to have to make to make a conscious effort to make sure you are the only one feeding yourself and that you are the one keeping yourself safe because ultimately that’s going to determine whether or not you get well. So that’s key in all of this.

So that’s my quote and that’s my story… and I’m sticking to it.

Andrew: I like that. I like that you got to talk to that lady and told her that.

Rebecca: I posted it on my Pretty Little Celiac Facebook page and I think it almost had 300 likes and about 40 comments. Other people thought that was pretty cool too.

Andrew: You know what? I’m going to start talking about – the next time someone asks me what I do, I always – because my job is not strictly just this magazine. My income comes from other things. So when they ask me what I do, I usually talk about I’m an online publisher and I do Internet marketing. I’m going to start responding by introducing people to the magazine and stuff in person.

Rebecca: Yeah!

Andrew: I don’t know. For me, I don’t want to be the guy that’s like, “Oh, the gluten-free magazine guy.” I don’t know.

Rebecca: Yeah, but you’re not forcing anyone to go gluten-free.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, sure.

Rebecca: You’re simply providing information to help them make an educated decision on it.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s true.

Rebecca: You’re not like, “Go gluten-free or you’re a horrible person.”

Andrew: Oh, yeah. No, definitely not.

Rebecca: There are people like that and that’s why sometimes we get a bad rep, but…

Andrew: Yeah, I think I’m going to come on here soon and talk about my story about how I told someone about gluten or something. I don’t know, I just feel like I’m in my own little world. I always meet the same people. I always talk with the same people. They already know my story. When I venture out, I’m definitely going to tell them – actually, now that everyone in the world has an iPhone, I’ll just tell them to google Gluten-Free Magazine. Download the magazine, that’s what it’s all about. If they want to find out about me, download the app. That’s what I’m going to tell them. I don’t know.

I think that’s going to be it. You’ve got anything else for us, Rebecca?

Rebecca: No. No, that’s it.

Andrew: Alright! Thank you so much for listening. We really do appreciate your time. You could be doing anything else in the world, but you are listening to Rebecca and I banter.

So until next time. We will see you later. I hope you have a great week. Bye.

Rebecca: Bye, everybody.

Andrew: This has been another episode of the GFMagazine Podcast with Andrew Cordova and Rebecca Black. For more tips and advice on how to make living gluten-free more enjoyable, visit Enjoy the music, it’s free!

  • Heather Alvarez

    I am supper sensitive and was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I was so sick at the time that I was joyful that they finnialy found the cause. Everyone in my life keep saying. “Oh my you can not eat bread ever again?” I was happy to give it up so I could eat again. Hidden gluten was the hardest to get friends and family to understand I could not eat certain items. I can tolerate eating out about once a month. Chipotle was my first restaurant I ate out at. It was my go to until I moved to MO. and there is not one close by.
    The hardest thing I ever had to handle was a 5 day stay in a hotel during my mother in law funeral. There was no chain restaurants that I already was comfortable with. As a GF person 5 days in a hotel that’s a lot of meals to dread eating out. My go to was always a steak house. I could get a fresh salad and bake potato. Of course we were with a lot of other family and they all wanted to go to the same restaurant together. After the 2 day the others started to complain about how the choices were narrowed because of me. I would tell my husband that the rest of the family could go out together and we could do our own thing and he would relay this during the planing stage. However when we were all sat down and ordering it never keep someone from complaining.

    When I travel now I take GF snack and a box of cereal with me. That way I can get milk when I am there and can have cereal instead of looking for a restaurant in the am. My husband is now use to me packing a carrying bag of GF food to travel. (Of course within driving distance) when we flew home to my parents house and my sister picked us up at the air port the first stop she made was at the grocery store that carried a large selection of GF items. She had me pick out what I thought I would need while home for 10 days. Then my family ate GF with me for my vacation. It was so stress free.
    Thank you for these pod cast.

  • Elsa Jean Roach

    The Outback has a gluten free menu. I have eaten there several times with no problem.

  • Michelle

    I’ve eaten at Chipotle, just today for lunch actually, as well as other days. I’ve yet to have a problem. My problem usually stems from the onions in the pico. Onions and bell peppers tend to get me going with stomach pains as well as ‘other’ problems. I even eat their chips. Recommendations… Probiotics. They really help with my gluten problems, I use Nature’s Sunshine Products- Probiotic 11–>>–90-caps/sku-1510.aspx . Also enzyme supplements for breaking down gluten proteins. Natural Factors puts out one I like, Gluten Relief Enzymes–>>

    • Andrew Cordova

      Products like gluten relief and gluten ease only mask your symptoms. You may feel like you are not getting glutened but your body is being damaged. And it takes 2 weeks for your immune system to heal from being glutened. It’s best to prepare before hand and never put yourself in a tricky situation, in the long run it’s simply not worth it.