I cannot quite believe it has been 5 years since I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. It has been quite a journey, from struggling to find places that catered for my needs and having Coeliac disease mocked by certain individuals and acquaintances who couldn’t quite understand how much harm gluten was doing to my body. It took almost three years for me to start feeling well again. I lost a lot of weight, had no energy, walked around like a zombie and frequented the toilet so much it became my favourite place to think about reasons why I should start a blog. Not being able to eat my favourite digestive chocolate biscuits was very frustrating. For those who may have recently been diagnosed or have ever felt this way, my advice to you is hang in there! At times, it will be very hard not to be able to eat the things you love and transforming your diet to completely gluten free is a real task, and some people cave in and continue with their old habits. However, I would advise against going down this road, as in order to feel well again, you have to keep at it. You will find that most of the things that you love are available in the gluten free section. Do check the other aisles in the supermarket as some things will be much cheaper (always check the ingredients). You can also try out some recipes from scratch, check out some cool gluten free restaurants, and explore the world of gluten free! Gluten free baking will be trial and error, but the good thing about home baking is that you will know exactly what is in your food. You don’t have to worry what secret ingredient could be lurking in there. Keeping a food diary will help, as you can keep track of everything you are eating and make a note if there are times that you are feeling unwell.
There have been many times when I have entered a café or restaurant that states that it caters for gluten free options, but then to my dismay, I have found that it is not guaranteed that my food will be completely free from gluten. Some restaurants are not well equipped and do not have separate cooking facilities so contamination will most definitely occur. This is something that we all need to be aware of. Gluten could be present in the home if you live in a household that eats gluten, so it can be a potential threat. But do not fret, as there are ways to keep yourself as safe as possible such as cleaning kitchen surfaces thoroughly, using toastie bags, using separate utensils, washing pans before using and labelling your food and fridge items with the words ‘DO NOT EAT ME!’
Over the years since becoming diagnosed, I have been surprised by the lack of gluten free food when visiting some major café chains, who have no gluten free options or very little. You may say, go somewhere else then! But if all your friends or colleagues have gathered in a coffee shop, and they have sat down and already ordered, you can’t then make them traipse elsewhere because the coffee shop doesn’t cater for your needs. Hence why I have such few friends.
But I have also been very impressed with the amount of gluten free stuff that there IS on offer. I have been lucky enough to sample some of the finest gluten free food and there are some absolutely amazing cafés, restaurants and bakeries that do a remarkable job in making sure that we are well catered for and I am happy that coeliac disease is being taken seriously. Some restaurants and cafés even go that extra mile as they only serve gluten free produce, so you can be sure that there won’t be cross contamination which is pretty amazing. I am so glad that I can enjoy going out for dinner without the fear of feeling like an alien when I mention the word ‘coeliac’.
In recent years, gluten free products have become more widespread and are increasingly popular in demand. Gluten free isn’t just in the food arena, we also have gluten free alcoholic drinks, and there are many companies selling beauty products that are gluten free too. With thanks to the much needed campaigns and social media spreading the word, we have helped pave the way for a much more clued up future.
So let’s spread the word and like many others will be doing, shout it out loud and support the gluten revolution!
For those on social media you can tweet about it #glutenfreevolution
To find out how you can get involved, check out the coeliac uk website here! coeliacuk
Much love to all who have supported my blog!
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