Hello! My name is Issi

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I am a lover of food, travel and writing, and have been eating gluten free for 23 years, since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease as a child.

I live and work in London, aka gluten free capital of the world, and feel duty-bound to try all of the delicious options on offer.

I update this blog as often as I can, and also write a newsletter full of delicious extra bits.

When I am not eating/writing/thinking about gluten free food, I love reading books with happy endings, watching Rupaul’s Drag Race and dreaming about travelling around Europe.

Why I write this blog

I love food and eating out and I love being able to help other coeliacs and gluten free dieters.

I am living in one of the best cities in the world for gluten free food, so I feel duty-bound to try it all and share it with you.

I know what it’s like to struggle to find something decent to eat, and how much an honest recommendation from a fellow coeliac can mean. If I find somewhere that is safe to eat (with an actual cross-contamination procedure!) or an amazing gluten free product, I want to share it.

I have a huge enthusiasm for hunting down good food that happens to be gluten free and believe that being on the gluten free diet doesn’t have to limit your enjoyment of eating out, or of life in general.

My Diagnosis Story

I was diagnosed with coeliac disease just before my third birthday, after a year of unexplained illness and ‘failure to thrive’. I was such a textbook case that a photo of me (pot-bellied with malnutrition and looking miserable!) was included in a medical textbook.

I don’t remember my gluten challenge, biopsy or diagnosis, which is perhaps for the best. The older members of my family do and say it was awful seeing me so ill. The severity meant that they never doubted it or thought I was being fussy.

Growing up with coeliac disease was tough at times; birthday parties, going round to friend’s houses and school trips can be a minefield – no child wants to feel awkward or ‘different’. I was very lucky, though. My family and the people around me have always been supportive and made life as easy and normal as possible.

When I was growing up coeliac disease was relatively unknown, and gluten free food was pretty much only available on prescription from the doctor. I don’t think I even met another coeliac in person until I went to university.

I am so happy that in the last ten years or so, the gluten-free diet has had something of a reinvention, and the freefrom market has exploded. I can now pick up a loaf of gluten free bread at the supermarket, go to a 100% gluten free restaurant for dinner, and have a gluten free cake with my tea, all things that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.

Things aren’t perfect. Cross-contamination is still very much an issue, and the ‘gluten free as a fad diet’ trend has created some problems. For the most part, I find that gluten free options are improving all the time.

IBS.

24 years after diagnosis I am happy and healthy 90% of the time, and being coeliac has actually brought positives to my life, this blog being one of them. :)

Do let me know in the comments if there are particular posts you would like to see, and do feel free to get in touch below or over social media.

Wishing you happy gluten free times,

Issi x

 

17 Comments

  1. Antonio says

    Love your blog! My wife and I will be visiting London in July this year. She’s on a Low-FODMAP diet, but she’d like to eat out as well. Would you know of any places that cater to the diet? You wrote about Soothe Food in 2015 — any other places that caught your attention since then? Thanks!

    • Issi says

      Hi Antonio, I’m so sorry I missed your post before! I haven’t come across any more low FODMAP places to eat out specifically, but there are some food product companies springing up such as Fodify and Lauren Loves. I am lucky that I now know which triggers to avoid and can tolerate most things in moderation. Hope you found somewhere on your trip! Issi

    • Hi Julia! The swoffles look great! :) Do drop me an email (glutenfreeinlondon at gmail dot com) if you would like to discuss potentially working together.

      Issi

  2. Jeanie Anderson says

    Hello, We will be visiting London in 3 weeks. My family will be going to Leaveston to see the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Warner Brother’s Studio. My daughter and I both have Celiac Disease. Do you know if they have anything gluten free to eat there or in the area.

    We will be in London for 5 days and are staying on Charring Cross Road/Leicester Square. Can you reccomend some restaurants that would be safe for us to eat gluten free at? (My kids are 12 and 18.) We are traveling from Texas.

    Do you know if there is anything gluten free to eat at Heathrow. We will be in Terminal 5.

    I appreciate any information you can give.
    Have a great day.
    Thanks,
    Jeanie Anderson

    • Hi Jeanie,

      I’m afraid I’ve never visited the Harry Potter exhibition, Leaveston or Heathrow Terminal 5 so can’t advise on those, you may have more luck posting in some of the UK gluten free or coeliac groups on Facebook for a range of views. (e.g. ‘Gluten Free and Me’ or ‘Coeliacs in the UK’)

      Happily there are lots of places to get gluten free food in central London. :)

      Leon, Carluccio’s and Pizza Express are all good chains that have a substantial gluten free menu and cater to kids. Beyond Bread is a 100% gluten free bakery near Goodge Street station which is great for lunch or a sweet treat. (I did a post about it if you scroll down a bit…) Honest Burger does great gluten free burgers and beer, but depending on branch and timing may not be so child-friendly.

      Hope you have a great trip!

      Issi

  3. I’ll be in London (from Melbourne) for May/June 2015 and wanted to know what the nicest and easily purchased GF sliced bread that can be bought in supermarkets like Sainsbury’s/Tescos etc seeing as they’re everywhere. We will be staying in South Kensington. Thank you very much.

    • Hi Marnie, for easily purchased and generally reliable gluten free bread I would recommend looking out for the Genius brand. They do several varieties of white / brown / sliced bread and rolls. Marks and Spencer do some really nice gluten free breads. I would also recommend trying some of the freshly baked gluten free bread from WAGfree in Brixton market, or from Beyond Bread near Oxford Circus, or Romeo’s Bakery in Islington. :) Enjoy your trip! Issi

  4. Do you know if lidl own make snaktastic crisps are gluten free in large bag they have 6 of each flavour plain, salt n vinegar, cheese and onion and prawn cocktail
    thanks for any information

    • Hi Janette, I don’t I’m afraid – do you have a photo of the ingredients? I’ll keep an eye out for them next time I shop. x

  5. Pingback: Soothe Food: Gluten Free & Low-FODMAP Supper Club in South London* | Gluten Free in London

  6. Amber B. says

    I will be visiting London for a few days (August 28-31), and would love to hear what are your must-eat places. Most on a budget, but some for indulgence.

    • Hi Amber, I have actually been thinking of writing a post for tourists / visitors to London, thanks for reminding me! Check back for a proper post on this, but for now I definitely recommend checking out Leon, Vozars/the WAGfree bakery in Brixton market, and Carluccio’s has a reliably great GF menu. If you click the ‘eating out’ tab in my categories on the right, you can see a few of the other places I’ve visited. :)

      Issi

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