All posts tagged: coeliac disease

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Gluten Free in Lisbon: Portuguese custard tarts, McDonald’s & piri piri chicken

I’ve been in Lisbon for the past week; hiking up hills, hurtling up and down cobbled streets on the 28 tram, and admiring the view from 16th century palaces and castles. Oh, and eating as many gluten free portuguese custard tarts (‘natas’) as possible. I was holidaying with my boyfriend, David. We stayed in a cute little Airbnb in the up and coming former sailor’s playground of Cais do Sodre. Think bars that used to be brothels mixed with pavement pastelarias, stout old ladies peeking out from their balconies watching the young hipsters move in. We fell in love with Lisbon. It has a brilliant mix of old and new; centuries-old monuments and fortresses but also a bang up to the minute food scene, and more nightlife than you can shake a nata at. I’ll be honest, I found eating gluten free in Lisbon quite a bit harder than eating gluten free in London. Coeliac disease and the gluten free diet do not seem to be all that well known in Portugal, and it is not common for restaurants …

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Gluten Free Hate: Easy Money for British Newspapers

(just in case you’d forgotten the worst clickbait-master of them all…) Have you seen today’s gluten free clickbait? This ‘gluten free hate’ article in the Guardian has triggered a mixed (mostly bad?) reaction in the coeliac community today. I am accustomed to seeing stuff of this ilk from the Daily Mail and The Spectator, but have to confess I was disappointed to see it in The Guardian. The article follows the classic internet tradition of riling people up to get clicks. Clicks = advertising money, and gluten free dieters are an easy target. You might think as a coeliac, that I would be on the side of the author. Sure, I do an inward eyeroll* when someone tells me that they are ‘going gluten free’ because ‘it’s healthier’ or because they think it will help them lose weight. Or when someone says they are gluten intolerant, but eats gluten when it suits them. As I’ve written about before, there are problems with the way that ‘gluten free’ has become less of a strict medical term, and more of a ‘healthy’ buzzword. It is …

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“Gluten Free”…but Not Suitable for Coeliacs

You would be forgiven for assuming that if something is labelled “gluten free” or advertised as a “gluten free option”, then it doesn’t contain gluten and is therefore safe for a coeliac person to eat. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. In the catering world, gluten free does not = safe. Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve walked hopefully into cafes and restaurants advertising gluten free options, only to be told that their “gluten free” options are not actually suitable for coeliacs, or people with allergies to gluten. Who is gluten free food for? “Gluten free” options in restaurants and cafes seem to frequently be aimed not at people with a medical need to avoid gluten, but at people who choose to “go gluten free”. People willing to spend significant money on gluten free foods that they perceive to be “healthier”, “cleaner” or “lighter”, who do not suffer an autoimmune or allergic reaction if they eat gluten, or trace amounts of gluten. In restaurant and cafe environments, this is presenting a problem for coeliacs. We get lured in …

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Why I Always Take Notes: Brain Fog and Coeliac Disease

As a rather late tribute to Coeliac Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2016) , I thought I’d write about a lesser known symptom of coeliac disease. Brain fog. Though I’ve had coeliac disease since toddlerhood, I didn’t know there was a connection between brain fog and coeliac disease until about five years ago. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I thought it was part of my personality to be a bit ditsy, a bit dopey and forgetful. A bit Bridget Jones. Maybe it is to a certain extent, but I these intense periods of vagueness became more than that, and seemed to come and go with glutenings. What is brain fog? A lot of people assume that coeliac disease only affects the digestive system. This is untrue. Coeliac Disease is a multi-system autoimmune disorder. It can affect you neurologically. When I joined internet forums about coeliac disease, I noticed the term ‘brain fog’ floating around, and saw that I was far from the only one experiencing these symptoms. When the fog descends, I struggle with finding the right words and …

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2015: Gluten Free Highlights

What a year for gluten free food. I’ve seen a noticeable increase in gluten free options when eating out in London and Bath, and this year I’ve had the chance to try several previously unobtainable foods (gluten free Chinese food! Doughnuts! Cannoli! Apple pie! Danish Pastries!). I ate the best gluten free food of my life on holiday in Sicily, and for 6 months I worked just 3 minutes walk from a wonderful gluten free bakery. Living the dream. Though there is a way to go before coeliacs can truly eat out safely (cross-contamination is still an issue) I’ve been able to eat out mostly pain-freely in 2015, and feel that the eating out experience is improving for us. On a personal level, I’ve finally got my head around the FODMAP diet, and feel well the majority of the time – a big improvement from where I was a year ago. I wanted to share a few of my personal highlights from the gluten free world in 2015 – the most exciting foods, and the experiences that I enjoyed most of all. I hope you’ll …

Coeliac on TV: My interview with ARTE

They say do something every day that scares you…WELL. I was recently invited to take part in a TV feature for European arts and culture broadcaster ARTE about the rising popularity of the gluten free diet…and I did it! I talked on telly! —————————————————————————————————————— My job was to give a coeliac perspective on the the changing world of gluten free food and show the reporters around a few of my favourite coeliac-friendly places in central London. We did an interview + some pretend blogging in Beyond Bread, another bit of interview and gluteny-food throwing in Cavendish Square, and a gluten free meal with my boyfriend David in Honest Burger. (All places featured in my 8 Places to grab a Gluten Free lunch near Oxford Circus post!) As a fairly reserved person, this was a hop skip and a jump out of my comfort zone. I had a great time filming with ARTE though, and I’d love to do more stuff like this in the future.  Here it is! This clip also features the blogger / cookbook maestro Deliciously Ella and Food …

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Gluten Free at Thermae Bath Spa

Relaxing in the spa is one of my very favourite things, so I was over the moon when David (my boyfriend) bought a Twilight Spa experience for my birthday. The package includes a meal and drink at the spa restaurant, so when I booked I realised I had to check if there was something gluten free to eat. Doh! The last thing you want to do is worry about food when you’re going for a relaxing experience, but unfortunately as a coeliac finding safe food is always a concern. I thought I would do a quick rundown of my experience to help out any other gluten free folk who are doing what I was, and frantically Googling what is safe to eat! —————————————————————————————————————— My meal I was a little apprehensive about the gluten free options before my visit but the staff at the restaurant put me at ease. Both waiters we came into contact with knew the menu very well, and were able to tell me what was gluten free, and what could be made gluten free. …

I mentioned earlier this week that Celia were putting on a launch party for their new gluten free lager, and thought I’d share a few snapshots from the night!

Celia + Melt: A little photo diary of the Celia Dark launch party

I mentioned earlier this week that Celia were putting on a launch party for their new gluten free lager, and thought I’d share a few snapshots from the night! Celia is a gluten free beer brand, whose Celia Lager is one of the most widely stocked and popular varieties of freefrom beer. The launch was for their newbie, Celia Dark, which is similar to their original beer, but as the name suggests, a darker flavour, with a ”burnt caramel aroma’. The launch was held at the Melt chocolate shop in Holland Park. In a pretty cool and innovative move, Celia and Melt collaborated on some wonderful chocolatey, alcoholic creations for the night, all of which were gluten free!  There was beer + dark chocolate ganache (pictured, above), french macarons, caramels, cocktails, chocolate buttons…who knew that beer and chocolate were so complementary? I am not usually a huge fan of beer, but I was willing to give Celia’s a go. Celia Dark was actually the most palatable gluten free beer I’ve tried (and the only one I’ve finished a whole …

10 Symptoms That Let Me Know I’ve Been Royally ‘Glutened’ #CoeliacUKAwarenessWeek

It’s Coeliac Awareness Week this week (11th-17th May 2015, #CoeliacUKAwarenessWeek) and this year Coeliac UK is focusing on improving diagnosis of Coeliac Disease. It still takes an average of 13 years (13 YEARS!) to be diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, and even though approximately 1% of the UK population has it, only 24% of people with the disease are medically diagnosed.*  Part of the reason that it takes so long to diagnose, is that the isolated symptoms can be attributed to many different conditions (e.g. IBS, Crohn’s) and it can take a long time to join the dots. In my own small way, I want to help spread awareness of the sort of symptoms that can occur when “glutened”, and the impact they can have on day to day life. There are still far too many people who believe Coeliac Disease is about being fussy or faddy!  So, let’s go. 1. Thinking starts to feel like wading through treacle. I become forgetful, have difficulty focusing on tasks, can’t remember words (I am in my twenties – far from senile!). …

Another day, another hospital appointment.

I realised this week that I have been asking doctors for answers for almost two years. As I have written about before, even though I stick religiously to the gluten-free diet, I have ongoing health problems that seemingly cannot be explained by coeliac disease. For a while I worried that it was all in my head, but I have since found countless stories from other coeliacs on Facebook, Twitter and online forums that chime with my experience. At this point it is likely that as well as coeliac disease, I also have IBS, or SIBO, or some other gut-related condition. IBS is the front-runner, and as this can only really be diagnosed through process of elimination, I have had (and am still having) every gut-related test under the sun. I have had a range of advice to help deal with the symptoms. A Dietician put me on the FODMAP diet, a Gastroenterologist recommended I try yoga, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy, another Gastroenterologist prescribed me peppermint oil capsules to ease the pains…though some of these have helped to a degree, …