All posts tagged: Gluten-free diet

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The Low FODMAP Diet + Coeliac Disease: Two Years On

It’s now been two whole years since I started on the low FODMAP diet, a medical diet used to treat IBS symptoms. You would think that one special diet would be enough, but in my case, the strict gluten free diet did not solve everything. Just when I thought I had the whole coeliac thing figured out, I started to get ill again. Daily upset stomach, pains and fatigue. Regular unexplained symptoms that were similar to those of coeliac disease, but which made little sense as I knew I was sticking to the gluten free diet. Apparently, this is not uncommon. ‘20-30 % of coeliac patients on a gluten free diet still have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms’, according to one study*, and the low FODMAP diet is now a recommended treatment. (Read about my experience getting diagnosed, and the low FODMAP meal ideas that helped me to stay sane.) I thought it would be interesting to check in a couple of years down the line, share with others in a similar boat what I have learned, and hopefully …

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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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Gluten Free in Oxford: White Rabbit Pizza, Organic Deli & Greens Cafe

Last weekend I spent 48 hours in beautiful Oxford with my boyfriend, David. After the amazingness of London for gluten free, it can feel like there’s not as much choice for eating out in smaller cities. Oxford, Bath (and Leeds a few weekends ago) prove this wrong. In-between celebrating Valentine’s Day and exploring the city, we found some delicious places to eat gluten free in Oxford, and saw many more options around the city (particularly for pizza) that I’d love to try next time. Here are the places I would recommend. The White Rabbit The White Rabbit is a cosy and cool pub in central Oxford. Not only do they have cosy nooks, boardgames, great music AND decent cider on tap, but they serve some of the best gluten free pizza I’ve had since last summer’s trip to Sicily. They have a separate oven for gluten free pizzas and take care to minimise any cross-contamination, if you say that you are coeliac. They also serve Celia gluten free lager. We tried the Primavera Bianca and the Spagnola. YUM. Thin, crispy base, …

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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. …

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!). …

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Soothe Food: Gluten Free & Low-FODMAP Supper Club in South London*

Gluten free oatcake stars with lactose-free cream cheese & smoked salmon. Served with a pomegranate & prosecco cocktail. Inset: little pack of seeds to grow at home. *Disclaimer: Soothe Food kindly invited myself and a friend to come and try their supper club for free. My opinions are my own. Please have a read of my Disclaimer Page. ———————————————————————————————————- I am happy to say that I have ticked one of my new year’s resolutions off the list. A few weeks back I had the pleasure of dining at the Soothe Food gluten free and low-FODMAP supper club. What is Soothe Food? A specialist supper club. Restaurant-quality cooking served up in a cosy home in South London, with a menu that is entirely gluten free and Low-FODMAP; suitable for coeliacs, IBS sufferers and normal folk too. Like a really fancy dinner party with strangers. The concept may seem odd, but our host Emma was warm and welcoming, and made us feel like we were over at a (super-talented chef) friend’s house. Once the cocktails were flowing, there was no awkwardness. It was actually a pleasure …