Sunday, 28 May 2017

Gluten free ingredients checklist

Here is a list of ingredients that are gluten free and not.  I have gathered the list from a variety of sources that I have deemed reliable.  I hope you find it useful. 

Gluten free
Maize starch
Potato starch
Glucose syrup
Modified maize starch
Rice / rice bran
Codex wheat starch
Modified starch
Rice flour
Gram flour
Mustard flour
Rice malt
Gluten free flour
Rice rusk
Pea starch
Xantham gum
Yam flour
Tapioca starch

This is the crossed grain symbol, it guarentees it is gluten free and safe to eat!

Gluten containing (also avoid may contains)
Wheat protein
Barley flour
Emmer wheat
Wheat rusk
Barley malt
Wheat starch
Bulgar wheat
Rye flour

Khorasan wheat (Kamut)

Modified wheat starch

Durum wheat
Pearl barley
Wheat bran

Wheat flour

Sunday, 21 May 2017

My coeliac handbag essentials

As a coeliac, I find I need to be prepared for many eventualities and the possibility that I may be glutened.  These are my essentials that I always take with me to try and be as prepared as possible, I hope you find it helpful!

My phone!
I always take my phone as I use the Coeliac UK app to check products if I am unsure.  I also can ask for advice in Facebook groups if I find I am stuck somewhere.  I also use it for the camera in case I have new finds, I post these on my Instagram.

My Coeliac UK cards
These cards are so useful.  I pass them over to whoever I am eating with and they fully explain the condition and all about colieac disease as well as giving them advice on training if they would like it.

A snack and water
I always take a snack, you never know when you'll be hungry and can't find any gluten free food available.  Water is always good for you, but in case I get glutened, I carry a bottle as you want to flush the gluten out as soon as possible to try and make yourself feel better quicker.

Tissues and wet wipes
I always carry them to ensure I have clean hands before I eat and just in case I do get glutened, I vomit so I like have something I can clean myself up with.

Hand cream and lip balm
I find, as a coeliac, I get very dry lips and hands so I always like to have something on hand to moisturise.  I think it is partly from washing my hands so often but I have also heard people notice a similar connection, do you want me to do a post on this?

If everything does go badly, and you do get glutened.  Paracetamol is always on hand to numb the pain.  Remember, as coeliacs, we aren't meant to have ibuprofen as it is too harsh on our delicate stomachs!

What do you carry in your bag?  I hope you found my tips useful!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Coeliac UK: Gluten freevolution

Every awareness week, Coeliac UK launches their new campaign for the year - this year it is the gluten freevolution!

So what is it all about?
It's aiming to get experiences of eating out to be positive and to allow us to have options.  It's for both on the go foods and restaurants.  They are aiming to see more gluten free options available; a wider range of reasonably priced, pre-packaged, food on the go; gluten free options if you are on a journey (train / plane / ferry); nutritious food available hospitals, nursing homes and schools; and more options from Asian cuisines.

The face of the campaign
Cyril the coeliac duck!  I'm sure you must have seen him this campaign week?  He is joined by his friends Sophie and Sam, see them on the front of the leaflets here:

How can I help?
It's simple really.  You can order your campaign pack here.  They will send you leaflets to hand out, there are three types: gluten free for public services, gluten free on the go and going gluten free.  There are also flags to put in your food to share on social media as well as cards to give to restaurants for feedback on their gluten free foods.  The campaign is lasting all year so there's plenty of time to get involved.  It's super easy and even if you give out one leaflet, you'll be benefiting so many people.  Don't forget to share your campaign images using #glutenfreevolution  You can also watch and share their animated films so people understand the gluten free diet here.

Coeliac UK have some amazing aims for this campaign, and I really hope we can achieve this and improve gluten free life for us all.  So please try and support the campaign and do every bit you can!

Thank you, for being here all week and I hope you enjoyed Coeliac awareness week, don't forget to carry on sharing your photos using #glutenfreevolution and I'll see you next Sunday at 9am, posts are returning back to normal!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

When your friend has coeliac disease...

I thought it may be useful to do a post this week to help our friends and family who may not fully understand our struggles living with coeliac disease.  So I'm doing a little advice bit on how us coeliacs actually feel!

Sainsbury's Delicously FreeFrom Coffee and Walnut slice - coelaics like cake too!

Before booking to go out to eat, check they do gluten free
Eating out can be very daunting for us coeliacs, it is sadly a Russian Roulette if we're going to be ill afterwards or not.  We often find it very stressful!  By checking for us that the restaurant is gluten free and is suitable for coeliacs, it makes us feel very loved and we really appreciate it.  It's always really awkward when we are made to take a packed lunch because people have booked a place where we are not catered for.

Getting everyone cakes, we want one too!!
Please don't single us out, we don't like it, like I'm sure you wouldn't want to be either.  It is awkward enough already for us and we really do appreciate the small things, like not being forgotten!

Don't be afraid to ask questions about coeliac disease - we love to explain!
If you don't understand something about our ever so confusing coeliac disease, we will be more than happy to explain it you!  We much prefer people asking than people assuming.

If unsure, always ask!
We don't want to be glutened as it doesn't only just get us ill (which is horrible) but causes us internal damage and issues in the long run so if you aren't sure if we can eat something or you are unsure if you have prepared something we can eat, we would much rather you ask and be truthful (don't try and test us and see if we really need to be gluten free - we do.  The damage is internal and gives us long term damage so just because it is not visible, doesn't mean it's not happening)

So basically, please don't exclude us and please don't test us!  We really love being included!  See you tomorrow for another blog post!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Questions to ask when eating out gluten free

When eating out, I always the quiz the establishment to make me feel comfortable eating there and to try to grasp if they have a good understanding of coeliac disease and all about cross contamination.  I always phone up first to ensure I feel comfortable and to ensure the business does gluten free food on that night as sometimes they only do certain days.  When booking to eat, I also try to not book on busy days such as a Saturday as I think they will have more time to ensure no cross contamination occurs.  Here is a photo of one of my favourite places to eat out, Mrs T Potts in Moreton-in-Marsh (soon to be known as Cotswold tea room), they're very good at managing cross contamination (they're actually looking for staff at the moment if anybody is interested), you can read my full post on them here!

Some of my favourite questions to ask are: 

Is it suitable for a coeliac? 
You'll be surprised to realise the number of establishments where the food is labelled gluten free but isn't actually suitable for us!  It is ridiculous and how they can call it gluten free, I do not know but it is always worth checking

What procedures have you got in place to minimise cross contamination?
This is a big decider for me!  I find some places just have no understanding what so ever with cross contamination and this just makes them a big no no for me!  If it's cross contaminated, it's not gluten free!

Are your chips (and gluten free fried products) fried in a separate frier to the gluten food?
A massive misconception is that gluten is killed in the fryer because it gets hot, if this was true, what would be the point of eating gluten free food if when it was cooked it got killed?!  Oh, how I wish that was true but unfortunately it is not.  Don't be tricked out of this one.  If an establishment doesn't understand this, please do try and educate as we don't want them making this mistake again.

Is the toast toasted in a separate toaster?
This is another big issue. We all jump around in celebration that we can eat toast, but oh no, it's ruined when we realise it is cross contaminated in the toaster.

Can I have a drink not from the bars taps?
I haven't seen that many people are aware of this, but the taps on bars have several settings where different drinks can come out of them. Yes, that means no gluten containing ingredients drinks and the dreaded gluten containing drinks are coming out of the same taps and glutening your previously safe drink!

Is it alright if I take a photo of my meal and and post about my experience on social media?
I have never asked to take a photo of my food, I always just snap away but I realised when planning this post that maybe if you ask in advance, you maybe able to establish how confident the establishment is with their gluten free food, I'm going to try this next time I eat out somewhere new.

What are your favourite questions to ask when eating out?  Do they work?  See you tomorrow for another post to celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Gluten free cookie recipe

I found this recipe in my mum's 'normal' cookbook and I adapted it to suit me - so I made it gluten free!  Here it is...

75g butter
75g caster sugar
75g light soft Brown sugar
few drops of vanilla flavouring
1 egg
175g self raising flour
50 to 100g chocolate chip or 0.5tsp ginger (spices for your choice)

Cooking instructions:
180C for 12 / 15 minutes (I normally do 10)
  1.  Pre-heat the oven
  2. Cream the butter in a bowl.  Once creamed, add the sugars and vanilla flavouring until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg gradually,
  4. Sieve the flour in.  I would recommend you adding this gradually as otherwise it gets messy!
  5. Add the chocolate chips or spices.
  6. Put spoonfulls on your baking tray and bake
  7. Once out of the oven, cool on the tray to further the cooking.
 I hope you enjoy the recipe and try it yourself, don't forget to tag me in your photos!  The below photos shows one time with chocolate chips and the other with ginger, both delicious!

How did your cookies turn out?  See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Sainsbury's free from 1st birthday!

This time last year, Sainsbury's relaunched it's entire free from range and has since launched or redeveloped over 100 products - amazing for us who suffer from coeliac disease, so much choice!  To celebrate their first birthday, Sainsbury's very kindly sent me a birthday brunch hamper to celebrate (thank you Sainsbury's!).

I received:
- Coconut milk, an alternative to dairy milk
- Deliciously FreeFrom porridge oats
- Deliciously FreeFrom chocolate variety - milk, dark and white
- Deliciously FreeFrom walnut and coffee slices
- Deliciously FreeFrom fruity granola slices
- Taste the Difference blackcurrant conserve

I had previously tried some of Sainsbury's free from selection but not loads as there isn't a Sainsbury's really close to me that's convenient to get to so I was very excited to receive such a range of products to try.

The Chocolate
For some reason, I didn't have very high expectations for the chocolate but, boy was I proven wrong!  It is my favourite free from chocolate that I've tried - it tastes normal which I haven't come across before - there is no odd taste!  The bars are perfect size for sharing or to do baking with.  The 'traingles' are a good size and easy to break off into the amount you desire which I have found to be a problem in the past with other makes.

The Fruity Granola Slices
These taste amazing!  Even my non-gluten free brother (who thinks he hates everything gluten free!) loves these, he couldn't resist taking a slice as they come packaged in twos.  The fruit in them really makes this slice as it provides something a little extra taste wise as well as making them look really appealing.  It has a nice level of spice in it too which adds to the flavour.  It is also a lot healthier than just a normal flapjack as it contains sultanas, apricots and sunflower seeds.  These will be bought again in our house, my brother now doesn't want to eat his 'normal' flapjack / granola style snack!

The Oats
I will be using the oats to make a flapjack style bake with some of the chocolate melted on top - keep your eyes peeled for a future blog post!  I really like the sized of the bag with these oats as I have found before, that free from oats can have smaller bags.  There is 450g or 9 servings per bag and on one side it gives cooking instructions if you are wanting to make porridge from it meaning you can't lose it!

The Coconut Milk
Honestly, I wasn't too keen on the idea of this one as I'm not a fan of substitutes for milk but I thought I should try it and I was pleasantly surprised!  I won't be drinking this as a substitute but I will be adding it into my cooking and in future curries as I think it will be a really nice added flavour where I normally just add water!

The Coffee and Walnut Slices
The texture on these were the thing I was most concerned about before trying but it is a good texture for a prepackaged cake and perfect for a snack with a cup of tea (or any non tea drinkers, a glass of milk).  These were also in packs of two so good for on the go.  The coffee isn't really strong, which I preferred as I'm not a massive coffee fan and they're a good size for a quick snack.  I'll be giving these to my Granny as she's a massive fan of coffee cake so she'll really appreciate these.

The Blackcurrant Conserve
This tastes amazing.  The perfect addition to any piece of bread!  This will be added to any future shopping lists for sure!

Once again, thank you very much to Sainsbury's for sending me out a selection of your products and happy free from 1st birthday!

What are your favourite products that you have tried from Sainsbury's?  Mine is the chocolate as I'm so surprised at how good it is compared to others!