I thought about loads of topics for my first ever blog post – the amazing fashion events I’ve been lucky enough to go to recently, my trip to New York (watch this space for a post on that!) and a little introduction to me and why I’ve started this blog, etc.
But I thought I’d just start with one that I feel passionate about as we start the New Year, and one which I’ve had lots of engagement with on social media: the eternal struggle of a lifelong foodie with a never-ending appetite, who has to eat gluten free (GF).
How the big GF and I met
Without boring you all with too much detail, I found out around 5 years ago that for health reasons I should try to avoid eating gluten and wheat, along with red meat mostly, but cut down on sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, processed food, and probably loads of other things that I forget. (Or try to due it all being basically, the good stuff in life! And I don’t stick to it 100%, as much as I should, but I try to give it my best shot while trying not to be obsessed).
So I embarked with general naïve enthusiasm and excitement on my journey to eating clean – back before it was a popular trend, led by Joe Wicks and with hashtags and script fonted motivational quote pictures.
Carrot sticks all day? No problem! (How wrong I was…)
First off it was all so easy! Eating fresh fruit and vegetables, chicken, fish, and gluten free substitutes for my fave things like pasta (mmmmm), bread (okay, not as good as the real deal, but at least I can still eat the odd piece of toast), biscuits, cakes, (these can be packed with higher than usual sugars though, so be aware, but I can’t have a cuppa after my tea without a biccy or two or some chocolate every other day, so still enjoy a nice treat in moderation), even beer (though pricey and only enjoyed at home, as no actual bars and pubs sell it apart from the rare one).
That last point is where I started to find it tricky. When you’re eating out or having drinks, it’s no fun to be The Gluten Free Person. The TGFP is the one who has to interrupt the flow of excitement when everyone is getting a round of cocktails in, to see whether there’s gluten in any of the ingredients (sigh. Bore off!) or when you’re booking a restaurant – especially for the Christmas work do’s set menu, or afternoon tea for a friend’s birthday, or even their wedding.
The past: Being a people pleaser
I am often to prone as well to just trying to avoid a scene and so saying ‘Oh it’s fine I’ll just have a salad’ or ‘I might be okay with it, don’t go to any trouble’ because nobody wants to be the one that stops everyone going to their chosen venue because you’ve got a sensitive little belly.
BUT if 2016 taught me anything, it’s this: it’s sooo not worth suffering the side effects of ‘putting up with it’. It might be an awkward second or two as you ask for the gluten free menu or list of allergens – as I’ve found that surprisingly not everyone has heard of gluten – but it makes for a much more comfortable day for your gut after you’ve explained it and got your gluten-free option sorted.
Now: Pleasing my belly and tastebuds instead!
And it’s also taught me with eating out that sometimes places without a GF menu will accommodate your needs anyway! Which means you don’t have to settle for the salad, AGAIN – but enjoy gorgeous food with everyone else.
So watch this space for some proper lists of my fave brands (even though I’ve littered this post with a few) and recipes too, as I get to grips a bit more with blogging – and if you have any comments or questions, feel free to pop them below.
I’d love to hear other people’s experiences, tips and recipes so I can make more good food in 2017. Because food is my faaavourite thing!!