Day 1

Hey GFrees!

I’m so excited. I have a (gluten free) kitchen all to myself for 3 whole weeks! 

I made spicy moong dal or MUG as us Gujarati’s call it. My mum’s mum used to make it every Monday – “Mug Monday’s” and so we like to have it on Monday’s also 🙂

It was delicious! (and I made plenty so I know what’s for lunch tomorrow 😊)

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Cheesy Update

Hey GFrees,

So it’s been about 3 months since I gave up all dairy foods – butter, spreads, cheese and ghee (😣😢), milk, the whole lot. I really enjoy alternative milk. I think I’ve really mastered understanding which milk tastes best with what – soya milk in tea and coffee, hemp milk with cereal, almond milk in smoothies. Never make a cuppa with hemp milk!!!

However, yesterday, I sort of reached my breaking point. I missed cheese and pizza too much. 

I munched a whole gluten free one. It was so delicious and I even had double cheese as a topping. The moment was perfect! I had it in the car whilst the rain was pouring and listening to Emeli Sandé’s new album❤

I feel ok today. Just the odd ache here and pain there..but I don’t feel that I’m ready to give up cheese, yet. I am so underweight at the moment and my BMI is coming out under 18. I think once I put a bit of weight on, I will give it another go. But for now, I hope that the cheese and ghee will help me to put on weight because I actually look like something off the walking dead at the moment. and I feel it too🙁
I’ll keep you updated.

You say ‘Giz-a slice of pizza?’ I say ‘No!’

Hiya GFrees!

Just had to share this achievement!!

So I was in the car with the family, coming back home from a long day out of town. My family wanted a quick and convenient meal that they could grab before we reached home. They opted for good ol’ pizza! Mmmmm..*droooooool* 

I’m not going to lie. I still can’t not sulk over the smell of fresh-out-the-oven pizza!! But when asked to go and collect the order from inside, or hold the boxes, or asked to ‘giz-a slice of pizza’ I so happily refused…and boy did it feel good to say no!!!

Vegan treats

Hey GFrees!

So I discovered a new little shop in Leicester today called Currant Affairs. It’s amazing. It’s a vegan shop which sells everything vegan from cooked goodies to store room essentials to fridge essentials to toiletries. 

I treated myself to the vegan gluten-free Red Velvet Loaf which tasted sooooo good!! The cream cheese on top was just something else and I can’t wait to go back! The little loaf was £2 and it was worth every penny and bite.

Go and visit sometime! 

Missing the Moo

Hey GFrees,

So I’ve recently been reading up on “Leaky Gut Syndrome” (I’ll talk about this in another post very soon) and I decided that I was going to go dairy-free. I had spoken to my GP about it and he suggested that it’s pointless because symptoms of lactose intolerance didn’t match up with what I was telling him and symptoms are usually immediate – if I don’t need to run to the loo immediately after having cheese or milk, it’s highly unlikely that I am lactose intolerant.

I decided to trust my gut (it doesn’t lie!) and put dairy to the test. I decided to be very strict with milk and cut it out from my diet. Those of you who know me, must know that I do love my milk and CHEESE! But I thought that I would start small. I removed milk from my diet and noticed that whenever I reintroduced it, I would get an itch, lose my appetite and feel nausea. Great! Trust the gut! I haven’t been drinking cow’s milk for around 2 months now but I have been having the odd (wad) of cheese and chocolate. However, I’ve decided that in order to heal my gut in hope that after a year or so of going dairy-free I may be able to reintroduce it back in to my diet without any symptoms, I need to be very strict.

I spoke about going dairy-free with my consultant who I still see at the hospital every 6 months and to be honest, he was very rude. He said “If you feel dairy causes you problems then it doesn’t take a genius to realise you need to cut it out of your diet.” Errr hello – RUDE! Anyhoo, since the start of September, I have gone all dairy-free and brought dairy-free cheese and spread and decided I will resist having cheeky chunks of chocolate. It’s not been bad so far..however, the cheese is Bad. Also, today I attempted to make some mashed potatoes and it was a disaster. It was nowhere near as creamy as the usual mash that I enjoy; the Violife cheese didn’t melt (at all), the spread didn’t really make a difference (at all), the mash didn’t really taste of anything (at all). I think if all the cheeses taste like the Violife one, I may have to just get used to life without cheese. The spread isn’t so bad on bread/toast though.

Do you have any tips? Have you ever considered going dairy-free? If you are already, what do you find difficult about being dairy- and gluten-free?

Healthy Dessert/Snack Balls

Hiya GFrees,

So I’ve been wanting to make these ever since a colleague introduced me to Bounce Balls. These delicious, super healthy, quick to make, protein-packed balls are so convenient and filling as a snack for work. and I finally did! 😀

Protein Balls

(For 7 balls each, weighing approx. 17g)

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 7 dates
  • 7 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons hemp protein (I used the Purition Raw Vegan Hemp powder)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • Shredded coconut (enough to roll the balls in at the end)

Method:

  • Soak the dates in warm water until they are soft. This can take anything up to a couple of minutes, a couple hours or overnight (depending on the type of dates you use)
  • Drain the softened dates and add to the food processor.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time whilst blending until you have a paste. This will be what acts as a natural sweetener in the recipe.
  • Add the ground almonds, hemp protein, cacao powder, chia seeds and date paste to a bowl and mix thoroughly using the back of a spoon. Keep pressing and eventually, everything will be combined and moist.
  • Divide into 7 parts and roll into balls.
  • Roll the balls in the shredded coconut.
  • ENJOY!

You can have these after being refrigerated for a couple of hours or immediately.

I’ve also got some nutritional information for you guys 🙂

Per ball:

  • Calories – 186kcal
  • Fat – 8g
    • of which saturates 1g
    • of which monounsaturates 0.5g
    • of which polyunsaturates 0.9g
  • Carbohydrates – 8.5g
    • of which sugars 5.2g
  • Fibre – 4g
  • Protein – 5.2g

There are loads of recipes online that you can try. Let me know if you try this one and how it goes. I’ll post some other variations soon 🙂

National Noodle Month – March

Hello again GFrees!

Hope you’re all well. Hope 2016 is treating you well so far?!

Did you know it was National Noodle Month? I didn’t either! :/ Part of me thinks I ought to have known because I do love me some rice noodles. With it being so easy to make and guaranteed to be tasty no matter what veg you throw in to the stir fry.

I may be a bit late with this product review because after looking online, I’ve found that they’ve been around for quite a while – since around late last year! However, I just wanted to write about the instant noodles I discovered at Morrisons. Instant that’s gluten-free is so difficult to find and if it does exist, it’s not even tasty! So finding something that overcomes that problem so well, deserves a few words.

For just £1.74, these are the tastiest instant noodles I’ve ever had! Well done and a massive thank you ilumi!

1

They’re even better than the normal foods! They come in 4 different flavours and of these, the 3 vegetarian flavours are:

– Tom Yum Rice Noodles

– Sweet Chilli Rice Noodles

– Singapore Rice Noodles

So far, I’ve only tried the Sweet Chilli ones but I just think they’re so perfect for a quick munch!

You pop open the pot and sprinkle the sachet of flavour in…

2

Add boiling water to the fill line (about 300ml) and stir…

3

Pop the lid back on and leave it for about 4 minutes before you dig in and enjoy the delicious’ness (not just pretend to enjoy your meal!) on one of those days where you just want to eat out of a pot!

These pots have a rating as to how spicy they are and the Sweet Chilli pot has the highest rating (two out of three chillies). I do like my food spicy however and adding a little bit of chilli powder (pic below) gave the noodles the spicy kick I was looking for…

4

I can honestly say I was super impressed by this tasty, quick and easy snack pot.

ilumi have a whole range of ready meals (all gluten- and milk-free) which you can check out here…

http://www.ilumiworld.com

Let me know what you think of any of the products 🙂

Risk Assessments (to be continued for life?)

Hiya GFrees..

Hope you’re all okay.

Just wanted to share today’s ‘HANGRY-hungry/angry’ moment with you all…

So, I went out of town for the day with my family and as we were returning home in the evening, my mum suggested we ate out. I was adamant on going to Indigo – a pure vegetarian Indian restaurant because I knew my dad would be happy going there and also, after being diagnosed, I had once looked at their menu and spoke to the manager and a waiter who went through some of the foods I was able to eat.

indigo

As I opened the menu, there was the following note:

note

Let’s consider some of the foods that I wanted to order:

oriental oriental snacks starters

When I was placing the order, I asked the waiter if the indo-chinese foods (Shanghai Potatoes, Shanghai Mogo, Schezwan Fried Rice and Schezwan Mogo) were definitely gluten-free. He said he would speak to someone and make sure. Upon his return to our table, the waiter reported that the Schezwan dishes were not gluten-free because they contained soya sauce. I did not complain about this because I was totally aware of the fact that some soya sauces contain wheat and this was also stated in the note as I opened the menu.

I had placed my order on Shanghai Potatoes and Shanghai Mogo however, a couple of minutes later, the waiter returned to our table to report that the potatoes and mogo were fried in the same oil as all of the other wheat/gluten-containing foods. He asked if this was of concern or whether I was happy to continue with the order. At this point (bearing in mind I was super hungry because I had only had breakfast) I was becoming really frustrated because I felt that I was getting mixed signals – the menu was saying one thing and the waiter was saying something else. I kindly asked if they could use some fresh oil to make my dish, but they said that due to being busy, this was not possible. So, I sat there, watching as my family indulged. My family asked if I’d like to go elsewhere but I knew they were hungry too, so I said I would just quickly make myself dinner when I got home.

I wasn’t tempted whilst my family ate. I think I’ve learned to deal with this – to some extent anyway. But what I was most frustrated about was that the symbols were very misleading and I felt that they needed to pay more attention to the seriousness of cross-contamination.

I feel that many Indian restaurants need educating about cross-contamination. I am grateful that the waiter was very honest and inquired about the small details. However, the fact that I had spoke to the someone who works at the restaurant in the past and he had guided me to dishes I was able to eat means that the restaurant and it’s employees are very misinformed about coeliac disease and the importance of gluten-free foods for coeliacs.

Do you think the menu/symbols were misleading? Or was I just being unreasonable because I was hungry? But surely if they know a dish has soya sauce (for example the Schezwan dishes) and they’ve clearly stated in the note near the front of the menu that the soya sauce contains ‘wheat gluten’ they should have ‘GL’ next to the Schezwan dishes! Confusing.com :/

I sure hope to look in to food allergy labelling and how I can raise awareness, particularly within Indian restaurants. Simply because I may be blatantly aware of certain dishes not being suitable and not being gluten-free but others may not.

Happy New Year (+18 days)!!!

Hey GFrees..

First of all..HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope your 2015 is full of love, laughter, happiness, smiles and loads and loads of delicious food!!!

Secondly, I’m sorry for not posting regularly. I had been busy searching for, applying, and interviewing for jobs for the past couple of months. I was finally successful with one of my applications and I started my first ever, proper job last Monday! I am currently going through the “honeymoon period” of a job (if there is such a thing) and fingers crossed it will stay like this forever. The people I’m working with are super lovely.

I wanted to write this post because having been home for the past few months..I had gotten used to preparing warm meals and grabbing snacks that were safe to eat, very easily. But now, because I’m always going to be on the go, it seems as if I will have to learn some new things. Mainly with preparing foods either the night before or in the morning, but making sure they will still be tasty both hot and cold (because I may not be able to heat the food up) and also, making sure I always have snacks in the car. Recently I have religiously kept a packet of Glutafin Mini Crackers both in my car and in my handbag so if ever I get peckish, I have something at least. These crackers are great! They are so handy and totally delicious – the closest thing (if not better!) to the nice, crunchy, savoury crackers that we can’t eat ( plus they’re available on NHS prescription 😀 ). I think the crackers are helping me to finally put on some weight (in all the wrong places though!!)

For lunch on my first day at work, I had prepared some pasta on Sunday night. I had forgotten just how disgusting some makes of GF pasta tasted if eaten cold. Yeah. So lunch on Monday consisted of only a bar of chocolate (very unhealthy, I know!). I was literally drooling because all my other colleagues had bought a sandwich and all I could smell was fresh bread and it smelt so good! For the rest of the week, I took in rolls which I ate with crisps and although I realised that one roll is not enough to fill me up, it made lunch-times a helluva lot better.

I’m going to be staying at my cousins, so..away from my home, and I’ve packed lots of food so I don’t need to go on an expensive shopping-spree..for food..whilst I’m away. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Did you find it difficult when you first started a job? What helped? What didn’t help? Are there any healthy, must-have snacks that you recommend? I’ll be posting some reviews that somewhat coincide with the working-life so stay tuned. Hopefully they will be of some help…

What’s(o)Up

So I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for the past couple of days..just the seasonal flu but I’m not going to lie..it can make you feel so weak. I’ve been thinking about some of the foods I’ve had to leave behind and had that sudden realisation that I’ll never be able to eat them again. Well I could find an alternative but alternatives never taste the same do they?! Even the gluten-free bread is nowhere near to tasty as the normal (but now lethal, toxic and deadly) bread. I’m finding it difficult to discover something tasty but also something that I can just quickly grab on the go or something that I don’t have to spend a lot of time cooking. I guess it’s healthier this way but when you’re feeling a bit poorly, the quick-fix meals can help (& I guess it’d mean that I wouldn’t need to bug my mum so much).

Having been able to eat properly today, my mum made me her amazing Kidney Bean & Potato Soup/Curry…

soup

As per usual..it was absolutely delicious! It definitely made me forget about everything I can’t eat! and it even worked wonders on my sore throat and blocked nose 😀

Are there any foods you miss? Or should I ask, what food(s) do you miss the most? What were your comfort food(s)? Can you still eat them? If not, have you found something similar and how is it?