Gluten Free Challenge

We’ve posted a couple of times about the “Go Gluten Free Challenge” going on within our Trust over the next couple of months. Lyndsy and I decided to join in for the first week in September.

I thought I went into this challenge with a decent understanding of what it means to be a coeliac as my sister has the condition as well as a few friends, but I was still surprised at how frustrating I found it. I think my knowledge stood me in good stead for some of the basic issues, for example, I made my whole house a gluten-free zone for ease and I knew what to look for on ingredient lists.

I bake and usually plan and prepare meals in advance, which helped at the beginning of the week. There were some brilliant successes…

…but also some very eggy-tasting non-successes. I had issues with trying to find an alternative to wraps and a decent bread loaf that didn’t cost too much. 

Shopping took me longer as I had to check labels. The one day I forgot to sort lunch, I popped into the supermarket to pick up a quick and convenient meal – after ruling out my dislike of mushrooms, I was left with one “choice” of ready meal.

I grew increasingly frustrated at the inclusion of wheat in things that didn’t even seem to need it – including spices (I mean, seriously?!?!).

My main learning points from this week were that:

  • Preparation and forward thinking is needed.
  • There’s no such thing as a “quick shop” and it’ll cost more.
  • “Alternatives” won’t taste the same, so it’s not always about substitution.

I’m really glad I did this week as even though I thought I knew a decent amount about it, it’s has given me a better understanding of the everyday niggles and some of the obstacles that people with food allergies face. I feel that I haven’t quite walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, as it was genuinely the knowledge that after the week I could go back to including gluten in my diet that got me through my frustrations.

I’d genuinely recommend people give it a go and the Highbury Dietician Team have been super helpful and responsive to my ranting on Twitter with some very helpful suggestions and advice.

Bring on the next challenge!

Click here and here for more information about Coeliac Disease.

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