Sunday, 20 December 2015

Rice milk - An experiment

Yesterday I did an experiment with eating rice milk. In the recent past I have been having rice milk warm with either cornflakes and as porridge, and both times I got stomach upset afterwards. My mum suggested that maybe it is the heating of the milk was the problem and not the cereals, so try it cold. So, yesterday I had cornflakes with cold rice milk. The result - no problems. There was a few seconds whilst making my bed that I thought I felt a slight stomach quibble but it settled. I was fine for the rest of the day. No pains, no anything. So, maybe my mum is right in saying that heating up the rice milk does something to it that disagrees with me and my v sensitive stomach. If that is the case, then I won't be able to eat porridge with rice milk again or I shall have to find another milk to try. I have tried most other milks so far. I shall try it again on Tuesday when I'm not going out to see what happens then.

Monday, 30 November 2015

RNA Xmas dinner - food intolerances

The Saturday just gone, I went to the Sir John Balcombe pub in Marylebone for the RNA Xmas dinner. I had preordered what I wanted, telling them what I can't eat. Here are my impressions of the pub and the food.

First of all, I was not impressed by the lateness of the food. We didn't get to eat to going on 2pm, when the email said 12.30pm. I, and others, were getting hungry by then. As I didn't order a starter (I never do) I asked for crisps, which I got in a small bowl. Then came the mains which for me was turkey breast, a jacket potato, and carrots. The turkey was the best bit of it. The potato was too dry for me, I had a few peas but as they were fresh and I don't like fresh ones, I only had a few and some carrot sticks.

The red bits on the side is red cabbage. I tried a couple of bits to see what it was for a friend.

The dessert I asked for berries, which I got. Red berries, raspberries with a strawberry on the top. This was really nice.

Overall, the staff were very nice and accommodating. The room was nice, but you can't move the furniture around like you can at the Lamb in Holborn, and you can't move about and mingle as much either. Personally, I prefer the Lamb as they aren't that late with delivering their food to you. If the meetings are held at this pub again, I shall have to hold judgement on their food from their daily menu. So far, I am not that impressed.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Another oaty tale

So, following on from my first GF oaty tale when I discovered I couldn't eat 100% GF oats. I thought I might try something that was 80% GF wholegrain oats. I had got a coupon for Nairn's biscuit breaks, (the ginger ones) and thought I'd try those.

I bought these and tried them. Both my mum and I really liked them. But again as they were wholegrain, after a couple of them, they had a similar effect. I knew they had other flavours, so bought the choc chip ones.

I tried these and liked these better than the ginger ones. But, yes, they had a similar effect on me. I won't be buying these again, shame to say.

So, I came to the conclusion that I can't eat too much wholegrain foods as they upset my digestive system. This includes other stuff such as dates, walnuts and houmous. I have seen a dietician. My next post will be about this and how I am getting on with my low fibre diet.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A food intolerance pub review

Last Saturday week (14th) I was due to go to a workshop at a pub called The Theodore Bullfrog in Charing Cross. I have been there before, but not when I have had so many food intolerances, and when I have eaten gluten and wheat before. When I ordered the food, I was told by the workshop organiser that I would have to phone the pub myself to check out about food intolerances as that was what others in the same situation had done. So I did. I wanted chicken wings and fries. I was told that there wasn't a guarantee that the chips would come in contact with flour because they use their fryer for other foods, and the chicken wings had flour in, too. I said, fine, OK, I shall take my own lunch then. I didn't go in the end because I had had a bad night and was too tired to travel and concentrate.

So, I shall now give my marks out of 5 for travel accessibility and for catering for food intolerances.

Travel = 2. I could have got a bus to Catford then a train to Charing Cross.
Catering for food intolerances = 0. There wasn't anything else on the menu that I could eat, so I had to take my own lunch if I had. But I shall give them 2 for telling me over the phone what allergens there were in the foods. Something that all food eateries have to do now.

There you have it. One pub I won't be eating in again, and if I do, it will be my own food that I know I can eat without fuss and harm.

Friday, 16 October 2015

An oaty tale

Since I found I can't eat gluten, I have tried to find another porridge to eat as well as millet. I thought I'd found it in gluten-free oats. The first bag I bought was Sainsbury's free from oats. They didn't bind with my rice dream and it was a v runny porridge. So, I decided to find another one. I found Nairn's gf wholegrain oats. Only, after a few breakfasts it proved to be too much wholegrain for me. They were 100% wholegrain. Too much because it had a bad effect on me that involved a small room. I had to give those up.

But I have found I can eat less than 100% wholegrain oats. I can eat gf wholegrain crackers which are 86% and can eat gf oatcakes that are a similar amount of wholegrain.

So, there you have it. I can't eat 100 wholegrain foods, esp oats, but can eat less than that.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Celebrating Free From style

It was my mum's birthday yesterday. Because we are both intolerant to various foods and she has coeliac, too, we can't eat normal cakes, but thankfully there are some yummy alternatives out there, which we have found. We bought Genius lemon cupcakes on Wednesday out shopping and ate them on the Thursday I think it was.

It was delicious. Light and fluffy like a sponge should be, and the lemon icing was gorgeous, too.

Yesterday we had the Free From choc muffin cake with Alpro (soya) custard. V filling and v nice as well. I am intolerant to soya and it did affect me the whole day by making me slightly stuffy. It was worth it though. Today we had the rest of the muffin cake with ice cream and frozen yoghurt. Mum had goat's milk ice cream and I had the frozen yoghurt.

All three foods come from Sainsbury's. The cakes are in the Free From bread section, and the frozen yoghurt in the special ice cream freezer section.

Might try the choc cupcakes next for my birthday in November.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Gluten-free bread

Since I have found I'm intolerant to gluten, I have tried a few gluten-free breads that are out there in the supermarkets. I have found there is one particular bread that is my favourite. But here is my overall opinion of the ones I have had:

In third place is Tescos Free From bread. These were large slices and tasted really dry to eat.

Tesco slices are the bigger ones. One and a half of these would make a sandwich, as I found that 2 was too much to eat, esp as they were dry.

In second place comes Genius. They too are large slices but don't taste that dry, but they often have large cracks and holes in them (I'm not the only one to have found this). This would be my choice of bread when I can't get the Sainsbury's one.

In first place is Sainsbury's Free From white bread. The size of the slices are just right, don't taste dry and hardly come with holes in. So it gets top prize from me. I have also tried their brown seeded loaf and that's OK too.

I have also tried Warburton's white rolls, and like them now and then for a change from a sandwich. So, what gluten-free breads have you tried? Which one is your favourite in taste and size and content?

Sunday, 9 August 2015

My local Chinese

A couple of weeks ago, before my mum had her major eye surgery, we went for a meal out our local Chinese 'The Eastern Queen' at Catford, SE London. We've been there a few times before

The walls are nicely decorated in Chinese pictures and symbols.

Every time we go there now, not often, the staff seem to change, but they are nice and friendly towards you. Even holding the door open for you when you leave.

My mum had her usual meal of chicken with ginger and spring onions, and I had chicken with seasonal veg with boiled rice (small bowl between us).

Mine is on the left, Mum's on the right. Be careful you don't eat a piece of ginger by mistake as it's hot!
Both our meals were really nice and dairy and gluten free. We declined the prawn crackers because they do have a form of dairy in. We don't have a dessert because the meal is enough for both of us. But we do take away the mint cream choc that we get given with the bill. It is only a small amount of dairy and doesn't affect me. I used to have the crackers before a meal, then have a pudding afterwards that might have had wheat (flour) on, and did have problems when I got home. Now I don't have any of that and I am fine.

So here is my score for it: service = 8/10; locality = 9/10 (get a bus there and back); food for intolerances = 8/10.

We might go there again but not sure as Mum said she wasn't sure if she would. We shall see. If we do, I shall have something different to try.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

RNA conference - What I ate

This time last weekend I was on my last day at the RNA conference in Mile End road. So, how did I rate the choice of foods I was given? Honestly, poor. Here is what I ate:

Friday dinner: I couldn't eat anything on the menu because it either had dairy or wheat in, and the only choice was beef casserole which had wine in. Again I couldn't eat because of my medications. The chef cooked chicken esp for me, which I had with white rice, peas and green beans. It looked like this:

My opinion: they weren't that prepared at all for my intolerances.

Saturday morning came. I went to have breakfast. Were they prepared? No. They didn't have any Free From toast for me, and I had to have fried bacon with grilled tomatoes, and I don't usually like grilled breakfasts. I complained afterwards to our organiser, Jan Jones, who had a word with them. Apparently, they did have gluten free bread there, but no one told the catering staff that were there that morning. Sigh.

Saturday lunch. What did I have? Chicken again, with lots of green leaves, a few olives and a couple of sundried tomatoes, which I tried but didn't like. Here is what it looked like:

I had this lunch again on the Sunday, but that time I complained. I asked the head of staff there if they could have extras like salad. A while later she brought out a big bowl of roasted veg such as peppers. At least I had a bit more to it then. I had a bag of crisps with me on Saturday, so went back to my room to get them.

Saturday dinner was the Gala dinner, and was in the Octagon library in Queen's building.
Because it was a special dinner, it was much better organised. Staff went round asking who had dietary requirements, and they catered for it. For starter I had roasted veg, eg peppers and onions:

For dinner, guess what I had? Yes, chicken. It came with potato and fresh veg such as carrots and cauli. Yay. Different veg. I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed this meal the most out of all the ones I had last weekend, mainly because it was more organised and prepared for me and my diet.

Sunday morning came. Breakfast. And yes, they were prepared this time. I had my gluten free toast, 4 slices of it, with spread and jam. I was happy. I've put above what I had for lunch.

All in all, out of 10, I rate Queen Mary University of London's choice of menu for dietary people - 3. Poor. So there you have it. I plan to rate places where I go with how their choice for people like me, and how they cope with it.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Going away for weekend with food intolerances

I have been away over the years but I have to say, one of the best places I've been to for eating with food intolerances is Dunford House, Nr Midhurst in W Sussex. I was there last weekend for a writing retreat, and they are so helpful and accommodating with coping with my food intolerances.  Here is what I eat for the main meals over the weekend.

On the Friday evening we had chicken breast with new potatoes and veggies. Here is what it looked like:

For breakfast, I had gluten free toast each day.

For Saturday lunch I had gluten free pasta with veggies (tomato and red onion), which was yummy.  Here it is:

For dinner we had roast butternut squash risotto (free from dinner). I'd not had risotto rice before but I really liked it because it was crunchy. It was filling so I didn't eat all of it.
For dessert I had fresh strawberries. Other days I had fruit salad but didn't eat all of that because most of it was apple which I can't eat. Sunday dessert I was given strawberries, banana and an orange. I gave the orange away but eat the rest.

Sunday lunch I had Moroccan veggie tagine. I didn't take a photo of this one. I couldn't eat all of it because it was too spicy for me. I had to have water with it, then was given some bread which helped. For dinner we had beef bourgnon (prob spelt wrongly) and mashed potato with veggies. All dairy and gluten free, of course.

I remember having this last year and enjoyed it again. All food provided I believe is locally sourced, so we eat in season.

As well as all these meals, there was cake and crisps. I managed to eat some cakes because the organiser kindly baked a dairy and gluten free one for me. So, a lot was eaten and I put on 2 and a half pounds in weight. Most of that has gone now. Roll on next year.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

How to get money off from Dietary Specials

Several weeks ago I applied to get money off vouchers from Dietary Special foods. In the last couple of weeks I have received two vouchers for £4 off. Hurrah. I eat their gluten-free breadsticks and rice cakes, so I will be buying more of those with the vouchers. Here is how you can get these vouchers. You have to register with them on their website They will email you confirmation of registration, then you have to wait weeks for the guide and vouchers to come through.

So, if you eat any of their foods, it is well worth it to register and get money off. You can save a bit of cash, esp as I know that a lot of free from foods are expensive.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Do food intolerance tests work?

I have had three different types of food intolerance tests done over the years, inc one the last couple of weeks, and I still don't know for sure. The first one I had done in Holland and Barrett's years ago and was an electrode test. Don't know how reliable that one was. Several years ago I had the pin prick test done twice, and I think that was a bit more reliable as it did come up with the fact I am intolerant to dairy. Recently I had a hair analysis test done. I'm even more unsure about that one. It came up with I am intolerant to wheat, which my body had told me was the case, but it also came up with that I am intolerant to yeast and things with yeast in like Marmite. This I'm not sure about even though I had been eating a bit of Marmite recently and all my gluten-free bread foods have yeast in, too. Also, it didn't come up with dairy, but ice cream and not butter, and I know for sure butter makes me ill. I know that I am intolerant to gluten, as foods with it in gives me stomach pains. So, what do I believe? Don't know anymore. What do you think? Have you had a food intolerance test that has made you wonder about it? Let me know.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A dairy and gluten free Easter

Like everyone else, I did have chocolate Easter eggs for Easter, I also had hot cross buns, but they were all dairy and gluten free versions.

My mum had a job getting the hot cross buns. Sainsbury's didn't have any when we went last week, so she had to go to Tescos, and only found them hidden and upside down. She bought one pack, and we had one each, slightly grilled, with sunflower spread on. Yummy. Here is what Mum bought:

I was OK with the hot cross buns, although the cinnamon taste did repeat on me.

For the eggs, we bought them from Holland and Barrett's because they were doing special offers. The first offer was to buy one get one half price, so we did. Then we found that on the back of the receipt was another offer to get another egg half price. So, Mum bought another one, and got the same offer on the receipt that time, so bought another egg a day or so later. We ended up with two eggs each, sharing the individual chocolates between us with the last two. Here are the eggs that we bought.


They are both Choices chocolate. The left one had choc caramel cups in and the right one had choc discs in. The first two eggs we ate were the one with the discs in. They are made mainly from rice flour and rice syrup, and I wondered afterwards if that was why I had to visit a certain small room a few times a day when I ate them. Am now thinking that I can't eat processed/refined rice, but can only eat wholegrain and brown varieties. We shall see.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Results of my mini-elimination diet

So, I have been an a mini-elimination diet over the last 2 weeks, eating only Free From toast for breakfast and not having any rice milk with porridge. Here are the results - no stomach pains at all, except for when I got anxious about seeing the GP. I shall try having millet porridge with rice milk again later next week when I am not going out that day or doing anything like cleaning. That will probably be Thursday. We shall see what happens.

I have been eating rice and rice cakes, both of which are wholegrain. So, I am wondering if it is just the refined and processed version of rice I can't take now. I have read a reply to a letter from someone who wrote up about this to a gluten-free magazine, and the reply was that it could be the refined version that causes intolerances. We shall see if I get pains again next week. Will let you know. If I do get pains, then I have already bought goat's milk and try that.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Eating out gluten-free

On Thursday I went to the London SCBWI Brunch at the Fleet Street Bakery (behind Holborn station). I've been there before, and last time I did I had a spicy soup. This time they had something different. It wasn't marked up on the board as gluten free but they had to check with the kitchen staff. It should have been up on the board, due to the new regulations that came about in December where all eating places should have marked on their menus if foods are gluten free. Anyway, this is what I had to eat for lunch, which was kindly paid for by Miriam Craig the organiser, due to me forgetting to take any money with me (first time I've done that):

It was quinoa with beansprouts and radishes. It came with sweetcorn and lots of green leaves, neither of which I ate because I can't. I've not eaten quinoa (pronounced keenwa) grains before, only as flakes for breakfast in a porridge. I really liked it, and it didn't disagree with me, which was a bonus.

Not sure what they will have next I go in May, but I will make sure they have marked on their board if it is gluten free or not.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Rice Dream special offer

I have decided that as well as posting about gluten and dairy free foods that I eat now, how I make it and what it looks like, I shall post about special offers I see as I am out and about. Here is the first one.

I don't know how long it will last for, but Sainsbury's are currently doing Rice Dream milk as buy 5 for 4. This is a saving of £1.39 as you get one free. As both my mum and I have this milk now, we bought the 5 today as part of our weekly shop.

We buy the one above because it has calcium in it, too. This is good for us as neither of us now eats dairy as we're both intolerant to dairy, esp me.

So, if you have this milk, pop along to your nearest Sainsbury's and stock up on it whilst the offer lasts. We will.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Gluten-free living

I don't know if you buy the Sainsbury's magazine, but in the recent issue there was a story of a woman who was diagnosed with colitis and had to give up eating foods with gluten in. She tells about her life with this and how she finally got her diet working. The article is called 'My Gluten-Free Life' by Victoria Young. Well, I read this and thought, let's write a letter to the magazine (something I do now and then). I won't put what I wrote here in case it does get published. Anyway, I received a personal letter from someone called Beatrice Moore. Here is her reply:

Dear Julie 

Thank you very much for taking the time to write in to us and letting us know your thoughts.

Fortunately, products and recipes seem to be getting better all the time. From the April issue we will be making all gluten-free recipes stand out with a 'GF' symbol, and we are checking these mentions against the Coeliac Society guidelines, so hopefully this will be more of a help to you as well. 

I hope you continue to enjoy the future issues of the magazine. 

Best wishes,

So, they are now making some of their recipes gluten-free and will mark it up as so. This is something that I have wanted for a while. I often read recipes in magazines, think that I love to make this one but can't because it has dairy or gluten in it. Hurrah. Well done, Sainsbury's.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Cornflakes a no-no

Well, after a month off from last trying gluten-free cornflakes, I ate them for breakfast this morning with hot rice milk. The result - niggling stomach pains and visiting the small room. So, now I know that I can no longer eat corn/maize. Seems my stomach doesn't like most grains these days. I shall stick to what I know I can eat from now on. That means for breakfast, I will be eating Free From toast when I go out that day, millet porridge with ham or cocoa rice pops when I am not going out that day. One of these days I shall take a photo of what my porridge and that looks like so you can see it.

So, I am now intolerant to: dairy, soya, wheat, gluten and corn/maize. Plus a host of other foods that are too many to name here eg dark green veg.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

A gluten no-go

I said to myself that I was going to try gluten products again after all the Xmas food had gone. That was a few weeks ago but I didn't get round to it until this last week. I had 3 ryvitas for lunch like I used to do to see what happened. I was OK all that afternoon, so thought I was fine. Then I had dinner. Shortly after that I got stomach pains, which got worse and worse. So, I wasn't fine with rye after all. That meant if I wasn't OK with rye, then I wouldn't be with oats. The following morning, I checked the dates on the oatcakes I had left. It was due to expire 5 days later so I emptied the contents into the bin and recycled the boxes. The remaining pack of ryvitas expires in July so I have kept that to give to my brother when I see him next. I had 6 cartons of Oat milk. I threw all those down the sink and recycled the Tetrapaks. I know it is a lot of food waste, and I normally hate throwing food away, but as it was nearly expired and I couldn't eat it anymore, I had to.

So, from now on, it is going to be gluten-free all the way from me. I shall finding out what I can eat when I go out for meals during the year and posting on here about them.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A gluten free Xmas

I know it's a little late in coming, but my mum and I had a gluten free Xmas. Here are just a few of the food goodies we ate:

We didn't eat all the crisps and potato sticks ourselves. Some of them were put out on Boxing Day when my brother et al came over. We did eat the Turkish Delight though. The peppermint creams were really nice. Will have those again next time. The box on the right at the front is Love More Free From Shortbreads. They were gorgeous and did taste of shortbread. Behind them in the middle are Kallo dark choc rice cakes. They are also v nice and not just at Xmas (lol). At the back are Love More Free From Xmas cake slices with icing on. They were lovely, too. Had a subtle and not too rich taste to them. Nice with soya custard. Under those, and you can't see, were Love More Free From mince pies. They were quite sweet and the juice from the mince was coming through the bottom of the pies. Also nice with custard. I have to say that even though I ate all of that, I didn't have any stomach problems like I have had done in the past.

The Kallo dark choc rice cakes you can get in anyway major supermarket. The Love More Free From foods came from Holland and Barretts. We will buy the cake slices again. The crisps were from Sainsbury's and the potato sticks from Lidl's.

So there you have some of what I ate gluten free at Xmas.

From now on, this blog will be focussing on either gluten and dairy free eating at home and out, and recycling issues. The next post will be about recycling Xmas.