Norfolk Gluten Free Expo

This month see’s the first ever Norfolk Gluten Free Expo on Sunday 25th October

The Forum in Norwich will play host to a free event celebrating Gluten Free produce around Norfolk. The event will include cookery demonstrations, special guests, talks, hot food , a kids zone and a huge selection of over 50 food stalls including breads, pies, pastries, cakes, beers , cooking sauces, burgers, sausages, cereals and much more.

Doors open 10am – 4pm

The Forum Millennium plain, Norwich NR2 1TF

A well being area will have a nutritionist on hand. Gluten free, vegan skin care and make up. Health experts and organisations will be offering help and support.

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Free talks and lectures – book your place now

10.30am –  11.00am Eating for energy on a gluten free diet

11.30am – 12.00pm Top tips for food allergy compliance

12.30pm – 1.00pm Keeping gluten free oats pure, from farm to fork

2.30pm – 4.00pm Hungry for change  – a food matters film

Everything at the event will be Gluten Free,

also available dairy free, vegan and much more besides!

 

Norfolk gluten freedom handbook will be launched at the event – the Must Have guide for consumers and the trade, when sourcing your favourite free from products and places to eat in Norfolk.

norfolkglutenfreedom.co.uk

Facebook norfolkglutenfreedom

Twitter @nflkgfreedom

 

Hope to see you there

 

Norfolk Gluten Freedom is a partnership between Louisa Kiddell owner of The Gluten free shop near Norwich and Sara Matthews Gluten Free cookery trainer and food safety and allergy management trainer.

Fabulously Free From at The Big Feastival

Last weekend was a foodie and music lovers perfect Festival, The Big Feastival.

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Set in the gorgeous countryside of the Cotswolds at Alex James’s farm. Presented by Jamie Oliver and Blur’s Alex James with an amazing line up of chefs, cooks and musicians. Featuring the best street food and restaurant stalls as well as cooking classes and demos.

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I was attracted to the Big Feastival this year due to the addition of a Healthy Living Zone , added to highlight all the latest thinking on eating well and healthy. There was to be gluten free , grain free, paleo , raw stalls and demos with healthy eating pioneers including Hemsley and Hemsley and Deliciously Ella . I was thrilled to be accredited with a media pass and was determined to Max out my weekend finding out as much as I could for myself and my followers on twitter and Fabulously Free From.

 

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Our trip to Kingham in the Cotswolds on friday did not entirely go to plan. Our renovation project a Bambi Airstream was not as far advanced as we had thought so we spent an unexpected 5 hours waiting for it to be campsite ready! Once on the road we made good progress and arrived at Merry Weather campsite close to the Festival site , plenty of time to prepare for the two days ahead.

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Unfortunately due to the teething troubles with Betty the Airstream we missed out on friday afternoon and evening at the festival . I was desperately disappointed to have missed out on seeing at the Big Kitchen Monica Galleti, Nathan Outlaw and Richard Burr of bake off fame.

 

Saturday brought sunshine and light cloud desperate not to miss a thing we were up and out quickly after  homemade grain free fruit bread and a full english ready to take on the day. Only 14 mins from the Festival site we arrived just as gates were opening . There was no massive queues and parking was easy. We checked in and I quickly purchased an itinerary in the form of a programme on a lanyard.  I knew today was going to be quite a challenge to get around everyone I wanted to see.

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My main area was to be around the Healthy Living Zone and Big Kitchen thankfully the quietest part of the vast festival.

 

 

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Firstly I made my way to the Oatly Kitchen counter to hear Anna Jones.

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Here was to be the place I would be able to get up close to health food pioneers and chefs during the Feastival. Just a few tables and chairs set out in a rectangle covered by an open sided marquee with bright coloured deck chairs around the edge and a couple of bench seats. Very cosy and never overly busy.

Anna talked about her passion for healthy vegetarian food and about helping Jamie Oliver to write some of his books and how she had now written her own vegetarian recipe book.

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Following Anna was Ella Woodward better known as Delicious Ella. Ella talked about managing her illness by changing her diet dramatically to healthy eating including cutting gluten and refined sugar and vegetable oil.

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Admitted to being a sugar addict and advised using maple syrup etc with control and to find a balance. Ella’s top tip was to buy nuts and flour in bulk online. Deliciously Ella also talked about using coconut oil and olive oil in her cooking and baking and eating lots of good healthy fat especially her favourite avocados . I found her to be very honest and realistic . She summed up by saying she wanted to get vegetables in the centre of the plate.

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Following Ella I dashed over to the Big Kitchen a partly covered large stage with simple seating and extra tv screens to go and see Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley of Hemsley and Hemsley demonstrating a lime and avocado cheesecake and other healthy meals.

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The ladies talked lots about healthy fats including butter and coconut oil. They talked of their love of cabbage and bone broths. The Hemsley’s also encouraged the use of natural sugars instead of refined sugar but only in low quantities.

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Raw vegan blonde was next on the Oatly kichen counter art with fresh fruit and veg.

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I arrived at the end of this demonstration ready for Hemsley and Hemsley

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This really was a brilliant opportunity to see them and ask questions and hear more about their philosophy . In the slow cooker they had beef bone broth bubbling away and also the famous spiraliser for anyone to come and have a go with. They spoke about their book the Art of Living well, which I can recommend.

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The spiraliser was popular with the gathered crowd and a huge plate of courgetti in a pesto sauce was passed around the table to try. I had seen Jasmine and Melissa only a few weeks before in the literature tent at Latitude festival. But I have to say this was far better and easier for the ladies to demo properly.

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There was time for a Q&A and in such a small group worked really well. Their passion for not wasting food and using every part of the animal was good to hear. They talked of their love of saturated fat including dripping and butter, I was thrilled. Gelatine from chicken feet and bones also got a mention as well as encouraging everyone to watch the new Sugar film called That Sugar film! Probably my favourite Health pioneers at the Feastival.

Around the healthy living arena area was plenty of food to tuck into including Raw Press from London serving cold pressed juice and almond milk. I had the chocolate raw pressed almond milk which was very refreshing

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As I have so many additional intolerances as well as being intolerant to gluten I bulk baked before the festival and froze it all for our trip. Lunches and dinners for me were gluten free dough balls, grain free quiche lorraine , salad, cheese and fruit and water. If you were just gluten free there was many stalls offering gluten free options including raw press. there was also lots to sample from stalls like UGG Foods offering grain free bread and muffins to try and mix’s to buy

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UGG Foods stall was very popular with grain free mixes and testers

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Coconut merchant had coconut in almost every form from sugar and jam to oil

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Dried Kale looked tasty, sadly ran out of time to go back and buy some.

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The Primal Pantry were in the Healthy living zone offering tasters and their grain free bars for sale.

Deliciously Ella and Olivia Wollenburg were on the Big Kitchen stage demonstrating a chocolate orange brownie recipe a large crowd came to watch.

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Later at the Oatly kichen counter I heard Olivia Wollenburg talk about her line of crumbles Livia’s crumble part of Livia’s Kitchen. unfortunately the crumbles are not gluten free,  I think she is missing a great opportunity but she told me that it was not cost effective as 100 % dedicated gluten free factories are more expensive.

 

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On the Big Kitchen at 5.30 pm was Gennaro Contaldo this was a fun cooking demonstration followed by Jamie Oliver at 6.30pm as you can see I hadn’t left the Healthy Living Zone all day as there was so much to do. All this time there was music on three stages the Main stage, Udder stage and the Bandstand. Also BBQ demonstrations and even yoga

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As you would expect Jamie’s Big Kitchen demo was the most entertaining he also had a guest all the way from Brazil cooking steak on a BBQ on stage.

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It was difficult to get close as the crowds by now had grown enourmosly.

Earlier on the Main Stage had been Iris Gold, Johnny Borrell and Zazou , The Beach , Hudson Taylor and Grandmaster Flash

On the main stage that evening was Ella Eyre, Example and DJ Wire and the headliner was Dizzee Rascal

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Sunday brought a damp start but once again knowing that some of the speakers started early we were quickly on our way after a cooked breakfast with plenty of eggs and bacon to keep us going.

Natasha Corrett was first on the Big Kitchen stage demonstrating here recipe for a grain free quiche using cauliflower in the base. She urged everyone to keep your way of eating healthily sustainable. In her opinion 70% healthy 30% normal eating So as not to make the task to great to stick to.

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Natasha massaged kale with lemon juice to make it easier to eat in its raw form. She also used this in her quiche.

Next on was Joe Wicks The Body Coach I have to admit not knowing the name at all but he had a huge following mainly amongst the ladies.

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A star of the internet due to his 15 minute meals and new book called Lean in 15 . Joe chose to make a Thai green curry which looked good and then a turkey burger using lean turkey mince and a white processed burger roll, really not sure that was the best choice! He did though encourage the use of coconut oil and rubbished the old school pyramid way of eating.

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Emily Watkins was up next on the Big Kitchen Stage as the ran poured outside we stayed huddled under the stage over hang . Emily is a local chef who ‘s pub The Kingham plough is ranked in the Times top 25 pubs for food and two AA rosettes .  She made a delicious looking trifle

I had to leave Emily’s demo before the end to head back up to the Oatly kitchen counter for Adam Henson from the Cotswold farm park and Countryfile presenter final chat followed by

 

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Natasha Corrett Honestly Healthy a self  trained cook who encouraged the gathered crowd to avoid meat, dairy and sugar and to cut out processed food. She was asked during the Q&A what she couldn’t live without  food wise Nashasha answer was Lemons and avocados . The weather by now was not too nice and we were all tightly packed under the open sided marquee.

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I was very excited about the next speaker the very lovely and talented Raymond Blanc

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It was amazing to be so close and hear him talk with such passion about good local healthy food and the quality of british chefs, he teaches many of them! We heard all about his recent series on TV Kew on a plate and about seasonal fruit and vegetables and seasonality. He is also passionate about the environment and was very animated when speaking it was quite hard to take a photograph as he never sat still.

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Raymond was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me.

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Jamie Oliver was once again on the main stage but due to the sheer number of people watching we decided to take the opportunity to look around more of the festival.

The choice of food stalls was amazing, even for those who avoid gluten there was a good choice

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Some delicious pork belly cook on the BBQ

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corn on the cob

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Duck and seafood

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and sausages

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Here is a list of the gluten free stalls from my earlier blog post

There were also gluten free treats including

Ice lollies

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and cakes

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I preferred the healthy Paleo bars from Primal Joy Foods

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especially the grain free chocolate brownie

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lots to try and buy!

We sheltered under our umbrella to listen to Rae Morris who sounded amazing

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and then the weather started to improve

We watched Mabel Rogers on the Bandstand 

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and enjoyed a Rocktail

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After all the speakers it was time to relax!

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This festival is very family friendly with the best choice of food I have every seen at a festival. No wonder its called Feastival

It felt very much like an old fashioned English fair with fairground rides and independent local food stands Bales of hay to sit on

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and a helter skelter, bunting, fairy lights and balloons. Plus an enourmous live music stage with some big names over three days.

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There was so much to do I barely scratched the surface. I really focused on the Healthy Living Zone which I loved . The Feeling with Sophie Elis Bextor followed by Paloma Faith brought the Big Feastival to a grand finish. Even the earlier rain couldn’t dampen the festival goers spirits

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I’m sure we will be back next year for more tasty food, great music and interesting talks and demonstrations. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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Follow The Big Feastival on Twitter @thebigfeastival

The website is TheBigFeastival.com

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Early bird tickets now available for next year Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August 2016

Update –

Tickets now available for Feastival 2016

2016 LINE UP SO FAR

 

The new Healthy Living Zone and much much more at The Big Feastival

In less than two weeks it will be The Big Feastival presented by Jamie Oliver and Alex James.

A Food and Music Festival at Alex James farm in Kingham in The Cotswolds for all the family. A festival that not only celebrates the best in live music but also the best in delicious food. From some of the most tasty and creative street food vendors in the country to top chefs and health food pioneers.

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This year there will be a brand new Healthy Living Zone which has been added to the Feastival . Due to the rise in interest of eating healthily using fresh local ingredients and avoiding processed food. The line up highlights the up and coming health food pioneers at The Oatly Kitchen counter including  Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, of Hemsley + Hemsley ,

Jasmine and Melissa will be at the Feastival on Saturday

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Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella

Ella will be at the feastival on Saturday doing a talk at 12, a demo at 2.30pm and a book signing at 3pm

and Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy

Natasha will be there on Sunday on the Big Kitchen main stage at 10.30am for a demo and at 12.30 will be doing a talk with a 1.30pm book signing.

Olivia Wollenburg of Livia’s Kitchen

Olivia will be doing a demo in the Big Kitchen at 2.30pm on Saturday and a Kitchen counter session at 4pm talking about how she started her business. There will be chance to sample crumble too!

These timings may change, Please check your programme for up to date times

This year looks like The Big Feastival is going to be the place to be to get inspired to eat healthily and look at ways to cut down on the amount of grains and sugar from our diet.

Also in the Healthy Living Zone will be rising stars in the Paleo market My very favourite UGG Foods will be there

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as well as Primal joy foods

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and Primal Pantry.

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All of which I have reviewed in the past on my blog. I will put a link to these at the end of this post.

Also Lickalix  natural ice lollies using real whole fruit which are free from lactose, dairy and gluten. You can find Lickalix in the food and drink producers market

Also on stand HH07 you will find the lovely Gluten free Baking and living who will be amongst other things launching a new gluten free plain flour. You will also be able to learn about their baking courses and they will be sharing gluten free recipes.

Coconut merchant who as the name suggests will have an array of coconut products including raw extra virgin coconut oil and coconut water.

The Health Hub will be serving festival fare with everything from freshly pressed juices to raw salads and air dried kale chips.

The action station will be hoping to re energise festival goers offering a full programme of activities including yoga and even clubbercise!

In the big kitchen will be top chefs  Jamie Oliver, Gennaro Contaldo,  Monika Galetti, Mark Hix,  Raymond Blanc to name just a few. With Demo’s running on all three days of the feastival

 

Street food alley will have the best of the street food scene

Here are a few stalls that advertise that they offer gluten free,

Big Apple Hot Dogs advertise gluten free sausages

Crepe Lucette offer gluten free crepes, they told me “we use separate equipment and cleaning products for our gluten free options.”

Happy Maki – they should have have gluten free vegan Sushi

Popdogs–  these hot dogs are gluten free and can be served with a gluten free buns. Normally served with a gluten roll ?

The Duck truck says it has gluten free options  ( they say you can take your own gluten free roll which they will fill )

Beach food companysay they have plenty of fresh crab and lobster and gluten free fries, they say they do their best to avoid contamination

With all of these Food Stalls you will need to make up your own mind as to whether you will give them a try , If you have Coeliac disease please take extra care. I always pack a gluten free healthy picnic to take with me just in case. A festival is not somewhere you want to find yourself if you are glutened.

 

Churros – are Dairy free ( But Not gluten free )

 

As well as the big names in cooking there will also be three days of live music and DJ’s including Groove Armada, Dizzee Rascal, Example and DJ Wire, Ella Eyre, Paloma Faith, Rae Morris and Badly Drawn Boy and The Feeling.

and more music from Iris Gold, JP Cooper, Booka Brass band, The Beach, Hudson Taylor, Vangoffey etc

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If you follow me on Twitter @nels3 Gluten free Helen you will know I love live music and going to festivals. This festival looks to have a great selection of well known and new music acts preforming over the three days. I also love the camping side of festivals although when I say ‘camping’ I guess I really mean staying in a camper van or caravan. More than anything this offers me somewhere to store chilled food for the time I’m away from home . With some many food intolerances and being gluten free I normally have little or no options at Festivals. This Feastival I hope will be very different. I hope to blog about my experience to hopefully encourage more Free Fromers to give it a go next year.

Latitude 2015

Latitude 2015

 

When I heard about the new Healthy Living Zone at The Big Feastival I was really excited, great music and healthy food together. What could be better ? The added bonus of stunning sunny weather would be a great addition too.

I was thrilled to have been accredited to have a Press Pass for this years  Big Feastival I hope this will give me as a blogger for Fabulously Free From access to many of the health food pioneers etc and report back to you all about all things healthy eating and review the new Healthy Living Zone. Maybe you will be inspired to go along next year?

 

Maybe I will see you there! Do let me know if you are coming along

Some Day tickets are still available for Friday . Camping tickets and Weekend tickets are now sold out 

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Review of Primal Joy Foods > click here

Review of UGG Foods > click here 

Review of Hemsley+Hemsley > click here

Review of Primal Kitchen > click here

 

Follow on Twitter @thebigfeastival

Follow on Facebook Thebigfeastival

The Big Feastival will be raising money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation

Video of highlights from last year

Review of Niche gluten free restaurant in London

Last thursday four of us went to Niche to celebrate my Son’s birthday. It was our very first visit .

Niche is a gluten free restaurant in Islington providing British comfort food which is all gluten free.

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The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere, more cafe style than restaurant. A modern clean airy space in a prime spot on the corner of a Rosebury avenue , just down the road from Sadlers Wells theatre.

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I thought ordering would be relatively straight forward against other regular restaurants, but this turned out to not be the case. Firstly I went through my intolerances and that I had coeliac disease and gave the waiter my card. He then went through the starters with me, and popping back to talk to the chef re yeast onion and garlic and paprika. Unfortunately this ruled all the delicious looking starters except a plate of smoked salmon or a goats cheese salad.

I was excited to try the gluten free burger for my main but this contained onion so I had to rule it out , secondly I chose a steak, my go to meal at every restaurant. Unbelievable for me the steaks at Niche are marinated making them of limits to me. I plumped for sea bass in the end with potatoes and no sauce instead I asked for some green vegetables. I was pleased the family could order all the gluten free starters that I wanted to try, the deep fried parmesan and cheddar doughnuts and the fried chicken. For main courses they went for beef and chorizo pie and mash, sausage and mash and a goats cheese and Portobello mushroom burger on a gluten free bun with fries.

Our starters arrived promptly and the fried chicken strips and parmesan and cheddar doughnuts looked amazing. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t have either. Maybe something for Niche to look at? Many Coeliacs and those with intolerances can’t tolerate yeast, dairy, onions or sometimes garlic etc.  Just one simple treat starter would be appreciated. My smoked salmon was really delicious and I was given a huge portion.

The fried chicken strips cost £7.75 and were a hit and the parmesan and cheddar doughnuts cost £6.50 were liked but not raved about. My husband had the goats cheese salad which he enjoyed.

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Our main courses arrived next my sea bass was nicely presented but I asked for some butter to just cheer it up a little. The butter came individually wrapped portions very sweet 8/10  cost £15.25

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The sausage and mash meal was enjoyed. Delicious gluten free sausages but the mash and gravy were not overly warm 6.5/10  cost £12.25

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Beef and chorizo pie and mash was well presented there was a lot of pastry which was nice and crisp but just rather too much of it with a small amount of filling with only two slices of chorizo inside. It was given 7/10   cost £12.75

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The goats cheese and portobello mushroom burger looked amazing but was difficult and messy to eat and on a very small plate so no room to get into it.  The chips never arrived, which we only spotted at the end. 8.5/10   cost £12.25

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A lady came to take our dessert order and we mentioned about the lack of chips she apologised and offered a free pudding. I asked for information about the treacle tart which I had been really looking forward too. But after talking to the chef I was told it was made from gluten free bread that contained yeast. I was really disappointed but chose the chocolate brownie. My meal was turning in to the classic meal I have every where in all regular restaurants.

The family chose the treacle tart which scored a 6.5/10 as the pastry was too thick and the filling dry. They were underwhelmed   cost £5.75

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St Clements cheese cake scored a 8/10   cost £6.25

and my brownie was delicious and very moist 9/10 ( but not a very original pudding for a gluten free restaurant ) My warm brownie arrived with ice cream but I had ordered cream they once again apologised . cost £4.75

 

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Over all it is a pleasant restaurant for those who are gluten intolerant or have Coeliac disease as there is Zero risk of cross contamination but I think they are missing a trick by not finding out more about those with intolerances and designing a menu taking this into consideration. Niche is a reasonably priced restaurant well worth a visit.

I’m not sure about the reasoning behind the venture and whether anyone in the team is coeliac or gluten intolerant but It almost seems that Niche is jumping on the gluten free band wagon?  I may be entirely wrong but I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to anyone in charge. Maybe next time I will have the opportunity to ask.

 

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We had a lovely evening out together and would visit the restaurant again if we were in the area. I’m not sure we would make a special journey just to eat there though.

I look forward to hearing your reviews, especially if you have no added intolerances. I’m sure you will have a great time.

website –

Niche restaurant

Twitter –

@nichefoods

Menu here

closed Mondays

Eating healthily at Latitude festival

Freshly back from a long weekend a Latitude Festival near Southwold Suffolk and unlike most festival goers  I’m feeling healthy and am not nursing a hangover! Latitude is the most laid back family friendly music and arts festival. A weekend spent chilling in the woods to bands and an array of different musicians, sunbathing at the Obelisk arena or dancing to the latest bands at the 6 music big top, listening to poetry and crying with laughter in the comedy tent plus much much more.

 

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With numerous food intolerances, festivals aren’t the easiest of venues for me. But I think its worth the effort to plan ahead and go and have a relaxing and worry free time. We normally stay at the venue either hiring a family size camper or squeezing into a VW camper van but this year due to a last minute hitch we stayed quite close by in Ipswich with friends who kindly came to our aid.

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Having Coeliac disease and Crohns disease with numerous food intolerances including onion and garlic means I have to organise my weekend with military precision. The week before the event I start baking a freezing. This year grain free fruit and cherry bread,  gluten free cheese scones, and a grain free bacon and vegetable quiche with extra cheese. I also get an order delivered from Ocado with things I can’t buy locally.

 

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This year I took two large cool bags full of ice packs one containing eggs, salad, tomatoes, spinach, fruit and the freshly made quiche. The other containing the frozen fruity bread and frozen cheese scones, unsweetend almond milk, bacon, butter and gluten free cold meats, this year it was corned beef and ham from Waitrose.

Each day I would take a small cool bag with mini ice packs that fits inside my ruck sack and a container for almond milk. If you are staying on site with a fridge with freezer compartment you can refreeze these every night. This year I was able to use our friends freezer and fridge. They kindly cleared a shelf for my food.

I can honestly say during our 3 days at the festival I was never hungry. I was however often envious and a little sad to not be able to partake in some of the delicious festival food on site, Im only human! Due to my IBD and wanting to avoid sugar, I am careful not to over do it with alcohol so over the entire weekend I had a couple of gin and tonics. If I could have found the Pimms i’m sure I would have given in to a glass.

Some good news if you are gluten intolerant, or prefer not to eat gluten is that there are plenty of stalls advertising gluten free. From amazing beef brisket and rice to paella with chicken and seafood and chicken provencale. These choices seemed free from any gluten on the stall so probably fine for Coeliacs.

I even spotted gluten free pizza ( baked onsite with gluten containing pizza ) , chips with toppings and indian cuisine. Unfortunately all these had contamination risk and with all the above contained food stuffs that I am intolerant too.

One example of having to stay vigilant is that one afternoon I went an ordered a tea from a waffle stand ( very few stalls were solely tea and coffee stands. The guy serving me was covered in flour, up his hand and arms and all over his apron. I watched as he put his gluten floury hand inside my cup and picked up a tea bag. This was one of those occasions when you just have to be bold! I explained politely that I was a coeliac and that I was intolerant to gluten, I might of even used ‘Allergic’ I cant remember , just to get my point across and asked if it was possible for someone else to serve me. They were really understanding and quickly someone else took over with a new clean cup. It caused a little conversation with my fellow customers but that is always a good way of raising awareness.

Every day I took in a slice of quiche with a green salad, a cheese scone, individual wrapped cheese cubes, fruit and the homemade fruity bread and a treat nak’d bar or gluten free biscuit. Along with the almond milk for tea and plenty of water I was well away.

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It is worth mentioning drinks at festivals. Reuseable cups are used and beer and larger is the drink of choice for most. Gluten is obviously an issue here both in the drink and in a poorly washed up cup.

There was gin and tonic on offer cider and pimms , I was able to have a couple of cheeky G & T’s . The spirits were served in a smaller reusable festival cup. Water taps are available for refilling your bottles.

The variety of music, comedy, theatre etc is incredible and you can never get around everything. My highlights were Chilli Gonzalez and the kaiser quartet , Badly Drawn Boy, Soak, Songhoy blues, Naomi Shelton and the gospel queens ,Years and Years, Catfish and the bottlemen, José Gonzalez and Lianne La Havas. I Missed out on seeing Leon Bridges as he clashed with other bands and we couldn’t get in to Stornoway’s set but listened outside.

 

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Comedy standouts were Alan Davies, Jason Manford and Shappi Khorsandi

Gareth Malone brought together festival goers to create a choir that sang on the sunday lunch time spot at the Obelisk ( main open arena )

Thanks to @dansmythphoto Withay.co.uk  for some great music recommendations

Sunday saw a visit from Hemsley and Hemsley to the Literature tent. I was fortunate to arrive early and picked a great spot up the front. Jasmine and Melissa talked about their food philosophy and their book and I was in total agreement with what they said. Lots of up to date information on good fat, the importance of bone broth and avoiding processed food, food high in sugar and avoiding grains etc. Generally enthusing the audience and inspiring us all to take a good look at what we were eating. Also how we could make favourite meals more healthy. It was good to hear Jasmine and Melissa talk about digestion and chewing and the ladies even talked about learning more about ‘what is a healthy poo’. and getting your digestion on track.

 

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I can recommend the book they have written together with 150 recipes. I have made many of the recipes over the last few months already but feel even more inspired to continue making more. click here for website and book details Hemsley Hemsley

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You can catch Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley again this year at The Big Feastival  where they will be talking and demonstrating, along with Deliciously Ella and others passionate about healthy eating.

Maybe you will consider a Festival next year or go along to The Big Feastival especially the Healthy Living Zone 28th – 30th August 

Hoping to be at The Big Feastival myself, maybe see you there!

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My review of The art of eating well by Hemsley Hemsley < click here

Surviving gluten free at Le Mans 24hr race

This was to be our first visit to the Le Mans 24hr race but we have been away to other motor racing events like grand prix’s and my experience has been that there has been little or no options for those on a gluten free diet. We were due to be away for 5 days so I knew I had to be very organised about my food.

 

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We had hired a caravan for the trip which had a fridge. This made food choices much easier as you can pack fresh veggies and meat, cheese etc. I decided my best option was to make a selection of gluten free and grain free bakes which I would freeze and take for the trip. I made a grain free fruit and chocolate loaf

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and some yummy gluten free cheese scones.

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No trip would be complete without a homemade cake, I chose a grain free Mocha cake which I made the day before we left and stored in an airtight plastic box.

 

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I decided that as well as fresh food I would prepare for any eventuality and take tinned food, just in case! I bought tinned tuna, sweetcorn, peas and carrots, new potatoes, spam, corned beef, tinned tomatoes and soup. For a treat I took chocolate and hazelnut grain free granola, I ran out of time to make homemade granola.

 

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I filled the fridge with gluten free cold meats, cheese, butter, bacon, gnocchi, regular milk and almond milk. There was limited space in the small caravan fridge so I took two cool bags with plenty of cold packs full of fresh fruit and veggies, eggs and the frozen bakes.

Bottled water is always expensive at these venues so I went prepared with lots of small bottles of still and sparkling water.

All prepared and packed we set off on our first caravan trip.

Our trip was full of adventures I could tell you some stories! Suffice to say we have learnt lots of lessons for our next towing experience.

We had a few issues with our van fridge too and next time I would check the temperature more often on our journey to Le Mans and use some cool packs inside the fridge to help keep the temperature cool enough ( our electric connection to the caravan was faulty due to a mistake on our part )

Our camp site was on the Porsche curves 2 mins from the track. We booked with Village on the curves with Lycian Events I can recommend, well worth spending a little more for secure site with 24hr security and good quality loos and showers, even a ladies pamper tent with power and hairdryers etc. Power for recharging phones too.

 

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We arrived on thursday evening in time to watch some racing just moments from our van. After a night of  horrendous thunder storms we woke to damp cloudy day.

 

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Friday was no racing so we took the free site mini bus into the main arena and dived into the Le Mans museum during a heavy shower. I had packed a picnic and snacks for the day in a back pack with a cold pack and I was so relieved I had as there was absolutely nothing for me to eat. On offer was gluten filled baguettes and sausage, burgers or pulled pork in a bun and fries.

I tucked into a homemade cheese scone or two, salad, crisps and cubes of cheese. I really didn’t feel as if I was missing out.

 

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For treats during the day I took along paleo bars, bananas, apples and some kit kat style chocolate bars. The Mocha cake I saved for down time in the caravan as it doesn’t transport well in a back pack.

A wander through the pits and garages followed, always my favourite bit.

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The weather was damp but this hadn’t put the racing fans off. Twice the number of people who attend Glastonbury attend Le Mans although it never felt overly crowded.

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Saturday was bright and sunny and we started the day as we did every day with a big cooked breakfast. Cheese and spinach omelette was my favourite. I also had a slice of fruit and chocolate bread every morning knowing this big breakfast would keep me going all day.

 

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It was good to be able to have a Pimm’s on site watching the races, champagne was also on offer!

We stood on the bank of the Porsche curves to watch the start of the 24hr race. Such a good vantage point and no travelling.

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We watched the race from different parts of the track and sheltered from the sun for a while in the site marquee watching on the big TV’s provided. I took along a small container of almond milk so that I could order a tea from the on site caterers.

 

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We took deck chairs and warm tops up to the bank to watch the night racing, a brilliant experience.

Evening meals went well in the caravan

steak with veggies

steak with veggies

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some emergency tins had to be used

tinned corned beef with fresh potatoes and asparagus

tinned corned beef with fresh potatoes and asparagus

 

tinned tuna and sweetcorn with rice

tinned tuna and sweetcorn with rice

Sunday we were up at dawn to watch the racing ( we could obviously hear it all night ) Still managed to get some sleep.

Later we took the onsite mini bus to near the Dunlop bridge to watch more of the race. We made our way to the finish line for the final few minutes where we watched Porsche’s win and award ceremony.

 

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During the trip I never felt hungry or worried about what I could eat. Going prepared was the best way to have an enjoyable time. It takes a little more organisation but well worth it to save anxiety.

I had a chat with the manager of the onsite catering who said they could cater for me another year If I emailed a few months ahead of the race. I had a quick look through at the make shift kitchens and feel that the cross contamination issue would worry me too much. My husband and our friends enjoyed all the food they had on site and well worth it if you don’t have food intolerances, allergies or Coeliac disease.

 

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We loved our experience at Le Mans 24hr race and I’m sure we will be back next year.

 

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Go on!  why not have a gluten free adventure too

Gluten free at Big Church Day Out

On a sunny Saturday in May my sister and I packed up the car and took a drive down to Wiston house, a beautiful stately home in West Sussex for Big Church Day Out.

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Big Church Day Out is a gathering of Christians from around the UK and Europe. Now in its 7th year BCDO has coined the phrase ‘A celebration of all that is good’

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This was my first visit to BCDO and I would describe it as a music festival with Christian music from ever genre. An opportunity to hear the very best christian rock, folk, jazz , pop, classical, dance, soul, gospel reggae, singer song writers and worship bands from across the world. A number of big names from The States playing a big part in the weekend. click here for acts > BCDO ARTISTS

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The festival is very much a family day with a fab marque area for Big Church Kids,and a soft play tent for the under 7’s. A Big Church fete on the stunning front lawn of Wiston house offered village fete fun.

 

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The avenue was the place to find delicious food. I was very pleased to see gluten free, vegetarian and vegan clearly marked in the programme. These stalls were listed as offering gluten free options- Tasty Thai, Jumping bean burrito, Woodburn Racletterie , Goodness gracious, Healthy foods and Goan fish curry. There was also gluten free biscuits available in the tea tent. Next year I would really like to see a 100% gluten free food stall including some dairy free options.

 

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I choose to pack a gluten free picnic for BCDO there was plenty of places to sit and enjoy your own food.

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Make sure to take a big blanket to sit and listen to the varied music acts. With a choice of the Main stage, Illuminate stage and on ( what looked like ) the croquet lawn by the Tear fund tea tent  surrounded by the beautiful gardens of Wiston house.

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There was plenty of places to find something to drink, coffee stalls and the tea tent along with a Pimm’s tent and an Ale tent. At the Tear fund Tea tent there was soya milk as a dairy alternative. I would love to see almond milk available next year. Plenty of water and juices available too.

 

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I packed boiled eggs, sliced peppers, tomatoes and celery. homemade gluten free cheese scones and cold meats along with some gluten free crisps from Seabrooks and a large bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate. The day was sunny and warm and a picnic was the perfect choice for my sister and I.

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The highlights for me on Saturday were Martin Smith both his set at the Tear fund tent and on the main stage , The Abrams brothers and NeedtoBreathe.

 

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I returned on Sunday and my highlights were Switchfoot and Rend Collective.

 

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The site is not flat so be prepared for some walking. One particularly large hill leads up to the fete and the tea tent and church. Well worth the hike!

I must mention my fellow festival ‘Big Day Out’ goers, the friendliest happiest crowd I have ever had the pleasure of spending a weekend with. So much so, that on Sunday I went back the the festival on my own, not something I would do at any other festival. But I never felt alone, we danced and sang together and worshiped our Amazing God and it was fantastic!

 

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Big thanks to Tim Jupp and team for a wonderful weekend

I will certainly be back next year!

 

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Follow Big Church Day Out Twitter here > @bigchurchdayout

Website here >  bigchurchdayout.com

 

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Facebook > Big Church Day Out

 

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My top tip –  buy your tickets Early for the best price tickets. I paid £40 for an Adult weekend ticket. Super Early bird price was £36 for the entire weekend!

Watch  BCDO video 

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Gluten free at Eric’s Fish and Chips on the North Norfolk coast

Last weekend we were up on the Norfolk coast and as always the sun was shining. This gave us the perfect excuse to go and try out a newly opened Fish and Chip restaurant and take away in Thornham next to the lovely Drove Orchards.

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The restaurant is set next to the Drove orchards farm shop and fields of strawberry plants ready for the pick your own season and wild flowers, a gorgeous setting.

 

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The restaurant and take away is a new venture from Head Chef Eric Snaith of Titchwell Manor just along the coast road at the pretty village of Titchwell . Eric had the idea to open a Fish and Chip restaurant, something that he felt was very much lacking from the North Norfolk coast and one that would  be a contrast from the fine dining and informal dining of the Hotel.

We decided to pop along for a very late lunch and received a very warm welcome from Manager Kayleigh Roe.  The restaurant itself has a contemporary retro feel with coloured tiles, retro light fittings and bright yellow tables.

 

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The restaurant felt very clean and bright and had a very cool feel with great music adding to the atmosphere.

 

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After studying the menu on a large retro style pin board I decided on the gluten free haddock and chips and my husband choose Cod and chips with mushy peas. I was very careful to explain that I had Coeliac disease and would require gluten free. Kayleigh was most helpful and reasurring and offered me either to have it cooked in beef dripping or rapeseed oil. She double checked with the Chef and the beef dripping was free from cross contamination so I choose that. I think if I have any comment is that I would prefer to see a dedicated fryer that was only ever used for gluten free products or chips. This would just help to avoid any cross contamination. This of course may already be the case. The gluten free batter is also yeast free.

 

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The delicious fish and chips arrived to our table very promptly. My batter was much lighter in colour than my husbands gluten version ( I think mine looked the best ! )

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I have to say the mushy peas looked delicious and I wish I had ordered a portion too. I’m sure the majority of people, take eating fish and chips out very much for granted but when you are intolerant to gluten it is a very different experience. Fortunately more and more Chippy’s are getting on board and offering a safe gluten free version for Coeliacs and those who are gluten intolerant.

 

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Back to the amazing crispy light battered haddock! It was perfect, not overly greasy and in a beautifully crisp light batter with moist fresh haddock inside. The chips were also very good and plenty of them, I couldn’t finish all of mine. My husband enjoyed his cod, chips and mushy peas too and was even more thrilled that we had found another restaurant where I could eat at safely.

Fish and Chips costs £9.50 to eat in.

haddock & chips is £5.50 and cod and chips is £6.50 to takeaway

Both my sons and other halves have recently eaten at Eric’s Fish and chips and both ranked the meal very highly.

 

Eric's Fish & Chips takeaway menu

Eric’s Fish & Chips takeaway menu

It appears that I am not the only person that has enjoyed the gluten free Fish and Chips at Eric’s , here are just a couple of comments from the reviews online

“It was totes delicious, loved the gluten free batter”

“great gluten free fish and chips!!! will be back soon!”

 

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I am thrilled to have this new restaurant so close to our home and cannot wait to visit again very soon.

Follow

@EricsFandC – Twitter

EricsFishandChips – Facebook

ericsfishandchips.com

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find out more about  Drove orchard < here

One year on, living with Crohns disease

A year ago I was preparing for my evening procedures at Ashtead hospital . Finally I had a Gastro specialist who had sent me for a endoscopy and a colonoscopy after over 30 years of various symptoms including bloating, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, tiredness, brain fog, sickness, extreme stomach pain. Until now I had never been taken seriously by any doctor ( and I had seen plenty over the years ) About 6 years ago I started to suspect I had a wheat intolerance, after reading more it appeared I could have Coeliac disease I was extremely intolerant to gluten even the tiniest crumb which could set my symptoms off and I could continue to be unwell for days and weeks after a glutening episode. My Gastro specialist agreed that it sounded like I had classic Coeliac history and arranged for me to have the tests as a blood test could now not be used due to the lack of gluten in my diet for so long.

The preparation itself was not a nice experience but I was eager to finally get a diagnoses. All went well and I was home by late evening. I was told that Crohns disease was suspected but a follow up visit to Gatwick hospital was needed for an MRI scan. I used the weeks that followed to read everything I could on healing a leaky gut and inflamed bowels. I started by cutting all grains from my diet and removing cows milk. This wasn’t always possible but I made every effort to keep to this diet.

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I looked at FODMAP and Specific carbohydrate diet and saw from fellow bloggers how their health had improved by following these.

I have now been following as much as possible the Specific carbohydrate diet particularly focusing on no grains, no cows milk and very low sugar , no refined sugar. I am thrilled to say that I have had a dramatic improvement in my health especially the lack of bloating and my only problems have come if I have eaten out and been glutened. Even these symptoms are far less than they used to be. My stomach has never been so flat . The only area where there has been little or no improvement is with anaemia. I still suffer badly and have to take very strong iron tablets from time to time. I imagine this is because it takes many years for our bodies to heal after so many years of eating the wrong food causing a leaky gut. Due to my autoimmune diseases and leaky gut I am also intolerant to yeast, onion, garlic and more recently I haven’t been able to tolerate paprika.

I was finally sent for an MRI scan and this confirmed Crohns disease an autoimmune disease. I have had no final confirmation on whether I have Coeliac disease as my endoscopy didn’t show up any damage. After eating gluten free for many years now I was thrilled that I had no noticeable damage hopefully due to my new diet . But because of the violent symptoms I display after having gluten/ cross contamination with gluten, I won’t be adding it back to my diet anytime soon.

I have had to take this SCD in stages as its really tough. I am now trying to remove white potatoes and sweet potato from my diet, not easy ! Rice was also incredibly difficult to live without. I am not a huge fan of cauliflower which is the go to alternative. I’m just taking it a week at a time. I am so thankful for ground almonds  and coconut flour and for unsweetend almond milk. I have also stopped drinking any alcohol except the very odd special occasion. It all sounds like a very depressing way to live but when the only other option is medication, to me its a no brainer. I hate taking anything even paracetomol, Every time I visit my Gastro specialist he offers me medication. Which seems strange to me as I have no symptoms! He is definitely struggling to believe that my diet is helping me but I am determined to show him that for someone like me with low level symptoms of Crohns disease It is possible to control and possibly heal myself using healthy fresh food. Our home is completely gluten free and since we made this change I have not been ill eating at home. Even the Dog eats grain free, and she has never looked healthier!

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I have also found that eating high healthy fat ( coconut oil, avocado,  butter, cheese, etc ) and low carbohydrates keeps me feeling full for longer. Breakfast every day always consists of 2 free range eggs with either bacon , salmon or I make a veggie omelette using spinach etc. Grain free pancakes make a nice alternative too, or just nuts granola.

Lunch tends to be homemade soup, salads with cheese, ham, chicken etc or a grain free wrap with delicious fillings, and a piece of whole fruit.

Evening meal is good quality local meat or fish/seafood  with lots of different veggies and I tend to now use butternut squash instead of potato.

I have the odd cube of very dark gluten free chocolate or some cubes of cheese, fruit or nuts to snack on.

I tend to drink still or sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea with unsweetend almond milk or camomile tea.

If you are interested in helping your symptoms check out @anaussiewithcrohns and @deliciouslyella both have used a healthy diet to improve their health.

My hope is that one day in the future I may be able to reintroduce some foods back into my diet , I am being realistic and know after over 30 years of symptoms this probably won’t be any time soon.

My family have been my biggest supporters. Living gluten free at home and eating out only at places where Mum can eat safely is a big ask. I am very fortunate that my family are grown up as I can see how difficult this could be with young children. My faith has also kept me strong and knowing that I am not dealing with this disease alone is a great comfort to me.

 

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This is still very much a learning journey. Baking is now far more challenging, every time I successfully make a grain free alternative to a favourite bake I am thrilled. I hope to continue to share these recipes with you. More recipe books are appearing on the shelves of book shops with grain free, low sugar recipes and I will continue to seek out the best to share with you.

Fellow tweeter @gfcuppatea recently said to me ” nothing tastes as good as Good Health”  and this is so very true I’m going to try and remember this when I’m craving something yummy I know will affect my health adversely.

If you are travelling on the same autoimmune disease journey as me  I would love to hear from you. Have you improved your health by changing your diet?

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My first visit to Honest Burger , Soho

The majority of people can eat out without any worries, but when you have a multitude of food intolerances and Coeliac disease, eating out is quite a different thing!

We were treating ourselves to a matinee in London which meant being in London for lunch. Twitter is a great source of information on free from and gluten free friendly restaurants and I had lots of good ideas. Hummus Bros being one of them, this will definitely be the next place to try as they can accommodate gluten free and other intolerances and dietary requirements.

 

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Matilda the musical  10/10 

 

Honest Burger has been on my list of must tries for a while and after tweeting Tom@honestburgers and checking about whether onion or garlic were used in the burgers, I was happy to give it a go. Being intolerant to onion and garlic is hugely annoying as it is hidden in most meals.

 

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As we were in Seven dials we chose to go to Honest Burger in Soho 4a Meard street. A little restaurant in a quiet street with outside seating for the hardy.

The waitress was very welcoming and found us a table for two, we were quickly given our drinks and had time to check over the menu and black board.

 

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I gave the waitress my card explaining all my food intolerances and highlighted the gluten intolerance. This card has become invaluable and also has my blog and twitter details on it.

The Waitress was most helpful and I chose a plain burger with cheddar cheese on salad instead of a bun. Gluten free burgers are available at a £1 extra charge sadly I am yeast intolerant and avoiding all grains so I gave this a miss. My husband chose a honest burger with the delicious looking brioche style bun ( not jealous at all ) both came with an order of rosemary chips.

The great thing about a small restaurant with a limited but amazing menu is that the food arrives very quickly. Served in white enamel plates, a cool touch I thought. The burger is served medium unless you request otherwise and My burger sat on a bed of shredded lettuce and a good size piece of cheddar cheese melted on top topped off with a good size portion of rosemary chips which are also gluten free. When my meal arrived the waitress said “now this is one we’ve been super careful with!” Its very reassuring when staff take you seriously about intolerances both ladies that served us were very keen to make my visit a relaxed one. A lovely touch

 

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Now, the burger! its probably no surprise to discover that it tasted incredible, no exaggeration . Good quality beef cooked well and not messed with, perfect! A good amount of salad and very delicious chips. Tough as it was, I only ate a few as I am trying to avoid white potatoes. They were some of the best I’ve tasted, crispy small and with a lovely flavour.

My husband loved his burger and bun as was thrilled that Honest burger could now be added to our small ‘can eat‘ list of restaurants . Honest burger is already a big favourite with my grown up boys now we will be able to eat there together.

Our meal came to approximately £23  including water and a Honest pale ale

Thrilled to have a new safe restaurant to eat at, thank you Honest Burgers!

Restaurant locations –

Brixton

Soho

Camden

Portobello

Kings Cross

Oxford circus

Tooting

Liverpool street

Clapham

Follow on Twitter here > Tom  @honestburgers

I have returned to Honest Burger many times since writing this post and always had a delicious safe meal.