James Miller - Coeliac Diary


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marmite Rice Cakes and Unilever


I bought some of the new Marmite Rice Cakes in Waitrose on Monday, because I felt they might be gluten-free. I phoned the number on the packet and they assured me that they were, so I ate them and no ill effects. They were quite nice and made a change, but I’m not the greatest fan of rice cakes, as I know they taste of polystyrene.

The guy on the phone was really helpful and said that Unilever could send me their product list with whether things were GF or not. It arrived this morning and was a good document, in that it warned against changes in product composition and gave links to such as Coeliac-UK.

So it seems that Unilever are getting or may have got their act together on gluten. It was interesting that they play safe and say that oats are non-GF.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Holne Chase Hotel


I spent a nice two nights at this hotel.

Food was excellent and they understood gluten-free. In one case, where I forgot to say I didn’t want toast with scrambled egg and smoked salmon, they actually cooked me another, despite it being my fault.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bad Back Britain


Going to a physiotherapist directly may be a good idea, but I’d like to add a word of caution.

Until I was fifty-three I suffered from all sorts of joint and back pain. Nothing serious, but annoying. I was then diagnosed as a coeliac and all of those pains disappeared in a couple of weeks after going on a strict gluten-free diet. Seven years on I’m fit and well with no pain.

Statistics show that one in a hundred of those in the UK are coeliacs. So is that back pain caused by the injury or diet?


Monday, October 20, 2008

Eggs Florentine


I've always liked this and thought it was terribly complicated.

Eggs Florentine
But then I found this BBC recipe.

It was delicious and gluten-free too!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eating Gluten-Free in Minsk


I did not want to be adventurous with my eating in Belarus.

As a coeliac, there is nothing worse than having to travel on a plane or drive down the motorway, with your guts telling you in no uncertain way that they are unhappy with the gluten. Your best course of action when this happens, is to sit near a toilet. Or sometimes permanently on it!

I had prepared by bringing a good box of supplies with me.

Gluten-Free Supplies
The box contained Trufree crackers, Fruit Break bars and Oskri Sesame Bars. If the worst had came to the worst then I could have existed on them, plus a few bananas, other fruit and a salad or two.

The Belarus Hotel has a Panorama restaurant on the twenty-second floor with expansive views of the city.

Nighttime View from the Panorama Restaurant, Minsk
I'm afraid that the picture doesn't do the view justice!

I thought I'd be careful and only have a main course with a glass of wine. At least the menu had an English translation and there seemed to be a lot of choice.

I'd also brought one of CeliacTravel's excellent menu cards in Russian, so I gave it to the waiter and asked if a pork something was OK. He took the card and checked with the kitchen.

I was getting a bit apprehensive, but when the meal arrived, I had no worries. The pork had obviously been cooked without any source and it came with some onions, peppers and tomatoes. They did bring a cup of tomato sauce to go with it, but I decided that as I was ahead I'd stay there.

I had no reaction to the meal at all. The card had done its trick.

The two breakfasts that I ate in the hotel were fine too. But then with a buffet, you can usually be fairly careful about what you eat. I stuck to fruit, cold meats and vegetables.

So would I be more adventurous if I went to Belarus again? Probably, especially if I went with someone, who understood their cooking better than I do!

As a postscript here, much of the cooking in Belarus is based on potatoes. They even make pancakes that way. So if you're careful, it isn't one of the most difficult places to eat gluten-free.

But you'll have to take your own biscuits or bread!

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