The number of people choosing to steer clear of gluten has soared recently, which has meant vast improvements in catering towards those with a gluten allergy (Coeliac disease). But here are some things you might've experienced in the past if you're allergic to gluten...
1. Eating out could be a chore
You couldn’t just have your pick of any restaurant that took your fancy – you’d often have to do your research first, scanning the menu and even phoning ahead to make sure they could cater for your needs.
2. Italian restaurants were a no-go
These were almost out of the question if you were allergic to gluten, unless you were happy with a salad or a plain steak. Even so, you had to be careful that your food hadn’t come into contact with all the flour flying round in the kitchen. However, there have been huge improvements in recent years – you can now get gluten-free pasta and pizza bases at many Italians!
3. Going abroad could be risky
You need to learn the word for ‘gluten’ in the local language when you go abroad, but even then not everyone will be aware of it. There’s always that time when the waiter nods enthusiastically when you ask if it’s gluten-free, only to suffer the consequences a few hours later…
4. Some people think you’re a fussy eater
Particularly with so many people now avoiding gluten for a range of other reasons, people might not understand the difference between avoiding wheat as part of a fad diet, and having a severe allergic reaction if you come into contact with the stuff.
5. A Sunday roast isn’t the same
You can make gluten-free Yorkshire puddings, gravy and stuffing, but it’s just not as nice as the real thing. And your friends/family may not appreciate having to substitute the good stuff for your flat Yorkshires. The same goes for Christmas dinner!
6. You probably won’t eat sandwiches
Although you can get lots of nice food in the free-from range, bread generally isn’t one of them. Even with recent improvements in the bread available, you’ll probably be so used to steering clear of the stuff that sarnies definitely won’t be a staple part of your diet!
7. Sometimes you’ll get it wrong…
And if that happens, you’ll know about it! You don’t need to know the details… There are also long-term risks that come with continuing to eat gluten, so you have to be really careful.
8. You might be a better cook
Because you’ll have to learn a whole range of gluten-free recipes, chances are you’ll end up doing more cooking just to avoid the hassle of eating out. So you can perfect that Yorkshire pudding after all!
9. It’s a lot easier now than it was 10 years ago…
Although some eateries have been slow to catch up, it seems that with the relatively recent influx of health consciousness, the options for those who have to stick to a gluten-free diet have improved massively. Foods are now labelled better, both in the UK and in many places abroad, and the big supermarkets have a great range of products that you wouldn’t have been able to eat a few years back!