The Gluten Free Challenge: Day 4
First of all I would like to say thank you for the fantastic comments and words of support on both the blog and twitter. I am so proud of our team; today the boys had a photo shoot at Kellie Castle with CoeliacUK, I’ve attached a picture of Sean showing off his CoeliacUK sticker. One chef from the Sands Grill team , Graham, took an interest in the in the Gluten Free Challenge and decided to join us on day two, really pleased you’ve joined us kid!
I am actually really enjoying this week, I have definitely noticed a difference on my physical health I certainly hadn’t expected to feel the effects so quickly. Since we last spoke on Tuesday I have noticed that I have much more energy and feel less bloated; and I’m eating a lot more seafood dishes which I love. Enough from me, I’ll let the boys give you an update on the last two days.
The week has gone well so far however I am missing my usual treats such as biscuits and a beer after work. I have found a range of Gluten Free products but they have a different taste and texture to what I am used to so I find that they don’t satisfy me. I have enlisted the help of our pastry chef to come up with some new products, we have been experimenting with different ingredients to enhance the flavour and texture of the gluten free cakes. It has actually been a fun process I really enjoy the challenge of trying new ingredients and measurements.
Yesterday I made a batch of carbonara with Gluten Free pasta for all the boys on the challenge. Some of my friends have taken an interests but I don’t think they are brave enough to actually commit to a gluten free diet.
I have found snacking difficult, I would usually grab some pasta or a sandwich but this is no longer an option. I have managed to mix up my meals trying different dishes, I can see that it would be easy to get stuck in a rut eating GF toast for breakfast, a baked potato for lunch and gluten free pasta for dinner every single day. I have realised that I have really taken the flavours and textures of food for granted, the gluten free products are just not the same.
I stopped into Greggs on my break yesterday to ask them about their gluten free range, the did have a selection of products however I was a little disappointed by the lack of choice as Greggs are a large bakers in the UK I would have expected them to offer a wider selection to choose from.
I have tried to make different dishes at home however I am finding it difficult to source good alternative ingredients. I have really had to rely on the supermarket staff for information, most can point me in the right direction to the Gluten Free aisle however they cannot provide any further information. The staff at my local farm shop were able to give me all the information I needed on their home made chutney and sauces even some were not gluten free the staff were, at least, able to warn me.
I went into Subway to ask about Gluten Free products, unfortunately the manager was not in the shop at the time and no one else was able to provide any information. I can only assume that they do not stock any gluten free breads, this was very disappointing.
Sean and I are attempting to make our own pizza bases, we have made two attempts so far but they are still not living up to our expectations. There is a lot of information out there that does suggest alternative ingredients but I still don’t feel entirely happy with them; for example we have tried different flour alternatives for our pizza base but they have never quite given the right consistency or texture. Simon told us about La Favourita pizzas in Edinburgh, I wonder if they deliver to St Andrews?
When I realised that my colleagues in the Road Hole Restaurant were taking on the Gluten Free Challenge I thought, I’ll give it a go…why not?! So far I think it is going well, I have been really careful to check everything I eat. I do miss the morning roll I pick up every day on my way to work; my usual bakery does not stock gluten free products. I do appreciate that smaller bakeries will struggle to find the time and resources to experiment with a new gluten free product range. My visits to the supermarket now take much longer than they used to, I have found myself checking everything that goes into my trolley. My local supermarket does have a designated aisle for gluten free items and they are clearly marked however some of the smaller brands and ingredients are a little more difficult to read. I have had to stop buying food from our local foreign supermarket as I just cannot read the ingredient list, I imagine that it must be really difficult when you are away on holiday.
Posted: May 19th, 2011 under Coeliac UK Awareness Week.