I’ve been dairy free for three years, and gluten free for a year now. When the news broke that I’d be coeliac + dairy free, the adjustment period was admittedly pretty tough, however a year on and it’s not even half as bad as I thought- so I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt…
I always say that cross contamination is my enemy and I’m really not joking. There’s little more annoying than when you’re being completely careful and not eating the pizza and not having the chocolate bar and you’re still ill for some unknown reason. This never happens at home anymore because I’m really careful- but restaurants are a completely different story! I know nowhere can 100% guarantee dishes without traces of allergens with no disclaimer but I remain convinced they could do more if they tried. There’s been multiple times this year that a restaurant has messed up- one put mascarpone cheese in my coconut sorbet desert and one just ‘forgot’ to tell the chef the avo on toast was on gluten free bread not ‘normal’ bread. It’s incredibly frustrating when people make you ill and don’t seem to understand that you will remain ill for days afterwards because of a small mistake they’ve made.
I’m happy to say that I know the repercussions with how I feel for the next week will depend on if I eat the food or not, and so I’ve never caved and eaten anything I shouldn’t, although admittedly it’s crossed my mind to do so more than once. I think on these days it’s important to remember that before you went through all the tests that yes, you could eat whatever you wanted- but no, you didn’t feel better than you do now.
The next time I visited the states I went on blogs, websites and social media, producing a Google map full of places to visit with descriptions of whether they were breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack place. This took some time, but when we were walking down a random street and I got a hunger pang because I hadn’t eaten in 5 minutes, it really came in handy! It also meant I got to try lots of new places I wouldn’t have known about previously- when I next take a trip, I’m definitely going to be doing this again!