What can I eat?

It wasn’t always like this.  Before the age of 18 I could eat what I wanted, and kinda did (apart from being vegetarian and a bit fussy).  However, on my return from my gap yah in Thailand, I discovered that I had contracted a disease called giardiasis, a tropical bug that ate my stomach lining (in short). I went through months of everything I ate making me ill, and constantly feeling sick and bloated.  Finally, I saw a doctor at the London School of Tropical Diseases and he suggested that cutting lactose and gluten out of my diet would help.  To start with, this was really hard: I had no idea what had gluten and/or lactose in and the more I looked at ingredients, the more I discovered that they were in pretty much EVERYTHING. Anything ready-made seemed to have it in, although I was really lucky that I had just moved to Brighton for University, which is a place that loves a restricted diet: every other restaurant is vegan or raw or something special.  There are some great healthy food shops around too, so I could easily get soya milk and other bits and pieces.

It’s taken a good couple of years, but I think I have now cracked my diet.  Even though the doctor said that I could go back to slowly introducing gluten and lactose into my diet, I am too scared, and no longer really bothered by it: I am quite happy the way I am now (most of the time).  Even though sometimes it can be a bit restrictive going out, day-to-day I rarely notice that I am different from anyone else.

The biggest difference that I have noticed recently is when I stopped being vegetarian. Spring last year I just started eating meat again: I’m not sure why but I am so pleased I did.  I actually really enjoy eating meat, and feel more energetic and that I recover quicker from exercise. 

There’s a massive trend going on at the moment for people to cut gluten/diary/sugar out of their diets by choice, and this is fine – if you think this’ll benefit you, that’s cool and go for it.  However, spare a thought for those of us that really suffer when we eat these things.  If I go out for a coffee, and the barista accidently puts the wrong milk in, I know about it for a long time afterwards: it’s not fun. We could all do with cleaning up our diets, and cutting out gluten and diary seems to be a good place to start, but don’t forget not everyone has a choice in the matter, before you start getting really fussy…

If any one is thinking about cutting out gluten/diary then just gimme a shout: having been at it for nearly 5 years now, I might be able to help with meal ideas.  The best book that I’ve found is by a lady called Pippa Kendrick, called “The Intolerant Gourmet”.  It’s fantastic, truly brilliant.  Full of cakes.



2 thoughts on “What can I eat?

  1. My mum is coeliac and we had real issues in the states, because so many people cut out gluten as a lifestyle choice whereas she, like you, is seriously made ill by it. She was ill one night because staff clearly hadnt taken her allergy seriously!

    1. It’s horrible when people just assume you’re being ‘faddy’. I laugh it off, but it’s rubbish.
      However, the great thing about more people choosing to go GF is that there are a bazillion more things to eat in the ‘free from’ aisle!

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