We all know someone who can't eat something. Whether it's that the food 'doesn't agree with them', 'can't stomach it' or 'gives them a headache'; the majority of people know their body. What do we do when someone shares this with us? Do we tell them there is no such thing and ask if they've been tested for an allergy at the doctors?
Whether you're new to being gluten-free or you've been avoiding gluten for years, I'm sure there are times when you feel unsure whether something is safe to eat. I do it too. There are some things I've been doing for a while to make being gluten-free easier though, and it's really helped. I haven't been glutened for months! I'm guessing I've just jinxed myself now though. ;)
We need to acknowledge that coeliac disease is a serious illness; not an intolerance or something that brings you out in a rash. We spend billions of pounds each year funding research, treating and finding ways to support patients for the many illnesses that affect the UK population. Why should coeliacs be any different?
Here's a personal question. Have you ever been constipated for a week? How about for up to 4 days on a regular (oh the irony) basis? I have. And it's horrible. Admittedly, this isn't the nicest or most popular of discussions, but it's something that has recently led to me making a lifestyle change. To put it bluntly, I had no choice...
Unlike the modern day, rich foods in a traditional household would have consisted of sugar, fat, flour and eggs. Now I can't imagine in the 15th century (first records of pancake day and pancake tossing) they cared about intolerances or that a need for gluten and dairy free existed but, fast forward a few hundred years, or a wee bit more, and there is most definitely a need.
I spend time in primary schools encouraging children to cook and, increasingly, I seem to come across more and more food allergies and intolerances including coeliacs. As a direct result, I am very aware of the difficulties that families have at festive time -- most shop-bought Christmas cakes and puddings will contain gluten.