Making Sense of Sensitivity Day 5: Eating Snacks on the Go, Falling off the (Gluten-Free) Wagon and What I've Learned From Doing the Challenge...

Just to let you know, this post was written before I started the paleo diet to help ease my psoriasis. Nowadays I eat a more allergy-friendly diet, but leave these older, non-paleo posts up in case they are useful to readers, as I know not everyone eats the same as I do. Thanks for your understanding. 

Ladies and gentlemen, my final video about day 5 of my challenge to eat gluten-free for a week: 

Yep. I fell off the (gluten-free) wagon, all because I was stuck in town, hungry and needed a quick bite to eat. It would have been easier if I'd sat down for a proper meal in a restaurant - I could have picked some fried rice or a rice noodle soup. But I didn't have time and all there was to grab and eat quickly were sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and pasties. I thought I'd get away with the sushi at one point (I mean, it's just rice and vegetables, right?) but no, the label on the back boldly stated 'contains gluten', as did some salad boxes., which surprised me (maybe it was in the dressing).

So I scoffed down a cheese sandwich. I also remembered I'd had some ice cream at Tutti Frutti on Sunday and although I know that Jane makes all the ice creams herself from scratch, I didn't ask if it contained gluten because I just completely forgot. So I can now see how you could become unstuck and have to end up forking out for a sit-down meal while your gluten-scoffing friends huddle round with a hot bacon sandwich each.

Maybe sandwich shops and supermarkets need to think more about people who are eating on a gluten-free diet and provide some more alternatives to the usual sandwich and packet of crisps.

Gok Wan's Garlic Chicken

Things I've learned along the way:

There are lots of gluten-free alternatives to pasta/bread/cakes/biscuits/crackers in supermarkets now, so you don't need to feel you're missing out on anything at all if you fancy a burger in a bun or have a pasta craving. And they don't taste different from the standard products you'll be used to eating. They just don't leave you with a bloated tum and feeling rubbish.

You don't need to buy them if you don't want to: If you don't want to buy special 'gluten-free' foods, you don't need to. Just  think about what you're cooking and you'll find that a lot of the foods you normally eat will be gluten-free anyway, such as shepherd's pie, rice noodle stir-fry, fish and mashed potatoes with veg, etc.

Go back to basics: It helps if you strip your foods down to their purest state - in other words, many processed foods are padded out with gluten-rich breadcrumbs. Think sausages, battered fish, breaded meats and oven chips. Just cut up some potatoes and make your own, or whizz up some gluten-free bread and breadcrumb your own fish.

I've learned a lot about eating gluten-free over the past week and it's helped dispel some of the misconceptions I had before I started. I thought that rice contained gluten. I would never have imagined that oven chips did (maybe it's the crunchy coating). And I never believed that gluten affected me in any way, but now considering how I feel after this week, maybe it does. I'm not saying I will be completely gluten-free just yet, but I will be thinking more about my diet and reducing the number of gluten-rich foods I eat. 

For more information on switching to a gluten-free diet visit the Dr Schar website, which also contains recipes, products and tips.