Why hello again….

So another season has started and another trip upto Scotland was taken. I just love Scotland, the hills, the rolling countryside, the gluten free potato fritters!

This time around I decided to try a few more place to eat rather than my normal haunts, I did go back to some I enjoyed last time with differing results.

I have to admit, for smaller towns in the middle of nowhere at times the Scottish folk half cater for gluten free vegans/vegetarians and its so appreciated!

The first stop….

Where we go in Scotland is just over the border near Dalbeattie at Barend Holiday village, it takes us about 3 and a half hours or so to get there, so not to far really. However, this time I took the mini pooch so it was a little longer in the car.

Anywho, on our arrival we decided as a family to not cook and go the restaurant at the holiday site.

Now, I have been here before and ate here before and it was lovely. The issue was I had hot cheese and it killed me off for the entire holiday so I was umming and arring whether I should eat there with everyone else or just do my normal routine of sitting and staring at their food like a hungry puppy.

I decided to eat.

And i’m so glad I did! I chose their only gluten free vegan option which was the veggie sizzler. A steaming sizzling hot plate rammed full of veggies served with a choice of chips, rice or half and half. I chose the half and half because cant resist a chip and rice combo!

I was kind of expecting from a veggie sizzler just the normal “boring” veggies; a few lonely carrots sat next to a mini broccoli tree or two.

But I was so pleasantly suprised.

The meal contained courgettes, onions, mushrooms, carrots (obvs) and a sneak surprise of some pineapple all smothered in sweet chilli sauce. I have to admit however, for me there was a little to much sauce it was less smothered and more drowning, but still tasted amazing. For the cost to size ratio it was so worth the money, I think it was around £10ish.

It was that nice I had it twice in one week!

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Poffertjes for days….

Castle Douglas is a little town in Scotland, its small it kind of looks like the 70’s came and stopped there (I love it for that reason!) but it has some varied eateries. From a Greek restaurant, to little coffee shops to Mr Pooks; which ive never tried but really want to.

But the gem in the crown is Double Dutch pancake kitchen.

From the outside and inside this place doesn’t look to appealing (sorry) but by heck do they make some nice pancakes and poffertjes.

What initially drew me in was the sign on the door which stated “gluten free and vegan options available” any time I see a sign like that my allergy radar goes bonkers and I need to go in.

The magical thing about this place was on our first visit the owner was in the restaurant play a flute, to himself no customers in there just him and his wife.

I asked, as you do, a million and one questions about their menu and finally settled on poffertjes. Which are little dutch pancakes. And at Double Dutch you get 21 of these bad boys with ice cream and toppings for £3!

We ended up buys 2 sets of gluten free poffertjes with vegan Swedish Glace ice cream (my favourite ice cream ever!) one day and the next we went in and had pancakes. And the restaurant is dog friendly so we could all enjoy.

This place is so nice and the owners are lovely, if your in Castle Douglas please pop in and try there desserts it will be so worth it!

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Another restaurant in Castle Douglas is Nikos’ Greek restaurant. We have been here before in June but only for take out, not a sit down meal.

So this time around we wanted to have a sit down meal, date night.

The menu was no different from June so we were expecting the same food. When we previously came it was lovely, Greek kebabs full of bulging veggies and meat for the meat folks.

This time it was not so impressive.

Don’t get me wrong the food tasted lovely, I had Imam which is half an aubergine filled with tomatoes, onions, mild chillies and feta served with chips.

And of course a side of  tyri saganaki (pan fried halloumi), yes my lactose intolerance was totally ignored for this evening.

What the issues was this visit was the portion size to cost factor. My half an aubergine, 3 slices of halloumi, some chips my boyfriends 1 chicken kebab, yes 1 strip of chicken on some lettuce and a coke came to £45! Now I don’t mind paying for good food and this food tasted good, but for what we received size wise it seem far to much.

I would say visit Nikos’ its beautiful food, but maybe stick to the take menu.

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By the sea at night….

One evening we decided to go to Kippford, just down the road from Dalbeattie where we were staying to a hotel/restaurant The Mariner.

Now if you haven’t been to Kippford you must, there’s not much there but to walk along side the sea and the boats of an evening, is so peaceful.

The Mariner is a hotel just as you get in to the main port road, its a big old place and its dog friendly. We went a couple of times, as the food was really nice.

They had a few option for gluten free, vegan and vegetarians and what they did offer seemed lovely. I decided on the vegetable tagine as it seem chock packed full with all my favourites.

It was full of flavour, a tangy spicy flavour with warmth burn not a spicy hot. It was served with chips or a jacket potato and vegetables. To me it seemed weird to have veggies with it, rice would have been a better option but still really tasty.

Once again size to cost was good, I think this was around the £10 mark also.

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Well Scotland this trip you most definitely gave me a taste from around the world, so thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adoro il cibo Italiano!

That statement could not be truer.

And if you can’t read Italian or Google translate isn’t that good it says I love Italian food!

There so many options on the Italian menu and almost all can be made gluten free and or vegan.

In a week Italian style meals or element make up almost all of my diet. From full Italian meal to touches added to other style meals.

For me Italian meals are like hugs from inside your belly; making you all warm and snuggly and in this lovely wet and cold end of August were having a big ole belly of warm pasta baked in rich tomartoee sauce is just perfect.

I’ve never been Italy but would love too but I do go to as many Italian restaurants I can or I make my own. There lots of different options in the supermarkets: fresh, frozen, jarred, homemade style and everything else.

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite homemade meals, ingredients I use and restaurants I have stumbled across.

 

The basics….

First thing when I think Italian food I think pasta.

Big bowls of steaming hot squidgy pasta.

Now I know it is meant to be served not so squidgy and Italians around the world will be cursing me but I hate al dente pasta. Squidgy for the win!

I’ve tried all the dry pastas from the major supermarkets here in the UK and there’s not much difference to be honest. They all have similar flavours and texture. I do prefer brown pasta over the white but I can’t always find it.

I have tried the spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne, fusilli, ravioli, cannelloni and tortelli all are lovely additions to any Italian dish. The filled pasta’s tends to be branded names rather that supermarkets own but supermarkets do have some and are slowly bringing in more. Unfortunately the all seem to contain meat or dairy so are normally off my radar.

The Classic….

You think Italian as a British person what do you think

Spaghetti bolognaise.

That luscious bowl of tangley pasta covered in a warming tomato sauce with or without a meaty option added, with it all just waiting to be flicked into your mouth, up your nose, in your eye and basically anywhere above your boobs!

It’s a British/Italian household classic and why shouldn’t it be. We are a multi-cultural land and so should our pallet.

I love spaghetti bolognaise but as of yet I haven’t not found a gluten free vegetarian option in a restaurant. I’ve seen gluten free but they contain meat. So I make my own or a adaptation of the classic.

I tend to make my own sauces, one because it easy and two because I know what I’m putting in it then. I always start with tomato passata; add some tomato puree and seasoning lots and lots of seasoning. I use any old passata and puree normally the cheapest I can find and it always tastes good. Then I add my browned off onions and garlic mixture to it, done.

For the main fluff normally you would add minced meat, yuk!

I have added a multitude of items in the past; all give it a different taste and texture. These have included Quorn mince, chickpeas, butter beans, baked beans, and variety of veggies depending what’s in my fridge or cupboard and the best ingredient puy lentils.

Puy lentils have been send here by the whoever the heck sends us good food! They are so versatile; they make a brilliant base for most meals and work perfectly in Italian dishes.

I’ve only found one type of pre-cooked puy by Merchant. These can be a little costly I think ranging from £2 to £3 per packet depending where you buy them from. However, if you shop savvy like me when you see them on offer you snap up a ton of them! The other week Asda had them in for 75p so I brought about 6 packets!

If lots of veggies or Quorn is not up your street, get yourself to a Ikea for some allemansrätten. These guys have made the most delicious veggie balls I have ever tasted.

And there small so you can fit millions on your plate!

They come in a big bag so there’s plenty to keep you going and at less than £5 for the big bag a bit of a bargain.

Now there isn’t any information on the bag saying they are gluten free but I checked all the ingredients and they are all safe for consumption so I presume they cannot guarantee no cross contamination. Their website says they do not contain gluten, soy, nut, egg or lactose but still no gluten free classification. I have been eating these for a few weeks now however, and are symptom free. But just be careful.

 

The creamy goodness….

Another firm favourite of mine is carbonara.

I love stodgy food and I find carbonara really stodgy and its beautiful. Now I’m not sure if it is meant to be stodge but that’s how I make it.

I use Alpro soya cream as a base and add my brown onions and garlic mix and season very well. To the sauce I also add cooked mushrooms and cooked Quorn facon which I cut into strips. Plopped on top of my chosen pasta a quick and totally delish meal. For an extra creamy mixture you can add in some soft cheese or your soft cheese equivalent, but this is a super cream fully of flavour calorie fest.

 

Dinner for two….

Nothing beats food you don’t have to cook yourself. I love dining out as you know and I’ve found that Italian restaurants are a brilliant source of gluten free and/or vegan meals. I have tried many if not all of the big brand restaurants in the UK and all provide gluten free meals but I’ve not tried all the options available. There not all totally gluten free many are non- gluten containing meals which can cause issues for some and those restaurants I’ve visited that cannot provide totally gluten free do state that before I’ve ordered.

Two of my go to restaurants that I know I can walk in and get food are Frankie and Benny’s and Pizza Express.

Frankie and Benny has recently re-vamped their menus and now provide a larger gluten free menu consisting of pasta, pizza, burgers, starters and desserts. The one thing these guys don’t do gluten free is chips.

My staple food source!

However, there menu is so full you don’t really need them.

I chose to go Frankie and Benny’s for my birthday this year after staring at the menu for several hours it seemed I settled on their gluten free vegan fusilli arrabita.

It’s a spicy tomato based dish, which was really nice. Spicy yes but not knock your socks off spicy just a little warmth.

I’ve chosen this dish a few times now as it’s lovely, however each time I’ve had it I just feel there’s something missing. It’s definitely not the flavour or size but there’s just something it needs to make it 10/10. I think it’s because it’s just one flavour. The flavour is good but there’s no dips in and out of different flavours, so after a while it’s just one note.

Maybe I do need them chips!

Pizza Express is another good and safe restaurant for gluten free meals.

And if your with O² you can often get vouchers for meals including £5 mains! Winner!

Normally I will have the dough balls for starters and a pizza for main. There are several different choices of topping you can have all served on a gluten free base.

Pizza bases lack in stability for me, one restaurant you go and their bases are crispy and doughy another you go and it’s like eating cardboard. Pizza Express bases are lovely. Doughy but not soggy and no cardboard in sight.

These guys also do vegan cheese!

And at Christmas they do there dough balls but with a festive twist, they add cinnamon and icing sugar with a warm sweet dip on the side, Christmas cannot come soon enough for my mouth with this restaurant.

If your eating in, home baking or treating yourself to a night out Italian is always a good choice.

Buon Appetito!

Homemade ready meal chocolate balls of goodness!

Although I love eating out and trying new foods I don’t think there’s nothing more satisfying than making, baking and eating something you have made yourself.

And for us who are allergic to life basically, home made can be tailored into whatever you require, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and everything else.

However, making food from scratch can be time consuming and sometimes an effort we just don’t have. I’m not one of those day dream folk who is all smiles and sunshine regarding homemade cooking. Trust me I am fully in touch with the reality of life, I work 13 hour shifts in a psychiatric hospital, i’m currently in the process off selling and buying a new home, plus crossfit and trying to see family and friends in between you really think I have time each day to home cook

ermmmmmm, nope.

So what I like to do is when I am off and have some free time is to cook meals that I can re-heat or eat cold and add fresh ingredients to them each day.

If I do have time to make home made food I will have a ready meal, not often but they are handy to have in just in case. I don’t think there is any shame about eating quick meals as long as you don’t go stupid and live on them. They tend to be full of preservatives and high in salt and/or fat, so they are not always the best for you.

But in reality at times accessibility and time can beat home cooked food.

Now i’m not the best cook, I am a better baker I would say, but i’m a trier and at times its an epic fail other times I stumble onto a little legend! I thought I would share a few recipes of my home cooked meals and a few quick meals I have stumbled upon.

Gluten free, vegetarian mushroom pie

I have tried this recipe before but not gluten free or as vegan as possible. I have said it is vegetarian not vegan as the gluten free puff pastry doesn’t state vegan and I can only says a product is definitely something if the package states so.

So, for this pie I used as many vegan items as possible and I start with the filling.

For this pie filling I softened up some onions and leaks. I have found a really good range from Morrisons, its there wonky range. Its all the veggies and fruits that normally would be thrown away just because they don’t “fit in” with the other veggies. Its so sad to think good food is being wasted just because there not classed as perfect.

I used a little blob of Pure soya spread,  2 of their wonky red onions for this pie filling and 1 huge ass leak which I got from Morrisons too.  Let them soften up before adding Alpro soya cream, 2 garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 bottle of cream as I was making a big pie, but you won’t need a hole bottle if your doing a smaller pie.

Whilst the onions and leaks were cooking off in another pan I was heating up the Quorn chicken pieces. The Quorn range is brilliant, but for most of their products its a choice between vegan or gluten free, I have to choose gluten free as I have an allergy to gluten and am just intolerant to lactose. I heat the Quorn with a little 1 cal spray and wait till they brown off then add them to the pan with the onions, leak and cream filling mixture.

I cook the mixture for a short while afterwards tasting regularly and adding seasoning if required.

Once cooked I placed into a backing pan/tray, its about 2″ deep and about 10″ long. the mixture I made almost filled the dish to the top, normally I wouldn’t make so much but I was prepping for my 2 weeks of night shifts so this pie would last me quite a few nights.

To top the pie I use Asda’s free from puff pastry. To be honest I would have normally used the Jus-rol gluten free puff pastry as I find its a better quality of pastry to use. Asda’s wasn’t to bad but I didn’t puff up as much as the Jus-rol one but it was as tasty.

I pre-heat my oven and put the pie in at 190°c. I am terrible at timing and often just guess what time to leave it in for. For this pie I waited until the top was golden brown and the contents are bubbling hot, it was in around 30 minuets.

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(Sorry for the rubbish pictures, I have a new phone which is a bit poo for close up shots!)

Sainsbury’s Free from butternut squash risotto ready meal

This was a great find I got from Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago. I was looking at their free from chilled section and noticed this, their free from butternut squash risotto. Both gluten free and vegan.

Normally I wouldn’t look at the ready meals as I don’t often eat them but this caught my eye.

I love butternut squash, its so versatile and bloody tasty! So to find it in a risotto which I also adore was brilliant.

It was not to expensive at £3.00 and totally worth it. As it is a ready meal it was easy to cook, pop in the microwave and in a few minuets ping! sorted.

Like all ready meals it looked a bit thrown together in the tray it came in, but to be honest a risotto kinda looks like that anyways. I had mine with a huge handful of rocket on the side. I didn’t feel like it needed anything else.  The texture was claggy/thick in the mouth but I love that texture so to me it was lovely, but others may not find it to attractive.

It tasted so good, full of flavour and really filling for a little meal.

On checking the ingredients and nutritional information it was as expected from ready meals, quite high fat content and salt. I also noted it had 6 grams of sugar in it, which I think comes from the grape juice concentrate and possibly the coconut ingredients.

For a quick meal that is not frequently used as a regular meal its lovely tasting for a OK price.

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Chocolate cake balls

These balls were not meant to be balls they were meant to be cupcakes but failed miserably. I was asked to make cakes for a family member who’s work colleague is in our cool group. A gluten and lactose free member and wanted chocolate cake.

I have made chocolate cakes a million times but I normally use eggs or the oil/water/baking powered combo. Unfortunately I had forgotten the gluten free baking powder so I though I would just make them without it.

Oh what a mistake.

The recipe was as always, 4oz caster sugar, 4oz soya spread and mix until fluffy. Then add your 2 eggs or 2 egg replacement mixture and 4oz gluten free self raising flour, a few table spoons of cacao powder and some vanilla essence and mix.

For the egg replacement I use 1.5 table spoons of oil, 1.5 table spoons of water and half a teaspoon of gluten free baking powder. Be careful however, if you are making a cake that requires more than 1 egg you might want to swap this mixture for another egg replacement mixture as it could get to oily.

Once cooked the cakes had sunken so badly they weren’t cakes any longer. So to save my facon I made them into cake balls. I placed all the “cakes” into a bowl and crumbled them. Once crumbled a added 1 large table spoon of chocolate butter cream and mixed into a sticky but solid(ish) mixture. I then made them into balls and placed in the freezer for several minuets, once hard I covered them in chocolate. As they were meant to be cupcakes I hadn’t got any cooking chocolate for melting so I melted the Tesco free from giant chocolate buttons I had got for the decorations. I dipped them in to the melted chocolate and placed them in the fridge till hard. I finished them off with a drizzle of Sweet freedom liquid drizzle, perfect.

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Just because time is limited doesn’t mean your cant eat tasty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finds of the week!

So this weeks been a busy week for me I’ve had work as usual and house shopping but I’ve also had my other half’s 30th birthday, woo hoo!

But in between the normal hustle and bustle and partying like a 80 year old (we went bingo for his birthday!) I have found my top gluten free/vegan/vegitrian finds of the week!

Find number 1….

Its coming to that time of year again we me and my buds head off across the sea to Disney for several days of fun filled happiness. Unlike last year where it was a bit of a food disaster, where all I manage to eat was chips and some bloody yuckie pasta thing whch cost €10. This year I am planning ahead. I was thinking what can a girl take that doesn’t need a fridge, doesn’t require cooking or heating up and can be thrown into a suitcase?

Pot noodle.

But I cant eat them as there full of wheat.

I have seen some gluten free noodles in pots around the supermarkets and I have tried a few. They just weren’t that good. Bland taste and hard noodles. However, I spotted a gluten free chow mein pot noodle type thing in my local Asda the other day and thought I would try it as I need to find suitable suitcase food.

Oh my Batman!

It is gorgeous! So full of flavour, soft noodles and currently only £1!

It is so easy to make, you just add the powered flavour top up with hot water and pop the lid back on, stir and voila!

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Asdas Free from Chow mein rice noodle pot

Taste- ♥♥♥♥♥

Free fromness- ♥♥♥♥♥

Cost- ♥♥♥♥♥

 

Find number 2….

I love dips! Any dips, creamy ones, spicy ones my favourite being the ones with 4 sections! The problem is dips hate me!

All that dairy and other stuff they put into them to make them taste so good.

I have had tzatiki many times both store bought and homemade, but all with dairy.

Violife are a brand I often use, one because there products are totally safe for me and two because everything is so tasty. And they have triumphed again with this little naughty, there 100% vegan and gluten free tzatziki flavoured spread.

Initially I thought it was going to be a bit rubbery as it looked a it like that but I think it is just the way its packed in there. But once out of the package its so creamy and full of flavour.

I have had this spread on everything from Genius crumpits, Schär crackers and even on a baked potato (which i’m currently eating!) its so versatile.

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Violife tzatziki spread

Taste- ♥♥♥♥♥

Free fromness- ♥♥♥♥♥

Cost- ♥♥♥

Find number 3…

I find snacking hard. Not actually eating it but finding something suitable to snack on, not biscuits or naughty food but healthy good snack.

Although I’m trying my darnedest to stay on my vegan diet I do love my Quorn. Now Quorn do a vegan range, yay, but there vegan range contains wheat, boo! So I end up choosing; gluten free wins everytime.

However, the good folks at Quorn have made a gluten free vegan chicken free slice an it its lovely!

I love snacking on slices, its just easy yet tasty food and so much better for me than a snickers or 6!

These slices are a little slimy in texture, which I prefer to the normal gluten free chicken slices as they can be a little dry at times so the slimyer texture is a win for me. There really tasty, couldn’t tell you if they taste like chicken before you ask as I can not remember what that tastes like but these a yum!

If for snacking purposes i eat them alone, just straight out of the packet. However, you can add them to lots of thing, on top of a nice Genius bagel, sliced into a nice pasta dish or chopped up onto a pizza!

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Quorn vegan gluten free chicken free slices

Taste- ♥♥♥♥♥

Free fromness- ♥♥♥♥♥

Cost- ♥♥♥♥

(depending if there on offer!) 

Make sure when looking for tasty find you shop around, don’t just settled for the first you see.

There is a bargain munchie around each corner!

So you think bread hates you…..

I don’t know how many people say to me “oh when I eat bread it kills me off the next day you know” but never consider they might have a gluten allergies or intolerance they just keep plodding on pooping their life away thinking nothing else of it.

Well stop guys you don’t need to become best friends with your toilet every time you fancy a sandwich!

However, diagnosis of an allergy, intolerance or auto-immune disease isn’t always that easy.

The symptoms….

Everyone poops. And everyone poops different.

And us British folk don’t talk enough poop.

I can not encourage people enough to look down their loo’s once they have gone, i’m a poop monitoring ambassador. I know it might feel weird but your poop tells you a lot about what is going on inside you.

If your not in the healthcare circle you might not have hear of the Bristol stool chart. The Bristol stool chart is exactly that; a chart of stools.

Image result for bristol stool chart

It is a really good way to describe your poop to the doctor if you have any concerns. Now for many the “normal” should be 3/4 but for those of you with diagnosed allergies 2 or even 6’s maybe the norm.

Pooping is not the only symptoms that come along with a gluten allergy.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pains
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired
  • Skin problems
  • Changes in mood
  • Iron deficiency anemia (that’s how I found out!)
  • Anxiety and brain fog
  • Joint pains

Unfortunately the other week, when It was my birthday weekend, I went out for a meal and I think they may have given me a non-gluten free meal and I have had lots of horrible symptoms since including the brain fog and anxiety, which has caused the vicious circle of anxiety to re-trigger.

People just think that when you have a allergy if you do eat something you shouldn’t you’ll have one of two reactions, you’ll stop breathing and swell up like a giant balloon or you’ll poop forever!

They never associate allergies with mental health.

These symptoms may or may not be associated with a gluten allergy and any new symptoms should always be assessed by a medical professional.

These guys will (hopefully, and I say hopefully because I still haven’t’ a formal diagnosis of Celiac’s I just “might” have it 3 years later on) send you for some tests and assessments to see if there is an issue there.

The tests….

The first assessment they will  send you for should be a routine blood test.

This test should be all inclusive including:

  • FBC – full blood count
  • LFT – Liver function test
  • GFR – Kidney function
  • U&E’s – Kidney functio
  • Full iron screen
  • TTA – Celiac screen

This test will give your doctor a insight into your innie bits and show any abnormalities. Now the TTA screen for celiacs can be a bit dodge apparently and you can get false readings.

If there is a abnormal test result, or even if there isn’t, but your doctor would like to investigate further they normally suggest a Gastroscopy.

A gastroscopy is a small flexible tube that goes down your oesophagus (throat) into your stomach and has a look around and sometimes takes small biopsy’s of your stomach for testing.

Now I have to be honest, I had this test a few years back and I asked other’s who had it what it was like. I got mixed answers from those guys, for me it was one of the most traumatic experiences I have ever experienced.

I think it depends on you as a person though.

I have a big anxiety about not being able to breathe, so having a tube down my throat wasn’t the greatest and unfortunately due to my agitation I was restrained by the staff to remove the tube before a biopsy could be taken. That’s why I have no formal diagnosis.

If you think you have a gluten allergy please have this test, don’t be like me a panic. Relax, take the sedative they offer and get your diagnosis.

I have been advised to take it again and not to take it, but if I did want it I would have to go back on gluten for a few months to have a positive reaction to it, which sounds great!

All the sandwich I can eat, soggy toast and cakes!

But after this last week where I’ve felt like my insides were so swollen I couldn’t breathe and the raging fires of hell had made base camp in my bowels don’t think I could willing eat gluten just for a diagnosis.

The diagnosis….

I have no formal diagnosis. Yet i’m no longer anaemic, I have started making blood again and I feel like i’m alive and have my life back.

I asked my haematologist that if I was formally diagnosed with Celiac’s what would I need to do differently from what i’m doing now. The answer was

Nothing.

So why a diagnosis?

Those that suffer from any gluten allergy, sensitivity or intolerance will have chronic issues that are caused by their consumption of gluten but may not be permanently damaging their bodies.

However, those with Celiac disease if untreated are more likely to get bowel cancer, they can not absorb nutrients properly and there bones are also effected so are more prone to fractures as it is a auto-immune disease rather than an allergie.

Its a minefield out there….

Allergy. intolerance. Sensitivity. Auto-immune disease.

It can be so confusing and frustrating trying to find out which one is you, if any.

First thing is to speak to your GP or doctor. Please don’t just google stuff or you will end up with a diagnosis of Batman knows what!

Speak to a professional, take your Bristol stool chart so you know exactly whats going on down there. Explain everything to them.

Don’t be embarrassed. We all poop!

Discussing and describing it is nothing to be ashamed by.

Ask for tests and assessments.

Don’t be fobbed of with “oh its’s just IBS”.

Aye it might be, but please don’t just take that as the first answer.

And embrace your diagnosis, don’t see it as a problem. It’s what your are, and there nowt wrong with that.

And be a poop monitoring ambassador!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Hip Hooray its my birthday day!

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to ….

Well guys its happened, this gluten free, lactose intolerant basically vegan but still says vegetarian is at the top of 30 mountain looking at the downward slope to 40 town and i’m ok(ish) about it.

I say ok(ish) because for me birthdays are a a bit of a guilty feeling day; especially if I celebrate them. My mam passed away from COPD in April 2008 and I find birthdays partially hard to celebrate as I feel guilty for enjoying a day that without my mam squeezing me out it wouldn’t be actually be celebration day.

Combine that with the effort of finding a restaurant or party buffet planning or just food in general to cater for all my needs it can be a bit of a mental health nightmare.

Just what a girl wants on her birthday: guilt, anxiety and hunger pains!

This year was different however,

This year my delightful boyfriend planned a training course weekend doing something I love, vinyl car wrapping at Hexis training centre!

Now what has this got to do with food you ask? Well the actual course itself, nothing. But I still needed to eat and it is my birthday which means one thing CAKE!

Cake, cake and more bloody cake….

Now like any good girlfriend I did some subtle hinting to the man about my birthday and what I wanted, cake. I wanted cake.

I try normally to keep “treats” to a minimum as I see no point in working my ass off at Crossfit to the fill it back up with rubbish. However, I do have them. As there appears to be no benefit to my mental health by stopping them all together, I’ve tried stopping altogether and it made me sad. I enjoy food and i’m not afraid to say that, even the naughty stuff. So a little bit now and then does do wonders for the soul.

And this birthday my soul wanted chocolate cake.

I did hint/told him I wanted the free from Carl the caterpillar cake from Tesco as every vegan loves nomming on a naughty little caterpillar on her birthday.

Instead, I got the most delicious free from chocolate cake from Sainsburys,  oh my Batman it was good!

My boyfriend surprised me with it at dinner break on day 1 of the course, hes such a good one as he did it quietly so no one noticed as he knows I hate attention especially on my birthday.

The cake was a beautiful chocolatey circle of frosting with a rectangle of chocolate just plopped on top which got demolished about 2 seconds out of the box!

It said serves 10, so I offered it out to my fellow car vinyl folks, nope no takers oh well more for me!

No joke when I say it was 9 pieces to me 1 to my boyfriend, I did say I like cake! Obviously the 9 was not consumed in 1 day, it took like 2 ish maybe.

This cake covers everything, wheat free, gluten free, nut free and milk free! Winner!

The cake was really tasty, it had that classic chocolate taste to it, chocolate and nothing else. No fancy flavour combos or random textures just a classic chocolate cake. However, like a lot a store brought cakes it was a little dry. Now I don’t know if its a certain ingredient they need to put into the cake to preserve it so its shelf life is longer or just because its probably sat on a shelf longer than a home made cake would but that’s what I have found with a lot of store brought cakes, even gluten filled ones. This cake however had plenty of chocolate frosting so the dryness was easily managed by scooping some of the cream up too. My suggestion to Sainsburys and all major stores add more frosting! you can not go wrong with a bigger frosting to cake ratio! Well I cant anyways.

Unfortunately, this cake isn’t vegan as they have added egg into the ingredients. But for the effort he (his mum) put in to finding me a cake that’s not going to make me sick or bloat or worse mid-course I can not thank them enough.

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Oh and not like I would suggest this but this cake managed to travel there and back to Litchfield in a car in this beautiful hot weather were having, a day in my bag in a lunch box and a day at work in my bag all un-refrigerated and still tasted as good as it did on the first day!

Tonight we dine….

Seeing as we were out of town having a birthday training weekend we decided to go out for tea. One of my favourite big chain restaurants is Frankie and Benny’s. I find my anxiety reduces surrounding food when I know there are certain big chain restaurants around, because the hunt for food is only minuets away.

Since for yonks I have loved this place, unfortunate the love was slightly shattered when I was told I was gluten intolerant as their garlic bread was to die for and now I cant have it.

However, these guys have quite a nice gluten free range and have a gluten free vegan option too which isn’t just a salad! And pudding’s!

I don’t know about you guys but I find starters a nightmare! No one seems to do a good gluten free vegan starter. Except, olives which unfortunately I hate. However, what I have started doing is having a side dish for a starter. This time I choose the tried and trusted corn on the cob!

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As I am still trying my darnedest to stay on a vegan diet, so for my mains I opted for their vegan Arrabita, which is pasta with red peppers, red onion, green chillies (which i’m currently obsessed with thanks too Nikos) in a spicy tomato and garlic sauce.

Well, it was nice. Super nice.

I have to admit normally when i’m having pasta with a tomato based sauce in need cheese on top, but this dish didn’t require that. It was really tasty and tbh I think cheese would have spoilt it (never thought I would say cheese could spoil anything!). Now a good crusty bread smothered in butter to accompany it would have been perfect. Good portion size too.

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Now for the puds! These guys had quiet a few tasty looking puddings and I’d have probably had several if I hadn’t already demolished 3/4 of a chocolate cake during the day and half of them aren’t vegan. But up to my old tricks again I asked if I could swap a few ingredients around to make them vegan, no problems.

I decided on the peaches and cream sundae, but swapped the vanilla ice cream for the lemon sorbet. I really like sorbet and I like lemon desserts but I’m not 100% sure on lemon sorbet. I’m not sure if it was the mixture between the peaches and lemon or just the lemon but it was a little bit to much for me. The shortbread which was hidden throughout though was lovely. It’s probably not a flavour combo i’d mix again and I can imagine the peaches with ice cream being really nice, maybe the restaurants will start serving vegan ice cream as an option soon, hint hint!

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The morning after….

Breakfast makes me anxious! For me its the worse meal of the day to fine whilst out. For some reason people freak when thinking of breakfast options, why? There is lots out there just look and you will find.

For our break we stayed at The Cathedral Hotel in Litchfiled. I booked through an internet site, so once it was confirmed I called and informed them of my allergies as breakfast was included. The morning of breakfast we wondered down to the dining room and set out was a continental breakfast spread. It looked ok actually, not the best I’ve seen but ok. Unfortunately there was only fruit available for me on this spread, which looked a bit dry so I opted out. We sat down and was asked what we would like of the cooked breakfast items. I explained I had called ahead and she stated that they were prepared for me and offered me the vegetarian breakfast, which included eggs, hash browns and veggie sausages.  I love hash browns, there a all time favourite of mine. But I know there normally chucked into a fryer which has had Batman knows what in in and is hella cross contaminated! But I asked if i could have any of those items and was informed I couldn’t. The lady serving us was so nice and hospitable, she explained that I could have the beans, tomato and mushrooms and they have some gluten free bread in for toast if I wanted that. So I ended up with 2 slices of dry toast as they didn’t have vegan spread, and this….

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Yep, half a tomato, 2 and a half mushrooms, about 2 spoons of beans. Wow.

Luckily the lady was nice and brought me some more mushrooms out, not many probably another 3 though. So I tucked in and tbh what was there was nice, it was just so unimpressive compared to what my boyfriend had which was the whole shebang.

People! If you are offering gluten free or vegan meals make them appealing! If you cant find all the ingredients to match an “normal” meal at least make it big enough to enjoy. A bloody gnome would have been hungry still after this portion!

Hooray? Yay or nay…

Yay.

It was a lovely birthday spent with minimal anxiety and guilt, my favourite human consuming my weight in cake and pasta, watching films in a heatwave wave and qualifying as a Hexis trained vinyl wrapper. Perfect.

 

 

Hello Scotland!

I’ve just returned from a weeks break up in Scotland and it was lovely, good gluten free food and lots of new treats found.

Ye olde prepper….

We went to Scotland last year also and we stayed at the same place so I knew what facilities were available in our little chalet. We have a small but totally perfect kitchen just enough for me to keep and prep food ready for my days out.

To be honest, apart from brewing up and a toast production line in the morning, I am the only person to use the kitchen as the others are all “normal” and eat out most days.

We stay at the Barend holiday lodges in near Dalbeattie, on site there is a small pub which serves food, nice food too.

Last year I made a big mistake on the first day and thought sod it i’m on holiday and had their gluten free broccoli and potato bake which had a ton of bloody melted cheese on, it tasted lovely but resulted in one very bloaty and grumpy lady for the entire week!

Why I though my allergies would go on holiday too when I was on holiday beats me!

Anyways, remembering that whopsy from last year this year I ate before going with the others for tea.

But I shouldn’t have.

The pub has added to their menu and now have a vegetable sizzler which contains red hot vegetables severed on a sizzly plate accompanied by rice and salad, yum!

Wakey, wakey rise and hoop….

Before heading up north, I popped into my local Sainsburys to grab some bits and bobs. Breakfast for me, especially on holiday, I find a bit of a nightmare.

I’m not the greatest cereal lover I tend to have porridge most mornings, but on holiday you feel like a change, well I know I do. Also you want to be up and out enjoying your day, so something quick is always good.

So whilst I was in Sainsburys I spotted their free from honey hoops and thought i’d give them a try.

They were worth the risk.

I really enjoyed them, they weren’t a strong honey taste but very tasty. That mix of crunchy cereal and cold(ish) milk was really pleasant.

(FYI I don’t like cold liquids, so I have room temp milk on my cereal)

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When I did have time in the morning to cook there is only one thing you can have on your jollys, a facon buttie!

On our first day we went to the local Tesco as no one else prepped, pfft!

Whilst I was their I picked up some gluten, milk, egg and wheat free bread. It was ok, not the best I’ve tasted and reminded me of the first gluten free bread that came into the shops. But was a good partner for Quorn’s vegetarian bacon strips, which made a well needed bacon buttie after the long drive.

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Out and about….

I’ve been to Scotland several time and each time I always tell myself I’m going to indulge in many battered things including the famous battered Mars bar. However, I’ve yet to try anything to wild and now that i’m gluten free and lactose free its almost impossible to find the naughty stuff.

Whilst out in Dumfries on the hunt for a Starbucks, we seen school kids wandering around with chips. And when the smell of chips gets up your nose you need them too.

We found out the kids were going to Pete’s in the centre of town so thought we would go too.

And what did I find only a gluten free menu!

Nothing to wild, no Mars bars, but they did have Gluten free potato fritters which I haven’t had in years!

So I had to have them, obviously.

It said 5 for £2.20, so I ordered them and was told it would be a 20 minuet wait as they cook all their gluten free options fresh and in a separate fryer. So i didn’t mind the wait.

When then the menu said 5 I presumed it would be 5 small fritters because 5 big ones would be silly, well call me silly because it was 5 big fritters!

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5 big fritters = a challenge. One I attempted to beat but was quickly defeated!

They were just how I imagined them, greasy with crunchy batter on the outside and squidgy hot potato on the inside. And no horrible after effects, except a full belly.

Pete’s is a must for us allergic folks, there attention to separation to reduce cross contaminate is really appreciated and their food is chip shop lovelyness.

Another good place to visit is Nikos’ Greek restaurant in Castle Douglas. My boyfriend’s family is of Greek origin so to find a family run Greek restaurant in the middle of Scotland was brilliant.

These guys serve traditional Greek food to eat in or take out.

I love Greek food, when I went to Greece a few years back I wasn’t Gluten free but was lactose free vegetarian and they have so many options.

Now I know I shouldn’t as I do have an intolerance to dairy, but halloumi saganaki is probably my favourite Greek dish. If you haven’t tried saganaki its a must, its fried cheese!

Nikos’ serve halloumi saganaki with roasted peppers, aubergine and courgettes.

Oh my Batman! It was a taste explosion in my mouth!

Nikos had cooked the traditional dish with green chillies which gave it a tingle but not a red hot effect and they surprised me with a gluten free pitta to eat it with too.

Absolutely beautiful!

A must visit, and seeing as we are going back to Scotland in September I feel another visit coming on. Maybe we will sit in this time and try the dining experience.

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And for pud….

Since visiting the Body power expo this year I’ve become obsessed with sorbet rather than ice cream. I think I may have convinced myself Its better for me as its fruity!

Which it isn’t by the way.

I found a lovely raspberry sorbet in Tesco whilst in Scotland which was perfect for snacking on after tea.

It was tangy but not eye rolling tangy, just right. Really flavoursome and totally vegan which is perfect!

Unfortunately I didn’t finish it, but thought I would bring it home, not thinking about the 3 hour drive home it kinda turned into raspberry soup so I may need to replace it now I’m back.

I also took my Schlagcreme soya squiry cream with me to go with fruit. I love tinned peaches and squiry cream.

It was amazing!

Normal dairy squirty cream is lovely but can make me ill but this stuff is tastier and better for me. Win win!

I don’t know if it was my portion sizing or the can size but it didn’t seem to last a long time. I got about 4 portions out of it, now it might be my portion sizes as I tend to go for a 10:1 ratio, 1 being the fruit so it ran out to quick.

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When in Rome….

As they say “when in Rome do what the Roman’s do”

Well, when in Scotland do what the Scottish do, and they do Irn bru.

I love Irn bru and basically live on it when im up there. I do buy it at home but It always seems better up there. Nothing beats it.

And I managed to get a couple of Crossfit sessions in to at Crossfit Castle Douglas, had to work off those bloody fritters somehow!

Scotland you were a hoot, see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I scream, you scream, we all scream for gluten free vegan ice cream!

Sadness = empty ice cream tub….

To me nothing says happiness like ice cream!

The cream cold slurpy mixture makes me smile even on my darkest days, and apparently i’m not the only one who feels like this.

Every chick flix has a scene where the sad lady sits in her jammies eating ice cream to cheer herself up and you think pfft that’s a bit stereotypical yet how many of us reach for that little frozen tub of smiles when we need a pick me up, I know I do!

The problem is when that little tub causes more harm than good; you need your fix yet the fix will gain you an all assess pass to your bathroom for the next several hours.

However, the lactose free vegan gods have decided to shake up the rest of the land and now there are so many option available to fill our sad space with delicious ice cream.

But why does ice cream make us feel good?

Ice cream boost….

Research has been completed that shows the introduction of fatty food actually changes the chemical balance within your brain, fatty foods including ice cream.

One study showed that several individuals who were exposed to sad music and pictures showed changes in their brain activity when introduced to fatty foods and they changed for the better too.

There has also been a study that showed eating ice cream for breakfast can actually make your brain be more alert, lower your levels of mental irritation and improve your mental performance, win win!

However, lets think about it seriously though if we eat ice cream every time we were sad or each day for breakfast surely the sugar content would have a effect on your weight, also studies show that sugar makes you more lethargic and sluggish.

But could ice cream replace anti-depressant medication?

Maybe not, but I would most definitely prefer to dispense ice cream over medication!

So ice cream may not be the perfect solution to reducing depression but it certainly make people feel better at times, so what if you can’t eat milk ice cream and just fancy a little pick me up?

Vegan ice cream it is then!

To moo or not to moo that is the question….

I have been lactose intolerant for many many years, it came on quiet suddenly and at first I had no idea what was going on. I was having milk in my tea and on my cereal but I was becoming sick after certain milk containing items.

After speaking to my GP they suggested I go dairy free for several weeks and see if that makes a difference then re-introduce dairy and monitor the effects.

I noticed on starting to re-introduce dairy that for me anything hot with dairy in was the worse, tea, coffee, custard and my favourite creme brulee.

Soft cheeses killed me off for days yet harder cheese not so much, I tried to avoid the bad dairy and continue with the ones that weren’t so bad but they then started to affect me so I had to go totally lactose free.

However, after I found out I had an allergy to gluten and have gone gluten free my lactose intolerance has become more tolerant. I can now manage the cold hard dairy items so much better than before when I was eating gluten, however I have chosen to stick, as best possible, to a vegan diet as I feel better for it.

But I still need that fix!

That cream ice cream fix when i’m feeling low or just fancy it. So what’s out there for us gluten free vegans like me.

It’s soy good….

Ice cream can come in many forms, soft or hard, in a tub or on in a cone, on a pancake or going solo. For me I would eat it out of a shoe if I had too ice cream is my love!

My favourite and probably will be forever is soft serve mister whippy ice cream from the ice cream van, but I have yet to find a dairy free alternative for this. But I’ve found a close second in Swedish Glace’s smooth vanilla.

Its so creamy and smooth, with that oaty taste from the soy giving it flavour without tasting to savoury in your mouth.

I accidentally left this ice cream out of my freezer once and just in the fridge so it melted, not wanting to waste it I added a banana and blended them together to make the most delicious milkshake I have ever had!

These guys don’t just do vanilla tub ice cream they have a few different flavours and have ice lollys too. However, I have only ever seen the vanilla tubs in supermarkets; supermarkets tend to have 1 possible 2 items from each company and they seem to only stock Swedish glace’s vanilla tub. I really want to try their raspberry ice cream it looks amazing!

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Sorbet? Isn’t that just posh ice cream….

Sorbet has been around for many years but I’ve never wanted to try it to be honest, my dad told me it was a pallet cleaner used between courses to refresh your mouth. So why would I want it for my pudding?

Why, because it blinking lovely!

I’ve only recently tried sorbet whilst at the Body power convention last month, now I cant get enough of the stuff.

This weekend me a some Crossfit friends went to Cornwall for the One and all games after the competition was over we decided to visit a local beach as the weather was beautiful. As usual I wasn’t expecting to find anything suitable for me to have so was really surprised to find the local ice cream shop had 3 different vegan sorbet and gluten free cones!

Moomaids of Zennor was a little shop full of big surprises.

The staff were really friendly, they separate their gluten free products to reduce cross contamination and were very informative with their ingredients in the vegan sorbet.

I decided on their raspberry sorbet with a gluten free cone, I normal go for a tub but I thought if the option of a gluten free cone is there I should try it really, and so glad I did.

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It was so tasty!

The raspberry was a clean sharp taste but still has a creamy texture to it, I raved about it so much that a friend of mine who is having some issues with dairy chose their dark chocolate vegan sorbet over regularly ice cream and said it tasted amazing!

This shop is a definite stop if your ever at Porthtowen Beach, id go back to this beach just for the ice cream if i’m honest!

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On the go fix….

I don’t know where you are right now in the world reading this but here in the UK were having a lovely time with our weather, its so sunny and what goes best with sun but ice cream.

I had a lovely moment last week when I was in my local Tesco express. I had gone in to buy ice cream for the boys as a treat, not expecting to find anything for myself as I almost never do in express stores. I think everyone had the same idea because the  freezer was empty except for some little green boxes.

Little did I know these little green boxes were filled with Walls Cornetto gluten free vegan ice cream cones!

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Made with soy these gluten free vegan cones were perfection on a hot day in a body shop. Cornetto were always a favourite for me as a kid, more for the cornet rather than the ice cream if i’m honest, especially for the chocolate bit at the bottom!

These Cornetto did not disappoint, it was like I was a kid again. And what made it best was the lads did not mind the gluten free cone or vegan ice cream, they enjoyed it as much as I did.

They weren’t to badly priced either at just over £3 for 4 ice creams in comparison to a single Corentto which is nearly £2!

I may have to stock up in my freezer with these bad boys.

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Lets just hope this lovely weather continues so I can continue enjoying my ice creams.

Like bad weather would stop me!

Ice cream for the win!

 

 

 

 

 

Body Power Expo-Birmingham

I love expo’s….

So this weekend I attended the Body power expo in Birmingham NEC with some crossfit friends. We wanted to go to see the attractions and stalls see what they could offer us.

Me, I went for the food!

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I love expos and conventions as its free sample heaven!

Also it’s where you can normally find really unique stalls which often sell the best goodies.

I was interested in what the expo could offer a gluten free vegan. Vegan diets seem to be the new thing at the moment which is a bit annoying as most folks now when presume when I say vegan/gluten free I’m doing it because it’s fashionable not because I have allergies.

So as it’s the new “fashion” I wanted to see what the fitness communities take would be on it.

I wasn’t expecting a lot from the expo, food wise, as most people involved in fitness to a high level are on diets which are really highly protein lead. Protein in muscle building is essential. Protein helps with muscle growth and repair so is really important for fitness. According to one site I require approx 184g of protein a day to build and maintain muscle. 

However, you try getting the amount of protein you need when you eat like a squirrel!

Currently I supplement my diet with protein shakes. My go to suppliers are My Protein, they do a soy isolate protein which is both vegan and gluten free and comes in a few tasty flavours. My current choice is there vanilla flavoured on as it can be mixed into lots of things as well as just a shake.

Mmmmm milkshakes, well kind of….

The expo was huge and there was so many stalls to look at but I had my gluten free vegan radar on high beam and was scouting for stalls and goodies!

One of the first stalls I found that produced allergy appropriate food was the Bulk Powders stand. These guys had a huge stand filled with lots of different products but they had one entire side of their stand solely for their new vegan range which is also gluten free!

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Unfortunately their new range only comes in 2 main flavours at the moment; banana and chocolate. They had free samples of their banana caramel shake and their chocolate peanut and obviously I tried both as it would be rude not too! The flavours were nice, not to dominant but enough to make the protein flavour less obvious. However, they both seemed powdery in the mouth. They also had some free samples of their new vegan protein bars, once again they were banana and chocolate coconut. I don’t normally enjoy protein bars and prefer the bars with nuts and seeds in, but these were classic style as I would call them. Both flavours were nice, not to dissimilar to the shakes. The texture of these bars weren’t to my liking I have to admit, they were a powdery texture and tasted powdery too. But ignoring the powdery texture the flavours were pleasant, not to strong but noticeable. On average their gluten free vegan bars have 21g of protein in each 74g serving.

I don’t think I would purchase these for myself but I can see why others would as the flavours are nice and I’m really looking forward to see what Bulk Powders new vegan range will become.

Pulsin are a brand I’ve eaten many times before so was really happy to see a familiar face at the expo. Pulsin make some really nice gluten free vegan protein bars that come in a range of flavours. I’ve tried a few flavours that I’ve brought in my local shops but the expo stand had some I’ve not seen before like vanilla choc chip and maple & peanut. The texture of protein bars are all really similar despite the change in flavours, I haven’t tried the oat bars so couldn’t comment on them, but the protein bars are a squidgy texture and have a similar taste to each other too. The flavours are very subtle; personally I like a more dominant flavour but what flavours come through are pleasant. On average their protein bars have about 12.5g of protein and 6g of sugar per 50g bar.

Well now I have had my protein bar for my starters for my main there’s nothing that can beat a protein packed gluten free vegan pizza and Muscle food has the best!

Beef up the vegan way….

The Muscle food stall was so dominant at the expo, they had huge pizza pictures up which instantly caught your attention because who would think you could clean eat a pizza. The smells coming from there stall was enough to make your mouth water instantly, however the ques were big, but worth the wait.

The pizzas were made in a little pizza oven and served in individual pizza boxes, the only issue was there was no seating are so we had to stand with our boxes. My vegan pizza had mushrooms, tomatoes, vegan cheese and what tasted like caramelised onions, it was so tasty and the base was thin and floppy not dry at all. I’d never heard of Muscle food before the expo but I went onto their website later as we had got some coupons from them at the expo, and they have a really good range of products but unfortunately not the vegan gluten free protein pizza but they do have the bases to make your own which I think I shall be purchasing soon.

Kettlebell kitchen was also at the expo, now I’ve heard so much about these guys and my crossfit friends rave about them. Unfortunately the ques for the food were really long and by this point in the day the hangry monster was out for some of us and ques were not what we wanted. However, I did manage to sneak a few photos of their menu and it looked really tasty. But there was some confusion for me, now correct me if im wrong but I’ve yet to find a gluten free and vegan Quorn meat replacement. I love Quorn but if I want it I have to choose between vegan or gluten free as their gluten free products have egg in them and the vegan ones have gluten. Seeing as I have an allergy to gluten I have to go gluten free.

So how have Kettlebell kitchen managed it?

I really wanted to ask the guys at Kettlebell kitchen but I got whisked away, because if there was a mix up it could be really bad for some folks or if they have found a gluten free vegan Quorn option I want in!

Now for my favourite part of any meal……..the pudding!

I scream , you scream, we all scream for sorbet?….

I don’t know about you guys but I go through phases where all I crave are certain foods and I could eat them all day every day, this time the cravings are for ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream!

But I’ve only even known eateries and especially stalls at conventions to only have sorbet as the vegan option for ice cream which I’m normally not a fan off. There are lots of dairy free ice creams on the market yet sorbet is what most folks offer. But not at this expo the amazing folks at Yogland have magiced up a gluten free vegan frozen dessert which is a sorbet but doesn’t taste like one at all. Its pure magic and tastes like a magic person made it!

Move over Harry there is a new wizard in town!

There was only 2 options for vegans; mango and strawberry and banana. As I have issues with mango so that’s out. Like most expo’s people are giving free samples and coupons out to everyone, I picked up a free topping coupon for these guys so I chose the strawberry and banana sorbet topped with fresh raspberries.

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Blinky yummy is an understatement!

It was so creamy and packed full of flavours, the tanginess of the strawberry was a sharp tingle which match the soft texture of the dessert perfectly. Now I was a good girl and only had a single scoop but I bet I could finish of a tub given the chance. I have been onto their website to see if they sell that particular flavour, unfortunately they don’t but they have many other flavoured frozen yogurts which they state can be made dairy free. All their yogurts appear to be gluten free and low in sugar and on average 10g of protein per serving which I presume is per scoop. Some of the sorbets advertised on their website have between 4g – 10g of protein in them, I’d be interested to see if there advertised yogurts once switched to vegan have the same amount of protein in them as they do with dairy.

I feel a test purchase coming up!

Overall the Body power expo was a super good day, full of new foods to try and lots of great stalls and inspirational people to meet. And I will most defiantly using my coupons for some online discount shopping!

Any day with ice cream is a good day!

 

 

Vegan life, live!

Yay! A trip out….

Today we went to Vegan life live at Event City in Manchester. I have been looking forward to this for ages as its a joy to be able to go somewhere I can (almost) eat anything I want without the worry of meaty bits creeping in!

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Vegan life live was running for 2 days, I found the vegan area of the arena a little small but full of brilliant food, beauty and household stalls. It was in the same arena as the om yoga show and the mind body soul experience. So it was a fantastic mix of my kind of people.

We didn’t just go to the vegan show we experienced it all, and found some stall mixed in with the other shows that were really nice.

Polly want a cracker….

Oh the food!

There were so many different food stalls; from take home options to eat in to home ordering. And most of the stalls had samples so you could nibble your way around!

We walked around first to see what was what before returning to get a really good look. One of the first stall we went to is one of my go to essentials foods, Nairn’s.

Nairn’s a brand which make oatcakes, breakfast biscuits and little nibbles. I pretty much have a packet of Nairn’s gluten free oatcakes in every handbag I own. As they come in little packets perfect for on the go nibbling.

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These little gems are a brilliant base for cheeses, pâtés and gorgeous for dipping in a nice soup, or just on there own! You can pick a box up from almost all good supermarkets and they make both gluten free and gluten containing products.

The 3 S’s. Seeds, sweeties and sausages….

I love a good seed! Pumpkin… Sesame… Sunflower…

The Toasted Seed company make, as they say, “crunchy snacks bursting with natural flavour” There flavoured seeds come in all sorts of different flavours and can be used to spice up any dish, or just to snack on.

One of the next stalls we bumped into is a favourite naughty snack of mine, Candy kittens.

Not just for the gluten free vegans, my meat eating gluten accepting boyfriend loves these too!

Candy kitten sweets are squidgy and full of flavour; they have sweets that are both vegan and gluten free which is always a welcome. Their stall at Vegan life live was so cute! It had a lovely light and was packed with lots of products in there cute kitty wrappers!

Sweets + kitties = Winner!

I completed a questionnaire whilst I was talking to the girls which landed me a free sample bag of their sour watermelon sweets, which I ate about 2! I did say he liked their sweets!

Heck sausages are something I have yet to try. I have seen them in my local supermarket but haven’t brought them yet. And I have no idea why because the look and smell fabulous! Unfortunately I cant eat one of there products, the super green sausages, due to it containing mint, which I have an allergy too but there Beet goes on sausages sound really nice. And a definitely purchase when I next go shopping. I didn’t get them today I was staying out longer and the need to be refrigerated. They also do a original and with cranberry sauerkraut which is both dairy and gluten free. I haven’t seen this sauerkraut in my local supermarkets and currently its out of stock online but I shall be watching it to come back so I can give it a try.

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The wall of love….

At the show they had what I’m calling the wall of love, it was a wall they asked folks to write on it why they are vegan. I call myself vegan when people ask as it easier to say gluten free vegan than a gluten free lactose intolerant vegetarian.

But I admit, I do eat a cheeky bit of cheese here and there. Which I shouldn’t and am currently suffering due to slipping of the wagon!

I was thinking what could I write that is totally true to me, so this emerge in my brain….

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No lies. All truth. Sorry.

Chocoholic’s anonymous….

Hi, my names Katie and I’m addicted to chocolate.

I was always a sweetie girl until puberty hit and then, oh hello naughty little bars of goodness! Unfortunately, at the same time my lactose intolerance turned up which meant I craved that what made me ill.

At that time, many moons ago, vegan chocolate was almost unknown, well to me it was. Which meant I either ate it and suffered or did without. And would you like to deal with a hormonal teenager craving chocolate? No, me either.

So to find nowadays lots of different gluten free and vegan chocolates its heaven.

I believe that we need to take care of our bodies and fuel them with healthy nutritious food, but I also believe that we need treats too. We cant always be good and shouldn’t punish ourselves for that.

A lot of the vegan chocolates I have found are bars. All different flavours, but in a bar. Which is good but sometimes you crave the different. Well did I find the different….

The Vegan choc shop  have made one of my most favourite non-vegan well known chocolate.

A walnut whip! And it was huge!

Now I understand that handmade vegan chocolates can be a little pricey but these were worth the cost just to try it, but it would have to be a treat due to the cost for me personally. It was so delicious though; super chocolatey and filled with a bubbly interior which didn’t have the texture or taste of the brand walnut whip but really really nice.

And super fun to eat as it melted everywhere and i felt like a kid again!

Another chocolate stall I found and just as we were leaving too was the Conscious organic raw handmade chocolate company. I’ve had raw chocolate before and I really like it, but only in small amounts as I find it really rich. They have many different flavours including an alcohol infused chocolate selection. I’ve had alcohol infused chocolates before, not vegan ones however, and to be honest I really didn’t like them. I spotted their cheeky cherry brandy bar initially as I love cherry foods, but really didn’t fancy the brandy aspect. Then I noticed their non-alcoholic cheeky cherry bar. Yup, a purchase was made instantly! I had a little sample whilst I was paying and it was as expected, rich, full of flavour and melt in your mouth tastiness!

Food glorious food, hot vegan and lovely….

The Vegan life live show had a specific area where you could purchase what I’d call “street food” and sit and relax to eat it. However, it was rammed, as expected, but the smalls were phenomenal!

It was an overload for the nose!

Unfortunately, after walking around and reading every menu, although everything was vegan a large amount of the stalls had very little or no gluten free options. However from a distance I seen it, my most favourite food in the entire world, no universe……tofu!

If I had to live on one thing for ever it would be tofu. Weirdly I only started eating tofu a few years back and kick myself for missing out for so long.

The Herbivorous stall have not so many options and I think all had a gluten free option if not already gluten free but they all sounded stupidly tasty. But, I fell into the love trap from my tofu addiction and went for there satay and smoked tofu burger with caramelised onion, crunchy peanut satay and citrus carrots. Although it stated burger, which wasn’t gluten free they swapped it for a gluten free wrap with no issues. I couldn’t sit down, but didn’t want to to be honest there was to much to see, so I took it as takeaway. What a mixture in my mouth, the squidgy marinated tofu mixed with the sharpness of the carrots and the crunch of the peanut satay was divine.

I ate to my hearts content!

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Whip, whip, hooray!….

I have been searching for vegan squirty cream since I  knew it existed and today they search is over!

The Newcastle vegan health food store had a little random store full of lot of different foods, shoes and bits and bobs. And what did I find there but my Schlagfix vegan squirty cream. I picked up most of my purchased items today from this stall. It had so many different foods I’ve never seen or even heard of before, which means I had to have them! From these guys I got my cream, of course, some Kuhbonbon vegan caramels and some Cleo’s peanut butter cups. The owner of the store was super friendly and actually hugged a customer to thank them for there custom! These guys not only have a shop the do delivery too and anywhere in the UK. I have a feeling I may be a new customer, wonder if next time I’ll get a hug?

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Everything and everyone else….

I’d love to sit here and tell you guys every stall we visited and all the interesting people we spoke too but unless your up for read the next volume of war and peace I will just add some photos and websites for you to peruse at your leisure.

Oh, and I won a free meal at Wagamamas!

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www.slabfudge.co.uk

www.bigjuiceltd.net

 

Team vegan for the win!