In Part 2 of our coeliac and gluten sensitivity interview with 4 influencers we chat about shopping and travelling abroad, and we ask our interviewees about some of their favourite gluten free products and brands. If you want to learn about how they were first diagnosed and how the condition has impacted their life, we recommend you head over to Part 1.
1. How do you handle having to follow a gluten-free diet when travelling abroad?
Jane @glutenfreejoy - Travel can be really hard. When you travel you want to enjoy the quintessential experiences that each destination offers, including traditional cuisine of course, but also iconic locations or settings. So even when there are gluten free venues nearby, it can be so time-consuming trying to find them, fitting them in to your packed itinerary, and potentially having to eat at a daggy venue in a side lane instead of a pretty cafe overlooking an Italian piazza simply because that was where the GF venue happened to be. This was of course my motivation for starting my Gluten Free Europe Tours...there is no iconic experience that we don't cover, and hopefully we can get back to globetrotting in style once international travel is possible again! We were also just about to add Uniworld Europe River Cruising to our 2021 tour program. Hopefully now for late September 2022!
Elena @a_is_for_apple_au - To eat while traveling is a bit harder but like here you can always find a nice salad, sushi or just a nice smoothie to keep you full and happy.
Daphne @healthygfasian - Having a gluten free restaurant cards in English as well as the local foreign language of the country you are visiting is essential when travelling overseas. This is to make sure that you are communicating clearly to the food preparers what your dietary requirements are especially when there is a language barrier. Also, BYO your own gluten free sauces for restaurant chefs to use whenever possible.
Jane @theglutenfreeexplorer - I spend the time researching gluten free options before going to my destination. If gluten free is not readily available, I make sure I take snacks and necessaries with me. It is so VERY exciting when you find some coeliac safe options when travelling abroad!
2. Do you feel the food market has improved when it comes to gluten free products? Do you think there are still things they could improve?
J - When first diagnosed, the options were very limited and pretty awful and of course, they cost a fortune! They still usually cost a fortune, but it is so wonderful that so many food manufacturers have spent the time and money to develop food items that are getting closer and closer to the real thing! Love that Woollies and Coles now compete for our custom, there are some amazing products in the supermarkets. But of course, I have made it my mission to find wonderful and stunning gourmet options from smaller manufacturers that are not available in supermarkets. I pop them in beautiful hampers to deliver WOW foodie moments to coeliacs and GF-ers around the country.
E - Yes, the market has improved significantly. But there are always some things that can be improved. Very often, gluten-free products are made from highly processed ingredients and are very unhealthy.
D - The food market for gluten free products has come a long way in the last few years. There are now many manufacturers offering a wide-ranging variety of new innovative products for gluten free and free-from diets. The qualities, taste and nutritional values of gluten free products have also improved tremendously. Providing more selections and yummier gluten free options for consumers who are increasingly more health aware and place emphasis not only on whether the products are gluten free but also on their nutritional values, look, taste and varieties available. Gone are the early days of cardboard looking and tasting gluten free bakery products like breads, cakes, and cookies.
J - Yes, there are definitely more readily gluten free products out there which is so lovely to see. However, I think there are improvements still needed.
3. Do you struggle to find products you like in a gluten-free version?
J - For sure, although it is of course part of my business to find them and let everyone else know about it through the blog and hampers! A 100% GF bakery is my absolute fave. GF pastries that are close to the 'real' version...my major weakness!
E - No, I found gluten-free bread that I love. It is GF Precinct and BuonTempo make pretty good pasta. Otherwise, my diet is predominantly built around fruit and vegetables and some healthy animal protein.
D - Yes, I struggle to find gluten free versions of products that I like. For example, dim sums, pizzas, bread buns, cakes, cookies, pies, noodles, dumplings and wontons wrappers, bao buns, KFC, etc.
J - More takeaway options, more healthy options and baked goods.
4. What do you think of brands like Mr Lee’s who are working towards putting out products on the market to satisfy this dietary requirement?
J - We LOVE that companies like Mr Lee’s look after us. Finding tasty noodles that don't fall apart... so good. Perfect for the easy snack or noodle-based meal by adding protein and veggies.
E - I really think it is great that more brands are now working towards creating products that are natural and healthy.
D - It is great that many brands like Mr Lee’s, are putting in efforts to bring more ready-made gluten free products on the market. This gives more delicious, safe and certified gluten free options for people who are on a gluten free diet especially coeliac disease and NCGS sufferers.
J - It’s really fantastic to see that brands like Mr Lee’s are able to be so readily accessed and making really yummy gluten free options!
5. What are some of your favourite gluten-free products/brands?
J - Mr Lee’s of course, plus the wonderful brands we stock in our hampers including Random Harvest,Mother Megs, Bramble & Hedge, Whisk & Pin, Roza’s Gourmet andOgilvie & Co. Love that they all look after us so well!
6. Are there any fellow gluten free bloggers you would like to give a shout out to?
D - I love Elana’s Pantry blog, such an amazing selection of Paleo and Keto Gluten Free Recipes, simple and delicious! Another of my favourite bloggers is Gluten Free on a Shoestring, fantastic and easy recipes offering detailed tutorials on how to make many gluten free baked goods.
7. Any words of advice for those who have recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease?
J - Life does not have to end. Foodie joy and social inclusion is still possible with a little research. Also, join Coeliac Australia, their resourcing is just amazing.
E - Be happy that you found out what has caused your symptoms because now you can change it and enjoy a pain and symptom free life. Gluten-free is not hard. It takes a little time to adjust, but you will be fine. The chances are you will be eating much healthier. Follow some GF people on social media, food bloggers like myself. You are not alone!
D - Being diagnosed with coeliac disease and/or NCGS, does not mean the end of yummy and tasty food choices. Once you have a definitive diagnosis, you are on the road to healing and full recovery for your digestive system and your body as a whole and soon you will be feeling healthy and back to your usual self again.
People on a gluten free and/or restricted diets are still able to enjoy wholesome and delicious food. You can still eat a healthy balanced diet based on naturally gluten free food like meat, seafood, fresh fruits, and vegetables. There are also many gluten free producers worldwide offering numerous inventive and appetizing gluten free and free-from products. Food allergy, food intolerance and food sensitivity are on the rise globally, you are not alone in these situations. You can still savour scrumptious and delightful food on a daily basis. Lastly, join a support group in your home country for coeliac disease, NCGS or IBS.
J - It takes time but it gets easier and you will feel better! -Anything can be made gluten free! -You’re not alone. -Gluten free doesn’t have to be boring it can be really exciting and delicious! -Follow the @theglutenfreeexplorer for more gluten free and coeliac safe resources.