This post is in collaboration with MOMA
A recent survey of 400 Brits by OnePoll for MOMA has uncovered a big old trend of dissatisfaction with the availability of gluten free products. I was pretty interested – considering the huge rise in the popularity of omitting gluten – to find out that over 70% of respondents felt there wasn’t enough variety in gluten free ranges, and 20% just aren’t into what’s available at all.
A good friend of mine has been avoiding gluten for a couple of years now, so I thought I’d tempt her over with the promise of delicious delicious food and talk to her about her own experiences. Internet, meet Carina:
Carina eliminated gluten from her diet after toying with different ways of eating to find the way of eating that suited her best, one of the most sensible things you can do for yourself. Since cutting it out, she’s got more energy, is consistently in a better mood, feels lighter (even though that’s a horrific diet-y turn of phrase, I know), she’s sleeping better, and just feels nice. And it’s nice to feel nice. While I myself don’t have a sensitivity to gluten, I respect that we are two different human beings with two different bodies, and if eating white sliced makes her feel crappy, she’s got every right to stop eating it. I don’t really know why so many people struggle with that concept.
When I asked her if people ever get shitty with her about the way she’s chosen to eat, her response kind of irritated me (on her behalf, obvi). Turns out people can be super annoying about it, from little things like friends taking the piss (my heart really bled when she talked about boys cooking for her and moaning about what they could and couldn’t make her) to slightly bigger deals like restaurant staff making her feel like she’s asking about gluten free options just to be difficult, and treating her accordingly. Luckily, she spends a lot of time in Brighton, where the whole gluten free thing phases absolutely no one.
There are, obviously, substitutes for pretty much everything that contains gluten, but what she finds she misses most is pizza and beer. It seems there just isn’t a replacement for the sheer joy of either of those (can you see why we’re such good friends?). If anyone’s hooked up with a really good gluten free pizza base, leave me the deets in the comments so that I can pass it along!
There are a few brands that do some pretty solid ready meals and pastas, but since going gluten free Carina pretty much cooks everything herself from scratch (good girl) so eating at home isn’t that much of a ballache for her. She definitely agrees with the 70% of GFers that are frustrated with the lack of variety in gluten free substitutes, but also says that she’s noticed a slow and steady rise in the available options – so there’s hope for the future.
I have to admit, I myself was suddenly thrown when I was thinking about what to cook for her when she came over. I toyed with baking using a gluten free flour, but it’d be my first time and I didn’t want to present her with something subpar. In the end, we settled on nipping down to the supermarket together and just picking some stuff up to make lunch (amazing potato salad and a baked mozzarella thingie, in case you were wondering). Once you’ve educated yourself on where gluten is (you don’t even really need to know what it is), it’s totally easy to cater to your gluten free friends. What I’m saying here is: don’t freak out.
When I asked how being gluten free affects her in small and annoying day to day ways, she mentioned finding herself skipping breakfast every now and then because there’s no convenient “grab and go” choices when she’s on the move. I promise I didn’t force her to say that, but it’s one of the most beautiful tie ins in the world ever. MOMA just so happen to make these porridge pots that are 100% gluten free and super easy to chow down in a hurry. I’ll be sending her in the direction of them ASAP (you’ll find them in the free from aisle).
Before I go, I want to point you in the general direction of Loriley who runs a fantastic Gluten Free food blog, GFSesh.com. She covers recipes, GF restaurants, and a whole host of other things you might need to know if you’re avoiding gluten yourself. If you want to hear more from Carina, you can stalk her on her website or Twitter account. Finally, thank you so much to MOMA for sponsoring today’s blog post – it’s brands like MOMA that help me create the regular content you lot enjoy every week!