Gluten Free or Not That is the Question?


This may sound like an unlikely blog post for a life coach to write. But given part of my own lifestyle goals are to focus on health and well-being it sort of fits into this category.

This may sound like an unlikely blog post for a life coach to write. But given part of my own lifestyle goals are to focus on health and well-being it sort of fits into this category.

I went gluten free many years ago not because it’s a fashion statement, but because I got excruciating pain when I ate bread!  it’s actually the wheat that caused it so by process of elimination including keeping a food diary I worked out I could eat pasta, but if I so much as looked at a cake, biscuit or deliciously buttered slice of toast it was game over for at least two days as an instant hit of indigestion made its presence known.

Gluten free has now not just become something of a health choice it’s become a fashion statement and must be a nightmare for restaurants with so many dietary requirements around.  I personally am not coeliac but if I ask for wheat free I get strange looks so I simply ask for gluten free instead. And it’s on the topic of restaurants that I want to share on this blog.

I consider myself to be a very adaptable, tolerant and considerate human being but what I am finding in some eateries is they are not returning this favour.

What do I mean by that?

Well I have spent many years picking through menus not expecting the restaurant to cater for me as I was a minority. So I would find something I could eat, not make a fuss and be grateful that someone else was cooking it for me. Fast forward a decade and “we cater for gluten free” menus are popping up all over including in leading supermarkets with shelves dedicated to those of us who are intolerant. If you are someone like me who gets excited by the fact I can have a piece of cake or bread that won’t spiral my body into a frenzy of indigestion then you’ll know exactly what I mean.  

Vegetarians and vegans have battled with this for years as pubs and restaurants offered limited choices including the obligatory salad or lentil burger. Now it seems whilst there is much more choice in the way of vegetarian options this cannot be said for gluten free.

My experience of eating out and asking for gluten free has been somewhat interesting to the point I felt I had to write this and see if anyone else is having similar experiences.

I’m not one for beating around the bush, at times I have been told I am direct and on occasions if I have to be assertive I’ve no problem with that. But I am becoming increasingly indignant by restaurants that claim to offer genuine gluten free menus but are not.

For example. I was offered a gluten free Sunday lunch which consisted of meat, veg but no Yorkshire pudding, stuffing or gravy! A dry experience. On one menu I asked if I could have the lamb option and was told “not really but you could have burger without a bun” another time my husband took me for a surprise lunch. He had notified the restaurant in advance I was gluten free “No problem Sir” came the email response. It turned out the gluten free menu was the same as the standard one with lines crossing out anything that included gluten. So I could have fish and chips without the fish!  Or mushrooms in a sauce. On a more recent experience I was given a selection un -gluten free toast and for dinner the waitress pointed out options that I could have rather than they adapt a dish to suit my dietary needs. The key thing here was I had already explained I was gluten free on arrival at the hotel. I have even been given a dish that was meant to have a sauce with it and it came without, making the dish very dry. It’s not difficult to make a separate sauce with good old fashioned cornflour.

Another favourite seems to be the Chocolate brownie as I am told with all seriousness “yes we have a lovely gluten free dessert” Much as I love a brownie as a treat now and again it would be nice to have another option.

It would make many Gluten free eaters very happy if we could be offered genuine menus with real choices without having to select the only option available off the standard menu. I know there are some fantastic  restaurants, cafes and bistro’s out there that do and hope the remainder may wise up and realise Gluten free and wheat free customers are not a minority any more.  

If you have had a similar experience please share it with me.