Going Against the Grain: a guide to gluten-free living
Hello, I’m Chantelle, Healthy‘s senior sub-editor and resident free-from foodie. It’s been four years since I discovered I could no longer eat wheat-based products. As the purveyor of the world’s sweetest tooth, my first thoughts were, ‘what am I going to do without cake?!’ But it’s not until you actually begin adjusting your diet according to your new found needs that you realise just how many products gluten and wheat are in.
It’s everywhere. There are the obvious ones, like pasta, pizza, bread and biscuits, but flour is also used to thicken up a lot of soups and sauces that you would never have even thought to check before. You’ll even find it in the most obscure things – chocolates such as Smarties warn on their packaging that they may contain wheat. Eating out becomes a nightmare, too; popping to a shop at lunch to find a sandwich you can actually eat often proves nigh-on impossible.
However, in the years I have been gluten-free, the food industry has changed. A lot. The free-from sector in the UK is now worth an impressive £355 million a year. Just go into your local supermarket and chances are you’ll find at least a couple of shelves displaying free-from products.
Back in the day, gluten-free items often left a lot to be desired; overly dry cake, bread that was like chewing on slices of foam and pasta that laughed in the face of al dente, not to mention restaurant menus limited to salads. Now, the range of gluten-free food and ingredients has improved immeasurably and the market continues to grow.
So whether you’re allergic or intolerant to wheat or gluten or simply want to exclude it from your diet to try and live a healthier lifestyle, then Going Against The Grain is the place to be. I’m going to be navigating you through the sometimes-choppy gluten-free waters, bringing you reviews of products out there, the best restaurants offering more than just lettuce and recipes so you can extend your palate at home.
Going gluten-free is a fun challenge, not a punishment – so enjoy, and let me know your thoughts and tips by getting in touch; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.