Condition or fad, let’s see…
Yesterday (23/1/07) the Daily Mail ran an article titled “Food Intolerance – a real condition or nothing but a fad”. Well I read this with interest and learnt the difference between an intolerance and an allergy, causes, how common it is, etc., but I was most concerned about the paragraph on how common it is.
As you all know my daughter suffers with a severe dairy/lactose intolerance and over the years it has become clear that she is not on her own, far from it. That being so I was perturbed to read that Dr. Hurlstone (from where I do not know) claims that :-
“people are quick to jump on the bandwagon”
Is he mad? Why on earth would you forgo certain foods if you did not have to? It is not easy, is certainly unenjoyable, sidelines you from being able to enjoy meals out, purchasing normal everyday food and increases your food bill by vast amounts of money. Taking this into account why would you do it if you didn’t have to?
I take his point that people get misdiagnosed and that is sad, but the old chestnut of the ‘bandwagon’ is really harmful to people who do have an intolerance and the way they are perceived by other people. My daughter has suffered for years and has been called an attention seeker and anorexic. She is neither of those things and found it quite distressing. Her intolerance affects her health and well being and she copes remarkably, she rarely moans and just gets on with it.
Imagine this scenario: you are at work and it is someone’s birthday. As usual it is cakes/chocolates all round and everyone gets stuck in, except you can’t indulge. Your workmates are all aware you have an intolerance but that doesn’t stop them shoving cakes/chocolates at you saying ‘go on, have one, it won’t hurt’. Well yes it does hurt and it does make her sick and it doesn’t matter how many times she tells them, it still goes on. It must be hell to have to sit and watch them and I know if it was me I would have had a hissy fit by now. There is nothing she would like more than to sit down to a large piece of brie or a slab of chocolate but she can’t so she doesn’t, her willpower is amazing.
It is the same with restaurants/cafes. We all take it for granted that if we want to dine out or go for a snack we can go wherever we want. Not so for someone with an intolerance, it is incredibly difficult. It is embarrassing to have to keep asking the chef if dishes contain dairy and my daughter usually ends up cobbling a meal together, settling for what is on offer rather than what she actually would like. Recently we ate at a hotel and she chose red cabbage, luckily she asked if it contained dairy – now why would it – but just in case she asked. Yep, it had been cooked in butter, why? It is a minefield trying to choose a complete dinner that does not contain any dairy.
Maybe the Daily Mail could do some articles on places to eat that cater for intolerances, where to shop for ‘free from’ foods that are reasonably priced and easily obtainable, that would be of more help.
I did fire off an email to them with my thoughts on their article but will not be holding my breath for it to be published.
Maybe I should contact Jamie Oliver, he seems to like a cause. You never know I might just do that…
It’s that time of year when everyone is coughing and sneezing and sore throats abound. My husband is, as we speak, partaking of a dish of my Lime Fluff as he has a rotten cold, is sneezing and wheezing and a sore throat.
We all like comfort food at these times and I suddenly remembered that my lovely mum used to make me a fluffy mousse type dessert at times just like this so I racked my brain to try and think how she made it. I remembered that she used a pack of jelly and I think a tin of evaporated milk but obviously that wouldn’t be any good for my antidairyfairy stance so I decided to experiment as follows :-
1 pkt lime* jelly (with real fruit juice of course)
½ pt boiling water
1pkt (250ml) Alpro Soya dairy free alternative to single cream.
Tear up the jelly into squares and place in a bowl.
Pour on ½ pt boiling water and stir until all the squares have dissolved.
Leave to cool.
Once cool add the soya cream.
Whisk all this together – an electric whisk is best – and then when it is light and fluffy
Put in the fridge to set.
This really doesn’t take long.
*You can, of course, use any flavour jelly but my particular favourite is lime.
I call this lime fluff as it is extremely fluffy and just slides down the throat, cleansing the mouth and soothing as it goes.
This is a great party dish for kids too.
Now I have to say food shopping comes way, way down on my list of enjoyable pursuits, I get bored trying to come up with different meals each week especially as by the time I get home from work I want to eat and don’t want to spend ages in preparation. It is at this time of night that I fall off the diet wagon and sneak a biscuit or a piece of cheese (dairy free cheese of course) or heaven forbid, a couple of chunks of chocolate.
Anyway, I digress, today we decided to go to a new Waitrose nearby and it was shopper’s heaven. I think Waitrose is really the only civilised supermarket in this country, it tops M & S in my book. The shops are light and airy – well the ones round here are – and the food is soooo good. Even the pre-packaged food looks so much better than in the bog standard supermarket. The downside to this shop is that I go in for just a couple of things and come out with bagfulls of food because it all looks so good.
The best thing for me though is the fact that they have a huge ‘free from’ section comprising of all sorts of goodies so that if you are dairy/lactose intollerant or coeliac there is actually a choice of goodies. They sell sheep and goats milk yoghurt as a matter of course alongside cheeses of the same ilk and various different types of milk.
I can’t praise them enough so if you have a store near you go on in, I dare you. Be warned, you will not come out empty handed.
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I have just had the most lovely day, went down to London on the train, met my husband for lunch at Portobello Road, purchased some pictures for the house and then went across to the Royal College of Art in Kensington to see the printed textile show (free to the public for the next week at least) which contained a piece by my daughter. The show is incredibly good and the talent contained therein is amazing, made me so jealous as stick men are about my limit!
We did have another motive for being around this afternoon as well, as today was the day that my daughter and another 10 students found out who was the winner of a competition run by Heals (the furniture store). We saw Ella for about 1/2 an hour before the result was announced and she appeared quite calm, her father and I tried hard not to show our nerves but as soon as she left us we headed out for a bar and imbibed. It sounds really stupid that we were nervous but we knew just how much work she had put in and, as with all parents, we wanted her to win. 2 hours and a few glasses of vino later we were still waiting, by now my stomach was in knotts and my husband was getting gently inebriated and then we got the phone call, she was on her way. “Well, well, how did it go” my husband asked, “is it good news?” “I’ll tell you when I get there, bye” was all she said. Anyway, she came into the pub and handed me a piece of paper with the saddest look on her face, my heart dropped and then I read the words “FIRST PRIZE ELLA SMITH”. I am so proud of my daughter that I became speechless which has to be an amazing first. This is nothing to do with dairy free except for the fact that she is lactose intollerant so I thought that all those who share her allergy or read this blog could share in her good fortune.
Of course a celebration was then on the cards so we went to one of Ella’s favourite restaurants Wagamama in High Street Kensington. A big up for this chain as they cater for both dairy free and coelic by having dishes on the menu available for allergy sufferers. Their curries do not contain dairy and they offer two types of noodle, rice and wheat so everyone is happy. Also, they offer a wild berry sorbet and natural fruit lollies both of which Ella is able to have. We had a lovely meal.
We then manoeuvered my husband back to the tube/Thameslink, Ella went back to her digs and we went home.
A lovely day was had by all.
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Well I had thought I had got rid of all the Christmas goodies, had pigged out on all the chocolate and biscuits etc., etc., then my husband goes down the rugby club for the first time this year only to be told he had won 2nd prize in the raffle at Christmas, yes a ruddy great hamper full of wonderful treats. Now, don’t get me wrong I was really pleased but how unfair, tonight is the night I am going to bite the bullet and go back to the dreaded weight watchers!!!
We are going to one of our best friends’ daughter’s wedding in 18 weeks time so by my reckoning if I can lose just 1lb per week it will make a huge difference to my choice of outfit. I don’t want to be a skinny bird (fat chance – excuse the pun) but I do want to lose at least a stone as I feel so much better when I weigh much less and I also don’t want to look like a hippo which is how I feel at the moment.
So tonight full of good intentions I have made a huge bowl of winter slaw, I chopped up a red cabbage, grated carrot and celeriac, chopped apple and walnuts, mixed it all up and then added a dollop of Hellmans (of course). It looks yummy and once I have been to the dreaded weigh in I will sit down to a lovely bowlful.
So, I now have no excuse and will be looking to create wonderful tasty options, hopefully dairy free and will pass on any goodies.
Maybe just one more biscuit before tonight…..
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The Independent on Sunday’s Information this week ran an article on the 50 best British Hotels and in amongst them at number 23 was the Hotel du Vin (the Brighton one). Now as I said in my previous post this hotel is lovely, I totally agree with them that it is stylish with lovely, lovely extravagent bathrooms, the staff are good and the bistro also BUT as I said before, not if you have a dairy allergy. The staff in the restaurant did try their best but can only help if there is an alternative to food containing dairy. It is so frustrating anyway to have to check out every dish on the menu to see if it contains dairy, maybe it is time menus had a key to them to help out coeliacs & dairy intollerants, surely that can’t be too hard.
I would definitely go back to the Hotel du Vin in Brighton, like a shot as far as the rooms go, but would go out to eat rather than eat in the hotel. This seems such a shame as the restaurant had a nice ambience to it.
Maybe I will write to them and see what they say.
Have just typed a long post about my NYE but have lost it again, this is about the third time over Christmas and Pub is beginning to despair of me – think I am just thick.
Anyway, can’t be bothered to type it again, will have enough typing when back at work tomorrow – oooh I just can’t wait!
So all I will say now is HAPPY NEW YEAR.