This week’s guest works with our buddies over at Ten Acre crisps and in her spare time runs a little Insta-blog by the name of @GlutenFreeManc. Let’s see what Rachel has to say for herself…
Right then Rachel…we’ll start with an easy one. How long ago were you diagnosed with Coeliac disease?
I was diagnosed when I was 19, so 11 years ago. I had been poorly for a few years before hand, to the point I had to drop out of university – it was all very stressful!
We can imagine! You must’ve seen some very positive changes to the gluten-free landscape over the past decade or so…
Like you wouldn’t believe. When I was first diagnosed I lived off jacket potatoes and salad for a couple of years! I remember one restaurant I visited assured me that they would create a gluten free meal. They said I couldn’t have the rice because it had gluten in it and that they would prepare me a salad. It arrived with croutons on it! I got used to it but now over the years, restaurants and cafes are definitely more clued up – I’ve had some great experiences eating out now! The same goes with supermarkets – there are so many more options now available, I remember when the ‘Free From’ isle didn’t exist or if you asked for it, you would be greeted with a blank stare! If you had said to me 10 years ago that I could eat a veggie pie (Cauliflower, Kale & Stilton is my fave!) then I would have laughed at you. I even ended up working in the food industry and so much has changed over the years to help those on gluten free diets. The company I currently work for makes gluten free crisps and popcorn and it makes me happy hearing when people first discover they can eat crisps without worrying about cross-contamination, or being flavoured with barley!
So between us we’ve got crisps and pastries covered, but is there anything that you’re yet to find a decent gluten free alternative for?
This is a tough one! I suppose a fresh French baguette. I love travelling and I get pretty jealous when my friends pick up cheap, fresh bread and baguettes and I’m sat there with stale rice cakes or a sandwich-less sandwich!
Oh the ol’ sandwich-less sandwich. We’ve all been there! Okay, so as the founder of @GlutenFreeManc we figured you’d be good for a recommendation or two. Go!
There is a restaurant in Manchester where I live called Dough. It’s been around for ages and was one of the first places around here to do gluten free pizza. It’s really good and some of toppings are amazing. Also, when I visited Valencia I found a gluten free bakery called Celia-cruz. It was unreal; I visited every day and ate all of the doughnuts.
Most annoying question you get asked about Coeliac disease?
Don’t you miss gluten?
Oh that’s a classic! Any last words of wisdom for those recently diagnosed with the disease?
Don’t let it knock your confidence – I let this happen and it took me years to feel comfortable asking. Let restaurants, friends, family know everything in advance if someone else is preparing food – and don’t be scared to double check! If you’re going on holiday, do your research before you go – it’s worth it and you might be lucky like me and find a gluten free bakery where you are staying!
To read a little more about Rachel and her Mancunian adventures be sure to follow @glutenfreemanc over on Instagram. Oh, and don’t forget to grab a pack of Ten Acre crisps next time you’re in the supermarket!