Coeliac Spotlight – Rachel

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!

Coeliac Spotlight – Carrie

Welcome to another edition of Coeliac Spotlight! This week we want everyone to give a very warm welcome to Carrie, who’s currently studying to be a nurse. In her spare time she like to paint, play tennis and walk her adorable little pug, Benny. Carrie…Come on down!

(Sorry for the weird game show-esque dialogue. We’re hoping to get spotted for the new series of The Price Is Right.)

Let’s start with an easy one. How old were you when you were first diagnosed?

I was aged 8/9 I think. I can remember feeling a strange kind of sense of relief. I had school dinners when I was little and I can always remember feeling really bloated, like my tummy would just go all hard and I would feel really lethargic. Mum started making sandwiches for me thinking I was just being fussy or it wasn’t great cooking (let’s be fair Turkey Twizzlers were pretty grim!) but it still didn’t go away and it would be really painful. It was then she took me to the doctors and they did some tests and I was diagnosed with it.

So you were very young! How have you found things have changed since?

In the 90s there didn’t seem to be as much food readily available and now the selection is great, I’ve got to say. It was such a hassle to find a good alternative back then that I just wouldn’t bother. This was really hard, I remember my friend had a birthday party at pizza hut and I couldn’t go. Now, there is much more awareness of the disease, and along with the popularity of the GF diet, we’re seeing almost a golden age in GF availability!

There must still be something out there that you miss…

Okay. So I have yet to find a good gluten free pretzel. My mum is from New York originally and I can remember visiting as a child and being obsessed with the giant pretzels – particularly the cinnamon ones! They tasted soooo good. The free samples they hand out in shopping centres really test my self control…

We feel your pain…So how are the Welsh doing in terms of Gluten Free restaurants?

The Cosy Club in Cardiff is VERY good. Their GF breakfast has become something of a tradition on the weekend and their gluten free “Avocado Brunch” is incredible.

Okay, so you have one last chance to spout some pearls of wisdom. Go!

Whether it’s a dietary requirement or a personal choice, don’t be worried because there are so many supermarkets and restaurants that cater to this now, you just need to know where to look. Follow a load of Coeliac brands/blogs on Twitter and you’ll always get great little recipes or tips popping up on your timeline!

So there you have it, a little wisdom on the house, courtesy of another lovely member of the coeliac community. Fancy a go in the spotlight? Drop us a tweet or Facebook message!