Gluten, Dairy, Eggs and Meat – the challenge is on!

May 31, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s true that Blushing Strawberries has been the victim of neglect over the past two months: studying, working, birthday partying and the like were gaining (or stealing) priority! I’ve eaten in some amazing places and can now recommend the three shot chicken at Spice Temple, the prawn dumplings at Sake and the spinach/ricotta fillo-pastry parcels at my friend Rosie’s BBQ!

The hologram entrance to Spice Temple

We’ve found the best thai takeaway in the eastern suburbs to be MD Thai on Oxford St and, recently, S.Thada thai on Victoria St who have lots of vegies in their chicken fried rice and sweet fried tofu! Breakfasts have been the salmon and potato rosti at Forbes and Burton in Darlinghurst, thyme and garlic mushrooms at Spicer Street Cafe in Woollahra and I’ve heard good things about Café Mint but am yet to try.

So much choice. So much food. Yes deliciousness has been had.

But what if you couldn’t order anything you wanted on the menu? Eating out is certainly a different, and more limiting, experience for people with coeliac disease, lactose intolerance, nut, egg or shellfish allergies and even vegetarians.

Coeliac disease affects approximately 1 in 100 people in Australia but 75% people don’t know they have it. Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease, which means that the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissues. For people with coeliac disease, this is triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Coeliac Society

My friend is currently on a raw-food diet to help overcome chronic fatigue. While the thought may be terrifying (especially on a cold winter night when all you want is a big plate of roast lamb, baked potatoes and sourdough bread), the reality  – while still requiring a great deal of struggle and determination on her part – has proved to be quite delicious. I have replicated at home so many of her meals because they sound so good (think grated rainbow salad, banana dusted in organic cocoa, nori rolls with corn and miso paste)!

Indeed, many restaurants are getting on the band wagon and tailoring their menus to suit such a lifestyle; check out the menu at the New York restaurant One Lucky Duck and tell me that you don’t want to eat there! Also the woman behind the rice at Wafu has impressed me by serving organic, gluten free, dairy free and soy free options – although I hear she frowns upon waste so be sure to eat all you order!

The days of boring meals are long behind us for those with allergies and intolerances and I am now out to discover just how amazing the food can be! Over the next four weeks I will be dedicating a week at a time to living with each of these diets, finding interesting winter recipes to cook, comparing the costs, seeing how it changes the restaurant scene for me, and then reporting all my findings right here on Blushing Strawberries! (Note: this has nothing to do with dieting for weight loss – I still cannot get onboard with fads like Atkins, no carbs, the lemon detox diet, juices/mashed foods or clear foods only etc…)

Timeline:

  • Week one: June 7 – 13:  Dairy free
  • Week two: June 14 – 20: Gluten & Wheat free
  • Week three: June 21 – 27: Vegetarian
  • Week four: June 28 – July 5: Egg, Peanut and Shellfish free

In order to prepare I have given myself this week to overcome my one addiction as it goes against all of the above (minus vegetarianism). This week the challenge is to BREAK the cereal habit that has stuck with me since I grew up watching my dad eat muesli every night after dinner. Two years out of home and I still have post-dinner oats as well as frequent midnight cereal snacks!

Obviously, this is not ideal if I am to have any success following a dairy/gluten/wheat/nut free month.

Now is the time for reform. The gauntlet has been thrown. Snap. Crackle. Pop.

Morning cereal is normal! Porridge with walnuts, acai, bananas, berries and greek yoghurt.

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