19 Aug Being Gluten-Free
Yes I know it’s been quite a while since I last posted. I literally dropped the introduction post to TWP and ghosted 😂😂. I really apologise for the hiatus but so much has happened over the last 3 weeks.
Quick Life Update
So about a month ago I officially graduated with a Law LLB degree from the University of Nottingham and after that my life has been a rollercoaster. I literally came home exhausted from the whole graduation and I started packing up my stuff because my flight back to Nigeria was the next morning. Got back in Lagos and barely had enough time to rest or settle in and I had to rush off to Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja. That’s where I’ve been over the past few weeks, and with the drastic transition and stress of settling in, making friends, adjusting to the new environment and system, let’s just say I’ve been in a pretty uninspired mood. I don’t want to give away so much on my current situation as I have a post coming that’ll be all about that.
However, I know I have a lot to make up for, so don’t worry there’ll be a lot coming on the blog as the weeks go by! Be sure to stay glued on the website and on our Instagram page so you don’t miss out on anything.
This was during that annoying period between the end of exams and graduation/moving back to Nigeria. Life was pretty unproductive, lazy and I was trying to enjoy the most of my short summer. I decided to meet up with a friend I hadn’t hung out with much since our second year. I had a pretty busy morning and by the time I got to her I was exhausted and famished. Thankfully she wanted to eat too and so our next dilemma was picking a restaurant.
After that awkward silence where nobody wants to be the one to make the suggestion, I suggested Nando’s and that was when I found out she was gluten-free. Before this, I had heard of people being gluten-free but didn’t personally know anyone who was. She was concerned about Nando’s not having enough gluten-free options and so we moved around Nottingham City Centre for a little over 10 minutes and finally ended up in Turtle Bay. For those who don’t know, Turtle Bay is the home of Caribbean fine dining and cocktails and they have restaurants that cut across the UK.
When we got there, the first thing she did was ask the waiter about their gluten-free options and he handed her a special menu that detailed everything contained in their food. At first he told us that she could order anything on the menu and the kitchen could just remove the gluten products in the food. That obviously wasn’t the case as we later found out that they couldn’t make customised meals in that way and she had to settle for something that actually didn’t contain any gluten at all (which limited her options significantly).
I noticed that she was a bit embarrassed by the numerous times she called on the waiter to ask questions about the food and she told me that it was worse for her when she was out with large crowds because everyone would be done ordering and she’d still be trying to figure out what she could eat. Eating out to her was not so much about the price of the food but more about the menu and whether or not she could actually eat without being affected.
Curious by her decision to go gluten-free, I had so many questions!
- Why the decision to Gluten-Free? – “I started having a swollen abdomen which caused me a lot of pain. The discomfort was all on one side and so initially I thought it was appendicitis. The GP was generally unhelpful. At first they thought it was just allergies that would go away on its own but the discomfort got worse and I had to keep going back to the GP, and all they did was carry out some tests and all they did was keep guessing what was wrong – A different guess every time. I started doing my own research and on my own I started eliminating things from my diet (such as dairy products) and eventually I eliminated gluten products and that’s when I started getting better”.
- What were the Gluten Products you eliminated? – “Spaghetti, Bread, Sausages, anything with wheat/wheat powder like biscuits. I started following this diet I saw online called the FODMAP diet. So far it’s really helped with the pain and I’ve been able to live a healthier lifestyle”.
- Did you gain any other benefits, e.g. Weight Loss? – “Not really because I’m not reducing my calories or trying to eat healthy but I’ve noticed that my tummy has gotten flatter and I get less bloating”.
After our meal, I decided to do some further research on being gluten-free and what it really means. Here are the 5 main facts about being gluten-free:
- A gluten-free diet strictly excludes gluten, a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains including barley, rye, oats and all their species and hybrids (e.g. malt). Most popular foods to be excluded include pastas, breads, crackers, couscous, flour, semo and soy sauce.
- Apart from helping with gluten-related disorders such as celiac disease (CD) and gluten intolerance/wheat allergies, this diet can also help reduce the symptoms of other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- A gluten-free diet can consist of anything naturally gluten free: meat, eggs, dairy products, corn, oils & vinegars, seafood, rice, potato, lentils and also processed foods which don’t contain gluten.
- A healthier lifestyle can be achieved with this diet. Some healthy options foods that can be eaten with a gluten-free diet include lean beef, chicken, fish, quinoa, low calorie fruits & vegetables, beans, nuts, healthy cooking oils, etc.
- Due to the fact that the conventional all-purpose flour used for baking is made from wheat flour, bakers and lovers of baked products have to substitute with flour made from gluten-free foods such as corn, millet, rice, chickpea or quinoa.
We started off with this delicious jerk pit wings which were marinated, grilled and glazed with sweet mango chilli sauce. The spices were very evident and they tasted amazing. Initially I wasn’t a fan but after several bites, I fell in love with the combo of mango & lemon infused flavours. However, I was a bit underwhelmed by the quantity in relation the price – 3 small chicken wings for £5.10. Overall I would give this meal a 6 out of 10.
For our main course, I had the ‘One Curry Goat’ (£10) which is basically marinated goat meat in curry spices with coconut rice and peas, sweet onion chutney, plantain, coconut shavings and dumplings. Everything was delicious and I really enjoyed the meal. The only negatives for me were the chutney, the plantain portion and the dumplings (too dry & tasteless). I had to get extra plantains as a side for £2.80 and that wasn’t fun. This gets a 6 out of 10 also.
My friend had the ‘Spinach, Aubergine & Sweet Potato Curry’ which also included kidney beans, coconut shavings and steamed rice. She couldn’t get the flatbread that accompanies the meal because of the flour.
So that’s it for today’s post. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and learnt a little about what it means to be gluten-free. Any gluten-free readers? Let’s talk and let me know your experiences, and if any of you decide to go gluten-free, I’d also like to know how that turns out. Share your thoughts and comments below and don’t forget to follow the Instagram page to stay connected.
See you guys in the next post (in a few hours 😉).
Thanks for reading,