Friday, 27 August 2010

Eating out with confidence

Last night I went out for dinner and chose Wagamama in Brighton as I'd heard the food was good, and also that they're very accommodating to people with dietary needs. The service was friendly and attentive and they certainly do cater for people with dietary needs/allergies.

I mentioned to the person taking our order that I was allergic to nuts and she went and got me the allergy menu, which lists for each different allergy/intolerance/otherwise restricted diet what dishes contain those foods and also what dishes contain those foods which can be modified to leave out the allergen. It's really easy to use as all the menu items are numbered, so you just cross reference your dietary needs with the allergy menu to choose food that's right for you.

There was a page for nut allergies, one for coeliac/gluten/wheat, one for egg, for shellfish, for lactose intolerance and vegan as well. I think there may have been more but I lost track as it was so comprehensive. You can see the whole list and options on the website which is useful if you're planning a meal out.

Everything's cooked fresh to order so there's no problem with amending certain dishes to suit your needs and I'm sure I've mentioned already, but the staff were really helpful and friendly about it. This makes a big difference as I sometimes feel like I'm being difficult when I say I have certain allergies and intolerances but they acted like it was totally normal.

I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone with (or without - the food rocks!) food allergies, find a Wagamama near you and go!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Yoghurt, and more food intolerance (suspected)

I've been doing so much reading about lactose intolerance and other food intolerances from my work, and one of the most interesting pieces of information I found was that live yoghurt can be tolerated by people with LI because the cultures in the yoghurt break down the lactose and help you digest any remaining lactose.

Although I've been eating the Lactofree yoghurts and thoroughly enjoying them, they're not stocked at my local supermarket, so the yoghurt aisle remained off-limits, so when I found out I might be able to eat live yoghurt I was excited, as live greek yoghurt with honey was/is one of my favourite treats but I'd been avoiding it.

At the weekend I bought a big tub of greek yoghurt with honey and tried some to see what happened. Admittedly, eating nearly the entire tub wasn't the best way to approach the test but I didn't get any of the usual symptoms I get when I eat lactose-containing food. I felt a little rumbly in the stomach region but put this down to assaulting my digestive system with a large amount of a foodstuff it hadn't had to cope with for years.

I'm happy to report that I've tried the yoghurt again (in a smaller portion) and haven't experienced the bad symptoms after eating it!

On a worse note, I have noticed similar symptoms in the past couple of weeks even on days where I have been really good about not eating any dairy. I'm starting to suspect wheat (gluten) intolerance and have started a food diary today (good excuse to visit Paperchase and pore over the notebooks in my lunchbreak!).

I'm not at all excited by the prospect of having yet another food intolerance but there's so much understanding for food intolerances and good substitutes now that it should be manageable if it turns out I do have a sensitivity to wheat.

Wish me luck (and less digestive discomfort)!

Monday, 16 August 2010


After managing nearly a whole summer with no (ok, maybe just a tiny little bite) of ice cream I gave in and ate a whole scoop of real dairy, lactose included sticky toffee ice cream.

The first mouthful nearly made me collapse! I actually went weak at the knees from the texture of the ice cream melting on my tongue and the taste of the milk and toffee. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the scoop, pretty much cramming it in to get as much as possible in before I started to feel the effects. Unfortunately, knowing that I was going to feel sick as a result of eating ice cream made me not enjoy the last half so much, and may have exacerbated the symptoms with a touch of indigestion alongside lactose intolerance.

Needless to say I felt bloated and sick after eating the ice cream and had to change my top as I looked so pregnant from the gas and bloating that it was getting embarrassing!

Next time I'll just stick to a couple of bites from someone else's ice cream, or better yet a sorbet! All this in the same weekend I found dairy free raspberry and dark chocolate bars (Jameson's Raspberry Ruffles - coconut and raspberry covered in dark chocolate - YUM!).

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lactose in yoghurt

Whilst looking for mentions of lactose on Twitter I came across a link about certain types of yoghurt being suitable for people with lactose intolerance. I did a little digging and found the academic paper ( which suggests that unpasteurized yoghurts are tolerable for lactose intolerant people because the fermentation process starts to break down the lactose before it's consumed, and the active cultures help you break down any remaining lactose in the yoghurt.

I haven't tried any yet, but it will be an interesting experiment to conduct especially as I love yoghurt and can't find the Lactofree ones anywhere convenient in Brighton. I'll report back with news when I've tried it.

Please leave a comment if you have tried live, unpasteurized yoghurts and found you had little or no symptoms, or you've tried it and found you still had the same symptoms.

Friday, 6 August 2010

When will I learn?

It's Friday and I really felt the need for biscuits in the office, so I went to the shop and got distracted by some new hob nobs - chocolate creams. They're basically two small hobnobs sandwiched together by chocolate cream (like the type you get in bourbons but nicer!). I gave in and bought them, thinking that I'd be able to cope with a small amount of lactose.

Wrong! Turns out they're so nice that I've eaten half the packet and I've spent the day feeling nauseous, bloated and fatigued. I wish I'd gone for my homemade version of these biscuits (which involves a packet of hobnobs, a jar of dairy free chocolate spread, a knife, and an hour!), so I might start bringing the ingredients in to work and leaving them in my desk for Friday emergencies!

Have a lovely lactose free weekend (if you have better willpower than me!)