Eating for multiple food allergies

Diagnosing multiple food allergies can be complex, stressful and often very frustrating. For most people it can be a long process of testing and re-testing, taking food challenges to eliminate the allergen(s) and at times guess work to determine the actual cause of allergic symptoms. Identifying allergens will be dependent on your reactions. This may involve keeping a diary of your reactions to each allergen and working with your doctor, allergy specialist and/or dietitian to eliminate these from your diet and work towards a better quality of life.

At the doctors!

I found diagnosing my young children was very difficult as they could not tell me how they felt. I had to check their physical reactions e.g. diarrhoea, vomiting or rashes during testing. My children were tested by qualified child allergists using the ‘drop and scratch’ technique. This assisted in finding some of the causes of their allergic reactions. You can find further information on testing and identifying allergic reactions from these websites:

Choc Fudge Brownies Premix, Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies

Special diets are one of the most common treatments for food allergies.  Rotation or Rotary diversified diets are used for patients with multiple allergies.  Those foods causing allergic reactions must be eliminated and all other foods  should be eaten at intervals of four to five days or longer on rotation. If you have overt allergies to many foods, it is likely that you have slight,  subclinical allergies to many other foods that you consider safe. Eating them  on a rotated basis reduces your exposure to them and hopefully will help  preserve your tolerance for them (1) I would always advise having any allergy testing and monitoring of elimination  diets supervised by qualified practitioners.
Elimination diets can be complex  and need careful management. If you try and follow them without supervision,  you may either be including foods you may be allergic to and/or eliminating  foods you can safely eat. I found a number of medical websites and journals who explore, in great detail,  multiple food allergies including the use of immunotherapy for treatment. It’s heavy reading but if you’re interested check the credits for links.  In the past if you were diagnosed with multiple food allergies your  food choices were very limited.

Allergy Friendly Baked Sweet & Sour Drumettes (recipe from Melinda’s allergy free entertaining app)

Thankfully these days many companies, including  Melinda’s Gluten-Free Goodies, offer foods that can be made to suit multiple allergies. The only way to expand the market  of available foods to suit your diet is to lobby the supermarkets and food  manufacturers. Directly contacting food manufacturers lets them know what  consumers want and need.  Their product  development teams will then know there is a growing need for allergy free food  products.
The Melinda’s team were  contacted regularly by people following a gluten free vegan diet and who struggled to buy good quality, tasty products.  Thirteen of our gluten-free savoury and sweet products can now be prepared vegan friendly. You may also chose to join associations such as Coeliac Australia.
To assist the supermarkets in understanding your needs complete a customer feedback form at the service counter of your local supermarket.  You may also wish to contact the supermarket company online. Your feedback will inform the health food department of your  supermarket company of their customer needs. In turn they may be more open to consider allergy free food products presented by food manufacturers. Remember food  manufacturers and supermarket chains are only interested in products that will sell. Creating the demand for more allergy friendly products will mean more of  these products on the shelves.
Eating out becomes particularly tricky when trying to avoid multiple food allergens. Refer back to my first blog about eating out gluten free for more details. To summarise:
  • Research restaurants in the area
    and check their websites or call to discuss your needs. This will also
    give you an idea of their level of understanding of your dietary needs.
  • Take the lead when going out in a group and ask the
    organiser if you can be involved in selecting where to eat. This will make
    it easier and more enjoyable for everyone on the night.
  • Book a table in advance specifying which food you need to
    avoid
  • Always pack your emergency medication or ‘kit’ in the event
    of contamination.
I found it was much easier during food challenges or “rotations” to limit the amount of socialising while you are trying to identify the culprits. If you cannot avoid social occasions then offer to take a plate of food to share ensuring it meets your dietary needs.
Look forward to your comments and experiences,
Mel
Credits and resources

2 Responses

  1. InTolerantChef Says:

    It’s great to be able to get yummy multi allergy friendly food. I took in some gluten free, dairy free and sugar free brownies to work and my other chef friend said she ‘they don’t taste like they’ve got nothing in them’ !! Keep the good food coming guys.

  2. Oscar's Mum Says:

    I have just discovered your products. My son isn’t gluten intolerant, but has lots of other intolerances, including artificial colours preservatives and flavours. I was very pleased to discover your brownie mix, which was OK for him. I thought you might like to see the cute little cup cakes we made with it:
    http://recipesforfoodintolerances.blogspot.com/2011/07/birthday-party-project-3.html
    We will be making them again for his birthday party.

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Allergy Friendly Kids Parties

 

Parties have always been an interesting time for me. I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease 17 years ago and over the years I’ve always brought along my own gluten free food to parties.  Given the many food choices available for people needing an allergy free diet, I continue to be surpised that I still need to bring my own food to parties and other events. Many people feel it’s not their responsibility to cater for those with ‘difficult’ allergies but in today’s society with the rapid increase in the rate of kids with allergies I think it’s time they should. With the array of easy to access allergy friendly products I believe it’s a good host’s responsibility to consider any allergy needs of all their guests.

If you have a long list of allergies then please give the host a break and bring your own stash or shared platters as there is a limit to understanding multiple allergies and intolerances and also a reduction in the easy-to-access foods.

These experiences was one of the many reasons we created quick and easy premixes and why we released our app, allergy free entertaining, so anyone could prepare and present allergy friendly food when entertaining. As a mother to three children under five years old I’ve attended 15 kids’ parties in the last 12 months. Only two hosts provided a decent array of gluten free food for me and a couple of other guests. It was a delight to have both savoury and sweet foods provided and labelled appropriately to ensure we were able to enjoy the food and did not miss out. Unfortunately,  most of the time there was no suitable food provided for myself and other guests. I often ended up snacking on gluten free crackers stashed in my handbag! Importantly, I was very concerned for children who attended these parties who had food allergies. It is critical to let your hosts know beforehand about your children’s dietary needs but it would also be good for hosts to ask parents about any dietary needs beforehand. We all want children to really enjoy themselves and not feel excluded.

Allergy Riders Party Cakes

MGFG Party Cakes inside Allergy Riders Cupcake Holders

Allergy Riders

Allergy Riders Gluten & Dairy Free Wrappers & Flags

 

There are so many food products easily available now which hosts can add to their party shopping list. At the two ‘well catered’ parties the host only served gluten free party lolly mixes. This avoided any mix-ups. They also used simple signs on plates to help the children make safe choices.  A few food ideas include:

  • Inexpensive gluten free party lollies in both major supermarkets
  • Easy and quick to prepare allergy friendly premixes
  • A full range of gluten free crackers and dips
  • A mixed platter of fruit or fruit skewers with gluten free marshmallows
  • Mini meatballs with gluten free condiments (recipes in allergy friendly entertaining app)
  • Gluten free ice blocks or ice creams
  • Individually wrapped chocolate frogs or bars
  • Plain chips or gluten-free flavoured chips

I include in my party invitations a question about any food allergies and/or intolerances. I can then provide a good range of food and remove any stress on the day.. One of my latest projects is gluten free Cake Pops. They are taking over cupcakes I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Cake Pops’ by American blogger Bakerella and the below recipe originated from this book.

My kids and their friends had the pleasure of trialing my ‘fail-cakes’ (my mum says to say this quickly so they think it’s a type of cake!!) and loved them.  If you’re feeling adventurous why not try these to dazzle your guests and the parents at your next party.

Uniced Cake Pop Shapes

Uniced Cake Pop Shapes

 Melinda’s Cake Pops

1 x cooked MGFG Choc Fudge Brownie

1 x tub Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting™ (or your own version see below)

1.3 kg chocolate (we used Lindt Dark™ mixed with Cadbury Milk™)

48 Paper lollypop sticks or paddle pop sticks

Styrofoam block or ball

Bake the brownie as directed on the box ensuring you cook it longer for a more ‘cakey’ style brownie. Cool completely and cut into eight pieces. Using your fingers crumb the cake into a bowl until very fine (you may need to partially freeze before crumbling). Add in 220g frosting and using a metal spoon stir until combined. Roll mixture into balls or press into greased cookie cutters for shapes and place on a greaseproof papered tray. Cover with wrap and freeze for about 15 minutes until firm but not frozen or freeze until needed and remove for partial defrosting. 

Melt the chocolate on low in your microwave, stirring until smooth and runny.  Place into a small deep bowl. Remove a few balls/shapes from the freezer at a time. Make an indent in the ball/shape with the end of the stick. Place the same end into the chocolate and then replace into the hole and push until ½ into the ball/shape. This will help the stick stay in place.

Holding the stick with the cake ball attached, dip the entire cake ball into chocolate swirling until completely covered and remove in one motion. Hold on the side to allow dips to fall off (keep rolling the stick between your fingers for chocolate to set evenly. Run your finger around the base of the cake to seal the cake mixture. This can be the tricky part and result in a few ‘fail-cakes’ but once you get the rhythm it’s easier.  Place in Styrofoam block to set and decorate as you wish.

We used the sweet caramel mixture and white chocolate frosting as well.

Inside Caramel White Choc Cake Pops

Inside Caramel White Choc Cake Pops - 'research'!!

Sweet Caramel Cake White Choc Cake Pops

Sweet Caramel Cake White Choc Cake Pops

"Choc on Choc" Cake Pops

"Choc on Choc" Cake Pops

Cake Pop Shapes

Cake Pop Shapes

 Cream Cheese Frosting

125g butter

250g cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1kg gluten free icing sugar

Beat softened butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add icing sugar until combined. Use 220g for cake pops and remaining for cupcakes.

 WIN: Allergy Riders have kindly donated some baking cups and food flags from their range for this blog (including ‘No Nuts here’ and ‘No Eggs here’). To go in the draw leave a comment to this blog (click on the title for the comment section to appear below) telling us your best allergy friendly party experience. The winner will be chosen by the Melinda’s team on 31 May 2011 and notified by email (please ensure you leave an email address on your comment)

Next time you are invited to a party advise your host of your or your child’s needs and offer to bring a plate to share which may spark their interest in providing other food for the event.

Happy cooking!

Mel



11 Responses

  1. Chailee Says:

    Thank you!! My 5 yo daughter also has Coeliac Disease and I find parties a nightmare. I think you’ve really helped me with this 🙂 she has a party this weekend that I know will have no gluten free food…thankfully she’s very understanding and will “make do” all the time.

  2. Maria Archer Says:

    I love the idea of those Cake Pops will have to give them a try! I always take a plate of GF food to share when the boys are invited to parties! I feel it takes the heat off the host and also allows my kids to know they will have something to eat! As long as there is a “birthday cake” substitute they are happy!

  3. Jenn Says:

    My 9 year old daughter recently was invited to a birthday party held at a rsl kids club. The mum contacted me and asked if I could write a list of gluten free party foods. Then a few days before the party she excitedly told me that all the food at the party was gluten free – the restaurants’, the cake, the party bag…..everything! My daughter had the most wonderful time. For the first time since diagnosis she wasn’t the odd one out at a party. The smiles on her face were utterly delightful.

  4. Amy Says:

    Even before my almost 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with anaphylaxis (nuts), I always made sure I had at least one thing on the menu (for everything, not just parties) that our allergy friends could eat.

    Since my daughters diagnosis I of course have taken that further, as I understand the need even more now. I know some people still say not to cater for them, but like you said, allergies to foods is on the rise so we need to do our part and make those affected feel welcome, by catering for their needs.

    Also I think the government is very lacking in their support when it comes to raising awareness, which does not help the situation at all. I wish I had the money and power to change this.

    I have found teh most accommodating people to be close friends with children. One family have allergy and intolerance needs, the other there are no issues, but they know how important it is. oh and I cannot forget my SIL who made a cheesecake recently and catered for my daughter 100% buying orgran nut free biscuits, aldi nut free chocolate buds, the lot. It actually brings a tear to my eye when someone goes to this much effort. If only everyone cared that much, or tried to understand.

  5. Jude Lupson Says:

    I would like to enter ‘Christmas day 2010’ as my best ‘allergy experience party’.

    We have a large extended family and 20 of us gathered at my brother John and sister in-law Julie’s house to celebrate together.

    The gathering of family and sharing of time is a wonderful occasion but for families aware of allergies it can also be a difficult time.

    I would like to tell you about the food.
    There was food, food and more glorious food!

    Firstly the meat: ham, turkey, chicken kababs, sausages plus more.

    Then there were the salads: potato bake with bacon, potato salad, corn and rice salad, coconut lime rice, cuscus with vegetables, pasta with tomato and salami salad, bean salad, tabuli salad and again the list continues.

    Lastly, and to some in our family, most importantly, there were the sweets: cup cakes, birthday cake (it’s my birthday on Christmas day), star cookie Christmas tree, chocolate balls, cherry ripe slice, jelly, honey joys, chocolate tart, custard berry tart, fruit and marshmallow kababs, trifle and I’m sure there were more.

    This huge supply of food was enjoyed by all of our family this Christmas.

    It was the creation of my dear sister in-law, Julie.
    With help from John, her daughter Georgina, her mum Dawn and my mum Helene.

    So to most other families this would sound like a generous but normal Christmas Menu.

    To a family with food allergies it would sound incredible.

    With a lot of hard work, dedication and love my sister in-law was able to create this wonderful day of safe food for not only her son who is a celiac but also for my daughter who has multiple food allergies.

    Only a family who deals with food restrictions can truly appreciate this day and the joy it brought to Edward and Charlie.

    With all wheat and gluten products being removed for Edward and all peanut, treenut, dairy, egg, soy, pea, kiwi and cantaloupe products being removed for Charlie it was a day of choice for our children.

    It was a day of relaxation for me as no allergen triggers were present.

    Above all it was a day of joy as we watched children be children not only opening their gifts but also enjoying the plentiful food selections on offer to all.

    Thankyou to Dawn, Helene, John and Gina for your help.

    Thankyou so much to Julie, your hardwork and kindness will always be remembered for this priceless Christmas gift.

    I hope this story inspires other families to supply a menu that all family members can enjoy together.

    Jude Lupson

  6. Angela Says:

    My daughter is on the Autisim Spectrum and also has a con genital condition in her lower back called Spina Bifida Occulta. This results in nerve damage to her lower abdominal organs and has been chronically constipated since birth. Her peadatrician suggested a gluten & Dairy Free deit just over 12 months ago and her favourite GF foods are Melinda’s Caramel Cakes, although untill recently these were topped by Melinda’s White Choc Biscuits which are no longer available to us!
    Luckly I am an avid cook and like to experiment in the kitchen and we have adapted many household favourites to her diet.
    We also have quite a high percentage I would think, of our small (60) church family who have varying degrees of gluten intolerances amongst other dietary needs, where every Sunday morning after the service we have morning tea, And every sunday morning there will be something there for all of those people to partake of. Some weeks it may only be cheese & tomato on crackers, but there will be GF, Salt reduced, Diabetic, and usually a dairy free option, and other weeks it’s Thai goodies, or all out cheesecake & chocolate slice, but there is always something for everyone! So we party every week with everything labelled as best we can with lots of help from Melinda’s prepaked mixes which when it’s my turn to do morning tea I usually buy and make the newest thing on the market and use it as an excuse for my fussy daughter to try! By the way if she likes it it doesn’t make it to church it get sliced up & wrapped individually & into the freezer for lunch box treats!

    Thanks for all your help and inspiration!!

  7. InTolerantChef Says:

    This month my sister made me my very own gluten free birthday cake from scratch. It made me cry, because this is the first time someone – other than hubby- has ever gone to the effort of making a cake that was ok for me to eat. No apple or pile of dry rice crackers- a whole cake! In my profession I see my role in educating the other chefs and kitchen staff as paramount, the more they accept gluten free food as ‘normal tasting’ the more open they will be to making it themselves for others. I belive in changing the world, one gluten at a time!

  8. Melinda Says:

    How fantastic, I would have cried too!
    Great comments everyone – keep them coming as it really helps others to understand our situation and hopefully show a little love towards us!

  9. Janelle Says:

    Hi Melinda
    Thanks for an interesting read. I love the idea of the labelled cupcake holders and flags! I have two coeliac children (7 & 8 year old) out of four who were diagonosed last July. We feel so very fortunate that it was picked up this early as they didn’t have major symptoms.

    We haven’t had to deal with too many parties this year, but soon after they were diagnosed they were attending friends parties. Some have been mildly accommodating, but one of the best was a pizza party at a local restaurant. The children all had fun making their own pizza, and fortunately for my son, the restaurant was well informed about gluten contamination. They got him to make his gluten free pizza first with gluten free ingredients, and after his was set aside, everyone else got to make their pizza!

    My son is also fortunate that his best friend’s mother is very understanding about food allergies, so when he visits their place, there is never any worry about what to provide, and whether there is contamination or not.

    We are fortunate that our children have been coping with coeliac disease very well, and their siblings have been very supportive also. It has made going to parties very easy, as they generally just take a goody box full of food – a GF cupcake (I have a stash in the freezer), some chips, lollies, and one or two other things depending on the situation.

    We also have a GF goody box at school too, for whenever the class has special treats (like birthday cakes) at school. The two children have their own sealed container (stored in the teacher’s desk) which has gluten free cookies and colourful mini meringues. They always come home excited when they have had treats out of the box, and they are easy for the teacher to accommodate (rather than getting cupcakes out of the school freezer and having to thaw them) and there isn’t the need for me to know when they are having a special treat at school so I can provide something. I don’t think they ever mind that they get to have something different to everyone else… maybe they think they are a little bit special!

  10. Melissa Curtis Says:

    I also feel very blessed to have a great group of friends who are always accommodating to my and my sister’s dietry requirements. I have 3 great friends who have a number of gluten free friends, not just myself so when going to celebrations, get togethers etc, there is never any worry about whether I will be able to eat or not. And because these great people are always accommodating I love to get in helping prepare goodies or always make sure I contribute something aswell. One of my friends has 2 children and always has 3 of us to cater for for birthdays etc so the whole celebration is always gluten free.

  11. Fiona Says:

    Hi Melinda,
    There are some truly lovely stories above.
    I’m a 26yo mother diagnosed with coeliac’s in 2001. At my daughter’s first birthday last year all the food was GF & nut free and around 90% was dairy free. It was a BBQ to cater for around 24 adults and children with 7 of us with food allergies. I told those that had allergies (myself included) of what foods were ok but said nothing to the ‘normal’ folk, who didn’t appear to notice.
    We had everything from sausages, steaks, bread rolls, pasta salad, lollies, chips, slices, biscuits and of course the birthday cake.
    A lot of people despair at the thought of allergy free parties but it really isn’t that difficult if the put their minds to it.
    Wish us luck for her 2nd birthday in a few weeks 🙂

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Gluten Free Easter Survival Guide

Oh, how I love Easter!

Don’t ask me why but chocolate tastes so much better in Easter egg form!

Choc Fudge Brownie Bunny

Choc Fudge Brownie Bunny

I want to give you some tips to really enjoy a gluten free Easter. Thankfully lots of chocolate is gluten free now but there are some chocolate products which are not.  Letting others know about some of the pitfalls will guarantee a safe and enjoyable Easter for everyone.

One of the most common gluten free misconceptions is the ingredient wheat glucose syrup. Only a few years ago, wheat glucose syrup was excluded from gluten free diets. Further research into the processing of wheat glucose syrup showed that it is actually gluten free. Check the Coeliac Society page for more details (http://bit.ly/b24kL0). This means there are now many food products that are safe for those following a gluten free diet. A useful tip when reading ingredient labels is that things ending in ‘ose’ such as glucose syrup are safe and things ending in ‘arch’ (and derived from gluten sources) such as wheat starch are unsafe.

There are so many choices on the shelves this year. Several companies also label their chocolate products ‘gluten free’.  However, you don’t need to buy chocolate products with a ‘gluten free’ label as many are already gluten free. The tips below will help you when deciding what chocolate products to buy:

  1. Check all labels even if it was safe last year (in case the ingredients have changed)
  2. Wheat Glucose Syrup is safe for gluten free diets
  3. The most common unsafe ingredient is Barley Malt Extract (e.g. Lindt Milk, Heritage Milk Premium Bunny and Malteser eggs).  Other more obvious unsafe sources include biscuit crumbs and wheat semolina (Cherry Ripe eggs)

Also put some thought into your entertaining over the Easter period. If you’re travelling don’t forget gluten free snacks and your emergency kit. If you’re visiting family or friends for celebration meals don’t forget to:

  1. Advise them of your needs in advance
  2. Offer to bring parts of the meal you know will be hard for them to cater
  3. Pack some back-up gluten free snacks in the event they accidently forget and add normal flour to the Easter cake!

Hugh Sheardown,  President of the Australia Coeliac Society, shared one of his top travel tips last month which was a mini plastic container of gluten free gravy powder so every baked dinner can be properly finished. I love this as most people will revert to a baked meal (Roast Lamb or Roast Chicken) which is lovely but often the gravy is an afterthought and can ruin the event for you. 

If you love Melinda’s Choc Fudge Brownie mix (http://bit.ly/g2teHd) and are looking for something a little different or are facing a dairy and egg free Easter put on your apron and get creative! My kids and I have had several pre-Easter events to attend in the past week and really enjoyed creating these lovely treats. We cooked the Choc Fudge Brownie premix in silicon bunny moulds and in the 20cm square tin using Easter biscuit cutters to create shapes. A delightful treat is to decorate your special Easter brownies with a basic chocolate ganache. The ganache recipe is 150ml cream to 300g gluten free chocolate, melted together slowly and rest until thickened. You could create a dairy free ganache option using soy cream and dairy free chocolate.

Dairy free MGFG brownies

Dairy free MGFG Choc Fudge Brownies

 

Choc Fudge Brownie Easter Goodies

Choc Fudge Brownie Easter Goodies

 

Have a happy and safe Easter!

Mel

4 Responses

  1. Fiona Says:

    ooh like the idea of the brownie eggs/bunnies. Very cute!

  2. Claire @ Claire K Creations Says:

    So cute. What a great idea!

  3. Rat Quick Says:

    I very much enjoy your Blogs & get a lot of info from them, keep them coming

  4. Amy Says:

    Glutinous (sticky) rice flour apparently works really well for gravy, though I have yet to try it. As it’s normally found in Asian supermarkets and almost always imported, I’m a little uncertain as to potential cross-contamination concerns in the milling process which has made me reluctant to get any. Many say they’ve had great success though (particularly those who loved making it from a roux).

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Eating out gluten free

Welcome to my first blog, I’m really excited to be able to share my personal thoughts on all things gluten free. I love food and particularly love a good coffee and cake outing.

Eating out gluten free is often very frustrating.

During our recent family holiday I was amazed at the highs and lows of gluten free availability in the local cafes and restaurants. I was reminded on several occasions of the ignorance of service staff and café owners and of general traps in gluten free dining from places claiming to cater for those needing gluten free food.

My gluten reaction time is a standard 20 minutes so share my giggles when my family and friends sit and wait after a meal to see if it’s going to be a good review or bad based on my toileting requirements!!

I’ve listen to many stories about gluten reactions. Some people are like me with an instant reaction, others vomit when gluten enters their stomach and others take their time but endure a three day marathon of agony and lethargy.

It astounds me that I still come across food outlets who are blasé about the need to offer uncontaminated, not ‘low gluten,’ gluten free food, considering the effects it can have. I insist on gluten free food items to be at the top of the display fridge rather than in the middle or bottom collecting crumbs and other bits and pieces from the above glutinous food.

Pizza: more than the base

On one occasion we enjoyed lunch at a gourmet pizza outlet who openly listed gluten free pizza’s available in their front window. However, when ordering and confirming the toppings I asked “which toppings are gluten free” the response was “we prepare everything fresh”. The response showed a lack of understanding of gluten free. I made my choice of pizza and then asked the waiter to check if the BBQ sauce was gluten free. It wasn’t. I had the pizza minus the BBQ sauce and hopefully created an awareness of this issue with the manager. Many pizza places now offer gluten free bases either made onsite or pre-made but do not understand the need for pizza toppings to also be gluten free. Many toppings can contain gluten e.g.ham, salami, tomato sauce etc..

Continue reading Eating out gluten free

71 Responses

  1. Melissa Curtis Says:

    I too have been accused of being obessed about gluten free! Lol. And still have moments when out with people when all heads look at the ground when I have made complaints about meals not coming out gluten free and having to send them back. In the small town I live in it would be wonderful for all restaurants to be Gluten Free Friendly but unfortuantely it’s not the case. If only there was some sort of information package that could be sent to businesses in the hospitality industry to make them aware of how to cater for gluten free. It’s really not as hard as it may seem. The Asian restaurant you dined at sounds amazing too!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Melissa, we are madly promoting our new foodservice packs to the hospitality industry as we speak. Look out for our choc fudge brownie on the menu of your local resturants soon!

  3. Cathy Says:

    My 3 year old now knows to ask politely “is it gluten free?”. It brings a smile to my face every time. And we recently celebrated a milestone: her first birthday party as a guest where the hostess had made the entire menu DF and GF for my little girl. It was a delight!

  4. admin Says:

    What an extremely thoughtful host, I would deliver a bunch of flowers to show my appreciation! Its incredibly hard to tell a three-year old they cannot dig into the party food their friends are eating and instead eat out of a home-prepared lunch box!

  5. Melissa Curtis Says:

    Cathy that must have made your day! My best friend has three of us to cater for when she has functions at her home. One gluten free, one gluten and dairy and one gluten and chocolate free. It makes for an interesting challenge! But she does a wonderful job every time 🙂

  6. Carla Burns Says:

    Mel, fantastic first blog….you will soon have a tribe of followers dropping over for your stories. I look forward to watching your experiences as a GF customer so that we at Vanilla Pod Cake and Deli Cafe can ensure we cater to your high standards!

  7. admin Says:

    Thanks Carla, you know Vanilla Pod (Ascot, Brisbane) is one of my top 5 for eating out gluten free in Brisbane. Always a wide variety of choice for both savoury and sweeties. Keep up the good work.

  8. Lucy Says:

    Hi Mel – found you by chance when surfing for Australian gluten free blogs.

    I’m amazed that you have ‘many’ pizza places that will offer a gluten free base – we’re obviously way behind you on that front here in the UK. There are places that will top a gf pizza base if you bring it in (and if you care to risk contamination), but not many that have them in stock.

    Good for you, creating the demand for GF, and pointing out the issues: we do the same!

  9. admin Says:

    Thanks Lucy, everyone tells me we are lucky in Australia but it can always be better. Let’s hope the word starts to spread into the UK.

  10. Belinda Says:

    Fascinating blog and something that we all experience. My hubby is a diabetic type one as well as coeliac and nothing frustrates us more than when we ring prior, speak to the chef, and are told in no uncertain terms, they definately do gluten free and tell us what we can eat, then when we arrive with friends, there is zilch. The ignorance of many chefs is unbelievable.
    But, then their are the little surprises that you come across that absolutely delight you normally in the most unexpected places.
    We went to Echuca and they were great, but go to Melbourne suburbia and they are poor, very poor.
    We have come across many places that offer gluten free bases and not toppings – another way for them to make money and people ill which we advise them of, and they just shrug their shoulders, as if they don’t give a damn.
    What is in your pack of medication in case of contamination? For years my hubby would just feel sick, but over the last twelve months two hours after contamination severe vomiting and diarrhea which is dangerous as he is a diabetic type 1. He takes his pump off to stop insulin. But it is sooo unfair to see him like this, and each time it has being when we’ve eaten out, and when I’ve rung to explain kindly that their meal wasn’t gluten free they simply don’t care again.
    Please let me know what is in your medipack?
    Great idea, this blog. Well needed,
    Belinda

  11. admin Says:

    Thanks Belinda for your comments. Let’s hope we can change the way of thinking and make eating out as enjoyable as it used to be.
    My ‘kit’ is Advanced Immodium, spray perfume and a face spritzer. The immodium to get me home to some privacy and the sprays in the event they don’t work and I have to go public – or the resturant facilities.
    It’s very embarrassing particularly if there is only one toilet and your stuck in there for 1/2 hour or more!
    A bottle of water is also handy to rehydrate after a contamination.
    Mel

  12. Misty Says:

    Mel,
    Firstly, we love your products in our household. I’m dairy free, my husband is wheat free and my mum is dairy, wheat and nut free. Thankyou for helping to raise awareness. Its so frustrating when we eat out at places that offer ‘gluten free’, but can’t tell us what else might be in the product – a huge drama when you need to avoid wheat AND nuts (so many gluten free cakes are made with nut meal). It really is time that eateries got educated as to what is in their food, and only time and demand will do that. Thanks again!

  13. admin Says:

    Thanks Misty – agree, more thought is needed for the whole allergy market.

  14. Mary Monks Says:

    Great to read your blog Melinda.
    I live in Brisbane and have recently had a great GF meal at The Roman Empire, Carindale. I enjoyed a delicious pasta dish! I had no reaction to it.

  15. Lois Says:

    Having just returned from Vanuatu this weekend, I have to tell you about the Resort Manager and Chef at Iririki Resort in Port Vila. On arrival a letter, together with laminated menus was popped under my door. The Manager asked me to alert the staff and at breakfast the next day a special plate of gluten free bread (freshly baked) arrived! I chose from my special menus and the food was a delight, the service impeccable and I was made to feel very wanted and therefore had a wonderful time. Thoroughly recommend. Just a shame some of the restaurants in Melbourne can’t “get over” their issues with coeliac disease and a gluten free diet.

  16. admin Says:

    Lois, I’m booking my next trip to Vanuatu – sounds like heaven…fresh bread!! thanks for sharing

  17. admin Says:

    From Verna Rowe

    For those in Melbourne, there is a lovely restaurant in Yarrambat (near South Morang) called Rivers.

    They have some divine gluten free cakes and apart from these, the setting is truly beautiful.

    You can wander around their nursery, or buy food for the ducks on the lake.

    We particularly like the gluten free orange cake and their cappuccino is delicious too.

    As I said, it’s a gorgeous setting and they have an incredible (but not cheap) gift shop there.

    Oh to have more money!

  18. Caroline Says:

    Mel – I can’t believe Orient Express in Byron- I drooled in my keyboard and think I can not resist either the duck or the banana fritter … I am sure I will not be able to keep away ! Conti at Brunswick Heads also does good GF Steven the chef is used to me putting pressure on him and is always happy to make any adjustments to come up with GF pleasures on a plate …. my biggest hurdle is when i head up the coast and get stuck in shopping centres or on the road – food courts are a complete nightmare ! Great Blog keep up the great work !

  19. Melinda Says:

    Caroline, as a Byron Bay local you must get into Orient Express. We are heading down this weekend and will be lining up again for their service and food. Brunswick Heads is such a delight to visit and eat. Agree foodcourts are a nightmare!

  20. Rebecca Guymer Says:

    Well done Mel on another very informative venture that you have undertaken. A blog such as yours will do wonders in informing people such as myself, who do not suffer from the allergies that you and your followers have described. I am becoming more aware of gluten intolerance though, especially now that I have an employee who is presenting with gluten intolerance. Our Christmas party for 2010 turned into a disaster for her when she was obviously not served the gluten-free meal that she had requested.
    This is where your gourmet pre-mixes come in handy for me in preparing afternoon tea for my staff that I know will not only be safe for her, but everyone will enjoy.
    Well done again Mel, I am always very proud to tell everyone that the spectacular person behind Melinda’s Gluten-Free Goodies is a friend!!
    Bec

  21. Kirily Says:

    I’m more interested in your ‘medical kit’. I was only diagnosed a year and a half ago, and still no very little about how to help when I accidentally have gluten, and I also have not been able to pin down a particular recurring reaction. I’ve only recently started throwing up- and it was with things I thought were safe. Does anyone know of any good forums I can get more advice from fellow coeliacs?

    On the eating out aspect, I have to admit that due to my own insecurities, I find it very uncomfortable having to dictate dinner based on my needs, though it is absolutely necessary. I should be more bold like you Melinda, and give more of a voice to the still fairly limited range of food in restaurants. Unfortunately I have had one or two family members tell me I go on about it too much, so that keeps me more quiet on the gluten topic too. I just try to be as prepared as possible for all food situations, and just say no thank you when offered things I can’t eat. Reading your blog, I feel I really need to balls up….. Thanks Melinda!

  22. Melinda Says:

    Kirily, thanks for your comment. I’m sending you some muscle through this message. The more we all speak up the more the industry will understand. I still encounter cafe’s who tell me they don’t have a demand for gluten free. This is exactly why I always ask if they have gluten free (even if I can see they don’t!). Family members who can live a normal life and roll their eyes at the annoyance of our ‘issue’ is another story for another soapbox…..If possible selecting the venue and calling ahead so your family don’t know is the best solution. Then its simply a quick “I’m the coeliac” when you arrive.

    It depends on your reaction but My ‘kit’ is Advanced Immodium, spray perfume and a face spritzer. The immodium to get me home to some privacy and the sprays in the event they don’t work and I have to go public – or the resturant facilities.
    It’s very embarrassing particularly if there is only one toilet and your stuck in there for 1/2 hour or more! A bottle of water is also handy to rehydrate after a contamination.

  23. Gerry Says:

    My husband and I are ‘Grey Nomads’ which is a good thing when travelling as extensively as we do. We use our GPS and the POI (Point of Interest) function for gluten free cafes and shops that sell ‘our food’. We also look for Organically or biodynamiclaly grown fruit and veg and include them as POI on the GPS as well.
    As a back up, becuase we’ve murdered a couple of GPS units, we also make a pencil note in our Camps 5 book whick travels everywhere with us.
    The upside of our lifestyle is that we can pull over and I can prepare gluten free food no matter where we are. Like may country folk, we often take advantage of ordering on line and ensure a good supply of our ‘favourites’ while we are travelling to less gluten free friendly place.
    Great blog – thanks

  24. Gerry Says:

    I forgot so metion Malaney in QLD has several places that cater for G/F as does Nimbin and Lismore in NSW. Also found Crookwell in NSW has a couple of places that have G/F on the menu.
    Cheers

  25. Melinda Says:

    Great Gerry, give us a few names of excellent places in these area’s next time your travelling…oh the life!!!

  26. Dione Says:

    HGi Melinda, Congratulations for giving us all a place to vent and rejoice.
    I have three daughters, two whom have coeliac. I too spend all my time trying to get restaurants on board and have a found a really good thai restaurant in Gymea Sydney called Mie Thai. They clean out the wok, use gluten free sauces and add fresh tofu not the one that has been prepared in the conatminated deepfryer. I just give them a good tip each time we go! I also have attempted travel and have found the one travel place i can go and get a real break from the stresses of GF for kids is on a cruise- they have a separate GF kitchen area and have to supply all meals and snacks each day. We go annually now-it is then truly a holiday for me and a great feast for my kids. Keeo up the great work Melinda!

  27. Melinda Says:

    Thanks for sharing Dione, I’m still not sure the g/free food will stay within given my motion sickness issues!!!

  28. Sue Says:

    Dione, which cruise line do you travel with? We had a cruise booked on the Dawn Princess when my little girl was diagnosed with type 1 & coeliac 6 weeks before cruising. I contacted the cruise line, three times & in writing, and was assured each time that they will be able to cater for her. For the first 3 meals on board she was served fresh fruit and yoghurt!! After a big crack up they prepared her some pasta for dinner and that is what she had for the next 9 nights. We won’t go with them again.

  29. Sue Hassel Says:

    Please tell me about your emergency medication – I’d never heard of such a (good) thing!

  30. Melinda Says:

    Hi Sue, It depends on your reaction but My ‘kit’ is Advanced Immodium, spray perfume and a face spritzer. The immodium to get me home to some privacy and the sprays in the event they don’t work and I have to go public – or the resturant facilities.
    It’s very embarrassing particularly if there is only one toilet and your stuck in there for 1/2 hour or more! A bottle of water is also handy to rehydrate after a contamination.

  31. Melanie COnroy Says:

    What a great blog!!! I am a huge fan of your products and enjoy sharing them with my family.

    I am the first Coeliac in the family…

    I barely eat out these days, I was only diagnosed at the start of August 2010.. I fear the reaction of eating something containing gluten..

    I have learnt pretty quickly to ask plenty of questions.. If they answer right I will stay there and give it a shot, if they aren’t confident or say we can cook this with no sauce then I don’t bother.. why should my taste buds suffer? hehe.

    Here is hoping that one day we will live in a world that contains plenty of variety for us to taste and enjoy!!

  32. Dione Says:

    Hi Sue,
    MSC cruise lines we have used a few times…it’s european cruise line. They do the caribbean and mediterranean etc.
    This year we are going to try “Princess” cruises from sydney. We have found that the better or more expensive (unfortunately) companies seem to cater better- you know like hotels too. Such a pity but the way it is unfortunately. That is so unfair for your daughter. Makes holidays more stressful than just staying home! Apparently on the Princess cruises they have told me they even bake their GF bread! Cant wait to see if its true!

  33. Melissa Curtis Says:

    I have travelled with P & O Cruises in 2008 and could not fault their food at all! I was able to order what everyone else had (which needed to be done 24 hours in advance but was quite happy to do so). And that cruise had the most amazing tiramui! It was great being able to travel and not worry about getting sick. And was even brought gluten free bread every night when everyone else was having bread before their meals. The ship i was on was Pacific Sun i think.

  34. Melissa Says:

    Hi Melinda and fellow coeliacs, I was diagnosed 14 years ago and can’t believe the advances made in availability of foods to meet our special needs in this time. being able to purchase a trolley full of food from 1supermarket with the other foods my family needs is unreal, I find Ashfield and Leichhardt woollies have a great range. About Life in Rozelle in like you’ve died and gone to heaven. I recently was taken out to The Ocean room at the overseas passenger terminal, circular quay, oh my god! Expensive but every thing on the set menu that wasn’t suitable for me was substituted for a gluten free option, no problems, my fellow diners wanted what I had. Speak up about what you want… It’s your health and your money!Great blog and products thanks Melinda.

  35. Melinda Says:

    yum, will make a visit when I’m in Sydney next week.

  36. Christine H Says:

    Hi Melinda and all readers, I’ve been a diagnosed Coeliac for just over 3 years and in that time eaten out very rarely. that is until i met and married my husband. He has encouraged me to get out and try different places to eat and now in our small town we have a few favourite choices of eaterys. My most recent and worst encounter, however was at one of the ‘safe’ restaurants, for my mothers 70th Birthday. I’ve talked to the staff their and it’s been explained what is and isn’t Gluten free, and i knew what i could have… Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me, being smorgasboard, the cross contamination of food that was to happen on that night. 2 hours after the dinner, arriving home with a slight headache, by the time i got kids settled in bed and myself in bed,the stomach cramps began. $ hours later and many trips to the bathroom i finally had all the food out of my system, But it still took 3 days or headaches and lethargy before i finally came good and felt normal again.
    Doesn’t take a lot to set my reaction off, but it sure is a good reminder to not be tempted to have just a nibble of that fresh bakery bread, or to just try a little of something that a friend has supplied to a BBq lunch. Its tough some days but the alternative is much tougher.
    Unfortunatley not many cafe’s in our town have anything but the pre-packaged biscuits, so coffee and cake with friends just doesn’t happen anymore unless i want to pay something like $8 for a slice of fresh cake.

  37. Melinda Says:

    Christine, I feel your pain. Let me know your town & cafe names and I’ll see if any excellent g/free suppliers I know could make contact

  38. Sue Says:

    Hey Dione, it was Princess cruise lines we travelled with. They told me, in writing, that each cruise caters for sometimes 10 coeliacs BUT the knowledge just didn’t exist when we were in the restaurants. I was advised to go and see the maitre’d of the restaurant that we were booked into. He hadn’t been advised that anyone required gluten free. So for dinner, breakfast and lunch my daughter was given a plate of fruit and yoghurt. When I asked to speak to someone because this wasn’t good enough is when they offered to bake her some bread (unfortunately it wasn’t very good) but then she was offered pasta at dinner and that became each nights meal. good luck. I wish now that I had taken it further when we returned home, if only to try and raise the profile of what is required.

  39. Chris Says:

    What a great blog, thanks. At Landsborough up on the Sunshine Coast there is a cafe called “3 Divas”. They do an amazing array of homemade GF cakes and GF dishes. We have never had a reaction with their food and my children love their GF pancakes and ice-cream. My pet frustration is all of these places that stock “Orange & Almond Friands”. Usually it is the only option available and I am so over eating them that I refuse to have them any more.

  40. Melinda Says:

    Look forward to trying those pancakes!

  41. Talina Says:

    Great blog Melinda, and I love your products too. (I was lucky to win a huge selection of them through AliV’s website – so I’ve tried almost all of them!)

    Like many coeliacs, I’m also lactose-intolerant…and I LOVE a soy-latte out. BUT its incredibly frustrating how many soy-milks contain gluten (malt and barley). I always make a point of explaining to cafe staff that many coeliacs also can’t tolerate milk and they should look into other soy milk brands (thankfully most are very open to suggestions).

    My 3-yr-old son also gives me play-food and ensures me its gluten-free! He also points out all the products in the shops that say “Gluten-free” on the packaging and says they’re safe for mummy – I’m a very proud mother!

  42. Melinda Says:

    A good point Talina, keep telling the cafe as if their customers request they are more likely to listen

  43. Siew-Tuan Smith Says:

    Hi Melinda,

    Great blog, Been on your email since buying your product at the Bris Gluten Free expo. Good to read others comment on GF restuarants as it is so hard to eat out. We had a Chinese New Year banquet GF in Indooroopilly ( Sun Fay)after much research & had a great feast & no sore tummy. Mmm will try 3 Divas.

    Tuan

  44. Melinda Says:

    Tuan, thanks for the heads up on Sun Fay – I do love Chinese but traditionally it doesn’t love me!

  45. Jen Parker Says:

    I live in Brisbane and there is a great coffee shop just opened at Ferny Grove called Blended. They have a shelf of GF goodies and next time I am there I will mention to them that it should be the top shelf. There is a sign saying just ask about GF options. Also Nicks Restuarant at Jindalee Hotel and Six Degrees at Indooroopilly have a good selection of GF meals. I recently travelled to Chile, Argentina and Antactica and over the six weeks had no reaction. I had the Coeliac Society’s Spanish translation in multiple copies and gave a copy to the kitchens. Our guides on the hiking sections from Andes Mountians Expediciones had heaps of GF food for me and as usual eveyone else was jealous of my goodies because they looked delicious and healthy. Aurora Expeditions’ Polar Pioneer chefs were wonderful and I enjoyed pancakes, bread & butter pudding etc the same as everyone else. Mostly I had the same mains as everyone else with maybe a substitute GF pasta which was cooked to perfection. They also served great vegetarian meals. I had no cereal for the 6 weeks and really tucked into my cornflakes and museli on return.
    I have been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease for over three years now and have experienced the odd reaction (vomiting as soon as the gluten reaches my stomach) but I am not going to let that stop me eating out and travelling. If that is part of my life well I have to accept it and there are worse diseases to suffer from. I am lucky in that my reaction is over and done with quickly. I am always polite and not demanding because some restaurants have been put off by previous diners but I do let them know that the roast or steak without the gravy is not a satisfactory option for me. I usually mention that there are GF catering gravies available for them to use. I am also wary of “you can have the risotto that is rice” and reply “what about the stock?”.
    Just remember to smile and not show your annoyance and thank the people who look after you effusively, so they welcome the next GF diner.

  46. Melinda Says:

    Thanks Jen, I look forward to trying your recommendations!

  47. Donna Kidd Says:

    My daughter and I are lucky ones…..Gluten Intolerant only. When in Brisbane we visit the Bonjour Patisserie, 876 Brunswick Street, New Farm…..they have a large range of GF sweet and savoury French bakery items. Mainly sweet treats, but we also got GF pies and quiches yesterday. Delicious and guilt free (well, almost guilt-free, not sure Gloria Marshall would approve).

  48. Alessia Says:

    @Melissa Curtis 🙂

    YES!!! I was on that cruise in 2008 with my family and it was AMAZING, I have never had such an amazing chocolate self-saucing pudding as on that cruise (as with the rest of the food!). The Pacific Sun staff really treat you and like you said, about 10 slices of gluten free bread was brought out to me every night! It was the only time I have ever relaxed about being coeliac (even though I can’t feel the effects if I do eat something contaminated) as the staff paid so much attention to me!

  49. Kerrie Says:

    Hi Mel
    Matthew made your Brownies and said they are his favorite, but still not as good as how you make it – compliment to you!

  50. Melinda Says:

    He is a sweet boy! thanks very much

  51. Terri Says:

    Great blog Melinda.
    Creating a list of good gluten friendly cafes would be great.
    Had a funny note to share… after about 5 mins of confirming that the soup was GF… they put normal croutons in it and brought it to the table. It frustrates me – so many people suffer with this condition, people in the food industry should be made aware of it..

  52. Kathie Says:

    Great to hear all the stories, esp about cruises as I am thinking that’s the only way I’ll ever get a rest! My daughter has been diagnosed since she was 2 and is now 7. She is also a fussy eater and has a strong will, so it’s doubly difficult to eat out as she refuses to try new things. Last Christmas, my best present was when we took her to an Nepalese/Indian Restaurant. I expected she would just eat the rice, but I was thrilled to see her pile loads of butter chicken onto her plate after I convinced her to try a small piece. She loved it and it now means we can eat out somewhere with interesting food for the rest of us. I do get tired of all the cooking at home but on the plus side it means we have a very healthy diet!

  53. Anita Says:

    Hi Mel,
    I have travelled with P&O, Princess Cruises Holland America, Celebrity and Carnival cruise lines. I have found that once you notify the company, make yourself known to the Maitre D there is no problem catering for Gluten Free but some cruise lines are better than others. The only problem is that once they find a course that is satisfactory they will not vary it and on a long cruise an identical platter of fruit for 3 weeks is boring. I also take my own crackers and get cheese from the breakfast buffet for morning and afternoon tea as savory snacks are hard to find. As always, we have to be prepared, but if the service is good it is greatly appreciated.

  54. Dorian Says:

    Hi there, having just returned from a month long visit to the UK, I have to say I am impressed with the choice of GF foods available in the supermarkets. Quite different to a few years ago when looking for stuff for my nephew. Having been diagnosed since living here in Aus, I have struggled, along with my daughter, to find foods and restaurants here that cater specifically for GF. Very disappointed at times to be told it is only to find out it isn’t!
    I bought ready meals and bread over in the UK that actually tasted good and wasn’t dry and crumbly or lacking in taste. Chocolate biscuits and cakes that seemed like regular ones.
    I also experienced the whole range of GF meals on board the planes I flew in…from the UK, great with imagination and flair, devised by a nutritionist with a fair amount of knowledge I believe regarding GF, sadly others not so!

  55. Dorian Says:

    Also got told at a place in the UK that the meals available for a GF diet were the following, soup, pea and ham and also tomato and sweet pepper, followed by Irish Stew which had all amounts of pearl barley in it along with a gorgeous looking aubergine and veggie bake, which was then covered in regular breadcrumbs for a crunchy finish…oh dear, some of these chefs need educating on what is and what isn’t GF!!

  56. Susannah Says:

    Hi all.
    Firstly let me say “CONGRATULATIONS” Melinda. Love your website, products and now blog.
    Interesting read from you all.
    Living on the Gold Coast I have come across some great gluten free places. So, if you either live here or are on a holiday, here are some great places that I visit often and all serve GF.
    SAKS restaurant at Marina Mirage, they have a GF menu with breads, pasta and pizzas.
    Savvas Fish & Chips at Nobbys Beach, they use a separate fryer just for their GF batter.
    The Cupcake Parlour in Broadbeach have GF cupcakes & Urban Burger have gluten free buns, fillings & chips.
    I hope this helps you.

  57. Anne Says:

    Thanks for all the interesting comments posted – i feel less alone now! I have just moved to sydney from brisbane and am finding it much harder here to find cafes with either a decent range of gf cakes or that offer gf bread for their sandwiches. Any recommendations for the chatswood or crows nest areas? Also a plug for bonjour patisserie and the shingle inn chain in brissie – both are great.

  58. Suzanne Says:

    My partner is a recently diagnosed coeliac and we are still learning…but if a cafe or restaurant is the least bit hesitant, we know to leave. At a Sunshine Coast food court, Maroochydore, every shop had GF beside the safe foods…my partner thought he was in heaven. Staff were also well informed – out of years of habit, he went to ask for tabouli on a kebab and the young girl serving him pulled him up straight away. We were most impressed. Come on NSW…still a problem here. Also, Lizotte’s, music venue in Dee Why – the chef’s partner is coeliac and the staff check and double check with you. My partner was spoilt for attention AND choice…really lovely!

  59. verna rowe Says:

    Hello to all. My daughter is coeliac plus fructose-lactose intolerant and said to mention that the Eden cafe, 48 Maling Road, Canterbury is fantastic if you ask for gluten free. Phone 9846-4818, apart from Maling Road is a delightful area for window shopping.Am going to try your risotto cake mix as a base for a meat loaf with sliced tomatoes on top.

  60. Melinda Says:

    Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement along with a super list of places to visit. I’m looking forward to trying some of them out.

  61. verna rowe Says:

    Hello again. Anyone in Melbourne. Try Crown Pizza in Spring Street, Reservoir(opposite the railway station). I’m not coeliac but I prefer the gluten free pizza that my daughter has to have. She loves the Olympian pizza with marinated lamb complete with a drizzle of yoghurt. I have the pizza with pineapple but the gluten free ham instead of the usual ‘ham’ topping. I pay extra for the gluten free ham but it’s lovely and even yummy cold. Their cappuccino is excellent too. A wee bit more expensive but well worth not having problems later on.

  62. Melissa Curtis Says:

    Just had to share as this made my day. I work in child care and came from a centre I had worked at for over 8 years with parents and staff knowing about my dietry requirements but never catering for them or simply caring. Have just moved to a community based centre where meals are provided and because of this some of the parents are aware of my needs. Half a dozen parents so far have approached me asking what chocolate i can eat as they wanted to give myself and assistant Easter gifts to show appreciation for what we do. I was suprised to say the least that they actually made the effort to ask! And have since found out the parents who are aware are informing the other parents in the room. It’s nice to know there are people who do care 🙂

  63. Belinda Says:

    This is such a fantastic networking group – great idea Melinda! Thank you.
    I’ve heard the Orion Cruise in Broome does great gf food. I’d love to go on a holiday where we didn’t have to make a fuss with every meal, or try to find somewhere, only to get roast without gravy – ugh! Sometimes I take my gravox with me and ask for boiling water. LOL.
    Between hubby and me we’re coelic, diabetic type 1, lactose free, soy free and fructose free! So rather difficult as you can see. Don’t eat out much. Were extremely disappointed about three years ago with both Dunk and Brampton Island with all meals included and they assured us they could cater after several letters, emails and phone calls. Yes, they did cater – fruit and salad!!! YUK! So we paid all that money and I was so upset. I felt we deserved a refund of some money.
    I’d be interested in holidays where people do get the service they need with meals without a fuss being made.
    There is a chinese restaurant in Mitcham Victoria, Jade Village – they are fanbloodytastic – catering to all our needs, and the Eltham Hotel, in Eltham is great. The head chef is a coeliac. Sadly not many desserts though, but main meals are nearly all gf.
    It turns us off going on holidays….I’m not well with neurological probs and it would be lovely to go somewhere like Port Vila (above) where all meals were gf and able to cater for the other needs.
    Oh, if only we had money…..Australia needs a bit of a kick I think!
    Belinda

  64. Hayley Hyytinen Says:

    Hi Melinda,

    Was great to read your blog and I enjoy trying your products. Unfortunatley my allergies are more difficult than Gluten Free, I have fructose malabsorption and also react to raffinose. As part of my intolerances I can’t have soy including soy flour. This means that I also can’t have some of your products as these contain soy flours. It also makes it doubly difficult when eating out as just because it is gluten free doesn’t mean I won’t get a reaction. You are right people in the hospitality need to be more aware of allergies. Some staff are great while others just don’t care and seem to think you are just being difficult. My reactions can be immediate in a bad contamination or can happen the next day in small cases. It definitely makes life difficult especially when travelling. On a recent holiday in Tasmania I learnt it was essential to keep a pack of plain chips in my bag at all times. We will soon be heading to New Zealand on a holiday and I am hoping that things are better there.

  65. Trina Says:

    Like Jen Parker, I too have travelled to Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions although on their other ship Marina and to Mawson’s Hut in East Antarctica not the South American side. I have a wheat intolerance, an allergy to meat and mushrooms and I am a diabetic, I find it hard when travelling but Aurora’s chefs gave me the most amazing food with a lot of variety which is not bad for a 29 day cruise. Others on the cruise with other dietary concerns were also catered for, including the coeliacs. Melinda I too suffer from very bad motion sickness, I have tried lots of different meds and find Avomine worked well for me although I didn’t find it worked too well in the Force 8 gale, although only sick the once. Can definitely recommend this company and it is Australian too.

  66. jill rolleston Says:

    I have just today disembarked from a 35 day cruise aboard Dawn Princess and must say that as a coeliac, my special dietary requirements were met at every meal, and on special occasions such as afternoon tea. The maitreD would bring me the lunch and dinner menus the evening before and I would pre-order my meals to allow the chef(s) sufficient time to ensure they were gluten free. Very impressed by the attention to detail and desire to ensure passenger satisfaction.

  67. Kady Says:

    Hi there! I have had CD for 7years and stumbled across your blog today.
    I have also just been diagnosed with Lactose and Fructose malabsorption which makes eating out even more difficult!!
    I am in Essendon (Melbourne) and I love Taco Bills as they offer a large range of Gluten free options and now with the Fructose/Lactose (lucky i can have hard cheeses!!) the waitress was spectacular in helping me choose options (not alot of choice if you can’t have onions or kidney beans but appreciated the effort) and also Smoken Joes was so helpful and i felt safe in what i was eating.
    For anyone in the Essendon area, there is a shop in Keilor East called Gluten Fr3 living and it is amazing, huge selection and a cake cabinet and coffee machine to sit and enjoy!
    Great blog, love it!

  68. Amy Says:

    Great to see a good blog developing here. @Hayley Hyytinen that’s an interesting point you make about the raffinose and soy. I’m allergic to soy as well as coeliac and have to avoid many foods on the market too (including soy lecithin, meaning I have to avoid virtually all chocolate). I’ve found some chocolates I can buy from european specialty stores that contain ammonium phosphatides instead of lecithin. I believe many chocolatiers object to the alternative emulsifier ‘ammonium phosphatides’ because of the name (or this is what I’ve heard) despite potential GM concerns with soy. Sometimes the natural ingredients can be worse than the artificial alternatives.

    Unfortunately I’ve found a vast majority of pizza outlets here in Australia use one particular brand of pizza base made with soy flour as the primary ingredient (this pizza base is pretty much free of all other allergens including nuts and eggs). I don’t quite know how it could be IBS friendly (as the company claims) when it contains soy as the primary ingredient but this in turn has narrowed options quite immensely. I often find places that make their own pizza bases are a better bet. Also helps if I can see the nutrition and allergen information before-hand so I know what’s in what.

    I don’t seem to experience the most obvious negative consequences from consuming small fragments of either gluten or soy. I find that eating out has been fairly easy as long as I plan in advance, but try to avoid frequenting it. Thus, I believe been able to manage my diet fairly adequately.

  69. gluten free cakes Says:

    There needs to be more gluten free recipes. Thanks for your efforts.

  70. Emily Says:

    It’s great to be able to see and hear so many other stories from others, I’m getting used to making my own GF food now but only since coming across your premixes… the choc walnut slice is TDF!!!

    Keep up the good work.

  71. Jenny Says:

    Hi Melinda, My husband has to eat gluten free and fructose free, we have a son that is anaphalactic to dairy and nuts and I am dairy free. It was our sons graduation from yr 12 this week there was one of those big dinners planned by the school 350 people & 34 staff attending. After so many bad experiences with those big do’s we decided to organise our own food. I bought pretty formal bento boxes and we took them to a local restaurant the day before and the chief designed each box to suit us. It was great, we didn’t get sick.
    Thanks for the great packet mixes our older son is in the kitchen cooking the mud cake right now!

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