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Beating the ‘ping’ lifestyle as a coeliac

cooking popcorn_in_microwave_17_08_12The numerous cookery programmes on TV have generated a whole new wave of people who have taken up serious family cooking, as opposed to the ‘ping’ cookery lifestyle (microwave meals).

The ‘ping’ lifestyle can be excellent, but for me as a coeliac (and diabetic for good measure), I have to be so very careful and I have what I can best describe as a ‘labels obsession’ (and no you can’t get anything from the GP for it). Failure to pay attention here can have dire consequences – uncomfortable and… (use a bit of imagination, please).

Many a time, I can be seen in my favourite or second favourite supermarket along the aisles, reading labels on absolutely everything I am about to put in my trolley.

Coeliacs, the posh word for people who can’t eat gluten, have to shop around. So even though I have bought my favourite items before, I have to check the labels to ensure the contents haven’t changed. Manufacturers change recipes, ‘improve’, or ‘relaunch’, and its ‘safe status’ may also have changed and not always for the better.

Some of the print size is tiny, so I need to double check all around the can or packet to be sure.

Sometimes it’s a heart-breaking rejection as I have to put goods back onto the shelf. No point in purchasing as it would be a disaster. Downcast and longing looks don’t make the goods safe for me. You would be surprised where wheat may be in the recipe.

Or very occasionally, a small triumph, it is safe! Might not be exciting to anyone else – it could be something as simple as an alternative brand of yogurt – that causes a raised arm in celebration!

The 2012 label changes have made life easier, and that has to be good. But I still have to check for myself.

The next time you are in a supermarket and you hear rousing cheers from one of the food aisles, it may well be me – or one of my coeliac friends. It really doesn’t take much to keep us happy. That’s why I cook for myself. I can have goodies – real food – minus the gluten.

About the author

Janet Woodward is coeliac, diabetic and passionate about food. She lives in Barnsley with her cat and loves to travel when time and work allows. Janet works for independent bakery, Wellfoods Ltd in Barnsley (01226 381712).

Picture credit: Shutterstock

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