FRANCHISED ESTABLISHMENTS

TRIED & TRUE TAKEAWAYS

<

This list is mainly compiled of establishments I have visited.

If I have not visited any of the following I will indicate as YET TO BE RATED.

BURGER FUEL

www.burgerfuel.com (Burger Fuel also has a facebook page)

Gluten-free burger buns are $2.00 extra.

(these are also dairy free & soy free, but do contain egg whites)

All BURGER ingredients are gluten-free EXCEPT for the 1/3 lb with cheese burger.

All fries are cooked in the same friers as gluten* containing products *these are named as moto bites and *beer battered fries – indicating that it would be wise to avoid the fries and stick to the burgers.

Good burgers, the buns are pretty good for gluten-free – but don’t expect them to taste like regular burger buns.

DOMINOS PIZZA

www.dominospizza.co.nz (Dominos also has a facebook page)

A gluten-free pizza base is available for an extra charge.

Recommended toppings to accompany a gluten free base are detailed on the menu.

Just be careful what you choose.

Personally, I have found their gluten-free pizzas to be quite acceptable.

Website Disclaimer:

Dominos Pizza takes due care preparing their pizzas, due to not being an exclusive gluten free environment, it cannot be guaranteed that these pizzas will be 100% free from gluten.

Advertisements

WHAT PART OF GLUTEN-FREE DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND???

I have been a little slack lately, for one reason and another, about continuing to record my experiences as a Coeliac Kiwi. BUT … I had another (yes, this was NOT the first) experience of being ‘glutened’ by a restaurant this week, which reminded me in no uncertain terms of why I had started to document my experiences in the first place! It’s definitely time to get writing again – to make it regular. To give credit to those who deserve it – and to educate the rest! I am on a role! I have all sorts of ideas running around in my head as to how to attack the problem of making people (especially chefs) aware of the great potential for harm when a Coeliac unwittingly ingests gluten.

This latest experience served to remind me of how much trust we place in words, the written word especially – without knowing how or why the words came to be there in the first place. We naturally assume that because an item is listed on a menu as being gluten-free, then it MUST be safe for us to eat. Just like we assume that because a sign says POISON we believe we might get into some sort of trouble if we don’t take notice and proper care! If something is put in writing we take it as confirmation of a truth. Gluten is POISON to Coeliacs!

Part of me believes that the reason many cafes/restaurants/caterers are not so careful as they might be is because there ARE people who have created a bad name for those who MUST avoid gluten. I confess, that before I knew the truth about food allergies and found out a friend of mine had Coeliac Disease a number of years ago, I was sceptical when people told me certain foods ‘did funny things’ to them. I thought it was all ‘in their head’. (I am not saying now, that with some people it still isn’t.)

I find it ironic now, that when I was believing this about the people who said these things to me, I was having my own (many) symptoms that added up to Coeliac Disease, unknowingly dismissing each one as normal for me, a part of who I was…. actually accepting them all and putting it all down to my own physical makeup! It was part of who I was alright, except – I found out that I didn’t have to live with it after all! I hadn’t known there was an outside influence responsible for all my individual symptoms! (As I now recognice them to have been). It was only after I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and found out the damage that had been done to my insides, that I truly was able to look back and see how it had all added up. Hindsight!!! Indeed a wonderful thing. I actually feel rather stupid about it all now! But I also see, there that probably there is a fine line between being stupid and being ill informed? I am holding onto that anyway! Hmmm…food (gluten-free of course) for thought!

Anyway, what to do next? I have decided to inform the restaurant concerned about their little faux pas. I intend to write them a nice letter.

I should of course at the time, have realised that when they brought out my meal with it’s accompanying salad, and the waitress had to go back and ask the chef if the little dish of sauce was gluten free, that a no answer to that question was probably a good indicator to ask about the rest of the meal! However, in my defence, in my earlier days of diagnosis, when I didn’t know these things fully myself, it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to ask about the sauce! What I did do at the time, and I guess it’s a start of sorts, was to ask the waitress to let the chef know that if an item on the menu was noted as being gluten-free then everything served up on the plate should be as such. Who serves a gluten-free meal with a sauce that isn’t?! More than we realise, I now believe!

I had actually taken my own little container of sauces with me, so I carried on eating, without further investigation. I am now wondering, if maybe it was an issue of cross contamination? But because I did not ask to see the chef to request further details about the preparation of my meal, I suffered. And within 2 hours, for the next 24 hours or so. Not good enough. On my part – or theirs. It really puts me off eating out! I went to that place because they were listed as having gluten-free options, but now feel let down yet again, by the lack of knowledge evidenced by those who created the meals.

Conversely I had an experience in Australia recently, at a fast food outlet – that runs rings around any establishments here I have chosen to eat with, to date. I mention the fast food chain Ali Baba. www.alibaba.com.au

To say I was impressed with the fact that not only did they have gluten-free items on their menu, BUT – they also went to great lengths to ensure that no cross contamination ensued in the preparation of my food. I actually felt like a valued customer! I couldn’t believe the precision and knowledge that they had in this place, in a food court at the Robina Town Centre in Surfers Paradise. A young girl served me who happened to be a trainee that day. She asked all the right questions, and although admittedly had to be talked through the process by another lovely young guy there, I didn’t mind it taking a bit longer than usual – because I knew I was being properly catered for, and to them it was just par for the course! She told me she was new and I told her I was happy to be her first gluten-free customer. Sadly, Ali Baba is not in New Zealand – yet! I remain optimistic! I joined their facebook page and let them know there also, how impressed I was.

I think the day is coming when eating establishments in this country are going to have to acknowledge that a good experience is going to be recounted to others, just as a bad one is. That word of mouth advertising counts for a lot – positive or negative! I think part of my mission here with this blog, is to encourage eating establishments to be on the “A” List for Coeliac Customers. Ultimately, it could possibly be the best advertising they get for free!

Biopsy for accurate diagnosis of Coeliac Disease. (ultimately – for your encouragement!)

Also known as gastroscopy or endoscopy/duodenal biopsy – I thought it might be important to mention that I did actually have this done! However, because I was away from home and had other important things happening when my initial blood test results came through, I started eating gluten-free without giving any thought to having a biopsy at that point. I was focused on my daughter and her health above all else, and  it just didn’t occur to me that later on down the track I would wish I had also addressed my own situation much sooner.
A number of months later (aka the following year) I decided that I should have the biopsy … mainly because I always like to be certain about things, and also because I was curious to know my actual internal state. I knew I would have to go back on gluten containing foods for this and had been told (by my doctor!) it would only be for a couple of weeks – which I thought would not be an issue! I reasoned I would make the most of it and eat/enjoy all those things I had missed. Ha! What WAS I thinking?!!  And – when I actually found out about the appointment…I learned I had to go back on gluten containing foods for 4 weeks! Suffice to say, it was a torturous month for me symptom wise, and by the time my appointment came around I was just longing for it to be over and to be able to go gluten-free again…not fully realizing how much I had set myself back by subjecting myself to this experience at this late stage in the proceedings.

Moral of my story:
If you have had a blood test that indicates you might have Coeliac Disease and you want it verified – don’t go gluten-free until you have also had a gastroscopy. Your doctor will sort it for you.  
You do have a choice not to have the biopsy.  It is entirely up to you. (I ask myself now, why I needed to know!!!)

For your part, if you choose to have the biopsy done,  you must ensure that nothing passes your lips for 6 hours prior to the procedure being carried out, unless you have medications that you must take. You are allowed to keep taking these usually, although in certain instances notification of drugs must be declared in case there is an issue. When you go for the procedure you will need someone to be available to bring you home. All this info will be given to you in written form prior to the day of your appointment. You get plenty of time to read this at home, and ask any questions prior to the day of your biopsy.

For my part, I had no trouble whatsoever with the biopsy – it was the period leading up to it that caused me the grief! (ie eating food that was toxic to my system in this period). At the hospital I was shown to a bed where I put on the lovely gown (?!) and was administered an IV drip because I had requested sedation (I am not ashamed!).

I do remember being wheeled into the procedure room and being told the procedure might be slightly uncomfortable. I can’t remember having the sedation or for that matter anything else! I woke 45 mins later back where I had started. It was really weird. I actually wondered what had happened to me in that time. I have no recall whatsoever! I started to doubt that anything had even been done. I had no sore throat. I was just a bit drowsy and went home to sleep it off.
And later, when my results came through… I could see the damage that had been done over the years!
In conclusion….this is the bit I understood, ’these features are consistent with the clinical impression of coeliac disease, modified Marsh Classification type 3b diagnosis.’

Ok, so my doctor WAS right! I DID have Coeliac Disease!

Gluten-free flour preparations

If you are unwilling to pay for commercially prepared baking/flour/pastry mixes to make your own bread etc you will be eager to find out how to substitute wheat flour for gluten-free preparations. Remember that gluten-free flour has to be a mix/blend of different flours. Use the internet to find blends that suit you, and don’t forget to utilise your public library to source books and other information re gluten-free cooking and baking. Coeliac New Zealand also has a large number of books available for members to borrow. If you haven’t joined, then I recommend you do. They have a website, a face book page, and ongoing support for members in the form of a quarterly magazine Coeliac Link. They also provide as part of your annual subscription, gluten-free foods and ingredients booklets.

I started mixing my own flours because I wanted to be able to have bread again, bread I actually liked, and bread I could justify spending time and money on. I hasten to add that I did purchase a bread maker. Mine is the Breville Bakers Oven and actually has a gluten-free setting, which ironically I now don’t use! I believe now, that any bread maker with various timing/crust options would be ok to use.
I had tried various gluten-free breads on the market and with the exception of one or two that I found acceptable, I decided they were overall not to my taste and definitely not worth paying upwards of $7.00 a loaf for.

For someone who hadn’t really baked at all for years, this has been a whole new learning curve. I have various gluten-free recipes/books that I have picked up along this journey and will incorporate recipes I am able to at a later stage. I also want to continue to try to adapt old favorites. So… learn with me! I write about flours now because most of us love our bread/baked treats and don’t really want to have to live without them.

You can find many flour mix recipes online so experiment and use what suits you best. Remember to consider nutritional value of flours, especially if you are looking after children. Where I live I have access to an Indian grocery store that I tend to buy my flours from. They are well priced, and you can buy as much or as little as you want from their bulk bins. Binn Inn is also a good source of gluten-free ingredients and products.

An author I recommend you watch out for is (Australian) Lola Workman. Her books are relatively easy to come by. I have seen them frequently advertised on trademe (at a very good price), and also on sites such as The Nile.co.nz. All you have to do is google her and you will no doubt come up with many references.
I was going to copy the recipes for her flour mixes here, but am hesitant due to the recent new file sharing laws and the laws of copyright. Suffice to say, her Bread and Pastry flour mix is the one I predominantly use for most of my baking attempts and I find it very reliable. She puts a great book together ,and goes into detail – without complicating things. The books are very well laid out, easy to follow and full of lovely pictures – always a bonus from my perspective!

My book is titled WHEAT FREE WORLD. I absolutely love it. It covers all the basics and has invaluable tips. I intend to work my way through it all eventually.

TIP: Keep you gluten-free flour mixes in labelled containers and have one large container that you use to mix up and keep your final (labelled) product in. I use a large Klip It container for mine and I weigh the flours directly into it.

See my recipe section for a Self Raising flour mix which I feel safe in including.
I can’t remember where I sourced it from but I have tweaked it, so in a way it‘s ‘mine‘.
I have used it so far, mainly in quiche/frittata type recipes that call for Self Raising Wheat flour and found it very successful.

Gluten Free SELF RAISING Flour Mix
6 cups rice flour
2 cups potato flour
1 cup maize cornflour (remembering not all cornflour is actually wheat free)
Approx 1/3 cup Gluten Free Baking Powder

2 Years ago today…

Owing to ‘technical difficulties’ (ie trying to navigate the wordpress blog system and also being away for a few days this past week … I have been remiss in writing.
Today however, is the 2nd anniversary of the day I found out my blood had tested positive for Coeliac Disease and I feel I need to mark this significant turning point in my life. What a journey it is proving to be….a rather inconvenient one initially, since at the time, I was spending much of my time in a hospital with my daughter, in another city – one which I was pretty unfamiliar with and in which I now had to try and start living gluten free in. However… it was also THE day I started to realise that the person I was and most of the physical aspects that (largely) contributed to who I was (AND to my personality) were in many respects attributable to this DIS-EASE which I now heard might be inhabiting my body! Things could only get better for me – and I didn’t need drugs for that to happen. I could control it with DIET. EASY!!!

But… (isn’t there always a BUT?!) trying to find my way around supermarkets I was not used to, and reading labels in the dazed state I was in, proved rather overwhelming at first. I admit that I kind of ended up going on a minimal range diet, because I couldn’t cope with the enormous impact of it all, at the same time as trying to be there for my daughter, in all that she was facing. I remember walking round the supermarket/s thinking, ‘where do I start?’ There seemed to be no gluten free sections as such – I knew there was one in my local supermarket (to add further frustration to the exercise!) but nowhere could I find, in this, supposedly more sophisticated city (at least in the areas where I was able to roam) supermarkets catering (I mean as in supplying a special section) for this new people ‘type’ I now found my self categorised as. I vividly remember going down the biscuit aisle, trying not to look at what I now couldn’t have – and seeing mallowpuffs! Mallowpuffs!!! One of my all time favourites – now forbidden food! I had to avert my eyes, keep calm – and carry on!

From being a Weet Bix kid and adult most of my life, I now had to find gluten free cereal. Not fun seeking those out…and not many to choose from. Or that I liked. OR that weren’t at least twice the price!
I discovered corn cakes and they became my bread. I was used to having Vogels bread, toasted (most often with marmite) for my lunch, pretty much on a daily basis. Now it was corn cakes with marmite! And yes… I found out much later on that Marmite was also a forbidden food! Dinner was less of a hassle. But being in another city and not able to shop often because of the situation I was in, meant that I truly did just exist on basic foods. And…. Buzz Bars! And Peppy Chews. My sweet treats. I was so pleased to find out that they were gluten free – and that the hospital convenience store stocked them.
I intend to have a section where I list the GF foods I have found….please bear with me as I navigate the site and get my blog looking how I want it to look.

Being told in May that I might be Coeliac was actually quite good though. One of the lovely nurses in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit told me about the gluten free food and allergy show on at the showgrounds. see http://www.glutenallergy.co.nz
It happened to coincide with the beekeeper’s visit to Auckland and he relieved me at the hospital so I could go. It cost about $10 to get in then, but I more than got that back with all the lovely free samples I had, and was also able to come away with. I would like to go again one day, now that I am more gluten free savvy. Things would look entirely different to me, I do believe. (I remember buying up boxes of cereal that were on special…if all else failed I would have that to fall back on!)

I spoke to someone from Coeliac New Zealand there, and learned about joining the society. More on that later. But I do recommend it.
My time was limited and because I was actually also not feeling the best (but now knew why!) I didn’t really do the show justice. So yes, I must return one day.

A lovely friend came to visit in those early days also, and brought with her some lovely GF treats.

Anyway, today’s my 2 year anniversary! Of the day I started to rebuild my body!
And tomorrow is another anniversary, my 21 year old daughter’s ‘2nd’ birthday, marking the date of her Bone Marrow Transplant….also Mother’s Day – the best one ever for me! So for now, I bid you adieu.
Keep watching and reading!
AND… Happy Mother’s Day, to those mothers who do such a great job bringing up the next generation!

My name is Bronwyn and I am a Coeliac.

Greetings everyone.

My name is Bronwyn and I am a Coeliac.

Sound a bit like an AA meeting confession? I kid you not – when I am brave enough to publicly make this ‘confession’, looks of incredulity pass over the dials of most people. It sounds BAD – therefore they ignore me, in the hope that I might go away and never bring it up again!

I am amazed how many people have never heard of this (AUTO-IMMUNE) condition, or rather, might have somewhere, in the dim, dark recesses of their mind, subconsciously linked the word COELIAC with the words GLUTEN FREE – and then, come up with WEIRDO! That is one of the reasons I have decided to now write this blog.

The other is to support fellow Kiwis out there who might be in the process as I write, of finding that they also, are ‘1 in a 100.’ Yes….SPECIAL!

Nearly two years ago now I heard that a blood test result indicated I (might) have Coeliac Disease. I was totally incredulous!  I actually knew about Coeliac Disease,  a close friend was diagnosed with it several years ago… but in comparing myself to her (as you do) I thought the doctor had got it totally wrong!  Besides, I was in my (then) 19 year old daughter’s room in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Auckland hospital when I heard this from my husband (aka the beekeeper) – awaiting her transplant the following day.
I knew I would have to change my diet and start eliminating all traces of gluten from my diet, because that is the ONLY way to control it and prevent further health issues and repair the damage already done to the small intestine. Once a Coeliac, always a Coeliac – yes, it STILL sounds like an AA message!

I didn’t have time for Coeliac Disease – this was most inconvenient, to say the least! I realised I had rather a lot of questions …I would have to begin my quest to learn more and get my own health back on track.

But right now…as I write… Prince William and Kate Middleton are soon to get married (in my lounge!) … WATCH THIS SPACE!