I’m a little late to the game on this due to a long busy summer, but better late than never!
The One McPeake Challenge is an important allergen awareness campaign which strives to raise awareness of the challenges individuals who live without one or more of the 14 major allergens face in their daily lives. This includes food shopping, eating out, going to work or other daily commitments, dealing with comments from other people and generally trying to stay healthy whilst living normal lives.
As well as raising awareness, the challenge aims to raise money for the Anaphylaxis Campaign. More details here.
Whilst the challenge encourages people who do not have allergies to give up one of the major 14 allergens and document their time, I will be presenting this from the other side – as someone who is already living without an allergen (and has been for 4 years) and how this impacts my life. I also hope to show what living with IBS, a chronic illness related to my other issues, is like on a daily basis.
This blog post will follow a typical week as I run a blog, my own business, go to my part time job and work on my PhD. As always you can expect honesty and transparency from me and I will detail every moment I believe to be relevant.
If you would like to take part in this challenge on social media or your own blog, follow the link provided above and complete the challenge. If you are unable to do the challenge but would like to help, you can donate to the charities’ page here. Donations are open until the 15th December 2018 so head on over and give as much or as little as you can spare to help this great cause.
Thursday 11th Oct
Woke up feeling generally quite well, which isn’t always the case, and so made porridge with gluten free oats, supermarket own brand chocolate spread, some blackberries and a glass of strawberry and banana smoothie.
Spent the morning doing some admin and accounts work for my business. Not much time for lunch but luckily we had some M and S Made Without Wheat sourdough (the best GF bread in my opinion) so I had a couple of slices of toast with reduced fat butter and supermarket own brand yeast extract and a packet of ready salted Pombears.
Went to an academic conference in the afternoon for my PhD, made sure to take snacks in my bag (GF oatcakes) as although nibbles are provided, it is rarely Coeliac-friendly.
Luckily my local ASDA have started stocking their puff pastry again (after MANY weeks not being able to buy it) so I made a big batch of my sausage rolls for tomorrow’s lunch and today’s dinner. I made some baked potatoes and chopped up some romaine lettuce to go along with four sausage rolls each.
Stayed up doing client work until quite late, handful of chocolate M and Ms.
Today was a good IBS day luckily, didn’t need to take any medicine.
Friday 12th Oct
Slight lie in as I’d been up late working. Breakfast was the same again – porridge, a tablespoon of chocolate spread and some blackberries.
Went to look after our horse around 11.30.
Food shopping at midday. This time was very lucky to get both Schar pizza (last week they didn’t have any) which is the only GF pizza I can have (the others set off my IBS because they contain onion/garlic) and two rolls of GF puff pastry. No GF Yorkshire puddings this time though so no roast dinner this weekend.
We’re very careful with what we buy and avoid most GF alternatives (only things from the FF aisle are pastry – on the rare occasion that I make my sausage rolls – GF oatcakes, GF oats and pizza most weeks) but it was still an expensive shop. The sheer price of FF foods makes it very difficult to keep the price low.
Lunch a bit later at 3pm – three sausage rolls, a pack of pombears, a glass of smoothie cut with some apple juice, a banana.
Dinner was pizza, chips and salad followed by a hot chocolate.
Saturday 13th Oct
Woke up feeling terribly queasy (as unfortunately I often do) so no breakfast. Took my tablets which did help but not immediately. Headed to my part time job.
Worked for 8 hours, little time for food especially as I was feeling queasy, but managed to have some sausage rolls and a gluten free chocolate biscuit bar. Feeling better 2pm but it took 3-4 tablets to do so. When I got home I had some GF porridge and fruit.
Dinner was egg fried rice and veg.
Sunday 14th Oct
Feeling well. Headed into town to run some errands and buy our anniversary presents for each other. We like to go to M and S when we’re in town and grab some lunch food for a picnic in the park. The M and S in my hometown does stock GF sandwiches but very few are both vegetarian and allium free. The only one which satisfies all requirements is the relatively new addition – egg mayo. They didn’t have any so we opted for gluten free crackers and some cheese. They did, however, have some GF individually wrapped brownies so we grabbed some of those and a box of fruit salad to share.
Although our anniversary is actually the 15th we knew we’d both be busy so we decided to celebrate on the Sunday. We had our current favourite meal for dinner – my mushroom bolognese sauce with fusilli. Due to my IBS (I struggle with large amounts of yellow corn) we can’t find a decent spaghetti that I can eat anymore so we’re reduced to just fusilli but it’s just as delicious! I think something non-Coeliacs don’t realise is just how much range they have – you can go and get 20+ shapes of gluten pasta in most big supermarkets whereas gluten free pasta tends to come in spaghetti, penne and fusilli with some shops now offering macaroni and some filled pastas. It’s only in the past year or two that fresh gluten free pastas have been available in supermarkets (starting with Ugo Thrive and now expanded to other brands and supermarket own brands). I’m unlucky to have such limitations on my diet but even those with just Coeliac Disease don’t have the range and choice that they should. Read more about that here and here.
I had planned ahead for our anniversary dinner, knowing that we’d want something nice for pudding, and made sure to get an Almondy cake. These are rarely in my local ASDA for some reason, so I always just grab one when I see it and put it in the freezer for the next special occasion. This is pretty different from what non-Coeliacs do for special occasions – you’d be outraged if you couldn’t get a celebration cake for a birthday or anniversary, but for us it’s quite often the case.
Monday 15th Oct
Breakfast was GF porridge, a banana and a glass of smoothie again.
Spent the day working on client work and promoting the business. Lunch was smoked cheese and crackers with slices of tomato. We go through a lot of crackers and GF crackers are amazingly expensive. The GF oatcakes we buy are about £1.80 for 4 packets.
Dinner was mushroom risotto followed by a slice each of our Almondy cake.
Tuesday 16th Oct
Very busy day shadowing a lecturer as part of my PhD and promoting the business so only had time for a bowl of porridge and fruit, glass of smoothie and a packet of Pombears. I tend not to bother buying anything at the university – we have decent gluten free options now (after my campaign, see here) including vegetarian and allium free options, amazingly, but it’s so pricey and with both of us on a budget it’s easier to wait until I come home. Even though the options are far better now, stocking is still an issue as with all GF items. Some days they have a shelf full of GF stuff and other days it’s empty or full of out of date items. This is something I try to keep on top of with the uni but as I’m in touch with the SU in the way I used to be it’s not as easy to be heard.
We were both home quite late so no time to cook – pizza and salad was easy and fast. ASDA didn’t have any the previous week so we only had one pizza in the freezer which was cut in half and served with salad for us both.
Up late doing client work.
Wednesday 17th Oct
Another busy day with client work and a university conference to go to. A bowl of (you guessed it) porridge and fruit and a glass of apple juice for a late breakfast at 11am (after a couple of hours already up and working).
Rushed home at 5ish and made mushroom pies, mashed potatoes and veg for dinner – was determined to not have such a disappointing dinner as the night before.
This probably looks like not a lot of food to those reading this, but since I was diagnosed with IBS about 3 years ago, my appetite has really decreased. It’s not a side effect that was ever mentioned to me by doctors, or one that I know to be common of all people with IBS, but I can quite happily eat only two meals a day with some small snacks if needed without any issues. Today I was very hungry by the time we had dinner but was fairly full and satisfied for the morning and afternoon with only one meal.
Thursday 18th Oct
I don’t event think I need to tell you what I had for breakfast today; you can guess! Busy again with client work and promoting the business plus some university writing but a slightly more sedate day as I don’t have to leave the house.
Even now that I have my IBS fairly well managed leaving the house for long periods of time can be stressful. I have to remember to take enough medicine with me in case of a flare up and to plan several ways of getting home quickly if I need to (for example, if I ride my bike to the university I make sure I have money for the bus in my pocket in case I need it or if I have to take a train to town I make sure I know the train times off by heart). It also unfortunately means knowing where the toilets are at all times, which can be frustrating, especially when going somewhere new. As I’ve been living with this for 3 years now (and my medication is really good and helps me to reduce my flare ups to very rare) it’s only a low key stress, but others living with this and other chronic diseases have to deal with all of these issues and far worse.
I hope you all have a go at the #OneMcPeakeChallenge and if not go and donate to their fundraising page, it’s for a great cause!
Non-coeliacs – was there anything in my week that surprised you? Do you think you’d struggle living gluten free?