The Trouble with travelling & Coeliac disease

My trouble with traveling & being a ‘coeliac’. Enter Grumpy face (apologies in advance):

Grrrrrr. Travelling in London with Coeliac disease makes me pull this face. How unattractive!!

Grrrrrr. Travelling in London with Coeliac disease makes me pull this face. How unattractive!!

Off on a adventure? Regardless of the duration that your journey takes, I’m prepared to bet my bottom dollar that your bag will no doubt weigh a ton. You’ll want to be well prepared with food so that you’re never caught out. & Here lies another grumble of mine: this form of weight lifting contributes to my back shouting ‘owchieeee’ & pain that I could just do with out, thanks. Now in this instance, my example rant is just of a London trip, across the capital for a day of boring & laborious appointments. Traveling abroad? Well, that’s a topic worthy of its own post entirely.

oh, 'ello, 'ello London. We meet again

oh, ‘ello, ‘ello London. We meet again

I’m writing this from the waiting room of a major London hospital. & I happen think the worst place I’ve found for grabbing a ‘quick’ on the go lunch or snack free of gluten monsters are: Hospitals. The very place that’s supposed help contribute towards being ‘healthy’ (overlooking the germs & seasonal rounds of diarrhea & vomiting, but you get my drift) is the very place I fear the most for finding gluten free grub. The on site canteen may have a few options, but quite honestly looks like the dogs dinner, a monstrous pile of ‘slop‘ that I’d rather run in the opposite direction from than actually consume. You’ll find most London based hospitals now have the obligatory high street-franchised ‘coffee’ shop, oh & surprise surprise; they have absolutely no gluten free foods. Zilch. Bloody brilliant, isn’t it? Maybe I talk in a foreign tongue, for when in either of these establishments I ask the staff: what (if any) produce is gluten free? My question is often met by a blank expression & the really helpful response ‘what is gluten?‚Äô. (Um, that’ll be ‘nothing’ then?)

I don’t expect bob & his uncle (who is bob anyway?) to have a textbook understanding of coeliac disease & a encyclopedia full of gluten free products. I do think, those who are selling food should be educated/ wise with the knowledge to some level of their produce. After all, I’m not asking them to run off the whole list of ingredients. & To the point, they’re still a ‘sales(wo)man’ to some capacity, & you’re hardly ‘selling’ it to me with your blank reaction.

If you’re traveling to a static destination then I think these woes are put to rest somewhat. & If you have the luxury of time to research & find a gluten free ‘hero’ cafe & plan a diversion, this is all well & good. But on-the-go no time for diverting fills me with a little dread. What about you?

I did see on twitter just this last week that Warburton‚Äôs dedicated Gluten free range: Newburn bakehouse are now stocking a ‘wrap’ option in limited Starbucks‚Äô outlets. & Whilst I applaud this, I emphasise the limited. On the subject of Newburn bakehouse, have you tried their wraps? In old fashioned ‚Äòblue peter‚Äô style‚Ķ.here is one I made earlier.

Mmm, gluten free wrap

Mmm, gluten free wrap- Brie & Rocket

I’ve also heard from fellow coeliac sufferers, that Café Nero is supposed to stock some gluten free sarnies, but it appears we are still waiting for this to materialize. Part of the issue in theses ‘high street’ outlets stocking good ole gluten free grab & go food, could in part be down to the lack of clarity on their products & packaging (& I refer you back to my previous point earlier about staff knowledge). Lets be honest, we generally have to exhaust the ingredients list to rule out any gluten nastiness, & when time is of the essence this just isn’t practical. If you’re anything like me & have doubts you just don’t take the risk.

In the same way that the UK high street & town scene has adopted the ‘café culture’ where you can easily take your pick from at least 3 coffee shops all within a stones throw of each other, I’m hopeful* for a future of ‘gluten-free-in-abundance-culture’. A future that sees all these said ‘cawfeee’ shops have on offer: several clearly marked, reasonable priced, gluten free ‘take out’ options. *Wishful might be more fitting!

At least on my homebound journey I can report that my bag, which at the start of the day nearly touched the floor, is now considerably lighter (after ingesting my yum yums) & I can relax knowing I’m heading back to my gluten free comfort zone.

Buh Bye London, you stayed dry today-bonus!

Buh Bye London, you stayed dry today-bonus!





  1. John
    02/04/2014 / 5:08 PM

    Thanks for reply.. We’ve got porridge pots from waitrose gluten free for Italy..They even sell a beer which is probably my biggest miss! ..I’m a sign writer by trade and travel so having snacks is important to me when fitting signs- feeling a little wobbly won’t do …I take nothing that can melt in the van..I have the bread you mention now ( I love fresh baked bread – that’s now gone)..haven’t tried the multi seed bread..
    I read your other blog and it’s a definite victory when you find something safe..brings the enjoyment of eating back without a worry..
    This is all new to me checking labels avoiding sauces etc.. Seemed very bland to begin – Julie’s found tomato sauce gluten free and now vinegar..thank goodness I can still enjoy good cheeses and have found crackers from waitrose with a good bottle of chateau neuf de pape it’s not all a loss!….
    I think the snack bar made from dates is called nakd? Not too bad if you need something..
    It’s good to know I’m not alone with this issue
    Cheers john

  2. MrsCoolBananas
    02/04/2014 / 3:22 PM

    Hi John, thanks for taking the time to visit & leaving a comment. I think it true what you’ve said: only someone who suffers with coeliac disease know the total agony it can cause. Travelling can be tricky, my father who suffers also, takes an entire bag full of non perishable gluten free food with him! I tend to just take a handful of snacks. Italy should be fantastic, with all the freshly cooked produce there really isn’t much need for the presence of gluten (you’d hope)apart front eh obvious pastas. As far as bread, have you tried the Genius bread-multi seed (in the pink pack)? it’s not available on prescription but at the supermarket. This is really yummy. To be fair, after 10 years I’m used to this kind of bread now. Have a great vacation & be sure to send me an email if you come across anything gluten free you want me to share with the world!
    Katrina 🙂

  3. John
    01/04/2014 / 9:03 PM

    Just read you traveling blog piece.. I’ve had issues with gluten without realising for a very long time. My wife Julie helped worked out what is was. After being quite ill at Christmas.. Meal then off to the toilet within an hour other times being blocked for up to three days.. Neither nice I had the rash on my bum and sometimes loss balance all symptoms. We joined the coeliac society and I’ve adapted my diet quite a bit to prevent an embarrassing event although I find it difficult and embarrassing to ask if food has gluten . Now I show my members card which makes it easier. I tend to take nut bars and have found a product that’s made from dates which is ok.. Also a nots so healthy jelly bean product that feels the empty feeling- I do get a sugar rush though… I’ve tried the wraps and they are fine but like all my bread now dusty in texture! We’re of to Italy later this year so that will be a challenge.. I’d rather not eat than have a moment …any one who has this will relate to this!
    I’m 50 later this year and it’s really only been in last few years it’s become more acute perhaps due to me not knowing? The main result of now being aware I can eat a meal that I know is gluten free without thinking of the effects…
    Regards john

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *