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3 Weeks In London
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Hello forum dwellers. For the first time since going gluten free, I'll be away from home for more than 10 days. I'm extremely sensitive by the way.

For example, here in Sweden, I am yet to find a single swedish brand of nuts that will not cause a reaction. The only brands I don't react to are the imported american ones.

 

I'll be staying with my brother in London for 3 weeks. They offered to buy me a dedicated pot for cooking, but I'm not so keen on cooking in a gluten-containing kitchen to begin with, so my plan so far is to live on fruits and vegetables.. but 3 weeks is a bit long :-(

To make things worse, I avoid eating rice, corn, potato, soya, salt, sugar or any product which contains these foods since I'm always struggling with my weight.. and I'm also lactose intolerant. 

 

Can any UK residents who happen to be as sensitive as I am help me figure this out? I need to know of any safe nut brands which are preferably low on salt. What would really be a dream come true, is if one of the supermarkets offers ready made gluten-free foods such as grilled chicken or salads. 

 

I think that Nando's offers gluten free chicken, but I'm worried that living off a restaurant would be costly. 

 

Please rescue me :-)

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Hi! You're in luck as London is getting more and more celiac friendly by the year. Sainbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, and Marks and Spencer Food all have gluten free brands if you aim for the larger stores. Leon, La Tasca, Carluccio's, Wagamama's, and Pizza Express all offer gluten free choices but obviously that might not work with everything else you're avoiding. When I'm staying with others in London, I always have my own plate, utensils, pot, pan, sponge, etc, and I make sure to wash everything myself and keep it all away from everyone else's stuff. I've been okay so far. London is really expensive so I genuinely do suggest trying to cook at least some meals. Good luck!

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I am working on a post about setting up your temporary kitchen practically anywhere. I am planning to have my 8 year old daughter set one up today, so we can get a picture.   I have set up in many hotels.  I take along an electric skillet, and or crock pot.   bring spatulas and a few other utensils.  I bring a hot pad or two.   In the summer one could even set your kitchen outside!

 

  I place it on a carefully washed table, counter, or on a dresser drawer upside down. I wash down the sink, and use it or a stainless steel tub I brought along.  I try not to touch the sink as I wash.  I take dish towels and place items on them to dry.   I  I avoid setting up in an actual kitchen because I have been cross contaminated from that many times.

 

I think you should pack food that you know is safe.  I know it is getting expensive to pay extra suitcase fees, but who wants to spend their visit time in a London bathroom or sick?  Ah, 3 weeks is a long time.

 

I hope you will have a fine visit and a safe one,

 

D

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Dani...there is no reason to fear cooking in someone else's kitchen if you have a dedicated pot/pan to use for your food.  Silverware does not need to be dedicated as it's usually stainless and stainless is not porous.  I am also extremely sensitive and if you use common sense, it should not pose a problem.  Just give the area you are working on a good wipe down or use paper towel to put everything on.  Make sure the dishes and silverware are clean...and they should be because no one wants to eat off of unclean dishes, whether Celiac or not.    Sensitivity level doesn't really come into play here if you make sure the area is clean and your food doesn't come into contact with gluten containing foods.  Anyone can manage that!

 

If you are that worried, and you have that many intolerances/sensitivities to other foods, why would you trust your health to a restaurant over cooking in your brother's kitchen?  I do not mean to sound uncaring but you want to go and enjoy yourself in London for 3 weeks and not let your trip be overshadowed by your fear of obtaining and cooking safe food.  I rent flats everytime I go and have not yet been glutened by a kitchen in London! 

 

Have a really good time!  :D

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 I place it on a carefully washed table, counter, or on a dresser drawer upside down. I wash down the sink, and use it or a stainless steel tub I brought along.  I try not to touch the sink as I wash.  I take dish towels and place items on them to dry.   I  I avoid setting up in an actual kitchen because I have been cross contaminated from that many times.

 

Why would you be so careful to not touch a sink that you are cleaning? Sinks are usually stainless or enameled...not porous.   Celiac's only need to make sure the prep area's are clean and they have clean utensils/pots/pans to use and gluten free food to prepare. Why does eveyone think we need a bubble to prepare food in?  :blink:

 

I think you should pack food that you know is safe.  I know it is getting expensive to pay extra suitcase fees, but who wants to spend their visit time in a London bathroom or sick?  Ah, 3 weeks is a long time.

 

It's good to bring some food along but that can be expensive and annoying.  Trust me, there are plenty of food shops in London that have a multitude of gluten-free stuff.  You can food shop the same as when at home. Easy city to go to and be gluten-free.

 

 

 

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I guess I've just gotten used to the luxury of being home, where I don't have to be on the lookout in case someone contaminates something. I tried using kitchens in other houses before and it was really troublesome.. mainly since other people who are not used to having celiacs around (and even after explaining things to them) absentmindedly put things where they shouldn't be while I'm cooking.. They relocate my cooking things onto surfaces that have not been decontaminated or the other way around, and they can even prepare bread or whatever without thinking where they're putting that stuff. I just don't want to deal with the stress of being on the lookout all the time and worrying if some thing might go wrong.

 

You have made a very good point however regarding putting my health in the hands of restaurants.. but I actually never eat out in Sweden, at all.. and I wasn't planning to eat from restaurants in London. I thought that there might be some pre-made foods from supermarkets that someone might know about.. perhaps those are safer since they are packaged and have labels. Maybe I'm mistaken.

The only place I would dare to even consider eating from in London is Nando's since they have a good cross-contamination system and you can actually watch them while they grill the chicken. 

 

I just want it to be simple and stress free.

Edited by dani nero
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Because of experiences/reactions I have, and because being sick on a trip is a real drag, Because of perfectionism, I like to be super duper careful.  I have been told by my doctor not to eat away from "home."  Anyway, if I went to London, I would not be able to return home.  I have been glutened eating my own food, heated in a covered pan at someone's home. I think it was the pot-holder I borrowed   I have reacted while drinking water while others enjoyed dessert.  .Needless to say, celiac has my attention.  I don't think everyone needs to be this careful, but each one needs to be aware how to care for their body.

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Have a look at www.tesco.co.uk. It will give you an idea of what is available. You can click on most things and it brings up the ingredient list and also allergy statements. It would still be an idea to check packaging when you buy products though. Premade salads and vege are widely avaialble but can contain croutons or vege may be coated in flour.

 

I know you mentioned you avoid a lot of other things, but from the way you worded it, I got the impression some of them are more by choice than they will make you ill . If that is the case, would it be possible to include those things, at least for some meals just while you are away? sorry if I misread that, obviously don't eat them if you will get sick.

 

Also these might be of help: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk, www.asda.co.uk . http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/ (health food store). Marks and Spencer have an extensive gluten free list that includes products not specifically branded as such. I can never find the link on their website but it comes up if you google it. I'm  only gluten-free though so I'm not sure they have ones for your other requirements.

 

Enjoy London!

It is an amazing city, so much to see and do. Lots of fantastic markets, great shows and beautiful parks. It's my favourite place in the world, so am just a little bit jealous.

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Because of experiences/reactions I have, and because being sick on a trip is a real drag, Because of perfectionism, I like to be super duper careful.  I have been told by my doctor not to eat away from "home."  Anyway, if I went to London, I would not be able to return home.  I have been glutened eating my own food, heated in a covered pan at someone's home. I think it was the pot-holder I borrowed   I have reacted while drinking water while others enjoyed dessert.  .Needless to say, celiac has my attention.  I don't think everyone needs to be this careful, but each one needs to be aware how to care for their body.

I have no doubt you have other issues at play here, Diana.  But they are most likely not Celiac issues. If you react to water while others are eating dessert, whatever the reaction is, it is not a gluten reaction.  You know people who are newly diagnosed are going to read this and think they cannot be in the same room as someone eating gluten or that potholders are going to make them sick, which is pretty much a stretch from a gluten point of view.  Like many others here, we all were very sick when diagnosed and there may be other underlying health issues that combine to make recovery different for all of us. There should be no problems with going to a foreign capitol and setting up a kitchen that will serve as a gluten-free zone while traveling. It also involves confidence and education but everyone can learn to do this safely, without running around thinking they are housebound for the rest of their life.  When you do that, Celiac defines you and it shouldn't.

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I guess I've just gotten used to the luxury of being home, where I don't have to be on the lookout in case someone contaminates something. I tried using kitchens in other houses before and it was really troublesome.. mainly since other people who are not used to having celiacs around (and even after explaining things to them) absentmindedly put things where they shouldn't be while I'm cooking.. They relocate my cooking things onto surfaces that have not been decontaminated or the other way around, and they can even prepare bread or whatever without thinking where they're putting that stuff. I just don't want to deal with the stress of being on the lookout all the time and worrying if some thing might go wrong.

 

You have made a very good point however regarding putting my health in the hands of restaurants.. but I actually never eat out in Sweden, at all.. and I wasn't planning to eat from restaurants in London. I thought that there might be some pre-made foods from supermarkets that someone might know about.. perhaps those are safer since they are packaged and have labels. Maybe I'm mistaken.

The only place I would dare to even consider eating from in London is Nando's since they have a good cross-contamination system and you can actually watch them while they grill the chicken. 

 

I just want it to be simple and stress free.

I thought Sweden was very progressive with gluten free dining and knowledge of the disease?  Or is it because of other intolerances that it makes it difficult for you?

 

You should go to London....really.  Relax.  It is a fun city and you will love it.  I have eaten out in many of the places that fughwazi mentioned and never got sick.  I'm very sensitive and London is very knowledgeable about Celiac and CC.  Even the coffee shops like Cafe Nero and Starbucks have gluten-free offerings, pre-packaged stuff like salads and some sandwiches, that are gluten free.  I always carry an energy bar around just in case but have never failed to find safe foods.  Hit the markets and buy some cheese and fruit.  Don't pass up this chance to see a wonderful city because of food issues.  There is also a killer Whole Foods Market on Kensington High Street, in Kensington,  that offers many allergen free foods.  It's an awesome store and you will fnd safe food to eat there.

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Perhaps I should have been more clear about this earlier, sorry for the lack of information :-) I used to live in London 9 years ago, and I'm just going there to be with my family, not for tourism or experiencing the city. I used to have fun revisiting when my mother was alive, since we did all sorts of things together, but now that she has passed, I don't really feel like doing much there. I never revisited for more than a week however so I never had the need to explore what foods are available. I just want time to pass without stressing over safe food and without starving of course. 

 

 

Sainbury's, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are all in close proximity to my dad's apartment where we'll probably spend most our time, so yes I'll be looking for foods there. I was just hoping to skip testing the products myself by asking if any other celiacs know of brands that they have not reacted to. I would like to avoid a reaction of possible. 

 

Speaking of the other food intolerances, I have none except for lactose. I avoid all the other foods because I can't control my weight otherwise. 

 

Thanks for your responses, and sorry if I'm asking for too detailed information

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Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a good time with your family.  You have the same issues I do....gluten and dairy and I am very sensitive myself.  I never felt the need to test food but that's not something I would do anyway.  I just really believe that you will be able to go and eat and not be sick as England has such high awareness and availabiltiy of gluten-free foods.

 

You need not apologize for asking questions.  I just hope we were able to put your mnd at ease about going and finding safe food.  :)

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I thought Sweden was very progressive with gluten free dining and knowledge of the disease?  

 

Far from it.. really far from it. 

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Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a good time with your family.  You have the same issues I do....gluten and dairy and I am very sensitive myself.  I never felt the need to test food but that's not something I would do anyway.  I just really believe that you will be able to go and eat and not be sick as England has such high awareness and availabiltiy of gluten-free foods.

 

You need not apologize for asking questions.  I just hope we were able to put your mnd at ease about going and finding safe food.  :)

 

If you never felt the need to test I assume the labels are accurate which is good to know :-) Thanks so much.

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Check out coeliac UK. They do a directory of safe foods from major supermarkets and other stores. Maybe your brother could get it in advance for you? It lists all kinds of gluten-free food and regular food which happens to be gluten-free. There is a good range of ready meals too.

I regularly shop in all the main supermarkets. My favourite brand is Doves Farm, but not sure how that fits with your other food avoidance.

You could pick up a pan for a few pounds easily ina supermarket. I lasted a week with a small frying pan, sieve, knife, chopping board and spatula. A little saucepan would widen your options. Tinfoil can be useful on a grill or on a roasting tin. Plus kitchen roll

.

There is plenty of veg, meat, fish available, and prepared meals.

I am sure you will be fine.

Have a great trip

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