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Guest Post: Living Gluten, Dairy and Lactose Free

19 Mar

Since being diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2011 I have become increasingly aware of other food intolerances.  One of the more common intolerances I come across, other than gluten of course, is those who have issues with dairy or lactose.  Many coeliacs have problems with lactose in the early stages after diagnosis, and this is well explained on the Coeliac UK website here.

Being well aware that there are many Gluten Free by the Sea readers who are dairy or lactose intolerant as well as being gluten free, I was keen to be able to offer some extra advice on the subject.  So a huge thank you to Emma Louise Huthchinson of Love Free From (formerly Love Lactose Free Life) for accepting my invitation to share her wisdom with you.  Some of you may have met Emma at either of the last two Coeliac UK Plymouth Group events, or the Christmas Free From Food Fair at Ivybridge last year, which she helped to organise.

Over to Emma…

About Me!

Profile pic Coeliac UK AGMHi I am Emma of Love Free From, a small online retailer selling an extensive range of the tastiest freefrom chocolate and treats. My little business was created in 2011 after I had given up lactose, dairy and gluten for medical reasons. In 2011 I also gave birth to our little boy who has been lactose intolerant since birth.

Avoiding gluten for medical reasons is a life time challenge. One that gets easier over time but you never have a break from. I am lucky that I have not been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. However, I have been blood tested several times as I show very similar symptoms when I consume gluten to Coeliac sufferers.

I am still undergoing my diagnosis journey. For the past 6 years I have visited my GP surgery numerous times, seen several dieticians, a gastroenterologist and an immunologist. I have been told I have a virus, acute urticaria, asthma, hives, IBS, stress, anxiety, lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity. Most medical practitioners don’t believe there is anything wrong with me and I am fighting for my symptoms to be acknowledged. What I do know is that when I eat certain foods I have symptoms. These range from heartburn and reflux, nausea and brain fog, bowel problems and stomach cramps, aching joints and back ache to itchy skin and eyes, rashes and migraines. Most of these symptoms have gone after removing not only lactose but dairy and gluten from my diet.

On the bright side I love food. Even avoiding dairy, lactose and gluten I still love food. I love to cook, I love to bake and I am a complete chocoholic. It made sense to me to specialise in seeking out and selling allergen free chocolates to anyone who would otherwise miss out.

The Free From Industry

lovefreefrom logo all golden

Being involved in the freefrom industry has put me in touch with some of the most supportive people I will ever meet. Through social media you can discuss symptoms, diagnosis, recipes and eating out. You can even just chat knowing that other people understand your daily routine. It also gave me the fabulous opportunity this year to be a judge at the Free From Food Awards (winners to be announced end of March, www.freefromfoodawards.co.uk ).

Eating with multiple food allergies, intolerances or illnesses is tricky but really follows the same principals to eating avoiding one food source.

Top Tips for Eating Freefrom

  • Read labels – religiously
  • Write a list of allergen names and sources – my list went shopping with me to begin with so I had a reference while reading labels
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – cafes and restaurants should know what is in their food
  • Research places to eat out before you get there – even give them a call ahead of time to ask questions while you both have time to think
  • Challenge yourself to eat more variety – try foods that you might not have tried before as your tastebuds will change and you will benefit from the variety in your diet
  • Make your own version – take normal recipes or watch baking programmes and have a go at making it suitable for you and you may surprise yourself
  • Enjoy making new contacts – there is nothing better than finding a new friend or company who understands your food needs.

My favourite products

There are some fantastic companies making dairy free, lactose free and vegan products which also exclude gluten and other allergens. Of course chocolate is my first love. You can find all my favourites on our website.  For even more I love reading and following the Free From Food Awards, http://www.freefromfoodawards.co.uk/index.html

Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Breakfast –

Udi’s Granola, Whole Earth Cornflakes

  • Lunch or dinner –

Warburtons Seeded Wraps, Tesco own garlic and coriander naan – makes a fab quick pizza base (lightly toast before topping and cooking), Venice Bakery pizza bases and flatbreads used with Mozzarisella Rice cheese – bring on the pizza

DS Gluten Free Crispbreads,

Pure Spreads

  • Milk Alternatives –

Lactofree – extensive range of real dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream) without lactose, great for our little one who is solely lactose intolerant and not dairy allergic

Alpro, KoKo, Good Hemp

  • Pudding and Ice Cream  –

Booja Booja, Swedish Glace, Co Yo, Razzle Dazzle Ices, Bessant and Drury, Pudology, Food Heaven, Lazy Day, Glamour Puds, Salcombe Dairy Sorbets

There are so many fabulous small companies that will have products suitable if you ask. We feature as many as possible on our blog. To name just a few check out these delights (please check all products with the producer for suitable flavours/variations):

  • Belinda Clark Confectioner
  • Raw Nibbles
  • Honeybuns Bakery
  • Ilumi
  • Portlebay Popcorn (sweet and salty only so far)
  • Rossinis (salts, marinades and flavouring)
  • Clives Pies
  • Pulsin
  • Hannah Banana Bakery
  • Munchy Seeds


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