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Living 'Free From' at Uni

Steph Williams Student Life

If you're wondering how you're going to manage being on a gluten free/ free from diet whilst at uni or where some great places to eat gluten free in Newcastle are, I'm going to cover it all!

Dec -20-15_Living -Free -From _In PageFirst of all, I'm going to recommend something. This is especially great for those who cook their own meals or those who would like to cook their meals but have limited skills in the kitchen. The vast majority of you will have a smartphone or tablet so head to the App Store or Google Play, do it now! Search for an app called 'Yummly'.

This app allows you to mark the foods you don't like, the foods you're allergic to (including gluten, nuts, soy etc), select the cuisines you love the most (British, Asian, Chinese, Italian etc...) and it also allows you to select any diets you may follow (vegan, vegetarian or paleo for example). Once the app has this information stored, it finds recipes tailored to you! You won't see any recipes that contain ingredients you don't like or can't have! This is great when you're following a free from diet but want to try new things.

Right, now that that's out the way, let's see what questions I can answer!

Dec -20-15_Living -Free -From -2_In PageYou might be wondering if you'll be able to afford gluten free food?

Gluten free alternatives are NOT expensive. It's that simple.

On the other hand, gluten free substitutions can be quite pricey.

Try using foods which are naturally gluten free (alternatives) such as rice (brown is best), quinoa, sweet potatoes or cauliflower rather than foods which naturally contain gluten, but have been modified so they're now suitable for those who are gluten free (substitutions) such as free from pasta, packaged cakes and snacks etc. Try making your own healthier versions, there are plenty or recipes on Pinterest especially! (Try searching 'Gluten Free Snacks')

Is it possible to save money on the weekly food shop despite being gluten free?

Yes, definitely. 

You can save money when on a gluten free diet by buying cheaper cuts of meat such as chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts, and using rice in dishes to give them a bit of bulk. You could even try buying your meat from a butcher, you're only buying what you need which means no waste. Get your fruit and vegetables from market stalls or green grocers, you pay much less and they're usually fresher too.

On the other hand, you could buy your ingredients in bulk and freeze them or package them with other ingredients ready to put in a slow cooker, you'll have great meals with minimal effort. All that's required is a bit of planning. Using a slow cooker also means less dishes to wash!

Where can I eat out in Newcastle?

I'm not just gluten free... I also have a number of allergies and have found it more and more difficult to be able to eat out. Check out this article the chronicle posted online last year, there are links to gluten free menus for a few restaurants in Newcastle. 

The Fat Buddah, Zizzis and Las Iguanas all have gluten free dishes on their menus, either that or the have a menu specifically for gluten free! Why not give them a try!

If you have allergies or intolerances to other foods a lot of restaurants have an allergy menu too, this gives you the run down of every ingredient in every dish! The handmade burger company in the Metro Centre has a fantastic allergy menu, you can go gluten free quite easily by swapping your burger bun for salad too!

A few tips for being 'Free From'

  • Register with a local doctor. Goes without saying, your health is the most important thing.
  • If you have a meal plan, stick to it.
  • Download a foodie app. ('Yummly' gets my approval & im not only gluten free but I also have serious allergies to all nuts, soy, peas, beans and more)
  • Make in bulk so you've always got something to eat or buy just what you need from a butcher and green grocer, you will always be eating fresh food and there will be no waste, buy just what you need!
  • Wipe surfaces! (Cross contamination can be just as bad as ingesting allergens such as gluten, egg or soy for example).
  • If you're sharing a house with others, be sure that they know that you're gluten free. Just mention that you'd like it if they wouldn't use your pans and utensils etc, as this could put your health at risk.
  • Don't let being gluten free stop you having fun whilst at uni, enjoy going out for meals with friends, there are a variety of places which offer gluten free and allergy menus.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask, Tweet us or send us a Facebook message, I can answer them and add to this post! Likewise, if you have any tips for others who are free from, let us know!

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