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Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Increase in FreeFrom gluten free products being made suitable for vegans too

Hi all

I am not sure if I am alone but I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the amount of gluten free pasta, cakes and biscuit products that are not only free of barley, wheat and rye but also free from egg and milk. I can understand why it would be sensible to have some products free from milk derivatives as many coeliacs are also lactose intolerant (myself included when I was first diagnosed) but I am disappointed that many cake and pasta products do not have egg as they are key ingredients. I went to buy a cake today in a Tesco Express store and they had 10 different gluten free cake and biscuit products on display. All were labelled wheat, egg, milk and gluten free. As a Coeliac I am already limited in my choice but I feel I am further limited by being confronted with a vegan-friendly product. When I would like a cake or biscuit treat I would like them to taste as close to a traditional cake or biscuit and therefore be made with eggs and butter etc. I have tried some of these products and I feel they do not taste pleasant just very sweet and oily. Am I the only person who feels aggrieved that coeliacs are lumped into the increasing popularity of vegan lifestyle choices. I guess large supermarkets think they can expand their free from range to try to appeal to more people. It would be good to see what others think. Many thanks for reading. Jane

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Hi,

This is possibly not what you were hoping to hear, however I have absolutely no objection to gluten free products being vegan friendly as well. I am a coeliac who has several other secondary intolerances including dairy casein. For about a year I was also intolerant to eggs. These products were a boon then - and still make my life easier today (Although I do get frustrated with the amount of soya included in them!).

If a product doesn't taste nice, I vote with my feet and don't buy it again - it's as simple as that. I would be the first to agree that they don't all taste good.

To flip the argument over, I have not heard any of the vegans I know complaining about products also being gluten free! As you mention above, they understand that to be commercially viable, a product needs to appeal to as broad a market as possible. Btw, I find that the range and choice of products available now is brilliant compared to even 5 years or so ago.

One should also should also remember the home baking option too...! 😉. When I was diagnosed it was almost impossible to get GF flour in a supermarket, now it's often something that can be taken for granted - making GF home baking the easiest it has ever been, especially as recipes abound on the Internet to suit all tastes.

R.B.

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They have to eat as well don't they. As Regalbirdy says, why not try the home baking, I'm going to give it a go.

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Thank you for taking the time to reply Regalbirdy and Sotonowl. It is good to hear that the products fit in with others and that I am in the minority. I do home bake when I can but it is not always an option with working full time but I guess I will need to do more forward planning going forward. I have never made gluten free pasta before though so any tips would be gratefully received. I do enjoy pasta dishes regularly and the lack of egg in shop bought pasta that Ipurchased inadvertently does in my opinion sadly effect the overall taste.

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I have no suggestions on the pasta sorry! but I am interested in ideas! I get my egg pasta from the continental / international shops as I find they often don't even include wheat anywhere in it. I also use rice pasta.

Home baking: I make some stuff every sunday and just put half in the freezer; pretty much anything can go in there!

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Hi

Even if they are or aren’t vegan friendly, I tend to try to avoid them because of all the all the additives they often contain (gum, cellulose, emisifiers). Baking your own whenever you can is worth trying.

I’ve never tried making fresh pasta, hope it works!

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Thank you Penel. I agree that at least you know what you are eating. I will update on the pasta making in time

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I understand where you are coming from, I'm not keen on the products with no dairy too. But I have a friend who has been coeliac for 10 years and she says she is thankful for the choice now. There are probably vegetarian /vegan coeliacs too. Manufacturers are trying to condense allergies/intolerances too. Maybe shop around a bit. We saw my mother in law at the weekend, she had got an amazing gluten free M&S lemon drizzle cake. It was amazing.

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Thank you for the tip Alibob1969. I will check out M&S next time

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I’ve been vegetarian my whole life so getting diagnosed as Coeliac was incredibly difficult for me. It’s getting easier, but I personally know/ have met many coeliacs that are vegan/ vegetarian or just dairy free also.

I think m&s would be your best shout, they love putting egg into everything.

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Thanks Anj1a I will have a look, but I guess baking my own when I can would be the best bet

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I've noticed this too. I guess it must be frustrating the other way round as well, as surely vegans don't want the dry, crumbly problems of gluten free products!

I would like to limit soya in my diet, but gluten free ice cream is also, generally, vegan (soya based). Same with a lot of pizzas!

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Thank you for replying. I think you are right, it probably is a problem for vegans too when they don’t want gluten free.

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As others have suggested, I think the manufacturers are trying to tick all the boxes at once and hopefully appeal to the biggest number of consumers. This is annoying for both vegans and coeliacs I imagine, but it does mean there is a bigger selection of products on offer. I don't usually buy these kinds of highly processed items, but I do find it annoying when I am trying to find bread that is only gluten free rather than egg, and dairy free as well. There is a huge variety of bread available now so you'd think that just a few of the manufacturers would not try to tick all the boxes at once.

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bread isn't made with eggs or milk!! it does confuse me why that ends up being labelled as egg and dairy free, but I guess it's made somewhere where stuff could be made with those. I just make my own bread!

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Many gluten free breads are made with eggs, milk and butter. If eggs aren't used, the structure has to be created with things like xanthum gum or ground chia seeds. Some manufacturers get very creative trying to create structure.....one loaf I bought from Tesco recently....an own brand.....used bamboo fibre as one of its ingredients. Needless to say, it was one of these egg and dairy free ones. This bread actually made me quite ill and put me off shop bought bread for quite a while. I'd been in too minds about getting it in the first place, but I was on holiday and couldn't bake my own bread.

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ahh I see :) thanks for the explanation!

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Thank you for replying MeTeeCee. I really do miss lovely tasting bread. I have heard that there is an amazing gluten free bakery in London (Fitzrovia) so I am hoping to visit very soon. I will keep you posted. I think they cater for a variety of dietary needs but everything is gluten free.

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Good gluten free bread really is the holy grail for bakers, isn't it 😄. Finding one that isn't gritty, dry or gluey can be very difficult. I hope you find some good loaves at Fitzrovia.

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Hey, I can understand your frustrations; although I don't have allergies mine are more sensitivities and dietary preferences.

I actually find it easier to buy the normal range of foods and just search for the ones I prefer. For example Tesco do a red lentil pasta, and a gluten free red lentil pasta, because mines a sensitivity I can have the plain red lentil pasta - may contain wheat.

When it comes to cakes, biscuits etc I make my own, just looking up recipies and swapping in wheat free ingredients, for example a chocolate brownie I make has ground almond flour instead of plain flour, still uses eggs and butter, but I've found green and blacks chocolate is gluten and milk free (I have a milk sensitivity) so I use than instead of supermarket own. Yes it does take some experimenting; I find though that the free from range is far too overpriced. For example coconut macaroons are already gluten free if made at home, as are amaretti biscuits!

I think like you said supermarkets can cater for all allergies / preferences under one item, which is easier for them and it seems to work. People that use these though have to accept they won't taste the same as the normal ones; having said that if you have an allergy it may be you've never tried normal stuff. I have a friend that cannot have chocolate so she doesn't know what it tastes like = doesn't miss it and isn't bothered.

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Thank you farahziya. I think I had better get baking your brownies sound lovely 😄

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Look up / google Bournville brownies :) and substitute their ingredients for raw cacao powder (or just coco powder if you prefer), any other gluten free or milk free dark chocolate bar (I use Green and Blacks), almond flour.

Not healthy but it's a great go to treat, and freezes brilliantly!

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I see more and more added ingredients in the 'freefrom' foods often with e numbers so have gone back to making my own or sometimes getting Biona bread which is very expensive. first nothing... then increasing availability ....now full of stuff I dont want in my diet ????????????

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Hi Venetia. I agree increased choice but who knows what is really in them.

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Maybe I’m in the minority but I’m one of those people that can’t have wheat/gluten, dairy or egg. I’d like to know which products don’t have egg in because in my experience they are few and far between! Most foods I look at are gluten free only, some gluten and dairy free and even fewer are gluten, dairy and egg free. 99% of gluten free bakery products have egg in so even when I get excited that something is gluten free I’m usually disappointed. Life would be so much easier if I only had to avoid wheat/gluten.

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Hi Ukbusybee

Gosh that must be very limiting for you when buying things off the shelf and when eating out. The increase in vegan products should hopefully benefit you though. The cake and biscuit range in Tesco may be worth checking out if you want to buy a sweet treat rather than baking at home. There was quite an extensive range.

Good luck

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Yes it can be, but I don’t buy much ready-made stuff if I can help it. Free from foods tend to have loads of junk in anyway. I tend to cook most things from scratch but it’s when I am out and about that it can be tricky. Vegan cheese is my saviour. :-) There are a fair few of us with multiple allergies though, so if we didn’t have these free from foods covering a lot of bases we’d have an even more limited diet. I miss eggs more than I miss wheat/gluten to be honest. Tesco do the most multiple free from items whereas most of the M&S stuff is just free from wheat or dairy.

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Hi Masefieldcrew

Yes I am suprised too by the egg & milk not being included in our Wheat/Gluten Free foods. I do sympathise with lactose free people too but maybe there can be a compromise?! I get very cross at the amount of Soya put into our foods especially as we shouldn't eat Soya if we take Thyrocine.

Also in any restaurant I go in to, they all all Call me 'Gluten Free' !!! So then I have to say No I need Wheat & Gluten free Menu!! Most places just look at me blankly!!! I doubt things will change. I don't enjoy eating out anymore I tend not to go out to eat it's easier as I feel I'm a nuisance to everyone else.

Having to eat different things.

K

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