How many GF/Coeliac people can eat dairy? 10

Please let me know.  I am pretty sure Zac is one of many who cannot tolerate either. I want to know how many of us are destined to carry our own packed lunch wherever we go?

Today, we took the children to Woburn Safari Park and had to dash for cover when it started to rain. We went to the indoor playhouse for a drink and some food. As usual, my expectations were low.

Nowhere ever caters for a dairy free person, although you do see more and more gluten free cakes. The same was true here. There were two cakes on the menu that were very clearly flagged as gluten free – a flapjack and a brownie. They must feel so proud of themselves.

So knowing that they are making some gesture towards catering for people with food intolerance, I asked the server if the cakes were also dairy free. She said, very politely, that she would have to check and a few moments later returned with the menu. She had a version that had a chart marked out with a grid of ticks and crosses and clearly showed which foods were vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, egg free and something else I can’t remember. Nothing marked as dairy free, but as vegan is by nature dairy free, I was able to see that nothing apart from cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes were vegan or dairy free – and to be honest I could have worked that out for myself!

What I really want to know is how many of these cakes do they sell? Not just at Woburn but at any catering establishment that thinks it is catering to Coeliacs and other gluten/wheat intolerants. I have read many times that there is a large crossover between dairy intolerance and Coeliac. So if that is true these establishments are missing the point and shouldn’t someone tell them?

They are probably mistakenly thinking that they are going to the trouble of getting in gluten free food but not many people are buying it. Won’t they wrongly assume the demand is not there? Perhaps they will to reduce their offering rather than expand it. That is not what we want, so shouldn’t we tell them? The Coeliac Awareness week was great and there is no doubt that various charities and PR people are doing a great job at getting the GF message out there but who is waving the flag for the people who cannot tolerate dairy?

If you are dairy intolerant, it is pretty impossible to find a dairy free product on the free from shelves, that has not also had the wheat and gluten removed. This can actually reduce your tolerance to wheat and gluten and is probably driving up the numbers of people who cannot tolerate any of it! What can we do? Do any of you know anyone or anywhere that is doing something positive here? Anyone want to join me?



  1. I am an adult but I am gluten and dairy intolerant, I keep trying to reintroduce small amounts of dairy due to the sheer frustration of trying to find foods that interest me that are free from both, I find it near impossible to get a lunch time snack when out with my mother shopping or even for a meal at the supermarket, more and more is gluten free and the awareness there is getting better but us poor souls who are also dairy intolerant have a very limited choice, and I can at times have trouble with eggs causing me gas bloating and pain, but I wont evens tart to rant about the fact nothing is egg free when it comes to GF breads and cakes. I have needed up doing a lot of home baking, some of my attempts have been better than others, cakes I can do. Breads I am still experimenting with so that I may get something mildly edible at some point.

    • Thanks so much for the comment. Really appreciate the feedback and it is always interesting to hear from other people in the same boat as us. I am hearing more and more from people who cannot tolerate eggs either and so it would seem that although the general perception is that things are improving for food allergies, the truth is that it is really just the gluten intolerants who are best looked after. The supermarkets and restaurants do not seem to seriously consider other conditions, except perhaps nut allergy. It does make you feel sad and irritated, especially when you are asked not to bring your own food to certain places, but what choice do we have? Good luck with the bread baking. I have some gf bread flour in my cupboard and am just trying to pluck up the courage to use it! Will let you know how I get on. Best wishes.

  2. You are welcome, we are trying for a child at the moment, if it has my issues I will feel so guilty. It is hard enough dealing with this as an adult but I feel so bad for children constantly being told they cant have things other children enjoy. It must be so hard when they are very little, I do not know how i would approach it, as they musn’t be able to understand why they cant have the things their little friends have and think nothing of. I think what you are doing is wonderful and must help so many other families with children who struggle with food intolerance’s and allergies.

    I wish there was more awareness of other intolerance’s and allergies, but I suppose everything has to be done in baby steps or they can’t cope. I am grateful that at the moment I am tolerating eggs but how long that will last, who knows. Labeling is poor also, they claim to tell everything but to be fair what is acceptable and what isn’t is very much a grey area, coeliac UK list many foods as acceptable as they allegedly fall below the 20ppm allowed of gluten but so many appear to react to it, I am still at the very early stages of getting my head around gluten free diet properly so I am finding it exceptionally confusing. I am struggling so much with my digestive system that the simplest way is to cut anything that says contains or may contain gluten or dairy.

    I will let you know if I find any good gluten free egg free and dairy free breads, but don’t hold your breath, I have some vaguely edible gluten and dairy free ones but egg free is a major challenge!

    • Thanks also for this comment. Best of luck with the baby. All I can say is that at least with your knowledge and experiences, you will be able to approach weaning very carefully and will be able to spot any signs. When I think back, I think Zac was born with these problems. He was a very unsettled baby. Very colicky, quite sicky, lots of bad nappies, but because my daughter had been similar I just put it down to that. It was only when we weaned her that I spotted the cows milk thing. I should have known, as I am so sensitive to dairy myself, but I thought I just didn’t like it. I didn’t think it might not ‘like me’. So when Zac got really ill, I folllowed my hunch and that is how we got here today.

      One thing I have learned is that the body tends not to crave the things that make it ill. So although we had a tough time when he was two, because that is when the dietitians made us do a lot of elimination testing and food diaries – we are fine now. For a while we totally confused him, by putting things in and out of his diet. But once we established his triggers and that all settled down he got used to it and now never even tries any food without checking with me first. It has made him ultra fussy and he is reluctant to try anything new. He always says ‘will this give me the tummy ache’ or ‘will this give me the ‘yellow stuff’ – Zac speak for make him sick!

      So on the one hand we have a fussy little boy, but on the other hand, I think it is natures way of protecting him. In fact, we have an end of term party at pre-school this afternoon. I spent all morning making some food for everyone else. All the Mum’s are asked to contribute a plate of food. But I still have to make all Zac’s own ‘special food’. I always feel a bit sorry for him when all the other kids dive into their food and he has his own little ‘packed lunch’. But he seems to like it and feels special. He is 3 and a half now and I don’t suppose he can remember things being any different. Good job really!

      In response to your other points, I feel the same as you about the very poor labelling and the general scandal of the ‘free from food market’. I believe the supermarkets are to blame and more needs to be done to raise awareness about this. As you say, nothing is done for the egg free and dairy free people and their needs are just as great. I think everyone has wildly misunderstood the gluten free thing as some kind of low carb diet fad and they are so so wrong.

      We need to set the record straight on this and also on the dairy free, egg free, nut free areas too. There are two pieces of work to be done. Find out why so many people have these problems. And make sure that the world is looking after us properly. At the moment for so many eating out and socialising are pretty much ‘out’ and at best depressing and at worst, very risky. It is not good enough.

      Our local Tesco has just had a store refit. Basically they just squeezed more aisles of what I think is junk in. They reduced their Free From area dramatically. It is now no more than a couple of shelves beside the acres of ‘junk’ breakfast cereals. There is literally a sea of ‘rubbish’ breakfast foods and I think it is a scandal that they even sell some of them. They are technically poison to a lot of us and yet they are side by side with the foods that we need!

      I have been approached by several other people lately and I think the time has come to try and get some press coverage. So if you are interested in joining us and know anyone else who might, please get in touch. Perhaps it needs to be some kind of petition, or poll or just a collection of case studies, a self help group/community. I don’t know, but I think we can do it.

      Hope to hear from you and the very best of luck with everything.


      • I would be very happy to join you, the free from area at my local supermarkekts ( both morrisons that we shop at) is dire, there is frequently out of date bread, I dont mean even a d ay we have had 3 and 4 days out of d ate loaves in our trolley until my husband has checked it, he has complained numerous times to no avail. it is seeming more and more likely that I am allergic to cows milka s I keep itching like furey whn I have any which leads to major discomfort, iI am having trouble with my asthma flaring when i drink milky products or eat anything with dairy so it is getting more obvious, I cant mess with it, I have to avoid it, the gluten is obvious too but I knew that.

        it is tiresome that the shops are reducing the amount of choice we have morrisons have very little at one of the stores and it seems an after thought the shelves are never tidy or organised as I said often food is out of date and we pay extortionate prices for this

        my mum really doesnt understand my issues with food she seems to think it is a f ad that I will just quit at some point, she doesnt take it seriously and makes me feel guilty for being ;awkward’ as she likes to put it, this really upsets me as it seems silly as a grown adult but it is nice to have the support of your family.

        let me know if there is anything that you want me to do, I can pass you my email address somehow if you want me to be involved in any way. my doctor doesnt take my troubles seriously either just dismisses it as IBS. I am diagnosed with M.E another dustbin diagnosis that they label you with then throw away the key as they say there is nothing they can do. it gets very tiresome never being taken seriously when I am so desperately unwell.

      • Wow poor you. That all sounds awful. I have been contacted by a few ladies now so we are gaining some momentum. My email address is Feel free to email me and give me your full story. I think I need to collect some ‘stories’ as a case study to present at some point. Let’s see if we can make a difference. It is not right that you have to suffer with this because it is so poorly understood. No-one really understood Coeliac until a few years ago, and still very few understand it properly. I am convinced we can do something for the ‘dairy’ people.

  3. PS, I stole your banana bread recipe as I changed it a little to make it easier for those of us with M.E aand posted it on my Blog. If you want a look let me know and I will give you the link. It w as beautiful and I cannot thank you enough, my husband has asked me to make another, and he does not have to be free from anything.

    • Hi, thanks for getting in touch. Just to let you know I revisited this recipe the other day and grated in 100g of dairy free chocolate to the mix. I also added a teaspoon of xanthan gum – just to improve the crumb quality and texture. It was awesome. I will post a picture and the recipe later. My Mum loved it and she does not need to be free from anything either. She said it tasted like a real cake!!!

      • That is wonderful, I havent got around to baking another yet, I havent been at all well, I have been busy for a couple of weeks with appointments that absolutely floored me then the dr had given me a medication I had to take for 10 days that appears to have made me very unwell, so when I am back on my feet I will have to give it another go. Xanthan gum is amazing stuff, so many uses. I first found it doing a low carb diet as a thickening agent, my husband was not too fond of it though as it gives things a sheen that he says seemed artificial, but I rather liked it. now I use it in baked goods mainly.

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