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The Birth of The Social Coeliac

So I suppose you’re wondering what all the fuss is about?

Can you really make a blog dedicated to your dietary restrictions?

Are you actually going to mention being gluten free again?

I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease back in September 2016. I remember how lost, confused and angry I felt with the world. Why did this happen to me? A self-confessed foodie. My whole world came crashing down. Dramatic? Absolutely. You’ll get to learn that about me.

So how did I go from my lowest point to bringing The Social Coeliac to life?

Experiences. The good, the bad and the very, very ugly (trust me on this one)

From finding the first gluten free alternative to your favourite foods, to being glutened* on date nights, I’ve lived, laughed and cried through them all.

*The accidental ingestion of gluten

I quickly learned to understand and accept living with Coeliac Disease. After all, it’s never going away is it? Once I realised that, I really started to enjoy food and socialising again. I made it my mission to find all of the best gluten free alternatives, as many places as possible to eat out with friends and family and raise as much awareness for the condition as I could.

What can people expect from following The Social Coeliac?

I want to give social freedom back to people restricted by their gluten free diet. Whether that’s recommending the best places to eat out or just how to make safe choices when dining out in a new place.

I’m in the process of collaborating with local restaurants in The Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales to find out how they ensure their food is Coeliac friendly, full of flavour and so good you’ll ask yourself “Is this really gluten free?”

To ensure you don’t miss out on this, please subscribe to the newsletter or follow The Social Coeliac on Facebook and Instagram.

Is it worth subscribing if I’m not local to your area?

Unless you’re planning a nice visit to the land of Gavin and Stacey then the restaurant recommendations may not be relevant to you.

However, as I love to travel and I am partial to the odd city break I would like to feature my top 10 places to eat and drink across the UK and Europe. That’s the dream but everybody’s got to start somewhere!

What would you like to see? My top 10 worst store bought foods? Best advice on getting diagnosed with Coeliac Disease? Let me know below or email amber@thesocialcoeliac.com

My top 10 places to eat Gluten Free in Barry

People ask all the time “Can I eat gluten free anywhere in Barry?” The simple answer is “yes”. In fact, there are so many I struggled to narrow it down to my top 10!

I’ve tried to keep it pretty varied so hopefully there is something for everyone. I’ve got you covered for Italian, Mexican, Greek and even our traditional British favourites!

There is no particular order to these restaurants that are featured

Whitmore+Jackson

After a full breakfast or something on the lighter side and you want to enjoy this with a beautiful view of Barry Island? Whitmore+Jackson is the place to go! My weekly go to for a catch up with friends.

Butty Bach

With gluten free buns, a separate fryer for their fries and using gluten free flour to make the cheese sauce that tops their show stopping loaded fries, Butty Bach are my favourite go to for a naughty burger! Available for collection, delivery and dine in on Holton Road.

Meat and Greek

Based at the Goodsheds, Meat and Greek have a special place in my heart. The first place to offer gluten free and they covered every base when it comes to catering for Coeliacs! Check out my full review:

Review: Meat and Greek

Casa Paco

I’m not entirely sure I can put into words how grateful I am to have this little restaurant in my town. Nothing is too much and they’re always finding new ways to make sure I don’t miss out on their classic menu items!

I cannot recommend their deep fried Brie enough – It’s my favourite starter!

Casa Paco are my go to for a ‘proper home cooked’ Sunday roast. Available for collection, delivery and dine in on Broad Street.

Pre-order recommended. Give them at least 24 hours notice for any adaptation requests so they can make sure they have the ingredients readily available.

The Bab Haus

Another Goodsheds based gem. Since opening they’ve made great adaptations to their menu and food preparation to accommodate gluten free customers. If your favourite cuisine like mine is Mexican or you just love a flavour punch then you really have to try The Bab Haus!

Food For Thought Delicatessen

They’re the most friendly, family run business and the heart of Barry’s High Street. Offering sweet treats and an endless variety of jam packed rolls, this is my favourite place for gluten free on the go. Pre-order recommended (01446 735711)

Note: Gloves are changed and orders are prepared separately for gluten free customers.

The Little Olive

Everyone loves Italian and even more so when it’s authentic and from a family run business. They can adapt most of their pasta options gluten free and even have pizzas available too. Everything is so fresh and full of flavour – they just had to make my top 10! Based on Broad Street The Little Olive is a personal favourite for a date night or family meal.

Maggie Jo’s

From hearty breakfast options to amazing gluten free cakes, Maggie Jo’s have got you covered. This little gem is located on High Street where you can enjoy the quirky, vintage vibes whilst supporting a friendly, family run business!

Mrs Marcos

This place comes highly recommended for dog walks and family days at Porthkerry. Offering a variety of sandwiches and a some gluten free sweet treats, it’s the perfect place to have a little pit stop.

The Sausage Revolution

Based on the Atlantic Trading Estate it’s a little easy to forget about The Sausage Revolution as it lacks the footfall a lot of other places benefit from. Nevertheless, their food is too good not to shout about.

You can eat in and be greeted by their amazing customer service or order on Deliveroo for delivery and enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

I grab the ‘Dirty Dawg’ with the ‘Spicy Diablo’ sausage and upgrade to a gluten free roll. A very exciting breakfast roll!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I hope this has helped you find new places to eat and enjoy – Remember this is only my top 10 there are so many more great places featured on my socials!

Subscribe below to receive an email when new content is published:

The Social Coeliac on BBC Wales

I had an unexpected invite from BBC Wales to discuss the UK shortage of test tubes which has lead to GP’s being advised to ration blood tests.

It was really important for me to highlight the impact that this would have on diagnosing Coeliac disease as well as how essential routine tests are for those already diagnosed.

I was really nervous to accept the invitation as public speaking really isn’t my thing. However, I am very passionate about raising awareness for Coeliac disease and had to put my anxieties aside on this occasion.

With very little time to prepare, these interviews were pretty off the cuff so apologies in advance if anything is a little jumbled!




BBC Wales News at 6pm

This is a snippet from a Zoom interview I did with David Grundy, so this one actually caught me by surprise…

It was only when my family and friends were phoning me that I realised I was on the TV!

If you want to watch the full story I’ve posted this on my socials!

Facebook: https://fb.watch/7EpNcG6s8s/
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/tv/CTDRXWfANwC/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link


BBC Wales Radio with Gareth Lewis

So the radio interview was a little more nerve wracking, going live on air when public speaking terrifies you was a big hurdle I’m so proud I overcome – even if I did need to pause often and go off track a little!

I knew I’d need a nice, quiet room to do the interview, so my partner and our Lachon Bailey sat in the garden and listened live.

I have to say I did panic a little when the local ice cream van got his 10 seconds of fame between 02:50 – 03:00. A real “can the ground swallow me up?” moment for sure.

We discussed my symptoms pre-diagnosis, the importance of my annual reviews and why I think it is essential that doctor’s are not delaying blood tests for Coeliac diagnosis.

Every day that you leave Coeliac disease undiagnosed and untreated is causing more damage to your body.

Please do not let the test tube shortage or impact of Covid-19 stop you from seeking diagnosis for Coeliac disease.

BBC New Article
So my Zoom interview was initially to get a little write up for the BBC News Article but ended up being shown on TV – How exciting was this to raise awareness for Coeliacs?!

For full details of the article please visit:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-58350104?fbclid=IwAR2cOtKWLkhyfz4BU8iny-9fA41k2IrraJC_Mt7WzZvTBPC8cUCnhAcpe0U

I just want to take the time to thank BBC Wales for giving me the opportunity to raise awareness for Coeliac disease.

I really hope that you guys enjoyed following the story!

Giveaway: Bake It Pretty Gluten Free Cupcakes

So I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be running a little giveaway on both my Instagram and Facebook page (@thesocialcoeliac)

The winner will receive 6 cupcakes made by the ever so talented @bakeitprettygf – I mean just look how beautiful her cakes are!

You guys may or may not remember when I first started up my blog and I asked Hannah to make me a little treat box themed to my blog. Well she exceeded all of expectations, everything tasted amazing but was way too pretty to eat… Only joking, I definitely ate the entire contents!

Pretty incredible right?!

Everyone following a gluten free diet needs to try Hannah’s bakes, you honestly do not feel like you’re missing out by your restricted diet!

Want to be in with a chance of winning? Head over to my Facebook and Instagram @thesocialcoeliac for two chances of winning.

Want to be the first to hear about my next giveaway? Subscribe below:

Guide: Gluten Free at Depot in The Castle 2021

I’ve reached out to all of the caterers at the event and we’ve discussed in detail, the gluten free options they have available and how safe they are for those following a gluten free diet.

For most of us, this will be your first big event since Covid locked us down 18 months ago. I bet you’ve forgotten the stress that comes with finding something suitable to eat at busy events right?

Let’s be honest, the last thing you want to worry about it is whether you’ll be able to eat without getting ill and completely ruining your weekend!

I’ll be attending the event and I’ve done the hard work for you. Now you can enjoy the music, good vibes and great food with your loved ones without the extra stress of your gluten free diet.

Photo: (@depotinthecastle)

It’s important to note that catering for events like this in small kitchens you will almost always be advised of some level of cross contamination risk

The Bearded Taco (@thebeardedtaco)

Gluten free options:
● Let’s Avo Cwtch – Tempura Avocado with an agave and lemon slaw, chipotle aioli and fresh coriander

● The Pork-a-Cola – Mexican slow braised pork with salsa roja, pickled pink onions and fresh coriander

Cross contamination advice:
● The tempura avocado is made with gluten free flour and has it’s own fryer
● Gluten free tortillas are heated in the microwave separate from the gluten containing tortillas
● Separate utensils and regular cleaning to avoid cross contamination but due to kitchen size and the presence of gluten they cannot guarantee there is no risk
● The team have asked that you make them aware that you need a gluten free meal so they can take extra care when preparing your food

Photo: (@themeatingpoint)
The Pork-a-Cola
Photo: (@bradleyhangrybear)
Let’s Avo Cwtch

The Meating Point (@meatingpointuk)

Gluten free options:
● Ask for meat, salad and chips without the pitta bread

Cross contamination advice:
● Not confirmed by the publishing date – Please discuss when ordering

Photo: (@themeatingpoint)
Souvlaki, fries and salad

Keralan Karavan (@keralankaravan)

Gluten free options:
● Ask for their Masala wrap with gluten free bread, the fillings are all safe for Coeliacs
● Their secret Bhajees

Cross contamination advice:
● Separate pans are used for the gluten free options
● The team have asked that you make them aware that you need a gluten free meal so they can take extra care when preparing your food

Photo: (@keralankaravan)
Secret Bhajees

The Fork Society (@the.fork.society)

Gluten free options:
● Steak and fries with chimichurri

Cross contamination advice:
“All our fries are gluten free nothing else goes in the fryer, it’s only the sauce choice that changes whether the dish contains gluten”

Photo: (@the.fork.society)
Steak and fries with chimichurri

Dirty Bird Fried Chicken (@dirtybirdfriedchicken)

Gluten free options:
● Fries and Halloumi

Cross contamination advice:
“Every item we sell has it’s own fryer and there is no cross contamination”

Photo: (@dirtybirdfriedchicken)
Halloumi and Fries options

Fablas (@fablasltd)

Gluten free options:
● Handcrafted, fresh fruit lollies – Completely allergen free! Available in Orange & Lemon, Strawberry and Raspberry & Lime. All made in house using fresh fruit, juices and our own sweet syrups

Cross contamination advice:
“The majority of our ice cream flavours are gluten free. However there could be a slight chance of cross contamination between the cones and the flavours from our scoops, so we cannot be 100% sure”

Photo: (@fablasltd)
Fresh Fruit Lollies

There are a few more caterers at the event but unfortunately I didn’t have chance to confirm whether or not their food is suitable for Coeliacs. If there’s anything else that takes your fancy, don’t be afraid to ask them on the day and if you enjoy tag me on your socials @thesocialcoeliac

Review: Meat and Greek

How did I find this little beauty?

The Goodsheds officially opened back in August 2020 and whilst all of my friends and family were bursting with excitement to try out all of the different street foods on offer, I thought I’d be disappointed with the oh so common “Sorry there’s nothing suitable for you to eat” when asking about the gluten free options available.

I walked from stall to stall and although my chances were super slim with most offering fried or breaded foods, I still had a glimmer of hope I’d find something. Like an absolute ray of sunshine (quite literally because she’s just lush), Sophie co-owner of Meat and Greek was so welcoming to my dietary needs and made sure I could really enjoy some authentic Greek street food.

Sophie brought my food to my table personally and explained in detail how all of the gloves were changed, the fryer is only used for gluten free food, the salad was taken fresh from the fridge and everything was prepared safely for me to eat and most importantly enjoy!!

I’ve since eaten in Meat and Greek dozens of times and have never had a single problem with being given gluten by mistake, although, the amount of halloumi fries I’ve eaten is quite frankly embarrassing!

See below my go to completely gluten free meal, which includes the pork souvlaki salad bowl, the oregano fries and the halloumi fries.

What are all of the gluten free options?

● Pork souvlaki salad bowl
● Halloumi salad bowl
● Halloumi fries
● Oregano fries
● Feta fries

Catching up with Sophie co-owner of Meat and Greek

I recently reached out to Sophie to let her know about the blog and she was so enthusiastic to help spread the word about how they prepare their food safely for Coeliacs. Sophie was eager to learn more about Coeliac Disease and really understand the importance of cross contamination – something they’ve been absolutely smashing since day one!

The passion for their business and customer safety radiated and was so lovely to see. I was more than happy to help them to help more people like me enjoy their amazing food!

Together we agreed on the top tips for ordering gluten free at Meat and Greek:

1 – Message ahead (especially if doing takeaway) – Instagram is my go to and their username is @meatandgreek
2 – Pop and say hello on arrival – They’re a lovely, friendly bunch. Let the team know to expect a gluten free order so they can look out for it on the tickets.
3 – Put a note on your order on the Yeollo app – The team will be looking out for this especially if you’ve followed tip 2
4 – When your food is brought to your table, double check that this is gluten free
5 – Enjoy and share on your socials! You never know if there are any other Coeliacs out there in need of some authentic Greek street food!

My 5 top tips for eating out with Coeliac Disease

  1. Contact the restaurant in advance
    Phoning ahead can give you chance to speak to the restaurant in a calmer environment. For those that don’t feel confident enough to speak on the phone, most restaurants are on social media these days and will be more than happy to help provide allergen information.

  2. Avoid busy times
    Now this one can’t always be helped but if the restaurant staff are rushed off their feet, mistakes can be made that could lead you to feel very poorly for a days, if not weeks whilst you recover from accidental ingestion of gluten.

  3. Keep it simple
    Go back to basics, rice, salad and potatoes are all naturally gluten free. Try to pick your meals with these as your base and you’re going to bring your risk down massively. If any part of your meal requires frying, make sure you ask the restaurant if they have a separate fryer for gluten free food.

  4. Condiments
    About to reach for your favourite barbecue sauce? Stop and read the labels first! This is a really easy way to accidentally ingest gluten. Wheat and Barley are ingredients often found in sauces.

  5. Check, check and check again!
    This one is probably the most difficult for the socially awkward people among us…

    You’ve phoned ahead to see if they can accommodate gluten free customers, you’ve gone through war and peace putting your order through and the server finally brings out that big, cheesy, pepperoni pizza you’ve been dreaming about since last week and now you’ve got my voice in your head telling you to check again? You’ll thank me later.

    It’s quite surprising how easy it is to wind up with gluten in front of you, anything as simple as your request for the gluten free version not making its way to the chef or your server picking up the wrong plate at the pass. Mistakes can happen but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your health.

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