Monday, 7 July 2014

Gluten Free in Tel Aviv

I'm just back from an excellent trip to see family and relax on the beach in Israel

Quite often on holiday it is hard to keep to the strict diet I stick to, so plenty of research was needed in advance

I used & to do all my background reading as well as having my trusty Gluten Free Hebrew Card

It was very interesting to find that actually Israeli's understood Coeliac more often than trying to explain Gluten Free so I ended up just telling places I was Coeliac - it is always interesting to read peoples reactions and some looked very confused (confirming it was probably best not to eat there)

Supermarkets tended to have small gluten free sections but trying to read Hebrew is not my forte so I tried as much just to stick with the basics when shopping

So onto the restaurant reviews - and places to check out

Let's start central and just by the main beach in Tel Aviv - Dizengoff Street is home to lots of good places to eat...

Falafel Hipo - 70 Dizengoff
Gluten Free Lafa (a wrap specially made by the staff there) with some excellent falafel, houmus, tahini and Israeli salads gave you the real flavour of Israel and didn't leave you feeling left out (there are lots of falafel places in the centre) - worth a visit if you are going as it was superb

La Lasagna - 170 Dizengoff
An entirely gluten free menu to choose different pizzas and pastas, it has everything from ravioli, penne, fusilli and also plenty of pizza choices. As far as gluten free pasta goes it was nice but it was a bit like an average Italian restaurant here in England, as a Kosher place it also doesn't serve any meat

Lobi - 300 Dizengoff
This was by far the best meal we had in Tel Aviv, not listed as gluten free I spoke with the staff and they were able to show choices, adapt dishes and were very helpful. An excellent steak, followed by a Banana and cream crumble (minus the crumble but with caramelised bananas) this is a must eat place in Tel Aviv up by the Port
Bread Story - 86 Dizengoff
We stumbled across this place on a Friday night as most other places were full - I basically went in and asked if they could do a burger with no bun to find they served gluten free rolls and's nice for a lunchtime snack and obviously anywhere that sells fresh GF bread is good in my book
Moving further afield and on the recommendation of a fellow Coeliac we took a trip down to Old Jaffa 
Itzik Hagadol
Heading to Itzik Hagadol was an experience, all you can eat unlimited Israeli salads placed on your table with nice meat to compliment it, quite touristy, but worth the trip down to Jaffa. They have GF listings on the menu (but be careful the mixed grill is not GF even though it is not on the banned list) and are very aware of Coeliacs - pop down here and leave very full

Best of the rest

Giraffe is an excellent place to eat with plenty of gluten free options, though the gluten free menu is in Israeli so the waiting staff will have to explain what is and isn't

Cafe Aroma was ok but I still don't like having to pay an extra pound for a roll, and they basicall give you the ingredients and you have to make your own sandwiches

MeatBar serves steaks but is limited on dessert options

I was also turned away from several places that didn't know if they had gluten on the menu or simply said not suitable for Coeliacs on initial booking discussions

Hashdera 34 a buzzing bar and grill said salads only, which is like being a veggie at Nandos

Haifa Karmel Beach bars didn't have a clue about gluten free - but that's not a huge surprise as Haifa tends to be more locals than tourists

So that's Tel Aviv (with a small bit of Haifa thrown in) - remember do your research and I would say head to Lobi and Itzik Hagadol for gluten free feasts (especially the desserts at Lobi)

No more holidays planned for me for a while so let's hope more samples are sent through for me to share some more gluten free news

Monday, 2 June 2014

Udi-licious (well some of it)

Hey everyone

So the nice people at Udis (well they seem lovely) sent me some of their Gluten Free products to review

I have spent the last few weeks sampling and seeing what I think and now here we are

I'm still learning as a Gluten Free eater (and mine is for medical reasons rather than an Islington style diet fad) so the more to try the better to know which GF bread is good and which remains like tasting dry cardboard - you can find out more about what Coeliac disease is here

The package from Udis contained a little bit of everything (muffins, crisps, bagels, snacks and granola)

It is worth saying though that on all my supermarket trips the only Udis product I've actually been able to find in store have been the bagels and that was in a huge Tescos...most of the smaller stores don't stock them or any of the other products I was sent so it may be you need to online shop to get them or risk being disappointed if you rock up hoping for Gluten Free goodness...

So here's what I got and what I thought (drumroll please)

Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels
By far the best GF product in terms of closeness to bread that I have tasted - lovely with butter and strawberry jam - and equally as good with some pate on top - will deffo be going to buy some more and keep in the freezer - at £2.30 for 4 it's also quite good value considering the cost of GF bread products

Mixed Muffins
Again a really nice soft and moist muffin so the texture worked - one choc chip and one toffee muffin were both eaten fairly quickly - would recommend for those of you who are craving the sweeter stuff! At £1.90 a pop it's quite good value as well but I've yet to find them 'in-store'

Strawberry Breakfast Bars
These were really nice and tasted identical to the Nutrigrain bars that are around (but obviously are gluten free) - these seem to be one of the few products that Sainsburys sell and at £3 for the pack they are the quick breakfast alternative

Bagel Chips - Sugar & Cinnamon
My first thought when I saw these were - wow how American then I tasted them, then I ate some more, then I nearly finished them all off in one go...they're good but more for the flavours attached to them as the were quite hard but hey I ate and ate them so they must be doing the job - the only issue, not currently available in any supermarket according to their websites

Ancient Grain Crisps (Cheese & Jalapeno)
So the name of Ancient Grain didn't fill me with the urge to get straight into them but once you eat the crisps you find they are functional - the reason I say that is there's nothing wrong with them, if they were in the house you would eat them but for the same price as say some of the Kettle Chips packs (which also are GF) you would go for the other brand

I still have some granolas to sample

Overall for taste (and sugar rush) Udis gets a thumbs up, especially the Bagels & Muffins 
For ease of availability not such a big thumbs up as I'm not sure I would go so far out of my way to get them

Having looked at the rest of the UK range available I'd hope to try the rolls and bread (I'm still yet to find a really nice GF bread that isn't homemade) & the Peanut Butter Cookies

As with any American company (where the GF scene is much larger) there's some awesome products stateside that I would hope to become available here in the UK - from Tortilla wraps to Pepperoni Pizza to Snickerdoodle (!!) Cookies

Anyway thanks for reading and hope you too enjoy the products available

Any hints and tips then let me know

Until next time...


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Gluten Free in Istanbul...Five Top Tips

Hi all,

So a few months ago I found out that I am a Coeliac which in a nutshell means no gluten

Last week I took my first holiday since finding out this dietary requirement and so I figured I would share some of the things I learnt

This bad boy came in very useful and is highly recommended for visiting overseas...

So what did Istanbul hold for me...

Tip One - They don't really understand what you mean unless you have the card...I was told a few times that things were ok no gluten only to take one look and have to explain that things like breadsticks do have gluten in them...

Tip Two - You MUST visit the Neyzade Restaurant - this place made Gluten Free bread fresh for you - waiters made you feel welcome and were able to say exactly what you could and couldn't eat as well as explaining how they would modify dishes to fit a gluten free diet! The food was excellent, it's a lovely restaurant with brilliant service and it's great value for money

Tip Three - If in doubt stick to Shish Kebab careful here as many of the mincemeat kebabs are claimed to be pure mincemeat (no breadcrumbs) but once you delve deeper you can realise they are loaded with them - I found out the hard way that claims of 'don't worry just mincemeat' aren't always true

Tip Four - Depending on your view on Corn Starch (and some do differ) Turkish Delight can be eaten in certain places...after showing the card in many places they said no you couldn't have Turkish Delight but upon further discussion at a nice little place just by the Sultanhamet Tram stop they showed that you can have the Turkish Delight in Hafiz Mustafa store, and it's really good

Tip Five - Just try not to get too jealous of others desserts...deep fried ice cream, baked rice pudding, baklava, crepes - you name it you can't have it! It's good to know going in that you are pretty much limited to just fruit or ice cream for desserts and you can avoid instant food jealousy!

So those are my tips for Gluten Free in Istanbul - hope they help



Thursday, 28 June 2012

Is it time for the UK Franchise?

There has been a lot of talk today about the possibility of a UK NFL franchise in the next 10 years after Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he was keen on the idea.

I'm a Dolphins fan, always have been, always will be, but most importantly I'm an American Football fan: watch minimum 2 NFL games a week, numerous analysis shows, follow College Football, play Fantasy leagues etc so the idea that we may get a UK Franchise is quite exciting to me...but it has also got me thinking.

I hate the way American sports teams just up and leave towns and suddenly play in a new city with a new name yet think they can keep the other teams history. I know in the States money talks but the idea of supporting teams that used to be something else doesn't sit well with me (I'm a Chicago Cubs fan in baseball as they have the history: however bad it is). That's why IF, and it still is a big if, we get a team I really hope it is an expansion side and not someone elses castoffs.

I'm also a Londoner living a stonesthrow away from Wembley - so you might be thinking the prospect of the franchise being a London one playing all home games at Wembley excites does but it wouldn't be right for the development of the sport in this country or the attendances. It needs to be a UK franchise. It needs to play games at places like Murrayfield, Millenium Stadium, Old Trafford as well as Wembley, that way everyone could follow and see the team and you could guarantee sellouts at all the games. Call me naive but I can't see fans travelling down to London 8 times a year on expensive tickets when many will already pay out huge amounts to follow their Football teams week in week out. So to make this work we need to go 'on the road' for our home games (it would still be homefield advantge with 60,000 Brits cheering you on) and even possibly play one in Dublin to get the fans bought into this team.

Wouldn't it be great if you had the BBC actually broadcast the games rather than just jump on the Superbowl bandwagon each year then diappear off again (I know they have the radio team covering games but come on you know what I mean). Or if Sky gave you a red button choice of the UK team in addition to the live normal fixtures they show? It would mean everyone could follow the team and give them that ownership of it.

We all, I am sure, will get ahead of ourselves just like I am now with the ifs and buts and how it could work, and it is all a very long way off, and I am sure the people of LA would have something to say as well BUT I would love to see this dream become a reality.

Would I go to as many games as I could, yes.

Would I buy a shirt, yes.

Let's just clarify one thing though - if it's the Dolphins playing our UK team then there will always only be one winner!


Friday, 18 May 2012

Nearly done

And here we are...the final supper of the week and the final hurdle jumped!

Yesterday evening I had Ketchup, green chilli, onion and sweetcorn spaghetti which I have to say was really nice by far the best meal of the week

For the 3rd time this week I missed breakfast again so I have plenty of left over bread...another 'snack noodle' for lunch (don't rush to Asda to get them) and then what you see above...the last supper of Ketchup and sweetcorn rice.

It has been an experience - I have really missed meat and I mean really missed it I can't wait to take on a big steak tomorrow (without any spaghetti or rice) and I really missed fizzy drinks

Would I do it again? Erm it depends, the level of support I have recieved has been great and the money raised for Positive Women and the orphans in Swaziland do make it worthwhile knowing you can make a difference by making a few sacrifices (and giving people a laugh along the way) means that maybe just maybe I will do it again - I might do it for £2.50 across the whole week next time and see how that turns out

I'm gonna post a more thoughtful blog tomorrow after I have had some decent food and maybe after I have been to the Savoy hotel to protest against the King of Swaziland living it up for the Queens Jubilee whilst he commits numerous human rights abuses.

But for now thanks very much for all your support, I still have 4 hours in which not to crack and you can still sponsor me here:

At the moment I'm on £385 - and know I have to collect at least £84 more so let's try and make it up to £500

Cheers everyone,


PS - this is what I spent my last 38p on (I remember when you could get at least 20 sweets for that amount of money)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

44p rice ain't so nice

Last night was scheduled as my main meal of the week - and as you can see above it looked erm interesting.

A lovely onion and green chilli curry - with enough chilli to try and remove the slightly nasty flavour of stodgy rice and 23p curry sauce. I definately should have bought some oil as dry frying onions didn't leave them tasting their best. What I found quite odd is I only ate half of it...I'm hungry but I can't eat what's put in front of me at the moment how bizarre.

I'm going through different energy phases as well - normally my routine is 'energy drink', lunch, energy drink, dinner which means when I start to drop a bit I pick myself up. This time round I'm struggling and again was in bed early last night and didn't want to get out of bed this morning - I'm gonna be doing a bit of manual work tomorrow so we will see how that goes!

I have just polished off some more 11p noodles which actually are quite nice and I would recommend and yes I am being serious and trying to work out what to have tomorrow night

Tonight is spaghetti with ketchup as the sauce with sweetcorn, onion and chilli let's hope it is nice

So as the week draws to a close tomorrow I have quite a bit of food left and 38p still to spend

I have 4xVegetable Cup-A-Soup, over 900g of rice and some more ketchup so what shall I buy with my 38p to make that final meal taste nice??

As always please do sponsor me here:



Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A right Royal time...

So yesterday I was at Richmond Park for the Queens Jubilee event...what did that mean? Well see above

Lots of traditional English cakes all of which I couldn't go anywhere near. I said yesterday was going to be a challenge (and that wasn't including a total of about 4 miles walked) and indeed it was! Time constraints meant I missed breakfast (not uncommon as I never have it anyway) and whilst surrounded by cakes and burger vans I had my left over Spaghetti and 'meatballs' which when cold tasted worse than when warm which I described as grim then.

Dinner was actually quite nice though - its been ages since I had spaghetti hoops on toast so it was actually quite a good difference. Having said that I ended up going to bed at about half 9 yesterday completly knackered, I couldn't be bothered to turn my laptop on and blog

So I'm writing this on my lunchbreak whilst tucking into a 'Smart price Chicken and Mushroom Noodle Flavour Snack' eg a shit pot noodle. Breakfast of toast and jam was nice, the pot noodle is a little cardboardy.

But I'm at the half way stage and have no right to complain, for other people this is life and they live off much less than this and have to do far more than I it's just about right that I include the link of how to sponsor me here:

Tonight is my special meal: Onion and Chilli Curry with Rice

I will let you know how it goes



Monday, 14 May 2012

1 day down...

Lunch Day 1
Dinner - was grim!!

So it's nearly 10pm and it's 1 day down

Today wasn't as bigger challenge as I thought - I guess it's day one so it's still new and exciting! I survived with my squash at work, had some 'functional' noodles for lunch and then well the less said about dinner the better. Never buy tinned meatballs they are rank

I have bought my bread for tomorrows breakfast but tomorrow poses it's own challenge. I am out of the office at Richmond Park tomorrow at a big Queens Diamond Jubilee event - that means I will be active and talking to the public all day as well as surrounded by things like big burger vans etc

But it will be fine...then I have to make my decision - I'm meant to be going out in the evening to the pub! Do I go and drink water showing strong willpower or do I sack it off because I'd be surrounded by people drinking? Let's see how I feel

Tomorrow's menu is as follows:

Breakfast - Toast and Jam
Lunch - left over cold Spaghetti and Meatballs
Dinner - Spaghetti loops on Toast

The big bonus however as I write this is that you lovely people have taken me over my fundraising target so thank you for your support of Positive Women and the kids that will benefit...but as it's only Day one the aim is now to see if I can reach double the sponsorship target

As always here's the link -



Sunday, 13 May 2012

Are you Ready?? Cos I am

I have had a pretty shitty day - Welling United lost in the playoff final and we didn't play well...but I have had my final beer and am about to polish off a curry before attacking this challenge

So here it is my food for the week ahead (well nearly all of it I just need some bread for 47p and I will have around 30p left)

I was actually looks like quite a lot and for the first time I budgeted when buying food and planned what I needed to eat for what meal

The Diet Coke is a luxury well a 17p bottle always is isn't it...and the Squash is there to mix it up a little bit. I told you I like my drinks so that featured quite highly. I went for a bottle of ketchup instead of pasta sauces or tinned was cheaper and we will see how pasta and ketchup tastes!!

A cheeky curry sauce in there will end up making a rice, onion and chilli curry and I have enough money left over (around 30p) to buy something midweek

So here's the plan for day one:

Breakfast: Nothing as I didnt get the bread yet
Lunch: 11p Chicken 'noodles' and a 'Vegetable' Cup-a-soup
Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs (well I debate how much meat is in 30p meatballs but)

I'm ready to do this - for me it's 5 days but for the children we are supporting this is their life so please do help me out and show your support no matter how big or small and sponsor me here:

I will be blogging daily to keep ou updated



Friday, 11 May 2012

Living Below The Line - Why I'm doing it!!

So you will maybe have seen plenty of people this past week 'Living Below The Line' - I'm doing mine starting Monday (a variety of reasons to be a week later but at least I can see how hard it's gonna be) - and I thought I would explain what it is and why I'm doing it.

Live Below The Line is quite simple - £5 budget for 5 days food and drink - no more than £1 a day can be spent. On average I spend £5 a day just on lunch or on fizzy energy drinks but next week lunch will be 25p or so maximum...

I am doing it to support a charity called Positive Women (formerly known as The Children of Swaziland) who help Women and Children in Swazilad suffering from HIV/AIDS. It is quite simple £42 sends an orphan to school for a year hence my aim of £210 to try and get 5 kids to school.

I have in the past done The Great North Run for Positive Women but this is a different kind of fundraising and to me much more of a challenge...

You see I'm a fussy eater there are more foods that I don't eat than I do and not only that I am addicted to Fizzy drinks especially Lucozade. I can drink around 2 litres of Coke a day and on an average day in the office will have at least 1 Lucozade if not 2!! This coming week total Lucozade = 0

I also eat meat with every meal - why? Cos I like it that's why and love meat what can I say - but next week it doesn't look like I will have any meat at all (maybe something cheap that passes itself off as meat but that's about it and if I budget properly)  I am a bit of a tightwad with my money I am happy to admit but to me that means buying slightly cheaper meat and products than the 'Best of...' brands. I can spend around £50 - £75 a week on food no sweat...

BUT many people can't especially those in Swaziland. I have been and seen 'outposts' where Positive Women alongside charities such as SWAPOL, feed orphans just so they can survive from day to day. These little kids survive on less than £5 a week as the norm...this week it will be an exception for me to do it not the norm like these kids.

So let the challenge commence I will aim to post a daily blog outlining what I am planning on eating and how it is going. If you want to support the work Positive Women is doing and help me out with motivation you can sponsor me here:

Let's see if this tubby fizzy drinking guy can survive on £1 a day for 5 days...