WestLondonMum.co.uk is a great online magazine and a very respected voice when it comes to looking after families, food, cooking, traveling and events in the West London Area. This group of lovely ladies, is led by their founder Monique, who took time to answer our questions and enlighten us on everything there is to know about local gluten-free eating, food intolerance awareness, and some great tips on the best places to eat in West London.
Read the interview and find out more!
I have a few friends who have children with gluten intolerance. They found that when they cut out gluten in their own diet it drastically improved how the baby felt.
It normally takes quite a while to identify a gluten free intolerance as the symptoms are not always clear, bringing worry to the family. When you did find either mom’s or child’s with gf intolerance, how did they recognize the intolerance and how long did it take them to get diagnosed
Some friends discovered their own intolerance while they were nursing. Their babies couldn’t settle and in a measure to figure out what the problem was they cut out gluten, which had positive effects for both themselves and the baby.
Taking into account all the food offer range available in London do you think it is important to encourage a gluten free diet for your family, as a life choice (even if you are not celiacs). How easy is it for you and your family to find gluten free products and restaurants?
Fortunately nowadays finding gluten-free options is getting much easier. Food allergies, intolerances and catering to different dietary requirements have become the norm—from coffee shops to restaurants, most have options to suit everyone. Although it can still be challenging and at times the offering may be limited, there are generally a few choices on any menu.
However, if you don’t have gluten intolerance then I wouldn’t think it’s necessary to cut it out of your diet. A gluten-free diet shouldn’t be treated as a fad, people with Celiac disease suffer a wide range of symptoms and just cutting out gluten for no particular reason if you’re not suffering doesn’t really make sense. If you’re not a Celiac and want to decrease gluten then eating a healthy well balanced diet and opting for naturally low gluten grains, such as Quinoa, would be better.
How friendly do you find West London restaurants and shops when you have or want to follow any special dietary requirements? Is there anything else they could do to help you more?
Most restaurants are very accommodating with special dietary requirements and more specialized restaurants are opening making it even easier for people. Places like The Gate in Notting Hill offer a delicious menu as well as raw food restaurant Nama. Bakeries such as Chiswick based The Slow Bread company are using traditional methods to bring delicious bread that is very low gluten.
In addition to restaurants, events such as Gluten Free Gathering and the Allergy Show showcase the market and make it even easier to find products. Most supermarkets – even the small metro versions have ‘Free From’ sections and of course our wide range of health food shops are the Mecca for products. And of course what you can’t find in a shop you can most likely buy online!
Do you feel local schools, clubs and other public places in West London know enough about food allergies?
Definitely. In schools the no-nut policy is very strong. School dinners have a vegetarian option as well as option for the allergy sufferers.
At my daughter’s school there is a list in the dinner hall of the children with food allergies and the children also wear a laminate with their allergy on it to ensure they aren’t given something by mistake.
Public spaces will always be difficult to control but people are aware of the issues. I was on a recent flight where there was a person with severe nut allergies and the pilot asked everyone on the plane to avoid eating any nuts as a precaution.
Very different from my peanut butter and jam days!!!
Do you think that local venues have a good enough balanced food choice for children and families? What things have you seen in those regards that you would like places to encourage to do more of and what other things to do less of?
Sadly most ‘kids’ menus tend to be mostly the same – fish fingers, chicken strips or pasta in tomato sauce. Yes, kids can be picky eaters but they can also be extremely adventurous, so it would be nice to see a little more variety in the kids section…mine constantly surprises me with her experimentation!
We recently opened our offices in London, more precisely in Hammersmith so we are a part of West London community as well and we absolutely love it! Can you recommend us your top pubs, restaurants or food shops in the area? Do you know how aware they are about gluten free intolerance?
This is a tough one as there are so many! I love Angie’s Little Food Shop for a healthy lunch and a little sweet thing after. The Hampshire Hog offers a diverse lunch and dinner menu and is always a special treat. For a South Indian option Sagar in Hammersmith is always good as the cuisine uses rice instead of wheat.