I don’t talk a lot about being coeliac (celiac, for my US readers!). I was diagnosed in late 2005 after all of the usual tests (blood tests, endoscopy, colonoscopy etc). The diagnosis was initially frightening – the list of what I couldn’t eat seemed enormous and I still remember my first few attempts to cook things sans my usual wheat-laden staples that tasted vaguely edible. Going out for meals was a nightmare and getting takeaway even worse. I was, however, looking forward to ‘suddenly’ feeling better which was the promised holy grail post-diagnosis.
Sadly I cannot remember noticing I felt better – less lethargic, healthier, able to absorb vitamins and minerals etc, though perhaps it just happened gradually. But, things have changed A LOT over the seven years since my diagnosis (and I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it was 10 or 20 years ago!). Avoiding gluten (or even just wheat) is quite trendy in some circles so when I now mention it to waitstaff in a cafe or restaurant, I’m usually regaled with a myriad of gluten-free options. And my local supermarket is also well stocked with GF goodies.
When I was first diagnosed I did a lot of reading. With a medical certificate here in Oz you can become a member of The Coeliac Society. You pay to join, but you get regular magazines and newsletters. On arrival I’d pour through the latest edition, usually just to see what products were being launched in coming weeks. I’d be overjoyed to see GF pastas, or fish finger equivalents, not to mention faux Twisties or cheezels and the like.
The thing I noticed most, however, was the amazing number of people bemoaning bread-related issues.
Thankfully I’ve never been a big bread eater. (Bizarre, I know, given the other crap I shovel into my mouth.) But for some reason bread, cakes and biscuits have never really ‘done it’ for me. In fact, the only time I initially missed bread was when I was out with friends for breakfast or brunch and I looked longingly at the thick white buttered toast on their plates. Fortunately for me , however, I’ve now found a local cafe which has DELICIOUS GF bread (albeit at a surcharge of $2.50 per slice). They tell me it’s baked by / for them but won’t give me any additional information. I’m actually thinking of taking some and having it analysed CSI style. (If anyone from Cinema Cafe at Bulimba is reading this I’m joking! I swear.)
So, for a few years after my diagnosis I didn’t worry too much about bread. I’d look at GF loaves in health food stores or supermarkets and it looked rock hard and dense. Very unappetising. Particularly for someone who didn’t find it inspiring in the first place. Fortunately it wasn’t something I missed.
However, eventually I found a loaf that – when I picked it up – would bend. It was soft. I was delighted and became a devoted fan of Country Life Bakery brand. Where possible I tried to always buy the low GI (ie. the blue one in the middle below) but occasionally had to have the white or multigrain. For the past few years I’ve settled into a regular breakfast of one middle rasher of rindless (97% fat free) bacon and an egg (both zapped in the microwave) between two pieces of low GI toasted bread. Every day. On weekends if I’m being frivolous I sometimes scramble the egg, or even have two eggs (yes, I walk on the wild side).
It’s not cheap. A loaf is generally anywhere between $5.50-6.50 for 14-15 slices smaller than the palm of my hand. But… beggars, choosers etc.
HOWEVER… yesterday when shopping I visited the bread aisle to find this.
My beloved Country Life Bakery bread has become like all other GF bread. It’s a dense little brick. New and improved the packaging says. Hmph! I say
I cannot believe it. When fresh I could almost eat slices of this bread AS BREAD, without toasting them. They were soft and pliable. But no longer. Gah! My easy (every day / go-to) breakfast routine has been foiled. I’m gonna have to rethink everything. How could you do this to me?! I want to ask.
I mean, just look at the difference between the two loaves – the soft malleable loaf in the bag sealed with a twistie thingy in the ‘group photo’ above; compared to the one directly above on the left – vacuum-packed as if entombed?!
Oh, and can I just say (while I’m on a rant)… what a ridiculously stupid packet because once it’s bloody opened you can’t seal it. I had to put the remaining slices in different bags in my freezer.
So… now I need suggestions. I don’t think I’m brave enough to try to bake my own bread (cos, well… I don’t really bake at all – mixing ingredients and stuff: way too traumatic!).
I need breakfast options. Stat!
Oh… and is it weird that I’m angsty about a fave product being changed?
Please note, this post reflects my opinion only and is not a sponsored post. Obviously.