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Just Dietary Things | Eating Gluten and Dairy Free

Around a month ago, my boyfriend and I pootled into Pizza Hut and I said "ooh go on then" and had lovely, lovely cheese on my gluten free pizza.

Three years ago in May I was diagnosed coeliac, and since my diagnosis I have never had an "ooh go on then moment" because I know the dire consequences it can have on my body. Every day, I swallow calcium, vitamin D, B12 and ranitidine tablets in an effort to keep my bones and body healthy. Everywhere I go, I look at labels and folders of ingredient information. Being coeliac is something I'm used to now, but it's taken me a year to solidly give up lactose (and I'm still not 100% sure I'll last Christmas...).

The day after my Pizza Hut escapade, I was sick. Slowly over the last year of being lactose free on and off, my reaction to lactose has worsened. My stomach doesn't like food very much (even if my mouth and brain do!) and I often feel sick after eating, but lactose made that significantly worse. As far as I'm aware, quite a lot of coeliacs suffer with digestion problems when eating lactose -- a lot of people who aren't coeliac also have issues with lactose. And I'm so lucky that we have such great lactose free, or vegan alternatives nowadays. My best friend Daisy has been vegan since she diagnosed with lactose intolerance and has proved super supportive and helpful with tips and suggestions and we often share recipes.

The post-pizza sickness was the moment that I decided I wasn't going to eat lactose at all anymore; no more "just one" chocolate bars, no more "well I can't have much else, so yes, please, I'll have the creamy, cheesy pasta", from now on I'm saying no to "but mac n cheese is legitimately my favourite food and fuels my soul". And I'm finding that I'm falling in love with cooking again, and automatically avoiding milk-containing products is easier.

Ultimately I think I was annoyed that I have to further restrict my diet, but it is making me feel better. It's easier to say no to chocolate if you know that you'll feel like crap after having it.

Tonight I made Ruby Tandoh's Moussaka from Flavour. Her recipes are beautiful, they're wholesome, and the work. As someone who experiments with, and loves, cooking I really enjoy making things from her book. As a coeliac and someone who can't eat dairy, they're so adaptable.

And... get this, they're cheap to make. I've decided to make this vegetable moussaka, and her broccoli and quinoa recipe (with add tofu!) this week which will feed me for all my dinners and lunches (and both me and Jack one night) and I reckon the ingredients cost me £15 absolute maximum.

When your body is fighting you, when it feels scary to eat food because it could make you ill, when you have to really think about how you're getting your nutrients, it's hard to love cooking. But slowly, and surely, I'm falling back in love with cooking and finding that my little tum is healing, and much more happy with no dairy in there!

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