EPI!

Gimme an E, gimme a P, gimme an I, what do we have? EPI!!!

Do I sound exited? Thats because I am, cheerleader kind of exited with high leg kicks!

For ages now whenever I say we are gluten free, people ask if we do all our shopping in Epi. Im like… ehhhm, no I go to a few places. Then in my head I think I should visit Epi one day, but I didnt get around to it, we are fine, and how good can it really BE?

Let me tell you how good it can be! So good that my eyes went all shiny and I almost had to cry a happy tear and Im pretty sure the staff were viewing me with great suspicion walking around with my giant smile and shiny eyes.

Walking in to Epi is like walking in to gluten free heaven, or like I described it to hubby, like a mixture between the best spinneys and organic foods and cafe but cheaper and BETTER (Dubai ppl will understand). The jams are all high end good jams, there are tahinis galore, most organic, no other shop in Wroclaw has a choice of 10 tahinis, and they have sunflower seed butter (insert cheerleadery star jumps here)!

Then you get to the gluten free bread section, and its the size of a normal bread section, and part of you is so happy its crazy and the other part a bit disappointed because where are the biscuits and flours…?

Then you get stuck at the freezer section that has a whole freezer just with gluten free! Fish fingers, mini pizzas, lasagne etc. Onwards to the cheese and milk section and they have a ton of lactose free / dairy free cheese and milk and butters.

And meats! Poland might be the country of cold cuts and sausages, but finding gluten free ham and sausages here can be very very difficult. No problem in Epi, daughter and hubby will be happy, they are real sausage lovers.

Then.. then you get to the biscuit section, and there is a giant gluten free section, and flours galore and choice! Isn’t that what we all miss the most? To be able to choose between several things rather then having to buy whatever is there?

I also found organic potatoes (woop woop) and several kinds of organic gluten free drinking chocolate.

Is it expensive… well yes, but buying gluten free and organic stuff is expensive anywhere so actually I don’t think it was that bad.

Will I go back to Epi? HELL YES! I might even move in if they let me!

-Linda

Epi is near Arkady Wroclawski (actually just across the road) and has its own parking, parking is free if you spend money so show your car park card at the till.

They are open 8am-10pm every day except Sunday when they are open 10am-4pm.

http://www.epi.com.pl/site/

Eggs and dogs and underwear.

Its been a while. Ive been feeling very uninspired and lazy. Frankly, its been to hot to THINK. We have had days with 33 degrees, which is not so bad actually compared to Dubai, but in Dubai there is AC everywhere! Here, the closest I get to AC is standing in front of the open fridge looking for snacks. Me and the kids have all taken to wearing just underwear in the house.

(Funny that, apparently Polish people do a fair bit of walking around in just their underwear, lol,  Polish Housewifes facebook post , my friend Brooke has a whole blog post coming on the subject )

We had a ton of new medications given to us for Celiac kid, we are getting closer to answers. Seems her lungs, the bronchii (bhroncolii?) bits, are constantly inflamed, when it flares up and gets even a tiny bit worse, pneumonia or upper respiratory infection follows. We also now know that her bone pain is highly likely to be linked to her over use of steroids. Dr has her on a new medication and we are hoping to slowly faze out her other two steroids.

Her allergy test results are also back, and they say dogs and eggs. Both a total shock. Dogs, because although we have dogs, our dogs dont have the dander normal dogs have, they are a non shedding breed and most people with pet allergies tolerate them very well. Doctor also seems to think its wrong as nothing showed on dust, yet she reacts strongly to any amount of dust. More testing needed in that department. But EGG! It all makes sense once I start reading…. egg allergy can cause wheezing, respiratory issues etc etc etc. So on the one hand Im numb and a tad devastated that she can no longer eat eggs, but on the other hand, I feel a little like we just won the lottery, because maybe, just maybe this is the answer we needed, and maybe, just maybe, her lungs will finally be able to improve!

We have also consulted a naturopath, who also happens to be one of the ladies I met with just when I started GlutenFree UAE, her daughter is gluten intolerant. She gave us some great advice and I hope to share all this with Celiac kids Dr – who seems very open minded – and hopefully we can all work together to help make this awesome shining star of a girl feel a bit better.

Celiac Kid’s comment when we told her about the eggs was ‘but mum, thats so lucky, I don’t even like eggs!’ , its true, if she knows something has egg in it she wont eat it, the only hard blow here is ice cream and pancakes. Awesome kid that she is she is already getting stuff out of the drawer asking me if she can still eat them, ‘has it got egg inside mumma?’.

We still haven’t been on our holiday, but should be off soon, then school starts with all the work that comes along for us gluten free mums, new classroom, teacher etc. I never shared my school letter last year, I will be sure to do so this year. I edit it yearly to suit our needs so have a ton of versions already 🙂

Off to make glutenfree – eggfree cheese rolls now 🙂

Have a fab day!

Linda

sad-egg

Please note, its the egg thats sad, not us! 😉

Moving time! (again)

What a week!

Friday morning last week we were in Poznan, Friday evening we were in Wroclaw. By Sunday I had somehow magically managed to unpack everything! Then a frantic whizzing from place to place to sort out the school, kennels for dogs for our trip, food shopping, food shopping research (gluten free peeps know exactly what I mean!) etc etc.

We somehow managed to pick a great area for ourselves without ever having visited (thats how we roll, haha). Its great with tons of greenery, kids and barking dogs.

Im not sure what it is with barking dogs here…. if my dogs bark they get told off, but it seems here many people have dogs to deter from break-ins, and a quiet dog sleeping indoors obviously doesn’t deter much, so dogs are left stood in gardens barking. Drives me slightly bonkers, but it is what it is. At least I feel totally warranted to smile smugly at all these dog owners that MY dogs are so well trained and don’t bark.

We found a great little shop that sells organic produce and some freshly baked gluten free goods. I was to scared to get any of the baked stuff because even though the lady assured me it was baked in a gluten free kitchen you just never know. I need my hubby to go and ask her all the tough questions in Polish. But the produce! Gigantic organic apples that tasted like the apples from my childhood, I cant wait for summer when all the locally grown berries will come!

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The shop is called Awokado – delikatesy ekologiczne, they have a facebook page (opens in new window).

Slightly further up the same road there is yet another eko (organic) shop, a family farm and the produce is sold in someones garden! Eko eggs and veggies. Im in HEAVEN 😀

I have yet to find where the shops selling all the breads are hiding, so far its all schar. Im guessing I need to find another delikatessen. In Poznan we found most of the breads in normal supermarkets. Im sure I will find all what we need eventually.

Few more days now then its Dubai time! Cant wait. Also cant wait to come back and for kids to start their new international school where people speak only english. Happy happy happy! 😀

-Linda

 

Finding gluten free food in Poland.

Gluten free food in Poland is generally found in specialist stores, health food shops or delicatessens. In larger towns you will find some basics in the supermarkets, and mostly it will be in its own (very small) section. Piotr i Pawel has more then most, Alma usually has a few things, my local Intermarche has TONS, but you can usually find bits and bobs even in Carefour and Real and Auchan. As mentioned previously on this blog, tesco has nothing.

I live in a small town outside of Poznan, and even in this town there is a small delicatessen selling gluten free goods, and unlike other countries, it is NOT super expensive.

– Linda

Friendly Food Poznan, my first visit to a gluten free restaurant!

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in 2 years and 8 months (give or take), I went to a restaurant and didn’t use even ONE wet wipe! We went to a gluten free restaurant! And its really gluten free. It doesn’t just have a great gluten free menu, it has a gluten free premises! No gluten allowed what so ever, everything is certified gluten free! The owner and the staff all know their stuff. I assume they are Celiacs themselves, but due to a language barrier I am not 100% sure.

Before becoming gluten free we used to have lunch out every weekend, even when Celiac kid was undiagnosed and difficult, we still made the effort to eat lunch out, taking turns to hold and comfort our screamer. Then there was a period of us attempting to continue this (after diagnosis), we would bring Celiac kids food , wipe down the table etc, but it always felt a bit like Russian roulette, not something you want to play with your kid! So the restaurant visits became fewer and fewer. It just didn’t seem so important anymore. Sure, there are a few places that we trust that we go to, likewise, if we travel we do eat out if when we feel like it, we don’t let celiac rule our lives, BUT, given the choice, we would rather eat at home where we know everything is safe.

We went a bit crazy I must admit. I mean, a whole menu where everyone can eat everything??!! Its like letting kids in to a sweet shop and saying, ‘hey, you can have whatever you want!’.

We had crepes with spinach and feta filling, crepes with turkey mince and tomato filling, crepes with chocolate and pizza and hot dogs, and some grainy thing that was some kind of kasha (looked a lot like quinoa) and it tasted so amazing I cant wait to go back and have it again. We had chicken with veggies and roasted veggies. Everything tasted awesome. The best part was actually not the food though, it was being able to sit together, with everyone being able to touch each other without using hand wipes AT ALL, and all of us being able to try everything from every plate and not having to worry. It actually brought tears to my eyes. So normal for most, but something we so rarely (never) get to do.

They have a shop too, they sell spices, tons of them, I was overwhelmed! Then there are pizzas and breads and grains and flours and biscuits and so much stuff!! Again I must apologise for my photos, iPhone again, I really need to bring my camera out with me.

Im not a food reviewer, but if you are a gluten free person and you ever find yourself in Poznan, you MUST visit Friendly Food.

Friendly Food Website

rezerwacja@friendlyfood.pl
tel. 665 450 858

-Linda

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Mixing with the gluten kids – No problem!

We have been gluten free for over 2 and a half years now, the house, pretty much as long. We have ALOT of play dates and people over at our house, why? Because its easier. Here Celiac kid can play without supervision (gluten supervision), here, she can put toys in her mouth and touch whatever she wants, and there will be no issue what so ever (as long as people wash their hands as they arrive). I find that mostly, kids are extremely accepting of gluten free. I never tell anyone that the food they are about to eat is gluten free, why would I? You wouldn’t hear the host of a dinner part serving up pasta and saying ‘THIS is pasta made with GLUTEN’ (unless they had intolerant people there). Kids who visit my house generally eat what I serve, often ask for more and never even realise they are eating gluten free. Adults at times will be more hesitant, they take a bite of something and analyse it, like its a wine tasting! Then they look up and utter with surprise ‘its good!’. Like what, they expected us to eat disgusting food? It should be said here that I buy very few ready made gluten free things, I make all food from scratch and we eat a generally healthy diet with only a few processed things thrown in. But still, Im surprised that so many adults seem to think we live on some kind of starvation diet. If I had a dirham or zloty for each time someone asked me ‘but what do you eat??’ Id be very very rich by now. Its simple really. We eat exactly the same as anyone else, only our food is generally healthier (because I read every label and scrutinise it like a scientist), mostly organic, and always gluten free. We eat pasta, pizza, bread, hot dogs, you name it, we eat it. Except maybe liver. We aren’t to keen on liver. Like I said, kids don’t seem to care, they eat and move on.

We had one mum in our school who point blank refused to let her kids eat gluten free. My sons lovely teacher had asked me to bake for the class for their Christmas party so that his sibling would be able to take part in the open day same as the other siblings and mums and dads – the previous party I had ended up holding her standing by the door as there was a gazillion kids running around with cupcakes (poison) in their hands. I was so touched to be asked, what a kind gesture. So of course I went all out. My friend Katinka helped me bake brownies and cupcakes and biscuits and soft cake. The only mum who knew I was baking gluten free was the class rep at the time. She was obviously not happy as she was the one who usually baked. She sent gluten cupcakes for her kids, I overheard her saying at drop off ‘my kids wont be eating any of that stuff’ (meaning gluten free stuff). Talk about judgemental! At the actual party everyone ate, parents, teachers, siblings, kids, not a single person noticed they were eating gluten free! One mum said the brownies were the best she’d ever had!

Im guessing if we had made some kind of announcement about everything being gluten free the reaction would have been different. Kids however, are so awesome. To them, cake is cake, no matter which flour you use! If they ever ask, I explain, and all the kids that come to our house know I make awesome pizza and snacks. I only wish adults were as open minded!

-Linda

brownies clip art

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Cabbage, Potato and ehm….. more cabbage..?

IMG_2023

Perhaps Im spoiled. Having lived in Dubai for 8 years Im used to seeing a huge variety of foods in the supermarkets. I remember shopping in Dubai after I had just arrived, seeing so many different fruits and vegetables, some I had never seen before. Spiky pink things, funny shaped oval yellow things etc etc. It was an adventure learning to cook with some and trying all the ones I was brave enough to try! Dubai supermarkets will have an abundance of things from America, Australia, Europe, Uk, Asia. Yes sure, we complain when things go out of stock, but bottom line, we are spoiled for choice in Dubai. Meat is flown in, great quality lamb, beef, fish, chicken, turkey and even pork in selected shops! The cereal aisle has so many brands you couldnt count them! Even in the smaller shops!

And now, here I am, in Poland. The first few supermarkets I went to I couldnt quiet put my finger on what it was, everything seems the same as anywhere else. Then after a few shops I realised what it was! Even though the shops might be big and the sections are big, its all a repeat of the same stuff over and over. In my local supermarket in Dubai there would be no less then 8 different brands of apples, all from different parts of the world, in my local supermarket here, the apple section may be almost the same size, but its all just one or two kinds of apple. Same thing in the veggie section. Where I used to have a great choice of onions, red, white, brown, organic brown, indian red, American red, shallots etc. Here. There is just one kind. Go to any section, and its similar. Rice section, a handful of brands, cereal section, again, a handful. The fruits and veg are very seasonal. Cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, leek, potato. Apples, Bananas, clementines. The more high end places have more. You might even find avocado in some. 

Actually….. I started this post with ‘perhaps Im spoiled’, I realise now that I am. You get used to going to the supermarket and picking whatever you like based on what you like, not based on what they have. Meat here is chicken, chicken, more chicken, turkey, pork, pork, more pork, and then sausages and pates in every shape imaginable, most not ok for us as few are gluten free. Beef and lamb is around of course (although so far I have not seen any lamb), but I dont understand the labels and I dont recognise the cuts, obviously this is my problem, not the supermarkets fault.

I find myself not really knowing what to eat. Its strange, because of course there is plenty of food in the shops, but its just not at all what Im used to. I guess I need to try to cook more with whats there instead of walking around looking for what Im used to. Even gluten free is hard to come by, even though this is Europe.  Actually, I shouldn’t say hard, it was hard, for the first few weeks, now that I know the shops and I know where to go, its not so bad, but it wasn’t as readily available as I had expected. 

My week used to be so easy, meal plan wise lamb 1-2 times, seafood 1 time, beef once, pasta once, 1 leftover day and a veggie day. It was rare we had chicken. Now its all chicken. I need to be more prepared I guess. Buy the good stuff in advance and freeze, find myself a local butcher perhaps.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as whiny and depressing, I don’t mean for it to sound that way at all. Im more surprised then anything. Im embracing it, slowly, today we boiled cabbage in chicken stock as a side for dinner, kids loved it! And food here, is cheap! I mean, really really cheap. Tomatoes that we pay over 20dhs per kilo for in Dubai are sold here (same brand, from same country) for 1.80dhs per kilo. Im guessing my carbon footprint is also happy (ecstatic probably). I mean hello, it rained enough in the last week to turn the desert green 4 times over! 

Now, if you’ll all forgive me, I must go and google ‘leftover cabbage recipes’, perhaps you have one to share? Who knew 1dhs worth of cabbage would go that far??

-Linda

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