Allergies and intolerances... lots of us have them, and even more of us judge them. In a growing world of fads and crazes, it's easy to understand how many of us are a little dubious about those who are intolerant to certain foods. Are people really intolerant to dairy or is it that they simply think it's cool to drink dairy free green tea? Is that skinny model really gluten intolerant, or is it that she's simply on a diet and feels that cutting the gluten makes her dieting habits appear sexy?
Yep, lots of us think these things UNTIL we become intolerant to something ourselves. Only then do you truly realise just how debilitating it can be and how life-limiting eating gets. Trust me, I speak from personal experience. My gluten intolerance literally struck over night (or so it seemed) and it changed my life forever. No longer could I eat what I wanted, where I wanted. On the turn of a sixpence I was gluten intolerant and I had to analyse every morsel that I ate.
Being a professional musician doesn't help matters either. Constant touring and gigging means that I have to eat on the hoof, when it's convenient and wherever the opportunity strikes. But finding a gluten free restaurant is near-on impossible. Even if a product it gluten-free itself, I need to be 100% sure that it's been cooked and stored separately from other gluten-free foods, otherwise the trouble it causes is just as bad.
But last week I quite literally leapt for joy as I was invited to the launch of the UK's first ever gluten free fish and chips! It's been over eight years since I ate proper hot fish n chips - and I couldn't wait to sample them at their UK debut hosted by London's most fashionable chippy, Olleys in South London. Created by food manufacturer, Ceres, in association with celebrity chef, Phil Vickery, the Seriously Good Gluten Free Natural Batter Mix combines seven different flours to create the most deliciously crispy and light batter that anyone has ever tasted - and it's gluten free! What more can a girl ask?!
As I enjoyed the delicious dish for the first time in almost a decade, TV chef, Phil Vickery (who's also the Ambassador for Coeliac UK) explained to me that he's been developing this batter mix alongside Ceres' nutrition specialist, Bea Harding, for many years to ensure that it tastes as good, if not better, than the best standard batter mix. Gluten and dairy free intolerants no longer have to make do with a plate of vegetable as the only option on the menu - now we can batter up and enjoy our food like everyone else.
Huge thanks to Harry the master chef at Olleys, Stelios from Ceres and Phil Vickery for developing probably the most life-changing food that us gluten and dairy intolerants could have wished for. Taste-buds ignited and gluten booted into the back of the net - Bon Appetit!
To find out more about Nina and her music, visit http://ninaschofield.com