The Anonymous Widower

Gluten-Free Spinach And Ricotta Ravioli From Marks And Spencer

Gluten-free ravioli is one of the foods that I have missed, since my diagnosis as a coeliac.

But, I was able to  buy this new product this afternoon, at a cost of £3.70 for enough for two.

The proof will be in the eating.

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Food | , | 2 Comments

My Ruined Saturday Mornings!

Since, I moved to Dalston in 2010, my Saturday morning routine has been something like this.

  • Take a 30 Bus to St. Mary’s Church.
  • Visit the Carluccio’s and have a gluten-free breakfast, like a full English or an eggs benedict.
  • Visit Waitrose for half my shopping.
  • Visit Marks and Spencer for my gluten-free shopping.

But things have changed.

Egyptian Buses On Route 30

A few weeks ago, new buses started on route 30.

I don’t use them, except as a last resort.

They were built in Egypt. Now, I’ve nothing against Egyptians or their country, but we make very good buses in this country and we should have British buses for British bottoms!

The new company running the route seems to not provide the same frequency anyway, so catching a 30 bus, would often involve a longer wait.

Carluccio’s Has Closed

But the need to take a 30 bus decreased, a few weeks ago, when Carluccio’s in Islington closed.

As there is no other place in Islington to get a quick gluten-free breakfast, that put a big hole in my Saturday mornings. I could go to Bill’s or Cote, but they take a lot longer and are much more expensive.

Waitrose

Waitrose too, are annoying me.

They have redone their self-service tills and they are useless for my way of shopping.

I have a large reusable M & S bag, that folds into my man-bag and although it was fine for their original tills, it’s too big for their new tills.

So to shop in Waitrose, I put the bag in the trolley, load my purchases onto the till without a bag and then after payment move them into my shopping bag. How inefficient is that?

I now limit my purchases at Waitrose by using the much-more customer friendly Sainsburys next door.

Anyway, Sainsburys have a much better gluten-free selection, than the terrible range in Waitrose, where no care is taken to make ranges of foods like sausages and burgers gluten-free.

In fact, I wouldn’t trust Waitrose on their allergen philosophy. The labelling might be correct, but it’s all about how different product types and ranges are handled.

You wouldn’t shop in Waitrose if you were a family with one member who was coeliac or gluten-free!

Marks And Spencer

Marks and Spencer at the Angel carry on as normal, as they have done since my paternal grandmother shopped there ibefore the First World War and, when C and I used to shop there in the 1970s.

But they have competition in that I am ringed by others of their stores in Dalston, Finsbury Pavement, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.

Yesterday, I ate breakfast in Leon at Kings Cross and then roamed the shops before doing my Saturday shopping in their Finsbury Pavement store. That one is now opening on Saturdays and I can get two buses directly from the store to the zebra crossing by my house.

Conclusion

All of these factors are combining to make me use Islington less.

What the Angel needs is a Leon, so I can have a fast gluten-free breakfast on the go.

One of the great things about breakfast in Leon, is that there is often time and space to layout your tabloid-sized newspaper and eat a leisurely breakfast.

 

November 18, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bad Logic From Marks And Spencer

I am not the largest of individuals being around one metre seventy and sixty-one kilos.

But then many coeliacs are on the smallish side.

So when I saw this small meal which was entiled Beef Chilli & Cheese Filled Jacket Potato, I suspected that it could be gluten-free, as it seems most of Marks and Spencer’s beef chillis are made without gluten.

On turning the packet over, I found my reasoning was correct, as the dreaded g-word was missing.

Next to this baked potato on the shelf, was a Smoked Haddock Mornay Filled Jacket Potato.

Now this is where the logic is bad

  • Some of their fish dishes with a Mornay sauce are gluten-free and others are not. This was one of the ones with gluten!
  • Surely, if all chillis can be gluten-free, then all fish Mornays should be the same as to gluten.
  • Perhaps, all baked potato dishes like this should also be the same as to gluten.
  • I also think that with fish, shepherds and cottage pies with a potato topping, whether a pie is gluten-free or not depends on the range.
  • And with sausages and burgers, they are all gluten-free.

If you are vegan or need to be dairy-free, I’m certain there are other examples of similar products varying as to acceptability.

How Was The Eating?

Not bad at all! I’ll try another, but I would love to try the smoked haddock variety!

Conclusion

I believe that a regular shopper in a particular supermarket chain, should be able to ascertain, if a product is suitable by just reading the title. They can always check by reading the detailed labelling

 

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On a Red And Processed Meat Tax

This article on the BBC is entitled Should There Be A Tax On Red Meat?.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A “meat tax” could prevent almost 6,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to researchers, but should politicians be telling people what they can and can’t eat?

Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – to reduce consumption.

They also go on to suggest these levels of tax, with examples.

In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat.

This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury’s the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.

It is probably peer-reviewed research, but I doubt it would ever be introduced.

I have few questions.

Would I As A Coeliac Get Extra Tax Relief, As I Need To Eat Red Meat?

I don’t eat much red meat, but to keep my B12 at a good level, I need to eat a quality steak or burger.

Regular levels of B12 help to keep your immune system strong, which is the body’s first line of defence against cancer.

Why Do Coeliacs On A Gluten Free Diet Have A 25% Less Chance Of Getting Cancer?

Research at Nottingham University has shown this.

Being coeliac is unlikely to be beneficial, as whoever heard of a disease that let you live longer?

,So could it be the non-eating too of gluten?

Also, as many who eat a lot of red and processed meat, eat it with a bun or lots of bread,

Could this be significant?

Research needs to be done that considers consumption of red and processed meat, taking eating gluten into account.

How Would I Reduce Cancer?

There are other substances and circumstances that are proven to cause cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco and other drugs.
  • Eating too much and being obese
  • Drinking too much.
  • Too much sunbathing.
  • Diesel and petrol vehicles
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.

Some of these also cause other health problems.

I’d start with absolute bans on these.

  • Diesel and petrol vehicles.
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Possession of illegal drugs.
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.
  • Sales of high strength alcohol.
  • Jobs with a proven record of causing cancer like coal mining.

And these things would be compulsory or introduced.

  • Everybody should keep a record in a smart-phone app of what they ate and their weight.
  • Owning a diesel or petrol vehicle would need a special permit.
  • Alcohol could only be bought in special licensed shops.

Obviously, other draconian measures could be introduced.

I doubt it will ever be acted upon, by any Government that wants to win an election.

So What Can We Do That Is Practical?

My view is that we have to nudge people into doing the right thing.

Diesel And Petrol Taxes To Subsidise Zero-Emission Vehicles

Note that I use the term zero-emission vehicle, which is a category that includes battery and hydrogen power at present. But it is a class, that could include other vehicles in future, that have yet to be invented.

If diesel and petrol taxes were to rise and the revenue were used to subsidise the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, then this might persuade more people to switch to zero-emission vehicles.

Money could also be allocated to research into zero-emission vehicles.

Zero-Emission Zones In All Towns And Cities

London is getting an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but this is only the start.

They should be Zero Emission Zones.

They should probably be paired with parking areas outside the zone and connected to it, by a zero-emission high quality rail or bus link.The link could be a segregated walking or cycling route.

The first town or city that uses this model to create healthy air quality will probably reap an enormous dividend.

From recent developments, I suspect it will be the City of London.

Smoking Would Only Be Allowed By Consenting Adults In Private

As smoking had a lot to do with the death of my son I feel strongly about this.

My wife also may have died from secondary lung cancer. But she had never smoked, although she got enough cigarette smoke from her tutor at University, who chain-smoked Capstan Full Strength.

Is There A Radical Approach?

Liverpool University Pancreatic Cancer Research Unit have one of the most impressive databases I have ever seen! It contains every pancreatic cancer case, that has been notified to the University.

They use it to look for links between factors, that might be a clue to what causes this terrible disease and for possible cures.

But imagine an enormous database of all UK cancer cases, that was processed to show how the cancers related to post codes, occupation, age, weight, smoking and drinking habits etc.

Access to an anonymised version of the database would be allowed through the Internet or a phone app.

Would access to the data, nudge people to change their bad habits?

I also know of ten-year-olds, who pester their parents to stop smoking, so imagine what a tech-savvy child would do, if given access to the app. Schools could teach them to use it responsibly.

Could it bring the whole country together to reduce levels of cancer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fish Fingers Surprisingly Sustainable, Say Conservationists

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

When I first saw this headline, I was surprised and cynically felt that this was some put up job paid for by the producers of fish fingers or the Fish Fingers Appreciation Society.

But it appears that the research was done by the Marine Conservation Society.

This is the first paragraph of their Wikipedia entry.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK’s leading marine environment, not-for-profit organisation. It works for the increased protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, via the creation of well managed marine protected areas. It works with fishermen and industry to find more sustainable ways of fishing and with retailers and consumers to buy and choose more sustainable seafood. It involves volunteers to carry out hundreds of beach cleans and surveys annually whilst also working with water companies and local communities to ensure UK bathing waters are of an excellent standard

I think that and other facts in the entry, prove that we can take the BBC report at face value.

Incidentally of their list of the top fifteen fish fingers rated for sustainability, at least two were gluten-free.

Usually, coeliacs and others who are gluten-free are left out of the results.

My last thought, is that why if we can make fish fingers surprisingly sustainable, can’t we do that for other foods?

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Disappointing Kiel

After my disappointment with not getting a ride on the hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint, I decided to take a trip to Kiel.

I had expected a bustling riverside with perhaps nice places to eat overlooking the water. Perhaps, I was expecting somewhere similar to Bordeaux, Gdansk or Stockholm

I was at least able to buy a drink in a cafe, but I didn’t find any suitable food.

So I retreated to a shopping centre and bought a tuna salad in a plastic bowl.

I don’t think, I’ll be going back.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , | 1 Comment

From Amsterdam To Hamburg The Hard Way

You might think that Amsterdam, which is a city of nearly two-and-a-half million people would have a good rail connection to the North German cities of Bremen and Hamburg, which have population of two-and-a-half and five million people, respectively.

But you would be wrong!

  • Amsterdam to Bremen is 354 km. and takes 3 hr. 26 min to drive, but the train takes 4 hr. 16 mins with a change at Osnabruck.
  • Amsterdam to Bremen is 464 km. and takes 4 hr. 35 min to drive, but the train takes 5 hr. 14 mins with a change at Osnabruck.

The train to Osnabruck is the same for both destinations and runs every two hours.

I arrived in Amsterdam at 12:32 and the next train left at 13:00, which I didn’t try to catch as I had to queue up for a ticket

So I caught the 15:00, as I had planned, which should get me into Hamburg at 20:14, hopefully in time for supper.

I would need the supper, when I arrived, as I could find nothing gluten-free worth eating in Amsterdam Centraal station. But I did have some EatNakd bars.

The train to Osnabruck, wasn’t one of Germany’s finest and the only customer service was the checking of tickets. I didn’t check, but I got the impression, that the onboard restaurant car had gone AWOL.

There wouldn’t have been anything I could eat, if there had been a restaurant car anyway!

Incidentally, I don’t travel First Class in Germany anymore, as all you get is a better seat, with not even any free coffee.

And you have to pay about five euros for a seat reservation!

The train to Osnabruck wasn’t the fastest either, doing about 80 mph most of the way, which compares badly to the 100 mph typically attained by trains on secondary main lines in the UK like London to Norwich.

There was also an Engine Change At Bad Bentheim.

I’ve had serious delay in Osnabruck before, as I wrote in From Hamburg To Osnabruck By Train.

For a time it looked like it would be episode two, but the Hamburg train only turned up about ten minutes late.

By running at 125 mph part of the way to Hamburg, the train had picked up a few minutes.

So I had a lovely supper as a reward.

Conclusion

I’ve had worse train journeys. But not many!

At 105.61 euros it wasn’t cheap either!

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Delicious Meal For A Coeliac In A Fast-Food Restaurant

When I was diagnosed as a coeliactwenty years ago, fast-food restaurants were all gluten-full and alcohol, especially beer that I prefer was absent.

But look at these pictures of my lunch.

I ate in Leon in Leadenhall Market.

Gluten-free food has certainly changed for the better.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , , | Leave a comment

Taste Of Nature Bars

Finding gluten-free snacks was difficult in Switzerland, but I did find these.

I bought this pair at Geneva Airport on the way home.

They were very similar to some Eat Natural bars.

I usually take about two UK bars for each day of travel.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Freedoming – Bebo Cafe In Hertford

I had gone to Hertford East station to take a few photographs of the West Anglia Main Line on the way and check a few things.

Finding myself in a town, I only knew vaguely, I walked towards the centre and found the Bebo Cafe.

It describes itself as a Gourmet Cafe and Coffee … on its incomplete web site.

I think it fills that bill.

Especially, as the very nice sandwich I had, was made on gluten-free bread.

I shall return!

August 26, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | Leave a comment