Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Ilumi: Gluten Free
Most people think living gluten free is a lifestyle choice, much akin to those choosing to be vegetarian. For some, this can be true, gluten isn't the most palatable for our digestive systems and can play havoc with our insides but for 1 in 100 people out there, being gluten free isn't a choice, it's a necessity.
I have a fair few friends that have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, a lifelong autoimmune disease that reacts to gluten. This damages the lining of the small intestine, so people with coeliac disease have to stick to a strictly gluten free diet to prevent this from happening. I'm currently in the process of finding out if I have it, after ticking a fair few of the boxes and am just waiting to have a blood test. So when I was approached by Tribal Media to work with Illumi on trialling their gluten free meals*, I couldn't believe how perfect the timing was!
After the (rather large) package arrived through the post, I knew I was in for some serious luxury in gluten free living! Not only was I supplied with 7 days worth of lunches and dinners, there was a package of Perkier Fruity Berry Porridge for breakfast, snacks of Nairn's Gluten Free Biscuit Breaks and Nairn's Gluten Free Oatcakes and 2 gluten free beers. Who says you have to sacrifice what you love?!
Not only was the porridge nicer than I expected, but snaking made me feel full throughout the day. Lunches ranged from glorious soups like Butternut Squash, Tom Kha Gai, Pea, Pancetta & Mint, and Tomato & Red Pepper, to filling Beef Casserole, Zaatar Chicken and Moroccan Style Vegetable Tagine. Dinners were equally delicious consisting of Thai Red Chicken Curry with Basmati Rice, Chicken Cacciatora with Long Grain Rice, Beef Meatballs, Kerala Chicken Curry with Yellow Basmati Rice, Sweet Five Spice & Chilli Pork with Long Grain Rice, Coq au Vin with Long Grain Rice, and Lamb in ale with Haricot Beans. The variety is something to be applauded, considering a lot of gluten free meals seem to follow the principle that getting rid of gluten means missing out on flavour. The best part was that the packages didn't need to be kept cold in the fridge as they are sealed and cooked in the packaging. Ideal when your Ilumi meals turn up at your door and you've no way of storing them until you get home from work. Crisis averted! Don't like a meal? You can swap them at the checkout for something vegetarian or just to keep things fresh. The only things you need to get in addition to the package are milk, gluten free bread rolls and pasta, which are all pretty much a standard for any gluten free diet.
I've been so impressed with Ilumi that I've vowed to take up buying their boxes as often as possible just to make my life easier. There's no fuss at lunch time, I can just pop the package in the microwave and I have something much more substantial than I'd usually hassle myself to make. £45 for a week of meals (that's breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks) including the postage and packaging is a steal. I spend more than that just getting past the bread aisle in Tesco!
After my week of living gluten free, I can honestly say I have way more energy, I'm not as lethargic as I used to be and my body feels in better shape because I'm not feeling run down. Even if my results come back that I'm not coeliac, I'll still try to adopt as much of this lifestyle as possible, because I'm already feeling the benefits of cutting out gluten. Have you ever eaten gluten free?