Gluten Free travelling on the Norwegian Epic

Cruises are becoming more popular these days and they are my favourite type of holiday.  We’ve travelled with different companies: MSC, Thompson (TUI), Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Fred Olsen and Norwegian.  Since my diagnosis of Coeliac Disease we’ve only cruised with Norwegian.  We like them as they have exciting ships and some great deals including an ultimate beverage package.

epic

It can be difficult to know which companies provide well for their gluten-free guests, so I thought I’d write this post to let you know how our holiday went.  We recently cruised the Mediterranean and Trans-Atlantic on the Norwegian Epic.  I won’t go into detail about the ship, ports etc and will focus on how they coped with my dietary needs.

After purchasing the holiday we sent dietary information to the company so they’d know in advance about my needs.  Every time I scanned my keycard at restaurants on board it flagged up my gluten-free needs.  The best experiences were in the restaurants in the evenings, so I’ll talk about that first.

We ate in the Taste Restaurant most evenings and ate out at a few of the speciality restaurants on other nights.  On the first day I called by at the restaurant to ask about gluten-free options.  My waitress came along and introduced herself and let me look at that evening’s menu.  The menu had one starter and one main course labelled GF but I could request other items.  She let me know if courses could be prepared specially for me.  I could have almost anything on the menu.  Obviously items with pasta or couscous as key ingredients weren’t available.  At each meal I could pre-order the next evening’s meal.  If I’d booked a speciality restaurant I could pre-order for there too.  The waitress was great as she always checked I had the right order.

Taste and Manhattan Restaurants

I had a few favourite meals in the main restaurants.  It was fantastic to have gourmet food with dressings that matched the meal but didn’t contain gluten.  I’d recommend the Duck and Fava Bean Salad and the New York Strip Steak if you’re unsure where to start.  The dessert menu usually contained something I could eat and there was always flourless cake available, although it wasn’t amazing.  I tried a few desserts but was trying to be a bit careful.  The coconut flan is particularly tasty.

Speciality Restarants

The Moderno Churrascaria is a speciality Brazilian restaurant.  You can start with the amazing salad bar and then skewers of slow-roasted meats including beef, pork, lamb and chicken – all carved tableside.  The only items I couldn’t have on the menu were some of the salad bar items, the mexican beans and the pork sausages.  Believe me, there is plenty left to eat.  On the Norwegian Epic I could have their tasty cheese bread.  Be careful, as on some Norwegian ships these may not be GF.

We had a meal at Le Bistro.  Again, delicious food.  I shared a chocolate and fruit fondue with my husband, which was a unique treat.

Cagney’s Steakhouse is my favourite venue.  I started with the Iceberg Wedge, which is a huge wedge of lettuce with bacon, a creamy sauce and stilton.  The Baked potato soup starter is also worth a try, complete with GF bread.  I went for the 20oz Porterhouse Steak – why not?  It was wonderful and served with baked potato (you could have fries).  I skipped dessert!

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Breakfast

In the restaurants it was easy and convenient to get GF toast and cooked items.  We generally chose to eat in the Garden Cafe buffet.  I didn’t choose toast on these days but they would have accommodated me.  I spotted GF Cheerios so usually had these.  I also went for fresh fruit and yoghurt, and some cooked items such as bacon, egg, beans and tomato.  I avoided anything fried as they don’t have separate friers for gluten-free food (you could get GF fries in some areas of the ship).

Lunch

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We ate at the buffet for most of the lunches on board the ship.  This was a little trickier than other meals.  Many items did contain gluten and I had to ask the servers about any dish I wanted.  Many of the Indian foods were GF and I often enjoyed a dahl, rice and poppadoms.  There were many salads and cooked meats too.  Again, I avoided anything fried.  I didn’t ask about desserts but there was always ice-cream, jelly and fruit available.

We sometimes ate at O’Sheehans Irish Bar and Grill.  Not as many choices here but I could get a chopped salad and a burger or hot-dog in GF bread.  They’d usually apologise that the shape of the bread wasn’t suitable for a hot-dog but I didn’t mind!  I had mine with crisps (potato chips) instead of chips (fries).  I didn’t eat any desserts here.

Summary

I was really impressed with the options available.  I know I could get glutened anywhere, even at home but I wasn’t ill once.  I was a bit naughty by having a few desserts and plenty to drink but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  There are other eating options aboard the ship that I didn’t try this time…maybe next year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken and vegetable chilli wrap 306 Kcal (GF)

Ok, I’m a bit obsessed with wraps at the moment. Bfree’s Sweet Potato Wraps are only 95 Kcal each so they’re a good choice, especially if you’re gluten free and fed up of potatoes and rice!

I was originally cooking a tandoori chicken recipe for my husband and myself. When I opened the healthy pouch of sauce it smelt strongly of star anise, which is one of the flavours I can’t stand. So he got his curry with rice (he enjoyed it) and I needed a quick adaptation for myself.

So here it is:

Ingredients:

100g chicken pieces – 106 Kcal

Tesco stir fry medley pack (minus the chilli) – 78 Kcal

15g Aldi sweet chilli sauce – 29 Kcal

Bfree Sweet Potato Wrap – 95 Kcal

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Method:

  1. Stir fry the chicken and vegetables in a wok.
  2. Add the chilli sauce.
  3. Serve on a wrap.

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Tuna mayo in Sweet Potato Wrap (GF)

Fancy a sandwich from time to time?  Eating bread can cost you a lot of calories and potentially slow down your weight loss.  Now I’m gluten free I rarely eat bread but I sometimes get the craving for a fresh sandwich. Here’s a filing, high protein, tasty wrap that can satisfy the craving for under 300 calories.

Total calories: 290

Ingredients:

– BFree Sweet Potato Wrap (95Kcal)

– Chopped cucumber and iceberg lettuce leaf (about 15 Kcal)

– 1tbsp Hellman’s Light mayonnaise (40 Kcal)

– 1 drained tin of tuna in spring water (140 Kcal)

Method

Simply stir the mayonnaise and a little pepper into the tuna. Add to the wrap with your cucumber and iceberg lettuce. Fold and serve. Delicious!

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My second giveaway – Slimming World book, Curry Heaven

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED.

Winner is Laura B.

Here’s my second book giveaway.  Maybe you’d like to win Curry Heaven, a Slimming World cookbook containing 50 delicious and mouthwatering Indian recipes.

Click on the link below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

curry heaven

As with many other Slimming World books this can be bought directly from the website if you’re a member.  Ingredients and methods are very clear.  Syn values are clearly shown too.  There are hints and tips for those of us who aren’t professional chefs.  There’s also a handy conversion chart in the back.  If you’re anything like me you’re always looking up these on the Internet whilst trying to cook.

The recipes are in these different categories: starters & salads; meat & poultry dishes; fish dishes; rice, lentils & pulses; vegetable dishes; and desserts.  So you can cook a simple main meal  for the family or go all out and create an Indian banquet!  I love the added extras such as salads and side dishes that make the meal more filling and interesting.

Here’s a complete list of the dishes included in the book:

  1. aloo char
  2. aloo gobi
  3. baked figs with almond ‘cream’
  4. beef kofta curry
  5. beef madras
  6. biryani
  7. bombay potatoes
  8. chana masala
  9. chicken tikka masala
  10. chilli-spiced squid
  11. classic chicken curry
  12. coconut chicken soup
  13. creamy chicken korma
  14. creamy mango sorbet
  15. curried parsnip soup
  16. dahiwalla ghost with kachumber
  17. gobi chana curry
  18. gobi chawal
  19. grilled tiger prawns
  20. jalfrezi chicken
  21. kerala-style fish steamed in banana leaves
  22. kheema with curry leaves
  23. khumbi curry
  24. lamb dansak
  25. lamb koftas with mint relish
  26. lamb rogan josh
  27. lemon and apricot delight
  28. lemon grass prawn salad
  29. masala crab cakes
  30. meaty citrus salad
  31. mixed bean and carrot bhaji
  32. onion bhajis
  33. peach and cardamom brulee
  34. pilau rice
  35. pistachio and ginger ice
  36. pork vindaloo
  37. root vegetable biryani
  38. sabzi kari
  39. shahi mugh
  40. speedy prawn curry
  41. spiced beetroot with coconut
  42. spinach and sweet potato curry
  43. spinach dhal
  44. sweetcorn and red pepper bhaji
  45. tamarind and salmon curry
  46. tandoori chicken
  47. tandoori monkfish
  48. turkey shami kebab
  49. vanilla-spiced plums
  50. vegetable samosas with hara curry

Fancy trying one of the recipes today?  Check out my blog post Gobi Chana Curry – Slimming World.

gobi
Gobi Chana Curry

A curry fan?  Try some of these other recipes:

Low Calorie Lunch – Huevos Rancheros (GF)

A delicious low calorie lunch full of healthy ingredients.  Fresh, filling and gluten free.

  • Total calories: 327
  • Total carbs: 30g
  • Total protein: 21g
  • Syns on Slimming World: free

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 diced red or yellow pepper
  • 30g diced onion
  • 100g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chopped kale
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of paprika
  • Frylight
  • 2tsp garlic puree
  • 2 large sized eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Fry the onion, peppers, carrot, paprika and cumin in Frylight for a few minutes until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, garlic and 50ml of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the kale.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and crack the eggs into it.IMG_20170502_120626
  6. Put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.  I put mine in a Pyrex dish as my frying pan has a plastic handle and can’t go in the oven.
  7. Serve.

 

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Want more inspiration?  You might like Quick Low Calorie Lunch: Salmon, egg and spinach plate (GF).

Quick Low Calorie Lunch: Salmon, egg and spinach plate (GF)

After a low calorie lunch?  Try this delicious plate containing plenty of greens and protein.  Coeliac?  Don’t worry it’s gluten free!

  • Total calories: 230 Kcal
  • Total protein: 25g
  • Total carbs: 2g
  • Points on Slimming World: free

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Prepare a plate with 40g of washed spinach.  Add strips of smoked salmon (50g).  Fry two eggs in Frylight (or poach them) and add to the dish.  Add a sprinkle of paprika to add some colour.

 

List of Vegetables and their Calories

To follow on from yesterday’s post about fruits (List of Fruits and their Calories), here is a list of vegetables and their calories.  Each food item is shown per 100g.  Calorie amounts are approximate and you should use your own judgement.  Please leave a comment if you spot any mistakes or if there are items you’d like me to add.

Per 100g of product

  • Artichoke (cooked) – 47 Kcal
  • Asparagus (boiled) – 24 Kcal
  • Aubergine (cooked) – 15 Kcal
  • Baby corn (boiled) – 24 Kcal
  • Baked beans (tinned) – 78 Kcal
  • Beetroot (boiled) – 44 Kcal
  • Broccoli (raw) – 31 Kcal
  • Broccoli (boiled) – 24 Kcal
  • Brussel sprouts (boiled) – 35 Kcal
  • Butternut squash (boiled) – 39 Kcal
  • Cabbage (boiled) – 15 Kcal
  • Carrot (raw) – 43 Kcal
  • Carrot (boiled) – 22 Kcal
  • Cauliflower (boiled) – 28 Kcal
  • Celeriac (boiled) – 15 Kcal
  • Celery (raw) – 7 Kcal
  • Courgette (raw) – 18 Kcal
  • Cucumber (raw) – 19 Kcal
  • Gherkin (pickled) – 67 Kcal
  • Gourd (cooked) – 17 Kcal
  • Green beans – 24 Kcal
  • Green pepper – 15 Kcal
  • Kale (boiled) – 28 Kcal
  • Leek (boiled) – 21 Kcal
  • Lettuce – 14 Kcal
  • Mushrooms (raw) – 15 Kcal
  • Onion (raw) – 38 Kcal
  • Parsnip (roasted) – 75 Kcal
  • Peas (tinned) – 55 Kcal
  • Potato (baked in skin) – 109 Kcal
  • Potatoes (chipped and baked in Frylight) – 70 Kcal
  • Potato (chipped and fried) – 205 Kcal
  • Potatoes (new, boiled) – 72 Kcal
  • Potatoes (roasted in oil) – 150 Kcal
  • Pumpkin (boiled) – 46 Kcal
  • Radish (raw) – 12 Kcal
  • Red pepper (raw) – 27 Kcal
  • Spinach (raw) – 25 Kcal
  • Spring onion (raw) – 25 Kcal
  • Sweetcorn (tinned) – 86 Kcal
  • Tomatoes (raw) – 18 Kcal
  • Turnip (boiled) – 22 Kcal
  • Yellow pepper (raw) – 27 Kcal
  • Sweet potato (boiled) – 76 Kcal

fruit

Need help preparing vegetables?  Checkout these links:

Celeriac Mash – how to prepare

Butternut Squash – Easy way to prepare

List of Fruits and their Calories

We all know that we should eat more fruit, but how can we make wise choices with regards to calories?  So a regular banana with 95 Kcal is a better than a Mars Bar with 229 Kcal.  But an apple is a better choice over the banana, having just 82 Kcal.  I’ve put together a table of many fruits to help out those calorie counting.  Please be aware that I may have made mistakes so use your own judgement.  I have only included fruits which are commonly used as sweet items of food.  I have include more savoury fruits, such as tomatoes and peppers in my vegetables list(List of Vegetables and their Calories).

All values are for fresh/raw versions of the fruits unless otherwise shown.  I haven’t included tinned or frozen fruits as values are readily available on packaging.

  • Apple – 1 medium 82 Kcal
  • Apricot – 1 medium 16 Kcal
  • Avocado – ½ medium 160 Kcal
  • Banana – 1 medium 95 Kcal
  • Blackberries – 75g 19 Kcal
  • Blackcurrants – 75g 21 Kcal
  • Blueberries – 75g 32 Kcal
  • Cantaloupe melon – medium slice 22 Kcal
  • Cherries – 90g 43 Kcal
  • Clementines – 1 medium 28 Kcal
  • Cranberries – 75g 17 Kcal
  • Damson – 75g 28 Kcal
  • Fig – 1 fresh 37 Kcal
  • Fig – dried 50g 104 Kcal
  • Galia melon – medium slice 27 Kcal
  • Grapefruit – 1 medium 68 Kcal
  • Grapes – 75g 45 Kcal
  • Greengages – 75g 26 Kcal
  • Guavas – 60g 16 Kcal
  • Honeydew melon – medium slice 32 Kcal
  • Kiwi – 1 medium peeled 49 Kcal
  • Lemon – 1 medium 19 Kcal
  • Lychees – 75g 44 Kcal
  • Mango – 1 medium 66 Kcal
  • Nectarines – 1 medium 60 Kcal
  • Orange – 1 medium 56 Kcal
  • Papaya – ½ medium 41 Kcal
  • Passionfruit – 75g 27 Kcal
  • Peach – 1 medium 50 Kcal
  • Pear – 1 medium 60 Kcal
  • Pineapple – 60g 25 Kcal
  • Pomelo – 1/4 medium fruit  75 Kcal
  • Plum – 1 medium 36 Kcal
  • Raspberries – 60g 15 Kcal
  • Rhubarb (stewed without sugar) – 5 tbsp 5 Kcal
  • Satsuma – 1 medium 54 Kcal
  • Strawberries – 70g 19 Kcal
  • Tangerine – 1 medium 35 Kcal
  • Watermelon – medium slice 35 Kcal

Please comment on this post if you spot any mistakes or if you would like me to add any other fruits to the list.

fruit

Need help preparing fruit?  Here are some useful links:

Here are some of the added benefits in different fruits:

  • Apples – slow acting sugars may help you feel fuller longer
  • Blueberries – rich in antioxidants
  • Damsons – may lower blood cholesterol
  • Figs – source of calcium
  • Grapes – good for blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Kiwi – rich in Vitamin C (more than oranges)
  • Strawberries – rich in antioxidants

Starting to exercise. Take that first step.

I love the This Girl Can campaign  which the BBC reported as getting 2.8 million women aged 14-40 to get more active.  (link)

I wish the campaign had been around when I was at school.  I hated PE.  Well to be honest I didn’t hate PE itself.  I loved playing netball, hockey, rounders and badminton even though I wasn’t very skilled at the games.  I loved working as a team and having fun.  I hated… getting changed for PE in front of other girls, wearing tight fitting PE clothes that did not suit me, showing off my legs in a PE skirt, running, wheezing at the back during cross country, fitness tests, being weighed at school, having fat measured at school (only happen once – traumatising!) and worst of all showering communally.

As a primary school teacher I now know a lot of this has changed.  Changing rooms usually have cubicles and there’s no communal showering for a start.  Girls can often wear shorts or tracksuit bottoms now so don’t have to worry about having lots of flesh showing.  me2

I think most teenage girls feel self-conscious exercising in front of others.  This Girl Can has tried to normalise this.  Why does it seem alright for boys to sweat doing exercise but not girls?

There seem to be more options for exercising these days.  We can take Zumba or other dance classes.  There are so many walking, running apps around.  We can wear pedometers and track out steps and use social media to support and compete with others which can spur us on more.

I told myself I wouldn’t start exercising until I lost my first two stone.  It was amazing how quickly the time went!  So I  closed the living room curtains, moved the sofa and started an exercise DVD.  I was really self-conscious and didn’t want anyone to see me.  I was aware of the noise of the floorboards creaking and wondered if my neighbours could hear the elephant stomping noises coming from my house!  After 20 minutes I was exhausted!

I know people who’ve done the Couch to 5K plan.  I know people who love running.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  So I downloaded the app and had a go.  You start by walking for 5 minutes and then alternating 60 seconds running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes and then a 5 minute cool down walk.  I got some running shoes and a running bag and set off.  I can’t run.  I wiggle a bit and it’s a bit faster than walking.  I’m not very good at running uphill.  I find it really difficult but I’m having a go.  I’m not sure I’ll continue running and following the plan to the letter.  I think I’m better walking regularly and alternating with some jogging occasionally when I can manage it.  The great news is that the more you weigh the more calories you burn walking or running.

I’ve downloaded some music using Amazon Music on to my phone.  I don’t normally listen to music on my phone.  I started out by getting some running tracks.  These are great as it encourages me to move faster than I normally would.  I downloaded Top 100 Running Hits Playlist and Christian Workout.

 

MyFitnessPal app – trying it out

It’s been a while since my last post. For those of you who haven’t read my Blog before here’s a bit of background.

 

 

I’m a female with insulin dependent diabetes and diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2016. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I lost a few stone on Slimming World in the past and recently lost two stone with Food Optimising on Slimming World.

I’ve been a bit stuck. I’ll admit it! I know you can lose weight with Slimming World and have always rated it. Eating without measuring (much) and never feeling hungry really worked well for me. Adding in Coeliac Disease to the mix has been a bit more tricky.  Slimming World try to be helpful and allow sufferers to adapt the Healthy Extras slightly.  Added to this I can’t do the Speed Days as it’s not advised if you’re diabetic.  Although I did lose two stone I personally felt I needed something to kick start my weight loss again.

Why calorie counting?  My husband has impressed me by calorie counting, exercising and losing three stone in a few months.  I’ve never wanted to go down this route before because I already count carbs to help calculate my insulin and didn’t want more numbers rolling around in my head!  To be honest it sounded too simple.  Calories in need to be lower than calories out for you to lose weight.  I wasn’t convinced, until I saw it work for my other half.

app

Getting started…  I downloaded MyFitnessPal app which had been recommended to me.  I went for the basic version.  I entered my age, gender, activity levels (hmm…low) and current weight.  Then I put in that I’d like to about 1lb per week.  You can adjust this at any time and can even set it up to maintain weight or put on weight if those are things you want to do.  The app advised me to try to stick to about 1690 calories per day.  The more you weigh the more calories you’re allowed.  If you’re more active you’re allowed more calories too.

Food diary…  I’m used to recording everything I eat since starting Slimming World.  I quick like micro-managing every detail at the moment until I know what I’m doing.  You can quickly add your calories, search for items or scan barcodes to add items.  Check how sensible the numbers sound as occasionally there may be a slight error.

Exercise…  You can add exercise each day and it gives you more calories in your allowance.  That’s the kind of motivation I need!

Detail…  The app can go into great detail about fibre, vitamins and other nutrients.  I don’t really use this as it isn’t my main motivation at the moment.

Weight…  You can enter your weight as often as you want.

So far…  I’ve lost 5lb this week.  I know when starting a new eating scheme I tend to lose a chunk to start off with and then losses are more steady after that.