It all began when parents Wendy and Sebastian Chia discovered that their eldest son Ryan has dietary intolerances to dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, eggs and yeast. Managing Ryan’s dietary allergies led them to source directly for organic meat and gluten-free produce locally and abroad.
Their frequent trips to farmer’s markets in Western Australia subsequently resulted in close ties with several small batch specialist producers. “We even met the producers and shared with them the difficulties in getting organic meats in Singapore,” shared Wendy. The idea to import meat was thus mooted. In July 2015, Ryan’s Grocery, a local organic butchery and gluten-free store in Binjai Park, was born.
As recent as eight years ago, it wasn’t easy to find quinoa, nonwheat or rice flour. We decided to go gluten-free after we saw how eliminating dairy helped our son’s behavioural issues as a special needs child. Back then, there weren’t many people posting recipes and information online, so our trips to Australia were really useful in learning about going gluten-free.
Some people think that going glutenfree means doing away with breads, but gluten can also be found in common products like soy sauce, and in thickening agents used in ice cream and ketchup.
Celiac disease is a real health problem. At restaurants, you might hear people saying, “a bit of gluten is fine,” but for people with celiac disease, this could mean the difference between life and death. For some, a gluten-free diet improves the quality of life by eliminating allergic reactions.
Don’t stop eating foods with gluten, especially when you are going for a blood test. The results will not be accurate.
Diarrhea, bloated tummies, eczema and migraines are some of the most common reactions to gluten allergy.
Sometimes people mistake these symptoms for stress. A friend who had migraines finally went for a medical check up, eliminated gluten from her diet, and her migraines disappeared. Many people cannot break down gluten, but they are
Going gluten-free does not mean compromising on flavour. Here are four delicious recipes that are great for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, and suitable for everyday healthy eating too
unaware of this until they go for tests.
Gluten-free doesn’t mean going taste-free. Our choices are healthier since we are eating more fruit, vegetables, lean meats and dairy, but this doesn’t mean less options. For instance, Ryan is intolerant to soy sauce so I use coconut amino acid as a substitute. You won’t even be able to tell the difference!
It’s difficult to go gluten-free in Singapore, since there aren’t many choices at hawker centres. Even restaurants offer mostly salads when we ask for gluten-free menus. Sound bets are Open Door Policy, The Living Café and Summer Palace.
If a doctor diagnoses you with celiac disease, omit cross contamination at home by having different sets of utensils, washing sponges and fridge compartments too.
You can still go gluten-free while travelling. Ryan’s Grocery has ready meals like the Hart & Soul series of soups. I also have in my luggage broth packs, various grains like quinoa, frozen sausages and meats from Ryan’s that I can quickly combine in a mini cooker for my son.