Finding out that you have any allergy or intolerance can be a difficult process. When Bubbles moved, to Malaysia, gluten-free just meant you were fussy. One doctor told her she couldn’t possibly be a celiac as she was too mentally normal and wanted to re-test her. (Note: You can’t get tested for celiac if you are already gluten free so check the various tests available if you do suspect you have issues before eliminating it from your diet.) Malaysia has been difficult, but Bubbles is slowly getting the hang of living gluten-free here, with the help of a few chefs, doctors and lists on Evernote and her IPhone.
Unfortunately, Daisy discovered her gluten intolerance a few weeks after moving to Kuala Lumpur from New York City—the Mecca of gluten-free gluttony! Daisy remembers seeing the gluten-free cafes and bakeries on her walks home from work and the *GF notations on just about every menu there. Ahhhh…. How ironic life can be.
In most places in Kuala Lumpur, Daisy met with a puzzled looks when asking about gluten-free food. It bothers most waiters and chefs when she asked very specific questions about the ingredients in her food and the method of cooking employed. While supermarkets now stock basic pantry items but food labelling is not always accurate (Bubbles noticed Organic Barley with a Gluten Free label on a few supermarket shelves).
Changes are happening as awareness increases through people like Bubbles and Daisy asking questions and sharing information.
They discovered restaurants willing to make that extra effort, finally learnt that not all tequila is gluten-free and that sadly, local chocolate is not an option. Daisy and Bubbles plan to do whatever they can to: a) prevent you from getting glutened in Kuala Lumpur, b) make a dining out or eating in experience a tad easier for you, and c) share with you their blueprint—their general ideas and principles—for how to survive this allergy unconscious city and region of the world (which you can also adapt for other allergies or food restrictions).
Peace + Kiss Kiss,
Daisy & Bubbles
Daisy discovered that her gluten intolerance out of pure frustration. As a “welcome home!” gift when she returned to Kuala Lumpur after thirteen years abroad, she fell ill for a prolonged period of time with both strange and common ailments that no doctor could pull together in a singular diagnosis. When their tests failed to show that anything was wrong, these doctors told her to see a psychologist—maybe she was “missing her boyfriend and adjusting poorly” to her native city. When she suggested that she might be suffering from celiac disease, she was told by these same doctors that it was strictly a “white person’s disease” and that she couldn’t possibly have it.
Desperate, Daisy relied on her old nutritionist in the United States and the Amazing Internet to help her figure out that her bodily troubles were food-related. Two weeks on a gluten-free diet and, like Bubbles, Daisy felt like a brand new person.
In learning to eat and live in her simultaneously old and new city, Daisy hopes to see Kuala Lumpur become more health- and allergen- conscious. She hopes to make allergen-free living a holistic way of life here. She’ll blog on her thought processes and experiments with that.
Apart from coping with her gluten allergy, Daisy loves to travel, do yoga, and write. She loves nature and being outdoors; there’s always *just a little* more time that Daisy could spend with trees, and earth, and water, and flowers.
Bubbles found out she was a celiac in her late twenties. The worst things for her were the end of her traditional hangover cure of Yum Cha on a Saturday afternoon, no more McChickens with extra cheese, pickles, mustard and ketchup or Roti Canai, filled with egg, dipped in to chicken curry. Luckily, she could still drink champagne and coffee and eat chocolate. She loves eating out and admits to food geekiness (reading restaurant reviews around the world for fun although until this blog, she didn’t photograph food.)
In between PhD writing, Bubbles spends a lot of writers block time at bars and pubs. She has more books and shoes than space and is a bit of a control freak (which is handy with a food allergy as you plan for all eventualities.) Bubbles does however balance her indulgences. She runs, for fun and finds it meditative, practices pilates, cooks at home regularly (usually healthy food to make up for her junk food and fine dining addictions) and she detoxes once or twice a year, on light meals and a lot of water.
Daisy met Bubbles serendipitously through her boss. As they commiserated on gluten-free living in Kuala Lumpur, the idea for this blog was born. Together, they hope to offer you as wide a perspective on gluten-free living as possible, for as you can see, gluten-free living can be accommodated by a wide, wide variety of lifestyles.
Peace + Kiss kiss,
Daisy & Bubbles