Federica was diagnosed with coeliac disease when she was 2 years old. Born in Italy she was surrounded by and loves Italian cuisine: pizza, pasta, bread, risotto, just to name a few… all gluten free, of course! This has never held her back as Federica loves travelling and doing sport including figure skating. She is also currently studying two MSc degrees one in English and the other in Spanish. Federica now lives abroad in Scotland working at Ooni as Digitial Marketing Assistant so is constantly surrounded by delicious pizza. She has never felt the burden of living gluten free as long as she follows her diet, she feels energised.
Being gluten free is not a choice for me but I can guarantee I have plenty of (delicious) choices when it’s time to eat, wherever I am!
1. How did you find out about your condition/allergy? When were you diagnosed?
- I was diagnosed with coeliac when I was two years old. So at that time in the 90’s my parents were very worried as I was tired all the time and I had bloating of my tummy everyday. It wasn’t as common to see it as it is today and they had to have lots of meetings with lots of different doctors. Finally when I was 2 a doctor in Milan diagnosed me, and the rest is history as they say.
2. What is the biggest misunderstanding someone has had about your allergy?
Sometimes when I talk to people it seems that that don’t take it seriously that I am gluten free. It seems that they usually think it’s because I’m following a trend or a fashion diet, but that is not the case. This is the biggest misunderstanding because I can’t eat gluten as it will make me sick. If people in general don’t take it seriously then it’s a big issue which can cause a lot of harm.
3. What is the most annoying thing someone has said about your allergies?
When I talk to people and they discover I am gluten free for the first time, they always say “poor you, I’m very sorry”. I always wonder why are you sorry? Because the thing is there is a misconception that if you are gluten free you can’t eat anything or the most delicious food. But this isn’t true. We can but in the gluten free version. This is really annoying to me because it come from people not being educated enough on this topic.
4. What has been your best free-from find?
I could make a long list of free-from finds I love, but because I am Italian and love having sweet breakfast treats my best free-from finds are any gluten free muffins and croissants.
5. What is your favourite indulgence food or recipe?
My favourite food has to be pizza! Not just because I’m Italian. The pizza I always make for myself is a Margarita which I really love. The recipe is really simple you just need 1 ball of gluten free dough, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and you can add a little salt and oil to taste. Simple and delicious!
6. What top tips do you have for someone starting out on an allergy free diet?
I have two top tips for anyone having to avoid any foods because of an allergy.
First, to get rid of all the negative feelings you have, try to make a list of all the food that you love that you can have. This will be very helpful for you to focus on all the amazing food you can look forward to.
Secondly, educate your family and friends. Explain to them what you can eat and what you can’t and how to deal with it when they’re cooking to avoid cross contamination if needed. This will be helpful when you’re together eating out or visiting for a meal. This will make your life easier and happier.