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Sealiac


- The greatest fish and chips I have tasted in my gluten-free life from Lewis's Fish Restaurant, Seahouses, Northumberland

It has been an amazing first May bank holiday this year, especially after what feels like a lifetime of winter. It is a time when people are urged to make plans with friends, book trips, drink through thanks to an extra day for recovery (if you subscribe to the 9-5). In a nutshell, bank holidays give us a little extra time to rest, recuperate, and reflect. Mine was perfect, and here is why. As a pretty anxious but conscientious kid, I would slave away through the school curriculum, desperately trying to better myself in any way possible, much to the detriment of my fluctuating health. I hadn't yet been diagnosed with my food related intolerance at this point, but certainly bore the brunt of it in many different ways. One of the things that helped me stay focused in my quest for A's and B's in my GCSEs was knowing that at the end of the exams, the family holiday to the beautiful coast of Fife would begin. We were lucky enough to have first opportunity on an old traditional cottage in the harbour town of Aberdour, 40 minutes on the train from Edinburgh, and every time we ventured up from the sporadic summer days in Yorkshire, the sun would be there to meet us. We used to wake up early every morning and venture the few hundred yards down the road to the jagged rock pools; following the sound of baby seals basking with their mothers. We would return to the cottage for a hearty breakfast and decide upon our day, but not until we had walked the length of the bay and skimmed stones against the roaring waves.

The sea does something very unique to me. Although I have only heard of few that cannot find solace at the seaside, it has a very special effect on my health; both mentally and physically. My energy peaks higher than usual as soon as I see the large body of water peak over the horizon. It troughs to a very natural low come bed time, and I feel ready to rest; more so than on any usual day. I am more inclined to move physically; walking the length and breadth of each tidal shift, play Frisbee, jump, run, and chase. The wind in my hair refreshes me like nothing else, and the attempts at skimming stones can keep me entertained for hours.

Sometimes just sitting and taking in the sight, the smell, the sound of the sea is all I need. And I eat well, really well. The locally sourced fish and seafood on offer is always fascinating to me, and I feel nourished with the fresh and beautifully simple presentation of it all.

This weekend we stayed in Alnwick in Northumberland, with some good friends for a very special birthday. We cooked, laughed, and drank, and sourced great eateries. We walked, played Frisbee, watched animals and people, and most of all, we watched the waves. In terms of flare-ups and near-misses that can often feature when I eat away from home, there were none. My vegan friend and I did note that there was a definite lack of focus on healthy food, and most options were covered in batter or cheese, but we were on holiday, and it was a time for treats.

The group decided to dine out after a day at Seahouses in scorching conditions. The majority went for Pizza - which I am glad to say offered gluten free bases (I will be returning to try this establishment out). I wanted traditional however, and TripAdvisor came up with an option on the high street, with a very high rating. So me and a friend ordered, much to my pleasant surprise, feeling like a normal human being.

Fish chips and mushy peas were ordered without fuss, no pre-warning required, and eight were sold in the time I was waiting for mine to leave the fryer. The batter was flavoursome, crispy, completely uncontaminated and I had faith the chips were done in exactly the same fryer. My non-coeliac friend also enjoyed his fish, chips and mushy peas, except for the fact he ordered gravy. This place is incredible, and please, please sample Lewis' if you are in Seahouses any time soon. I will be back time and time again as we will travel for absolute assurance that it is totally safe to eat; and most importantly, bloody scumptious.

When you feel less than 100%, try and recall what has helped bring you back. Even if it was 15 years ago. Hold that thought and make it happen again. I am determined to return to the seaside on a much more regular basis because of what it does for my whole outlook.

Feed your soul, only you know what it's hungry for.

Coeliaclass x


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