Discount during International Coeliac Week
A Woy Woy cafe is offering coeliac sufferers a discount on all of their gluten-free menu items during International Coeliac Week.
Ms Ashleigh Fuller, whose parents own and operate BBF Cafe, has had coeliac disease for the past four years and wanted to bring attention to just how difficult it can be to live truly gluten free.
"Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes a reaction to gluten causing damage to the villi in the small intestine and bowel," Ms Fuller said.
It is a disease that can often be hard to diagnose so sufferers can go a long time before receiving the true diagnosis usually suffering through a range of symptoms, such as vomiting, stomach cramps, ulcers and fatigue, until coeliac treatment and prevention is prescribed.
It has no cure and is instead managed by a lifelong commitment to a gluten-free diet.
"I have had coeliac's for four years and it has completely changed the way I live my life," Ms Fuller said.
"My family and I had to learn how to keep things separate, identify what foods are gluten free, learn how to read labels, eat differently to what everyone else can, take my own food places, not eat takeaway and generally miss out on a lot.
"It is really hard to understand Coeliac at first.
"You don't think wheat, rye, barely and oats are in sauces, soup, spices, or ice cream but they can be.
"Having this disease teaches you to be aware of everything you put in your body," Ms Fuller said.
"Food plays such a big part in our day to day lives but also in our social and cultural make up too.
"I think eating out is the hardest thing for me, as most restaurants and cafes know gluten-free but don't understand cross contamination," Ms Fuller said.
This is what inspired Ms Fuller and BBF to offer their special discount to Coeliac sufferers this Coeliac Week.
"We have a dedicated team who all know the importance of food handling, understand the risks of cross contamination and have a fully-stocked kitchen with separate utensils and preparation areas for gluten free items.
"All of our menu items are also available gluten-free, bar one item," Ms Fuller said.
"I really hope this week can highlight and celebrate coeliac sufferers as they deserve recognition of how far they have come but also to make people aware of how serious autoimmune diseases are and how they can just suddenly affect anybody," she said.
Coeliac Week commences from March 13 and concludes on March 20.
Interview, 8 Mar 2018
Ashleigh Fuller, Blackwall
Reporter: Dilon Luke