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It’s getting easier to be gluten free

It's getting easier to be gluten free

Angela Merrie gave up gluten 20 years ago when the choices for gluten-free products were extremely limited. She tells us about how she has learned to eat well and follow a gluten-free diet since being diagnosed with IBS.

I gave up gluten 20 years ago, after being diagnosed with IBS. Back then it was much harder to find gluten-free food, so initially I found it very difficult. Fast forward 20 years and we now have so many options available to us. Gluten-free versions of our favourite foods are readily available in health food stores and in supermarkets, and in fact being gluten free has never been easier or more widely accepted.

However, IBS can be such a difficult illness to have as it affects each person in different ways. Symptoms manifest individually, and while diet plays a huge part in controlling it, certain foods that irritate one person may not irritate another so there really is no 'cure all'. In my up and coming blog posts, I'll talk a bit about IBS and what it is that has helped me. Hopefully there will be gems of advice in there that resonate, and can help you on your path to good health.

I have learnt a lot over the years, and I am really excited that I am going to be able to share my gluten-free tips with you. Most of the time my meals will also be sugar- and grain-free, as that is how I eat. One thing I am clear on is that my diet is not for everyone. Bio-individuality is an important aspect of health, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. The path to good health is one that you must forge for yourself, dependent on your individual needs.

My number one health tip for anyone who is wanting to change their diet, is ‘don’t focus on what you can’t have, focus on what you can.’ A subtle shift in the way you think can make all the difference to your healthy journey. My second tip for anyone on a gluten-free diet is to be prepared! Keep gluten-free snacks on hand at home and take some with you when you leave the house for the day. Gluten-free products are more readily available these days but it’s always better to be prepared and have healthy options at your fingertips. That way you can be sure to always make good food choices.

Smoked salmon and courgette ‘pasta’ 


  • oil spray
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice, plus 1 extra lemon to serve
  • 150g smoked salmon
  • 4 courgettes, julienned (or use cooked gluten-free pasta)
  • 30g rocket leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1 Heat a pan over medium heat. Lightly spray with oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until slightly golden.

Step 2 Add capers, dill, parsley, lemon zest and juice and mix through. Remove pan from heat then break salmon pieces into pan while still warm. Put pan to one side.

Step 3 In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini (or cooked gluten-free pasta) and rocket. Gently fold salmon mix into zucchini and rocket mixture. Season to taste.

Step 4 Serve while still warm with lemon wedges and extra parsley to garnish. Serves 2.


Angela Merrie has a passion for food, health and well-being and has combined these passions into a blog and business called Pretty Damn Good for You. After healing herself from IBS through diet and nutrition, Angela decided to start her healthy eating website as a way to help others to do the same. Angela writes recipes for clients, and also styles and photographs the finished product. She takes cooking demonstrations across the Farro Fresh stores and has a brand of muesli currently sold through her website and the Simon James Concept Store in Herne Bay, Auckland. Angela has a degree in Fine Art and is studying at the Integrative School of Nutrition in New York.

First published: Feb 2015

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