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Risby woman Grace Beckett, 25, sets up her own online gluten-free food business Gracefully Free after spending days recovering from eating sandwich

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A young woman has set up her own gluten-free food business after a bacon sandwich made her so ill she had to spend the next three days in bed.

Grace Beckett, 25, from Risby, Suffolk, first discovered she was gluten intolerant three years ago.

Eating anything containing the protein left her bloated, suffering severe stomach pains and affected her skin.

Grace Beckett has set up her own gluten-free food business. Picture by Mark Westley
Grace Beckett has set up her own gluten-free food business. Picture by Mark Westley

But during lockdown last year she decided to try a bacon sandwich to test if her theory was still true.

"I was so ill afterwards, I was in bed for three days recovering, because of the bread," said Grace, who lives in Risby.

"I was so tired, I couldn't eat anything else afterwards. I was bloated, had stomach pains and just felt terrible."

The experience convinced Grace to set up her own website to make it easier to find gluten-free food, with Gracefully Free launching last month.

“It had always been quite hard to find things anyway at supermarkets because the gluten free products would be tucked away in small aisles,” she said.

“There also wasn’t a great range of products.

Grace with some of the products she sells from her website.
Grace with some of the products she sells from her website.

“Also during lockdown, I searched online and it was still hard to find products in one place.

“You would tick a box for gluten-free products and there was no guarantee that there still wasn’t traces of gluten.”

Gracefully Free features more than 100 gluten-free products from more than 25 brands, including Pep & Lekker, 5th Season and Savoursmiths, based in Cambridge.

The site includes sweet and savoury snacks such as salted caramel popcorn, roasted chickpeas, chickpea crispbread and smoked almonds.

Grace will be launching a range of pasta and grains in the next few months.

People living gluten-free must avoid foods with wheat, rye and barley, such as bread and beer.

Ingesting even small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board can trigger intestine damage.

“I didn’t know what was wrong at first when I first started having problems,” said Grace.

“It was hard to diagnose, even with the help of doctors.

"I am gluten intolerant but I don't suffer from the more severe coeliac disease.

"Nevertheless, if I eat anything containing gluten, I get ill."

Grace is also hoping to connect with others through the business.

“I also want to build a community around the website and host content from experts for things like recipes and competitions," she said.

"Some countries like Italy and Spain are far more advanced than us when it comes to finding gluten-free food.

"The number one beer in Spain, for example, is gluten-free."

For more information visit: www.gracefullyfree.co.uk or @gracefullyfreeuk on Instagram and Facebook.

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