Picnics are best when they’re gluten free

During our first walk back in the English countryside we ended the walk with a picnic in the woods. No one was around, all was quiet and we ruminated about what it’s like being back in Britain.

Our picnic spot – on the rock

The problem with returning is that everyone just acts like your time away was a blip in the timeline of your life. But to us it was our life, our day to day, and an important time for us. It’s not simply something to put in a box and forgot about, like it wasn’t part of the real world.


China is under my skin now. It has altered my perspectives and values and thoughts. But for loved ones at home, it’s simply a time when you weren’t there.

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There are plus sides to returning home – the air, the countryside. Since being back we’ve loved going for walks among the trees and the grass, sitting down with a picnic, sunning ourselves and occasionally reading a book.

My gluten free picnic

Living in China, with no access to gluten free products, I noticed a massive reduction in the amount of times I suffered from IBS. On arriving in the UK, I ate some gluten free bread and the odd biscuit and immediately noticed the IBS kicking back in. Bloated stomach, sleepless nights, and other symptons I don’t care to mention. So we chose to try and make the healthiest, freshest picnic lunch possible.

The recipe

Salad base

  • Half a red cabbage, finely chopped
  • Half a lettuce (any, which ever is your fav) chopped into small, bitesize pieces (or fine shreds, it’s up to you)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 can of brown lentils (you can use a can of beans or chick peas if you prefer)
  • The juice from half a lemon
  • 1-2 tsps vinegar (white wine, red wine, apple cider or rice wine)
  • 1-2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of salt

Toppings: Simply add what you would like to go with your salad. I love sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, so I always add them. Occasionally I add falafels to the salad.

Jonny’s top tip: The longer you leave the salad (e.g. make it the night before and leave it in the fridge) the better it will taste as the cabbage and lettuce will have had a chance to soak up the juices.


Picnics are the best, especially if they’re in York and you have views as beautiful as this. We didn’t eat picnics in China.




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