So here’s the thing. I’m the first one to stick my hand up in the air and declare myself a complete and utter loser, for multiple things in life, but in this case for being THAT person who would always choose a nice cup of tea over vodka shots. I’ll take the complete mickey out of myself for the joy I get from sitting down with a brew, a biscuit (or five), putting my feet up, and watching This Morning, and I’m more than aware that I’m probably old before my time.
But you know what? I stand by my belief that the humble tea and biscuit break is completely under-rated, and I can almost guarantee that I’m not alone in this. LET US ALL ENJOY TEA AND BISCUITS WITHOUT SOCIETAL JUDGEMENT.
In line with that, it just so happens that I am allergic to life.
It’s great. My food allergies are kind of complex, but as a rough overview…(in 2017) I have a severe peanut allergy (anaphylaxis) so must avoid peanuts, including traces, at all costs. Then I have a ‘normal’ nut allergy (oral allergy syndrome), meaning I can’t eat tree nuts but can eat *may contains* products, provided this definition doesn’t include peanuts. This is the bit that confuses people the most, since different manufacturers have different guidelines on what constitutes ‘nuts’ in their warnings: I can eat *may contain nuts* for some brands, such as Sainsbury’s, but not others, such as Tesco, due to differences in labelling regulations. THEN I have milk intolerance: pretty straightforward, I avoid milk but don’t avoid *may contains*. We’ve found that yeast, egg white and a few others are not my friends due to my awesome immune system, and whilst I don’t strictly avoid these, I try to limit my intake of them. Finally, I have no problem at all with gluten, but most of the foods I eat just happen to be gluten free. Phew. Got all that? Me neither.
Anyway, here’s the important bit and a huge disclaimer before I get to the all-important snack guide. The foods I mention below are safe for me; no peanuts, but may contain traces of tree nuts and milk, and many of them contain other allergens. Labels change all the time: if you choose to purchase any of these foods, PLEASE check the labels and do your own research into the manufacturer before consuming. If you’re in any doubt, don’t risk it. Easier said than done I know, but it’s not worth it, even for the most delicious looking biscuit.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, lets move on to the important bit: the goodies. Keep scrolling for my top free-from tea and biscuit recommendations corresponding with different time points in the day. It’s probably socially unacceptable to acknowledge that I have an organisational system for my biscuit consumption but if you know me personally, I’m sure this won’t surprise you. I take my tea breaks very seriously.
Yorkshire Tea with Alpro Oat Milk, with Lovemore Digestive Biscuits
I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that my day doesn’t begin until I’ve had my first cuppa. Yorkshire Tea gives me life, and for me personally, oat milk is my non-dairy alternative of choice. Choice of brand is important here: I’ve found that Oatly oat milk curdles in hot drinks (and yes, that’s as appetising as it sounds), so I always choose Alpro when I can; to me, it tastes the most natural. A nice big cuppa and a cheeky Lovemore digestive biscuit? Excellent start to the day.
Chill-Out Mode: Tetley Pure Green Tea with Lovemore Custard Creams
This is my go-to lunchtime combo. It took me a while to really come around to green tea when I first tried it a few years ago, but Tetley do a lovely smooth pure, as well as a decaf, green tea. Now, let us talk about Lovemore’s Custard Creams. These were the biscuits that first introduced me to their range, and I stand by my statement that they actually taste nicer than their non- free-from counterparts. I legitimately have inner angst when there’s not a packet in my cupboard. Some people become addicted to drugs and harmful substances, I become addicted to Custard Creams. We all have our battles.
Productive Mode: Twinings Pure Peppermint Tea with Dove’s Farm Freee Chocolate Chip Oat Bar
If you’re going for more of a productive vibe, I’ll always recommend a Twinings Pure Peppermint Tea. I first gave this a go when I read online that peppermint tea helps to alleviate migraines and whilst I don’t know if that ever actually worked for me, I did find that I liked the taste: refreshing and not too overwhelmingly sweet. Dove’s Farm Freee Chocolate Chip Oat Bar is a relatively new addition to my life, but it’s honestly a multiple allergy sufferer’s DREAM. I first discovered them when one was in my Eurostar meal pack on my recent trip to Paris, and I legitimately nearly cried when I realised that 1) this was something I could actually eat, and 2) it tasted AMAZING, without creating the crumbly mess that can sometimes arise when tackling a snack bar on public transport. 10/10 would recommend. I’ve actually just paused in writing this blog post so I can go and order myself some more.
So it’s coming up to late afternoon and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be feeling like indulging yourself after a long, hard day of existing as a person. I only recently discovered Chai Tea but oh my goodness, it’s the REAL DEAL. I’ve tried a couple of varieties from more low-budget brands over the last few months, but the Teapigs ‘bolly good’ one is still the real winner for me. I can’t wait to treat myself again in the winter months: even the scent of it makes me feel cosy and festive and HYGGE AS HECK. And to go with? A good old Lovemore double chocolate chip cookie: initially, I didn’t think I’d love these since I’d tried Lovemore’s single chocolate variety in the past and not really rated them, but the double chocolate ones are so rich and tasty; absolutely perfect for when you’re craving something sweet.
Teapigs Snooze Sleepy Tea with Lovemore O’Chocos
And finally, we’ve reached a wind-down, ready for bed combo. Teapigs Snooze Sleepy Tea has been an absolute Godsend for me: I have clinical insomnia, which has only partially been controlled by occupational therapy and long-term medication. Sleep just doesn’t come easily to me, and whilst I’m not going to claim that a humble teabag is more effective than clinical intervention, I believe these sleepy teabags have genuinely helped me to experience more restful sleep. The lavender and chamomile combo looks, tastes and smells heavenly, and pouring myself a cup of one of these bad boys really signifies to my brain that it’s the start of wind-down time for me. Due to my insomnia, I don’t snack in the evening, but I imagine that an equally as lush accompaniment for the sleepy tea of your dreams would be Lovemore’s O’Chocos: basically, they’re free-from Oreo-inspired sandwich biscuits: satisfyingly crunchy with a heavenly vanilla fondant. The challenge lies in not consuming the whole packet in one sitting. What kind of ANIMAL would do that? * looks shiftily around and backs away slowly*.
And there we have it: my favourite allergy-friendly tea and biscuits. Do let me know if you decide to give any of these a go, and PLEASE leave me a comment below (or on Instagram) if you have any recommendations of your own; I’m always looking to broaden my tea-drinking horizons, and finding suitable snacks and treats is genuinely a bit of a struggle.
I hope this guide has given any fellow allergy sufferers some foodie-inspiration! Some of the above products were initially PR samples, but everything included in this guide are things that I’ve since then bought for myself and consumed in excess. Now, who fancies a cuppa? I’ll pop the kettle on.