All posts filed under: Coeliac Disease

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Gluten Free Hate: Easy Money for British Newspapers

(just in case you’d forgotten the worst clickbait-master of them all…) Have you seen today’s gluten free clickbait? This ‘gluten free hate’ article in the Guardian has triggered a mixed (mostly bad?) reaction in the coeliac community today. I am accustomed to seeing stuff of this ilk from the Daily Mail and The Spectator, but have to confess I was disappointed to see it in The Guardian. The article follows the classic internet tradition of riling people up to get clicks. Clicks = advertising money, and gluten free dieters are an easy target. You might think as a coeliac, that I would be on the side of the author. Sure, I do an inward eyeroll* when someone tells me that they are ‘going gluten free’ because ‘it’s healthier’ or because they think it will help them lose weight. Or when someone says they are gluten intolerant, but eats gluten when it suits them. As I’ve written about before, there are problems with the way that ‘gluten free’ has become less of a strict medical term, and more of a ‘healthy’ buzzword. It is …

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“Gluten Free”…but Not Suitable for Coeliacs

You would be forgiven for assuming that if something is labelled “gluten free” or advertised as a “gluten free option”, then it doesn’t contain gluten and is therefore safe for a coeliac person to eat. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. In the catering world, gluten free does not = safe. Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve walked hopefully into cafes and restaurants advertising gluten free options, only to be told that their “gluten free” options are not actually suitable for coeliacs, or people with allergies to gluten. Who is gluten free food for? “Gluten free” options in restaurants and cafes seem to frequently be aimed not at people with a medical need to avoid gluten, but at people who choose to “go gluten free”. People willing to spend significant money on gluten free foods that they perceive to be “healthier”, “cleaner” or “lighter”, who do not suffer an autoimmune or allergic reaction if they eat gluten, or trace amounts of gluten. In restaurant and cafe environments, this is presenting a problem for coeliacs. We get lured in …

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Why I Always Take Notes: Brain Fog and Coeliac Disease

As a rather late tribute to Coeliac Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2016) , I thought I’d write about a lesser known symptom of coeliac disease. Brain fog. Though I’ve had coeliac disease since toddlerhood, I didn’t know there was a connection between brain fog and coeliac disease until about five years ago. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I thought it was part of my personality to be a bit ditsy, a bit dopey and forgetful. A bit Bridget Jones. Maybe it is to a certain extent, but I these intense periods of vagueness became more than that, and seemed to come and go with glutenings. What is brain fog? A lot of people assume that coeliac disease only affects the digestive system. This is untrue. Coeliac Disease is a multi-system autoimmune disorder. It can affect you neurologically. When I joined internet forums about coeliac disease, I noticed the term ‘brain fog’ floating around, and saw that I was far from the only one experiencing these symptoms. When the fog descends, I struggle with finding the right words and …

Coeliac on TV: My interview with ARTE

They say do something every day that scares you…WELL. I was recently invited to take part in a TV feature for European arts and culture broadcaster ARTE about the rising popularity of the gluten free diet…and I did it! I talked on telly! —————————————————————————————————————— My job was to give a coeliac perspective on the the changing world of gluten free food and show the reporters around a few of my favourite coeliac-friendly places in central London. We did an interview + some pretend blogging in Beyond Bread, another bit of interview and gluteny-food throwing in Cavendish Square, and a gluten free meal with my boyfriend David in Honest Burger. (All places featured in my 8 Places to grab a Gluten Free lunch near Oxford Circus post!) As a fairly reserved person, this was a hop skip and a jump out of my comfort zone. I had a great time filming with ARTE though, and I’d love to do more stuff like this in the future.  Here it is! This clip also features the blogger / cookbook maestro Deliciously Ella and Food …

10 Symptoms That Let Me Know I’ve Been Royally ‘Glutened’ #CoeliacUKAwarenessWeek

It’s Coeliac Awareness Week this week (11th-17th May 2015, #CoeliacUKAwarenessWeek) and this year Coeliac UK is focusing on improving diagnosis of Coeliac Disease. It still takes an average of 13 years (13 YEARS!) to be diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, and even though approximately 1% of the UK population has it, only 24% of people with the disease are medically diagnosed.*  Part of the reason that it takes so long to diagnose, is that the isolated symptoms can be attributed to many different conditions (e.g. IBS, Crohn’s) and it can take a long time to join the dots. In my own small way, I want to help spread awareness of the sort of symptoms that can occur when “glutened”, and the impact they can have on day to day life. There are still far too many people who believe Coeliac Disease is about being fussy or faddy!  So, let’s go. 1. Thinking starts to feel like wading through treacle. I become forgetful, have difficulty focusing on tasks, can’t remember words (I am in my twenties – far from senile!). …

Another day, another hospital appointment.

I realised this week that I have been asking doctors for answers for almost two years. As I have written about before, even though I stick religiously to the gluten-free diet, I have ongoing health problems that seemingly cannot be explained by coeliac disease. For a while I worried that it was all in my head, but I have since found countless stories from other coeliacs on Facebook, Twitter and online forums that chime with my experience. At this point it is likely that as well as coeliac disease, I also have IBS, or SIBO, or some other gut-related condition. IBS is the front-runner, and as this can only really be diagnosed through process of elimination, I have had (and am still having) every gut-related test under the sun. I have had a range of advice to help deal with the symptoms. A Dietician put me on the FODMAP diet, a Gastroenterologist recommended I try yoga, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy, another Gastroenterologist prescribed me peppermint oil capsules to ease the pains…though some of these have helped to a degree, …

Sample list of Low and High FODMAP foods

When Coeliac Disease meets IBS: The joys of FODMAP

As those of you who follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter may know, for the past few months I have been following the mother of all elimination diets, the FODMAP diet. I don’t cut out delicious foods for fun; unfortunately it seems that I may have some form of IBS or food intolerance, as well as coeliac disease. Yay! Though I’ve had a bunch of tests (including the aforementioned endoscopy) these haven’t pointed to anything obvious, so I am still in the process of figuring out what exactly is causing me problems. This is where the FODMAP diet comes in. FODMAPs are Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are all compounds that can trigger digestive issues in people who suffer from IBS, and are found in foods right across the spectrum, even in healthy foods like fruit and vegetables. The Low FODMAP diet minimises intake of these compounds as much as possible. The diet is extremely restrictive (especially when combined with coeliac disease) so it is not intended as a permanent solution, but rather as an elimination diet where you cut out every possible irritant, …

TMI alert: My endoscopy experience

There is a reason for my radio silence. My brain is only just getting back to normal after that pinnacle of  coeliac fun, the endoscopy. For those of you who don’t know, an endoscopy is a procedure whereby your insides are examined using an endoscope; a long tubey thing with a camera / scraper on the end. Sounds a bit horrifying, no? Read a proper medical description on the NHS page, here. An endoscopy with biopsy (sample collection) is still the gold standard, i.e. the only truly reliable method of coeliac disease diagnosis, so many in the gluten free community will at some stage go through it. There are always lots of questions in the forums and Facebook groups asking what to expect, so I thought I would share my experience. My reason for having an endoscopy this time was not coeliac diagnosis (I was formally diagnosed aged 2), but as more of a check up. I won’t sugar-coat it; the experience was not my favourite. The procedure itself was over within about 10 minutes, but the entire preparation, waiting …

Jimmy Kimmel dismisses the Gluten Free diet as ‘annoying’.

I am baffled. Why would you go to the trouble of eating a gluten-free diet (which as people who actually can’t eat gluten will know, can be literally and metaphorically, a pain in the arse) if you don’t even know what gluten is? The Jimmy Kimmel show did a segment where they asked a few choice (clueless) people on the gluten free diet to explain what exactly gluten is. As a coeliac, there is so much wrong with this. First of all, why are they so set on trying to catch people out? Is eating a gluten free diet really so offensive? Yes, there may be some people who eat gluten free because it is the latest thing to do at the gym, but I would bet money that the majority of people do it for genuine health reasons. Personally I fail to see much cause for it otherwise. I say this as a lifelong coeliac who has embraced the gluten free diet (and writes this blog about the lovely GF food that I find!). Even looking at the positives, …

In the news: ‘Fake-food’ and food labels

As a coeliac, the recent news regarding the the proliferation of ‘fake-food’ worries me. This article from The Guardian details various horrid (barely) edibles including ‘meat emulsion’ and ‘cheese analogue’ that are secretly added to our food, but what really bothers me is the claim that a third of food products tested in a West Yorkshire sample, were incorrectly labelled. A third.  People like me who have coeliac disease rely on food labels. I check the label of every single thing I eat. Every day. For life. I need food companies to label their produce honestly and accurately, so that I can minimise risk to myself by avoiding gluten, which as readers of this blog will likely know, is like poison to coeliacs. Although the article doesn’t specifically mention gluten, it does make you wonder how much you can trust food labels, especially as wheatflour is an ingredient that is often used to bulk out cheaper processed products. This is purely my speculation; I would be interested if anyone knows anything more about this. The article …