Mini coeliac

I wrote a blog when my eldest daughter, Megan, first started school ( She has coeliac disease so I was really worried about whether they could cater for her safely.

We were lucky as the school is really clued up on dietary requirements and even has a dietitian, who goes through the menus. They also have excellent procedures in place, including having Megan’s picture up where they serve the food, with a note stating exactly what she can’t have. She also has a wristband to highlight to the people serving that she has a dietary requirement.

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Banished to the gluten corner

In our house, as you probably know by now, there are three coeliacs – me and my two daughters.

When my youngest, Amalie, had to become strictly gluten-free, I decided to banish most gluten from our house. My husband, Martin, offered to just eat gluten-free food, but due to the price and the standard of some products, I turned him down. I thought we could cope with the cross-contamination issue if he only ate staple gluten products, such as cereal, pasta and bread.

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It’s always fun to kick off the day with a massive fight. And I very nearly came to blows with my boyfriend this morning over something very serious indeed. Breakfast cereal.

It was 7.30am and, like millions of mums, I was feeding my son, helping him with homework, packing his bag, cleaning the floor, unloading the dishwasher, putting a wash on and trying to straighten my scarecrow hair. And in strolls the boyfriend, grabs a bowl and casually helps himself to MY GLUTEN-FREE CEREAL. Just loads his bowl up. Then sprinkles on a helping of Shreddies, adding insult to injury.

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Gluten free prescriptions

On the 31st March, the Department of Health opened a consultation on the NHS prescribing of gluten-free foods. The public can give their views by completing a survey found at this link. The consultation closes on the 22nd June 2017. Safer Eating fears that the public has been mis-sold facts in the government’s push to make drastic cuts across the NHS.

Negative press in the past, such as The Daily Mail in August 2015 quoting that, “The NHS is handing out tens of thousands of prescriptions every year for custard creams, doughnuts and pizzas” shows people may not have the full picture. Although the story was talking about all special diets – it focused on coeliac disease and talked about how the NHS needs to focus on, “essential patient care, operations and crucial drugs”. It is infuriating when gluten-free prescriptions are portrayed this way. Most GP surgeries have only allowed staple ingredients for years, such as flour, bread and pasta. There is now an apology to people with coeliac disease on the bottom of the article.

I think it is really important that the public understands the other side of the story so they can form their own educated opinion and comment on the consultation. Continue reading


So we’re just back from an Easter holiday to Lanzarote, which was lovely – great to spend time with the family and watch the kids play in the pool and park.

Obviously, though, with a family of tricky eaters there were going to be issues on the food front. The hotel specified it catered for “healthy and special diets” so we decided to go for the all-inclusive option instead of self-catering or room-only.
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Gluten free scones

Craving foods you can’t have is pretty standard when you get lumped on a free-from diet. As soon as I was told I had to be gluten free for life or risk a body breakdown, I wanted a macaroni pie, half a dozen Biscuit Boosts and a foaming pint of Guinness.

Cravings can be all-consuming, fly in the face of reason and leave you disgusted with yourself. Like the time I abandoned my vegetarian principles as a student in an explosion of pork and pickle pastry and shame. And I know people with gluten intolerances who have made themselves ill because they were craving a regular pizza – so scoffed a 12in Sloppy Joe.

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My life… driving around with the petrol light on for days, work, work, work, arriving just in the nick of time to pick up the kids – or embarrassingly late – then rushing home, desperately hoping there is something in the fridge to feed them that did not go out of date in 2016. Usually I will lose my keys and phone a few times and accidentally kick the cat in the process too, just to add to the fun. And who has time to go to the loo?

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Free-from party pirates

I managed to have both my babies in the month of March so it is rather a busy – and expensive – month. Plus there are lots of other parties at the same time because our NCT group friends, nursery friends AND school friends all seem to have spring babies. Party time!

But for poor old parents, birthday parties can be a real headache. It is not like with a house party, where you have a larger ratio of adults to children. It consists of pass the parcel pressure (“has she had a turn yet?”), 20 fancy dress outfits, sugar rushes, tears, tantrums, bouncy castle punch-ups and never sitting down. All at a very high volume.

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Coeliac packing

It’s suddenly dawned on me that I don’t have to be quite so organised on the food front. Family trips used to be planned like a military operation. Now, when we’re heading out, catering for everyone is a whole lot easier, especially when I’m on my own and don’t have the slightly fussy mini-coeliacs with me. This is definitely a good thing as it means more and more companies are catering for us tricky eaters.

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GF Domino's

There’s a bloke down my street dressed as Spider-Man. He’s been there for a week, gritting his teeth through the tail end of Storm Doris – weather that would test the toughest superhero, let alone one wearing holey Nikes. He’s also wearing a sandwich board, declaring that Domino’s has just opened in the next town.

Such news was of no use to me, a coeliac with ten years’ gluten-free living under her belt. Or so I thought. Still, feeling sentimental, and possibly a bit masochistic, I leafed through the leaflet to drool at some old friends. In particular, Domino’s Texas BBQ pizza, which got me through a rather miserable break up. The man in question had packed his bags after I’d ignored him for a fortnight then taken another chap to the world darts finals. Fair enough, really. So he took off and I took up with takeaways.

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Close up too many question marks background

It may be a lot more mainstream, but things are still confusing on the free-from front. You can get mixed messages from labels, waiters, menus, online forums – even doctors.

And people have completely different interpretations of free from. For coeliacs, like my kids and me, we have to be strict and consider cross-contamination with everything we eat. Chips cooked in the same oil as battered fish, toasters, communal butter (I mean, who doesn’t stick the knife back in the tub when buttering their toast?).  Continue reading