To wheat to woe

Ok, sorry, that’s beyond poor.

But to be honest, anyone who’s ever read this blog before would expect nothing less – or nothing more, more to the point.

But before I explain the title (and I know you just can’t wait to find out) I’ve got to say….. IT’S SUMMER!! It was warmer at 1am today than it was at 1pm last week – from scarves to shorts in (almost) an instant.

I love it; cycling home at 8.30pm, hot in a single jumper, the sun still out, birds still singing, the smell of the hawthorn blossom and cow parsley, which line the country lanes, wafting on the gentle breeze… (that’s enough trying to be poetic – Ed)

So back to the title, which isn’t even entirely accurate as it ain’t just wheat I’ve got an issue with 🙂

A few years ago, I hadn’t heard of coeliac disease and only vaguely knew what gluten was. But in January 2007, I started feeling ill. Pain, discomfort, weight loss and just generally feeling rubbish – I finally got organised and went to the doctor.

In hindsight, I was lucky that she didn’t send me away with a vague “IBS”, ie “I don’t really know what’s wrong”, diagnosis, as many doctors do. She tested for IgA (most coeliacs are deficient in this) referred me to a consultant and by July, I’d had the endoscopy (camera-down-the-throat joy) and the small bowel biopsy (the most fun you can possibly have in hospital).

A couple of weeks later, I was diagnosed, gluten-free and feeling better than I had for ages.

I was offered membership of Coeliac UK and the chance of support groups but although I was very grateful for everything Coeliac UK does, I was never really that over-bothered by the diagnosis. Everyone I knew bought me delicious gluten-free products and it meant I started experimenting with all the different things I can have.

There was a dodgy moment when I checked the packet of my addiction at the time, Cadbury’s Whole Nut, realised it had gluten in it and thought I’d never be able to have chocolate again (closest I’ve ever been to heart failure) but other than that, it’s fine. You get used to checking packets and avoiding anything if you don’t know what’s in it but other than that, I never feel restricted at all.

The only slight problem is that some people, for example waiters who think they can just remove bread from a dish to make it safe, don’t realise exactly what coeliac disease is. It’s not just a sensitivity or intolerance, it’s an autoimmune condition which causes the body to react to proteins in wheat, barley and rye. (The similar protein in oats can be tolerated by many coeliacs – including me – because it’s slightly different but they have to be guaranteed pure, uncontaminated by any other grains) It takes only the slightest microscopic crumb to make me ill for a week. Plus, of course, the main problem is that if I eat gluten, my body actually attacks itself. And that’s not nice.

Anyway. Anyone who’s got this far deserves a medal 🙂

But the reason I’ve rambled on about my own experiences is because of these lovely people:

As it’s estimated that about 23million adults have some sort of allergy or other, Axa PPP healthcare is holding a live internet chat on allergies next Wednesday, May 30, from 3-5pm.

The group’s  Dr Michael Radcliffe, an allergy specialist for many years with a special interest in food issues, will be offering live advice to teenagers and adults on any sort of allergy. Whether it’s hay fever, food, asthma, drugs or skin sensitivites, he’s ya man when it comes to reactions.

After the chat, there will be more information available here, at Axa PPP’s new allergy centre. You can join in here on the day, or ask a question on the Facebook or Twitter pages. I’d like to ask about lactose intolerance/allergy. I know newly-diagnosed coeliacs are often lactose intolerant until their damaged small intestines heal but how common is it after that and how is it properly diagnosed?

Have you got any allergies or intolerances and if so, how was it/were they diagnosed? And how amazingly brilliant is this weather?!

This is a sponsored post but entirely my own opinions and experience 🙂

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14 Responses to To wheat to woe

  1. runningcupcake says:

    I am lucky that I have no allergies, not even hayfever or anything. I do have sensitive skin and get rashes if I use new (or perfumed) lotion or shower gel, but I am just careful with that and then I am fine. And I must day I love the post title 🙂
    I had a friend go through years of being ill before she was finally diagnosed as a coeliac, and before that I didn’t know much about it at all.

    • That’s the thing, I really feel for your poor friend and am glad the doctors got there eventually; so many people are misdiagnosed for years and really have to suffer 😦
      Sensitive skin can be a real pain too; I suppose it’s like me in a way in that you have to stick to what you know’s ok…

  2. snenny says:

    I was diagnosed with coeliac disease around the age of 12 🙂 Well done for being so positive about it, I know a lot of people would really have struggled! I was somewhat lucky in that my sister had been diagnosed since age 1-ish, and so I’d grown up knowing exactly what was and wasn’t gluten free. Changing diet wasn’t like a step into the unknown, although I must admit that I often felt left out when other people could happily eat doughnuts and pizza (rice cakes are nice and all, but totally not the same). Happily around a decade later, the world at large is waaaay more informed about gluten allergy/intolerence/coeliac disease and there are loads of fab options available 😀 I’m glad you’re starting to feel well again, and if you ever want to shoot the gluten free breeze, give a holler 😉

    PS Also loving the title!

    • Thank you and at least you had that knowledge and the GF stuff available at home but I know exactly what you mean; once,, everyone in the group I was out having dinner with got home made sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and I had to leave the room, it was such torture sitting there smelling it!
      And that’s the other thing; there are so many options around now and more awareness which is all good… and thank you, shooting the GF breeze sounds great 🙂

  3. As far as I know, my only allergies are seasonal allergies which are nothing compared to coeliac or one of the other conditions. You certainly have a good attitude about it. I think some people think of it as such a “woe is me” thing and stop living their lives. You’re a great example!

    • Thank you so much 🙂 There are times when it’s a pain – see my above reply! – but in some ways, it’s almost good, I can’t be tempted if there are big packets of doughnuts at work, for example… and seasonal allergies can be awful if it’s like hay fever; hope you don’t suffer too much!

  4. I love how positive you are! It’s so great that you are able to see the positive side such as being able to experiment with what you can have. That’s one of the things I love about being vegetarian!
    I used to be allergic to all nuts. I developed it when I was about four. When I would tell people, they would say how terrible it was, but I really didn’t mind! It had been that way for quite a while, and I had discovered soy nut butter and sunbutter. It was hard sometimes because there was a lot of desserts and such I couldn’t eat, but I’m actually kind of glad I was allergic because it taught me that I can live without certain things and now I appreciate nut butter so much more! 🙂

    • Thank you and that’s exactly it; I bet it opens your eyes to so many things you wouldn’t have tried otherwise which is like me; when I did a week vegan, for example, it wasn’t hard at all (except the lack of milk chocolate) because I’m much more open-minded than I used to be about food…
      I’d really struggle much more if it came to a nut allergy, I’d miss them all so much! I’m glad you can eat them now though 🙂

  5. I have hay fever, which used to be really bad growing up, but it has really improved with age. I am also allergic to onions, but haven’t been diagnosed because its not horrible or anything! You have a great attitude, I know I would be dissapointed if I were celiac!

  6. I’m really fortunate that I’m not allergic to anything! I’m a vegetarian, but it’s by choice, and it’s been so long, I don’t really think about it. However, I feel like places are more vegetarian friendly than GF Friendly. Hopefully that’s beginning to change!

    • I think you’re right; it’s so rare that you go somewhere and there’s no vegetarian option – but it’s getting there, there are still some waiters who look at me like I’m mad but not as many!

  7. I’ve only just recently read more on Coeliac’s disease – I had no idea just how damaging it can be, scary! I think this weather is amazing, it just makes everything a little bit nicer doesn’t it 🙂

    • It is; you can be in for all sorts of long-term damage if you don’t stick to a GF diet – I think some restaurants just assume it’s a fad thing… and I agree; it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when it’s this beautiful!

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