Some time ago I made contact with a journalist on twitter who was writing an article on Coeliac Disease for Healthy Magazine and looking for someone who fit my profile to act as a case study. The idea was to illustrate an article with factual information about coeliac symptoms and diagnosis with a personal story in a little inset box.
Little did I know that the editor would like my story and go on to make it into a double page spread including big pictures of me sunning myself on honeymoon in Thailand – eep!
It can be a little bit nerve-wracking sharing your story about coeliac – especially as the typical time for people to ask about it is over dinner, and as we all know, the symptoms aren’t always exactly dinner table appropriate conversation! However, I’ve bitten the bullet on that one, because I think it’s important that we all (especially us ladies) are honest about the stuff that happens with our bodies – it might help someone else go on to seek diagnosis, and I think we shouldn’t have to pretend that we are all glamorous, perfumed and delicate flowers all of the time.
I’m really glad that Healthy Magazine took so much effort to get the facts about my story right, and included information about how to get diagnosed from Coeliac UK, as there is a lot of poor journalism around about gluten – I think this is one of the good ones!
They also asked me about some of my top tips for gluten free – which didn’t get included in the final edit – so here they are for your reading pleasure!
- Indian and Asian grocers (or the supermarket international food aisle) can be great sources of interesting and inexpensive naturally gluten free foods like sticky rice, noodles, gram flour and rice wraps. Just be sure to check for cross contamination.
- A gluten free diet needn’t restrict your holidays – countries including Italy, Spain, Australia and the Nordics have very good awareness of coeliac disease. A little research can throw up some hidden foodie treasures!
- It always pays to take emergency food supplies with you on outings and events, even though gluten free food is more widely available then ever, it’s often cakes and chocolate rather than proper meals.
- Twitter and blogs are full of a wealth of information including innovative recipes, new restaurants to try and small gluten free businesses.
- A gluten free diet is best started with support in case you miss key nutrients, ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian.
- If you don’t have a gluten free kitchen, it’s worth investing in separate ‘safe’ utensils used just for gluten free in a different colour; and using stickers to identify contaminated shared foods like butter or jam.
- A cup of soothing peppermint tea always helps a little with accidental ‘glutenings’.
You can buy Healthy Magazine from Holland and Barrett. I’ve also written my diagnosis story here.