Tuesday, 15 October 2013

At First I Was Afraid - Coping with Coeliac's Disease

A guest post by Erika

Hello there, I’m Erika from Eclectic Enchantments and am very excited to be able to guest post for Mellissa!  When I knew I could write about food, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.

About two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with having Coeliac’s Disease.  If you haven’t heard of it before, it is an auto immune disease, meaning that eating anything containing wheat, barely, rye and gluten will cause my body to attack itself.  There isn’t a cure, the only way to treat the illness is to have a completely gluten free diet.  The consequences of not following a strict regime of no gluten are unpleasant to say the least and the long term implications are rather frightening.  So being told I had this illness was not just scary, it was terrifying.

After my initial shock and learn what was involved in having a gluten free diet, I didn’t really feel any better.  Everything seemed to have gluten in it, bread, biscuits, pasta, crackers, pastry, cake, most sauces, dressings, in fact you name it, unless it was grown, there was gluten present.  I tried a few gluten free brands, but found the food lack luster and inedible.  The only thing for it was to discover how to make tasty food, that is gluten free for myself.  

My first challenge was bread.  I am a massive bread lover, I could literally eat a loaf of bread, sliced and buttered and I would be happy!  Gluten free bread was, in my opinion, not very nice.  It has taken me two and a half years, the help of some very kind people and the most amazing bread machine, but I have found a a recipe that works for me.  




I’m hungry just looking at the pictures.  You can not believe the elation I felt discovering a recipe that actually tasted like ‘normal’ bread.  Light, fluffy and even smells like bread! 

The second challenge and possibly the most difficult to over come was pastry.  Again, like bread I was a big pastry fan, liking pies especially.  The reason that pastry is so difficult to make gluten free, is that the gluten is what holds it together, the bonding agent if you will.  Therefore I set about learning what I could use to replace the gluten.  I ended up needing to use a combination of glycerin (the secret ingredient), extra butter and xantham gum.


Over time I managed to find ways to cook almost anything gluten free and now, providing I have the energy, I can have a delicious and varied menu.  It is of course a huge adjustment, but the point of writing this post is to say to people that it’s not the end of the world, it does seem that way, but it isn’t.  Everything you can eat normally, can be made to be tasty and gluten free, with a bit of effort and patience.

Fish and chips! 




Yorkshire puddings.  These are great and freezable! 



Pancakes



Last but by no means least my favourite thing to bake, cupcakes!!




Mellissa - I don't know about you but I think Erika has coped admirably with this condition and a change in her diet. Have you been diagnosed with Coeliac's disease or do you have dietary needs that can be difficult to cater for?
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16 comments

  1. Wow great post, I would be the same really missing my favorite foods,with a slight nut allergy I have to be careful,but its not nearly as bad as having to forgo what we consider as staples. I love the fact you conquered the cooking side,nowadays more brands are making gluten free products even fab ready meals such as ilumi who I recently reviewed. Food brands are concentrating on taste more, but I would want to cook my own goodies and you proved it can not only be done but well.

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    1. Thank you!! I'm sorry to hear about your nut allergy, glad it is only slight, but still a worry when you buy foods or eat out.
      It was a struggle, I love cooking though, so that made it much easier.
      I have tried Illumi and like them, but the thing I find frustrating is the lack of options in the supermarket. A lot of the GF options that are available are not very appetising either. Hopefully with companies like Illumi there will become more and more choice available.

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  2. I am so glad you learn how to deal with it. It is great that you didn't give up.
    I bet your new food taste lovely.

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    1. Thank you Agata. Believe me there were times I just wanted to give up and suffer the consequences.

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  3. Fantastic post, I didnt realise your diagnosis was so recent, you must have been poorly for some time before? So glad you have found a way of eating delicious food, homemade is always best and for you at least you know whats in there and can once more enjoy your food! @msedollyp

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    1. Thank you so much! I was ill for many year, but the symptoms were unfortunately just put down to my other illnesses. Sorted now though, so all is well!

      I do love homemade and you are right, it is satisfying to not only make something tasty, (when it goes right), but to know exactly what is in a meal.

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  4. Great post and i think you have done a great job in finding everything that you want to eat and not giving up,i can not imagine how you felt but if i was in your situation i may not of coped so well so thank you for sharing you have proved that where there is will there is a way :-)

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    1. Hi Kay! Thank you for your comment and kind words.
      Oh there were times when I was all 'woe is me' and felt like giving in and just shoving a bacon buttie down my throat. I'm very glad I didn't though and persevered, not least of all because of how painful and uncomfortable it can be but because I feel much better for eating Gluten Free.

      I do think there is definitely a 'will where there is a way', it is just finding what works for you, which is the hardest part. I hope others in my situation and similar ones have the same experience as me.

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  5. A great post, and as I am waiting for a referral for my son, I think we might have to go wheat free so its good to read there are alternatives! Just means I might have to get creative!

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    1. It is really simple once you know what you can do. I have a great recipe if you have a bread maker, for bread. There is little to no difference from normal.

      It may be that he just has an intolerance, which is different to what I have. Have you been on the Coeliac UK site? they have some great information and a helpline for all your questions, they are really friendly and helpful.

      I hope that he gets his referral soon and the discover it isn't this, but if it is there are plenty of alternatives and you can always contact me via my blog if you need a hand with recipes etc, if I can help I will.

      Good luck to you both!

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  6. Wow lovely post - so glad you found a bread recipe that really works. Can I ask what your symptoms where? I am pretty sure my other half has some kind of gluten intolerance as he gets very bloated, tired and have upsets stomachs numerous times a week but believes this is just normal and says his symptoms are not drastic enough to be coeliac, just thought it would be good to hear your experience

    Kind regards
    Laura x
    www.sidestreetstyle.com

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    1. Hi Laura and thank you!

      My symptoms were chronic stomach pain and an upset tummy among other things. Your best bet would be to check out Coeliac UK, they have a really helpful site http://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/what-is-coeliac-disease You will find a list of symptoms and a better explanation than I could give of the disease. Remember though, it affects everyone differently, so your OH may be different to me.

      I hope this helps.

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    2. It must be a horrible condition to have Erika. Thank you for providing the link to the Coeliac Society

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    3. I just noticed this, sorry Mellissa. It is not so bad once you are used to it, I am very lucky in that my husband and family are fantastic with it.

      No worries re the link.

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  7. Those pancakes and that pie look amazing xx

    Beautyqueenuk xx

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    1. Thank you! They were really tasty. I really love meat pie! x

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