Nine years ago today I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and began my journey into the world of all things gluten free.
Coeliac Disease is a lifelong autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In Coeliac Disease, the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This can trigger a number of painful, stressful and uncomfortable symptoms.
|I'm still alive and kicking as I've avoided gluten (my Kryptonite) since 2008|
Having suffered from a range of symptoms for around ten years I finally received a positive diagnosis of Coeliac Disease following some 'interesting' tests and procedures in 2008. It came as a relief to finally have a name for the mysterious cause of my illnesses and ailments, but at the time I was only given a brief summary and told that I'd have to "cut down on bread and beer". It was only later when I met with my Gastroenterologist and a dietitian that I found out that the only treatment for people with Coeliac Disease is a strict, life-long gluten free diet.
I can't thank Emily enough for her help and support throughout my struggles with the illness. She's been bloody marvellous.
|We've tried not to let Coeliac Disease get in the way of things and we're always keen to get out and about to explore new places and try different things. Check out this minigolf/gluten free/coeliac awareness crossover blog post for example|
Working together we've plotted the minefield of 'going gluten free' and barring the odd 'explosion' along the way we've found what works for us. At home we're a Gluten Free Zone, however there are a lot of hazards when I venture outside the house. I've reached the point now that except for anywhere that can offer 100% gluten free food and zero risks of cross-contamination I've more or less given up on dining out. The last meal out we had together was in Leeds last December. Happily we've got a return meal at 2 Oxford Place booked for later this month.
I do often wonder how many manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and take-aways consider the impact selling gluten free products (or not) has on their bottom line? If I find somewhere offering gluten free options and no cross-contamination then I'm going to spend some money there (my Coeliac Pound if you will). Plus I'll tell other Coeliacs. A Coeliac will travel a long way to eat safely and with confidence.
While having a life-long condition such as Coeliac Disease can be a pain - and horrible if I 'get glutened' - having the disease has had some positives. I've met great people since my diagnosis and have made some brilliant friends who I've met through Coeliac groups. I've also blogged a lot about living with the condition and the food and drink I've found since 2008.
|Why I avoid gluten|
Thank you to everyone for their support, tips, help and recommendations over the years. It's been very much appreciated.
For more info do check out NHS Choices and Coeliac UK.
You can also view the first blog post I wrote about gluten free / Coeliac stuff at 'Gluten Free Fish & Chips at Rossi's in Swansea'.
Related blog posts:
- Gluten Free
- Funny things about being a Coeliac
- Coeliac UK
- Coeliac Disease on NHS Choices