Coeliac

A trip to Manchester – small things…

I started a new job in October. It means I am much busier – less time for writing – and that I am travelling regularly for work.

Sorry if this post reads a little like an advert – I had a bit of an #overexcitedcoeliac moment…

I wanted to mention this trip because of the incredible service I got at Motel One in Manchester – travelling away always makes me a little nervous, especially since my reaction to gluten has become so much more sensitive and I really can’t afford to be besieged by brain-fog (or worse) while working away in an unfamiliar place.

Apparently I can remove this particular anxiety when travelling to Manchester! When I went down for breakfast after my night’s stay (the rooms are basic, but inexpensive, spotlessly clean and well designed) there was a note next to my name where I checked in for breakfast. After a couple of minutes, while I perused the continental breakfast, (meats and cheese, yoghurt, organic milk) they brought me a basket with two different types of bread (more than I could eat), as well as two bowls of gluten free cereal to choose from.

It was a small thing really, but made such an incredible difference to my day. There wasn’t even a hint of a rolled eye and the staff were really keen to help. So, there was only a communal toaster (you know the ones where there’s a moving platform and you have to keep your fingers crossed the toast doesn’t burn on its journey through?) so I had bread instead of toast, but I really didn’t mind.

The staff were friendly and attentive, the location was incredibly convenient right by Piccadilly station and I’ll definitely be back!

Warm Lentil Salad

I keep finding lots of recipes for amazing gluten free cakes and deserts, but I’m also challenging myself to eat less sugar, so I’m going to aim to post as many savoury recipes as I do sweet.

While travelling home from London on the train this afternoon, I spotted a shout out from @FeastAndGlory looking for recipes using green lentils. One of my most often cooked recipes is inspired by an Alkaline Cookbook that my Mum gave me. It’s easy, quick, fresh and delicious.

Although my version is scribbled down on a scrap of paper and never really followed properly, the original is available online via the Energise for Life website. This version is slightly different and just based on what I have in the fridge today – the important thing is to have a whole heap of fresh, crunch veg… use whatever you’ve got!


 

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150g green lentils

1 level teaspoon of vegetable bouillon dissolved in 400ml of hot water.

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 tablespoon of coconut or other cooking oil

1 Pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 orange)

2 small courgettes

Small head of broccoli

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Green Chilli (mild)

A handful of cherry tomatoes (a couple of regular tomatoes would work just as well!)

3cm (ish) of fresh root ginger (peeled and chopped small)

A large handful of baby leaf spinach per person (or other green leafy salad)

(Serves two hungry people as a main meal – would also work as a side with grilled chicken or some tofu steaks)


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Boil the lentils in the bouillon/stock for 30 minutes or until tender. Add more liquid if it starts getting dry.

Add the lemon juice, stir and set to one side.

Finely cut or crush the garlic. Chop the vegetables (other than the spinach) into small pieces.

Gently heat the oil.

Add the vegetables in order of their firmness – I went for: Garlic, Peppers, Courgettes, broccoli, chilli. Let soften slightly (you still want them a bit crunchy) 2 or 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and ginger.

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Let this heat through (1 or 2 minutes).

Serve over a bed of Spinach.

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That’s it! I sprinkled some seeds over mine too – delicious!

I’ll eat what’s left over, cold for my lunch tomorrow too….

 

 

Gluten Symptoms & Getting Tested

Something that amazes me about Coeliac disease is the number and variety of symptoms.

I was first tested because I was anaemic and I had a vitamin D deficiency. As I mentioned in my first post – I didn’t go through with the full test, as eating a high wheat diet made me so ill so quickly. It could be that I have a Gluten Intolerance as opposed to full blown Coeliac disease, but at this point in my life (and on the advice of my doctor) I’m not prepared to go through the pain to find out one way or the other. I did have a blood test, which showed a negative result. When I looked closely at my diet (other than the enforced 6 day binge) I hadn’t been eating much gluten at all for months (because it made me feel bloated and ‘brain-foggy’) so the doctor wasn’t surprised by the negative result, and I’ve since learned that a false negative result isn’t uncommon.

If you are suffering from a variety of these symptoms (see picture below), go and talk to your doctor about it – if you’re eating gluten, don’t stop until after you’ve been tested, as your sensitivity gets more pronounced when you stop eating it, so you won’t want to go back!

Personally, the benefits I feel of going gluten free FAR outweigh any inconvenience. I went from being permanently ill with cold after cold, various allergies, issues with my joints, gynaecological issues, to being overwhelmingly fit and well in the year since I quit gluten. It hasn’t made me super-woman, but it has put a spring in my step!

Gluten Dude surveyed 130 of his readers and this picture shows the most commonly reported symptoms. Of course, a lot of these things can come from other things too, but I know there are a few things here that ring true to me after having been ‘glutened’.

Courtesy of @glutendude

Courtesy of @glutendude

Bread Bitch

Everything I’ve tried to write for this blog so far, I’ve read back and rejected, so this time I’m just going to write something, hope it’s not too awful and just post it, in the hope that someone other than my Mum, boyfriend and a few supportive friends might read it. Thanks for sticking with me so far!

I was ‘diagnosed’ with Coeliac disease in January 2013 – the inverted commas are there because I never went through with the full test. To be tested (which most of you reading this will already know) you have to spend 6 weeks eating a high gluten diet. I lasted about 6 days and pretty much had a full scale meltdown.  Not only were there the physical symptoms of bloating, upset stomach and headaches, but it also caused my anxiety levels to peak and periods of IRRATIONAL ANGER!

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that my header description (is that what it’s called?) bares an uncanny resemblance to that of Bruce Banner – The Hulk. Basically, that is how Gluten makes me feel – I swell up and I get really pissed of – really quickly, often followed by nasty feelings of depression and anxiety – not nice! Was interested to read recently that I’m not alone in this – take a look at Jane Anderson’s blog – I’m not sure how wide this study was, but it’s nice to know someone is looking into it!

Having been living on a gluten free diet for around 15months now, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not all that bad. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It does mean a bit of extra self-control and it does mean planning ahead if you’re going on a long train journey, but it is manageable.

Oh yes, and friends and loved ones will think you’re the biggest fuss-pot on the planet, that you’re making it up, that it isn’t that bad. But they learn. They don’t like me when I’m angry.