My Free From Life 5

This month I am featured in Gluten Free Heaven magazine. They invite contributions from readers so I thought I would send mine over. I was surprised but delighted to discover they wanted to run it.

Here’s a few images.

It’s a great magazine. Not cheap at £4.99 but it is packed full of recipes, food reviews and advice to definitely one you would keep and refer back to whenever you are looking for some culinary inspiration.



Eating dairy free, gluten free – naturally 5

I recently read that the UK ‘free from’ foods market is now estimated to be worth close to £250 billion! It is claimed that much of it is driven by lifestyle choices – and not just by people who have to follow a restricted diet because of allergy or GI diseases and conditions. In the four years since Zac’s diet became dairy free and then gluten free, I have visited pretty much every supermarket I have ever passed just in the hope of finding some new foods that might be of interest and suitable. All of the major supermarkets have a range of free from foods, all of them seem to think it is justifiable to charge on average two to three times what you would pay for normal food, so it is little wonder that this market is so valuable. However, if you are forced to shop ‘free from’ out of necessity, then you do start to resent the lack of choice and the feeling of being ripped off. This remains one of my key motivations for writing this blog – finding ways around this. More…

The outcome of our latest appointment. 3

Last week, we had our second private consultation with Dr Adam Fox. We first met him almost a year ago, when after years of poor treatment from local GPs and hospitals, I decided we would have to pay for it ourselves, if we were to get Zac in front of a specialist. The first appointment was a success and gave us a greater understanding of what was causing Zac’s various symptoms, but because tests were need Dr Fox wrote to our local hospital and GP and suggested they are managed through the NHS – to save us money, and because they should have accepted him as a patient and run these tests in the first place.
After several NHS appointments and several rounds of blood tests we were pleased that all of Zac tested negative to all of the allergens we had identified as troublesome and this looked like it was confirming Dr Fox’s hunch that Zac has non-IgE mediated allergies, but nonetheless should keep to his restricted diet and take anti-histamine twice daily, with a view to looking at some challenges in the months and years ahead.

Skin infections – our latest challenge 5

Last year Zac had a horrible spot on his elbow that turned into a rash with an erupting abscess at the epicentre. The first GP who saw it said it was nothing. A few days later when it was oozing, another GP decided it did need anti-biotics and the pus needed to be squeezed out. She did it while I held him and it is a memory that still haunts me. The doctor went pale as she did it and both of us went temporarily deaf from the ear piercing screams of my brave little hero.

Ever since then we have always been very vigilant at keeping an eye on any ‘weird’ skin stuff. He did have one other very nasty rash that was diagnosed as eczema but until last week, his skin has been pretty good. But then a week or two ago Zac had a few ‘bad nights’. Lots of fidgeting and getting up in the night, itchy, very sweaty and his tummy seemed very bloated. These were all problems that were part of every day life until we started him on antihistamine twice a day. Because he has been so well I foolishly started to think perhaps he was growing out of his condition and so I became less vigilant with the medicine. I don’t like pumping him full of drugs every day so perhaps was subconsciously challenging him. BIG mistake.


Isabel’s Naturally Free From – gluten free product range Reply

When you have an intolerant child, or allergies of your own, you can spend what feels like a huge part of your life constantly looking out for new and interesting – and safe – foods to try. One of the brands that has caught my eye many times is Isabel’s

The range seems to be expanding and looks very interesting, but is mostly gluten free and not dairy free, so I decided to make contact with Isabel Gordon – the founder of Isabel’s Cuisine and see if I could find out more about her, her products and the potential for any new dairy free products to be added to her line. I love supporting independent ‘free from’ brands and am always keen to know how they got started and what their plans are. So we had ‘a little interview’ and here it is. Hope you find it interesting.


This is the email I sent to my MP Nadine Dorries – still no reply Reply

A plea for help from one of your constituents
Dear Mrs Dorries,

I am writing to you because I feel I have a story you may be interested in and I would appreciate your help. I live in Flitwick and have a three year old son with food intolerance and allergies. He first got ill just before his first birthday in 2009 – he was suspected as having swine flu. It was during the height of the crisis and he wasn’t admitted to hospital or tested but a doctor at Luton and Dunstable A&E and one of our GP’s agreed that they thought it was likely. Thankfully he recovered, but three weeks of fever and stomach upsets had left him very weak. As he recovered, his appetite came back but then he started to be sick every night after dinner. I worked out that perhaps he was now lactose intolerant and took him back to our GP surgery, The Highlands, Flitwick. A GP there agreed and suggested we try a milk free diet and referred us to a dietician.
The milk free diet helped. He was no longer being sick but still had a ‘lively’ tummy and we were having far too many exploding nappies. I kept pressing my GP and health visitors. It took ages for the appointment with the dietician to come through. She advised us to get a referral as she felt that he needed to be properly tested. Over the next three years, we have been bounced around between paediatricians and dieticians, all of whom have showed little interest and just suggested I keep food diaries and try eliminating foods from his diet. He is now on a completely dairy free, wheat and gluten free diet. He looks a picture of health because I have take the trouble and great expense to become an expert in the ‘free from foods’ area and do all I can to keep him well.
Over a year ago we saw a paediatrician at Northampton General Hospital. He agreed Zac could have coeliac disease. He agreed to a blood test for him. I was told to feed Zac gluten containing foods for a month first. It made him so ill that he could hardly eat at all by the time the blood test came around. In fact he was admitted to Bedford hospital one day. He suddenly had a fever of over 40, was covered in a lacy rash and just fell asleep. They spent all day trying to test him as it looked like an infection. They couldn’t find one. I explained that I thought it was his immune system ‘giving out’ after weeks of me giving him food that made him. They agreed. Later he woke up and they sent us home.