James Miller - Coeliac Diary


Thursday, February 11, 2010

The End of the Diary


I have not updated this diary for some time.

This is because I now have a new blog, which brings all of my blogs together.

Go to The Anonymous Widower to see more of my coeliac posts.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back Pain


I used to suffer from a lot of back and other joint pains. At 55, I was diagnosed as a coeliac and went on a gluten-free diet. Most of the pains went. This is not uncommon according to some local specialists.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Hotels in Holland


I have just spent an enjoyable weekend cycling round the dunes of Den Haag with a friend.

We went for lunch at the Hotel Duinoord, which is part of the Fletcher Hotel Group, at Wassenaar, which is a few miles north of Den Haag and a short walk from the beach. I asked what asparagus was available as the season has started and we both ordered asparagus with smoked salmon and some glasses of rose. I said I didn’t want any bread, as I don’t do gluten, so you can imagine my surprise, when I was presented with four small slices of excellent gluten-free bread.

The waitress thought it was a hotel rather than a group policy, but it would probably be worth checking out the group if you are visiting Holland.

We have always found the food at the Hotel Duinoord excellent and as we’ve always visited in the sun, the setting is also very good, where you sit on a terrace. I’ve got a red face to prove it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Carluccios Gluten-Free Menu


Carluccios now has a gluten-free menu. I was in the Trafford Centre yesterday and had an enormous bowl of pasta with Italian sausage. It was very good.


Friday, May 15, 2009



I saw their products in Waitrose in Hitchin and bought a packet. I've since tried them and they're worthy, interesting and do you good.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Phil Vickery and Jamie Oliver


A friend gave me a copy of the Phil Vickery book. It’s interesting, but I’ve found some equally good stuff on the net. It’s a very good present, but I probably wouldn’t have bought it for myself.

Typically, there is this is from Jamie Oliver.

I’ve found it to be a good GF fish pie. I use a Cornish Goats Cheddar from Waitrose instead of good Cheddar. It also doesn’t need a lot of washing up, as you make it all in the baking dish. It freezes well too!


Phil Vickery and Jamie Oliver


A friend gave me a copy of the Phil Vickery book. It’s interesting, but I’ve found some equally good stuff on the net. It’s a very good present, but I probably wouldn’t have bought it for myself.


I’ve found this a good GF fish pie. I use a Cornish Goats Cheddar instead of good Cheddar. It also doesn’t need a lot of washing up, as you make it all in the baking dish. It freezes well too!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Waitrose New GF Cakes and Biscuits


I’ve tried the dark chocolate chip biscuits and they are very good. They also seem to be competitively priced. But what do I know about the price of anything?

I just tried the ginger cake slices. They are good too.

It says on the box, “We created our gluten free range in a specialist bakery so you can still enjoy your favourite foods on a gluten free diet”. They are also produced in the UK.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dr. Schar Products


As you know I’m not a fan of GF bread, but I do find the Dr. Schar Mix-B more than acceptable and also my non-coeliac friends like it. It seems to rise pretty well in the breadmaker. Most others seem not to and produce bread like soft concrete. I should say that my housekeeper is a very experienced breadmaker, so it’s not my cooking!

But I can only get it on prescription, which does work and is free, but means I have to plan it. I wonder why, it’s not available in the shops. After all I just bought two one-kilo packs at €4.45 each in Den Haag. They also lots of other products of Dr. Schar in the shop.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

E-Mail to Simon Mayo on Allergies


"You ask why more of us suffer from allergies.

Growing up in North London in the smogs of the fifties, who would have known that it was your allergy that was the problem. With me, I’m a coeliac (allergic to gluten) and wasn’t detected until a few years ago. With this allergy, the methods of discovery did not exist until about 1960. If they had, my father and grandfather probably wouldn’t have died as young as they did.

So with cleaner air and better methods of detection, it’s obvious that we’ll get more allergy sufferers.

A few years ago, I was part of a team that developed a device for asthma drug delivery and learned a lot about that disease. For instance, one of the major causes is open flames, smoking, sealed houses and carpets, which many of us have these days. Draughty country cottages with stone floors are so much better. I also read somewhere that the beautifully clean country of New Zealand has some of the worse asthma.

What should we do?

The work done on labelling foods is to be welcomed and we must lower levels of allergens still further and also eliminate cross contamination. But we should also bring all medicines under the same rules.

For instance, nearly all cough syrups contain wheat-derived glucose syrup and many tablets use wheat starch as the base. These actually make my illnesses worse.

I would also like to see it compulsory for all restaurants, cafes and pubs to label their food as to allergens. One chain, basically says that if you have an allergy, then don’t come here."

It wasn't read out, but note the bit about medicines. They must be labelled.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scarlet Fever?


I was talking with friends today and I happened to mention that at the age of about seven or so, I had scarlet fever. The curiosity was that my doctor couldn’t find another case of the disease anywhere in London, one Egerton White, at the time and I certainly didn’t give it to anyone. I can remember not feeling that unwell and I was isolated in my bedroom for about six weeks. Over the years my mother became convinced that I hadn’t had the disease, but do you think it was some weird coeliac symptom making its presence felt.

Unfortunately, my medical records for that time are lost. I should say that at times, I do get very warm and at others my body refuses to warm up when I’m playing tennis, when it’s cold. I also find that I react fairly strongly to caffeine and restrict my intake.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Interesting Article from the US


I was searching for something completely different and I came across this article from the US. It’s quite positive and states that in the US, they now accept that coeliacs are 1% of the population.


Thursday, March 12, 2009



I don’t like to put a damper on gluten-free beer, but I was someone who really enjoyed his beer. I used to drink a couple of pints of Adnams or Greene King, fairly regularly and I missed it after I was diagnosed. A few months ago, I tried a bottle of the same Adnams, as it someone said that the gluten level should be low. I had no ill effects, but the beer tasted awful.

Was it psychological or does it take time to get used to good beer?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009



My cholesterol has been diagnosed as a bit high, but I don’t think I eat too much that is supposed to be high in cholesterol. I eat a lot of meat, fish and two veg, not much bread, fruit, not too much cake or biscuits etc.

Does any other coeliac suffer?


Tuesday, December 02, 2008



It was cold and miserable in Newmarket today, but because everybody was hiding and having lunch, we bought a broodmare for less than we should have.

As an aside,the caffe at Tattersalls had some GF bread, which they reckoned was wonderful and came from Bury St. Edmunds. I didn’t try it, as it sounded too good to be true. They didn’t have any today, so perhaps it was. But at least they knew their allergies.


Friday, November 21, 2008

The Coeliac Scam


Someone pointed this blog entry out on the Internet.

There are two things in the original article that are wrong; most coeliacs don't get free prescriptions and nearly all of the GF stuff you can get on prescription is not worth eating.

I don't think I'd want to be his patient.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Gluten Free Hamper


I was looking at a web site and saw a Google ad for a Marks and Spencer gluten-free hamper.

Details are Gluten-Free Greetings - £55.00 - Product Code: 00645232

It may not be to everybody’s taste, but it’s an interesting development.




I had no problem at all in India. The food in Goa was excellent and the manager of the cafe in the hotel, the Lemon Tree, where we stayed understood all about allergies. Lemon Tree are a mid-range Indian group, that from the hotel in Goa, seem to be getting nearly everything right.

In Mumbai, we stayed at Taj Mahal Hotel and Tower, which is right by the waterfront and very much a flag ship for the Taj group, who incidentally are part of Tata, who have just bought Jaguar. That was superb too and when we ate on the top floor in their Lebanese restaurant, the chef came out and discussed everything. He even made some soy bread. The meal was the most expensive we had, but it was only about £40 for two. Most of the others in cafes in Goa and Mumbai were of the order of £15 including a bottle of quite passable Indian wine.

One of the managers in the Taj said to me that ALL five star hotels should know about allergies. They did.

The only mistake on the whole trip was that BA gave me a non-gluten free roll with an excellent breakfast. But as it was wrapped, and as it looked the same as my companion’s, I didn’t eat it.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mimi Winsberg


Mimi Winsberg never knew that the energy bars and pasta that sustained her during endurance training were also making her ill. She had completed dozens of triathlons and marathons, but four years ago, when she was in her late 30s, her health and athletic performances rapidly and inexplicably spiraled downward.

From NY TImes

Complete at home.


Mad Dogs and Englishmen


This is a message from an Internet cafe in Panaji, Goa. It's called Cyberjoint.

It's hot (36 degrees or so) and it's coming up to two. I've just had a delicious lunch of two samosas and two fresh lime sodas for the princely sum of 34 Rs or just under fifty pence. This was in a restaurant called the Shanbag Cafe, which was recommended by Lonely Planet.

As has been said before there doesn't seem to be too much of a problem with food. We're actually staying in a place called The Lemon Tree at Candolim, which is very good, except that there's a small leak in the bathroom plumbing. Luckily on the fresh water side.

So if anybody is thinking of coming to Goa, I don't think they'll have too much of a problem. The restaurants seem to use gram flour for everything including batter. And as to the wine! That has improved a lot since I was here last.

It's also been nice and warm since we arrived.

Now this is one real and extensive change in my life since I was diagnosed a few years ago. Then I'd peel like crazy in the smallest amount of sun and generally feel hot, bothered, irritable and unwell. But today, I've been walking round in the sun with no ill-effects at all. I can't even seem to get a tan, other than a very
pale one. But the sun does make me feel well. Perhaps all it's doing is create large amounts of vitamin D.

Are we short of that as well?

I know that if I don't get the sun, it doesn't make me feel well at all.