James Miller - Coeliac Diary


Sunday, August 31, 2003

Pizza Express - Review


I have to express an interest here.

For many years when I've wanted a quick meal, whether with Celia or not, I've often used Pizza Express. Often this has been in Cambridge in Jesus Lane, where the restaurant is hidden away in a magnificent building, that used to be the Pitt Club.

So the news that I had to stick to a gluten-free diet did not hold out much for the continuance of this pleasure.

No more Fiorentina pizzas! In fact no more pizzas of any sort!


I sent them an E-Mail and got a very detailed response, which showed that they have thought very seriously about the problems of a gluten-free and other diets.

Although most of the standard menu is now off-limits, with a bit of judicious choice and cuttings out the dough balls and the pizzas, I can have a sensible meal.

The reply also said that I can take in my own gluten-free pizza bases, which they will then use. Sounds fair!

It has since been proved right in that we have now visited the new Newmarket branch and had a very good and quick meal.

One reads about problems with service in UK restaurants.

Not here!

The staff knew about diet and the manager agreed with everything I had heard from Head Office.

At least one company is getting their communications and training right!

Any suggestions :-

Coeliac sufferers needing a long alcoholic drink, can drink cider. There are some good ones like Sheppys and Aspalls.

Why not allow substitution of new potatoes for dough balls.

The ultimate would be to have gluten-free pizza bases available. I know this would be a pain for a delivery system, but remember that 1-in-300 may be coeliacs!

Update February 2005

The new menu has more gluten-free options.

Update March 2006

Sadly, the new menu is not as friendly as the old one. Oh Dear!


Conclusions! Possibly!


Can I draw any conclusions yet?

I get through a lot of ham or bacon and eggs, vegetables such as cauliflower, broccolli, spinach, beetroot and potatoes. In fact more so than I ever did before. Could it be that I've always liked them because I secretly knew they were good for me?

Other foods like corn flakes, rice, liver, meat, good sausages, bananas have always been high on my list too!

Cakes and puddings, I've often passed. Except for strawberries, which I've always liked with black pepper!

But I always liked bread too, and that isn't good for me!

Pizza Express Finally!


Again at lunch, my scrambled egg and smoked salmon was nice but very naked without the toast!

No bread means that I don't get any butter very often! Can this be good for me?

We finally made Pizza Express in the evening. Again it was full, but we got in! Just!

More ham and eggs for me, after a starter of tuna and beans!


Saturday, August 30, 2003

Saturday Lunch


Traditionally for lunch on a Saturday we have usually had salad with a baguette from Waitrose. Now all I get are some crisps with it!

For supper today we had a gluten-free banana loaf with custard for pudding. The cake was fine if a little heavy.


Friday, August 29, 2003

Celia's Fish Pie


I've always liked Celia's fish pies and we had one with son, George, his wife, Amanda and their daughter, Imogen.

But then they are just several kinds of fish, the odd shrimp, eggs and potato.

All good gluten-free food!


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Pizza Express in Newmarket


We tried to get into the new Pizza Express in Newmarket. It was heaving, so we ended up in the Bull at Burrough Green.

I did like the up-market fry up of gammon, egg and pineapple!


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Chilli Con Carne


Sometimes because you can't eat certain foods, you have to choose something to eat that you wouldn't have eaten before!

Today, I had chilli con carne for lunch. Very nice!


Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Celia's Birthday


Today was the last time, I'll play tennis with Donald until next year. It is terrible how quickly these visits come round. Perhaps's it's a sign of getting older.

I actually cooked supper as it was Celia's birthday. Made a hash of it!

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Another Week


Another week and another week of feeling better!

Except for Saturday, which must have been the Strongbow! Any company that sponsors Leeds United must be dodgy!

I still haven't heard about the proper appointment from Addenbroke's yet!



Carluccios sent an E-Mail today, which said how concerned they are to get everything right! They took a week to reply to my E-Mail!

Not really a complaint, but all companies must get their WWW act together!

Sausages, which were Musks gluten free, beans and potatoes for supper!

No wind!


Saturday, August 23, 2003

Football and Racing


Skipped the football and went racing with Celia. As ever she made a profit on the PlacePot!

Had a glass of Strongbow cider that made my eyesight go all wobbly! Well it might have done! One never knows with catering at Newmarket!

Friday, August 22, 2003

Bacon and Eggs


More bacon and eggs for lunch!

Am I getting to be a better chef? Of course not!

Supper at the Star!


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

GP and Football


Went to the GP today and discussed whether I should stick to the diet or follow the advice from Addenbrooke's.

She felt that if I binged for a fortnight on bread before the appointment my gut will be suitably annoyed.

An interesting point is that my Real Tennis handicap is now 54! This is down three points since I started the diet!

Went to the England-Croatia game at Portman Road in Ipswich in the evening. Had a very pleasant two pints of cider before the match! I'm beginning to like the stuff!

England won 3-1! No trouble too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The Atkins Diet


Celia and I went to London to do some shopping.

Didn't buy much except a few presents for everybody who seems to have birthdays at this time of year! In addition to Celia and myself, there is Henry, Amanda and Lyndsey, to name but three!

We visited Carluccios twice for coffee and a late lunch. The waiter couldn't understand why we didn't have any bread.

I had another steak. Now before if I had red meat more than once a fortnight, it didn't do me any good. Now, it just gives me lots of energy!

Sometimes it seems I'm on an Atkins diet, with added potatoes, fruit and vegetables.

It works in that I feel well and I've lost an inch or so off my waist!


Monday, August 18, 2003

Pizza Hut and Dandruff


Pizza Hut has today banned smoking in their restaurants!


Go to their web site and you won't find any nutritional information.


The web site looks like it hasn't been updated for a year or so!

Very very bad!

I had my hair cut today! It's funny but I don't seem to suffer from dandruff any more!


Ethics of Diagnosis


Celia wants me to keep to the gluten-free diet.

I can see her point as it makes me feel better. But then they have to see if I actually have the disease. It really is a strange concept though to make you ill, to see if you have a disease.

Is it ethical?

Went to the Star in the evening and had a beautiful pepper steak. It does seem that if my gut is well, then food tastes better!

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Still Keeping to the Diet


I'm still keeping to the diet!

Still feeling better and my flatulence is still at a low level!

The only two problems I seem to have are snacking while travelling and buffets, which rely heavily on bread!

Update October 17, 2006

Lokking back, I didn't really have a problem keeping to the diet. I think I just felt it was something I should do. It makes me wonder why people can't give up smoking.

Freedom Farm Stud


We had a Freedom Farm Stud 'At Home' today.

Nibbles were from Waitrose, which were fine, but limited for me!

In the evening I had cheese on a 'gluten-free' baguette. The taste was OK, even if the bread was a bit heavy!

Bread Again


I had some bread at lunch-time to see if I can irritate my gut!

No luck!

And no reply from Bighams! So much for their commitment to gluten-free.


Saturday, August 16, 2003

Racing Again


Today is my birthday! 56!

Our middle son, Henry, and his friend, Emma, came down and we all went racing.

The food at the new Mozart's Bistro was fine but the choice of starter was limited. So I didn't have one! Pudding was strawberries, which is all I ever ate anyway!

Celia cooked sardines and lamb in the evening!

Friday, August 15, 2003

Wheat Pollen


The weather woman on the BBC this morning said it would be a high pollen day. She also mentioned wheat pollen. Does that mean me? I've been fine all day!


Thursday, August 14, 2003

Eating Out


I almost had an eating-out disaster today.

We went to the Bull at Burrough Green, which is a nice country pub on a village green just south of Newmarket.

The trouble was that of the ten or so starters, I could only eat one, as they were either full of gluten or they were shell-fish. I'm not keen on the latter.

Still next time we go, I'll just have a main course as they are enormous!

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Gluten Free Pasta


Went to London and did a bit of searching for 'gluten-free' pasta. Nothing in Carluccio's or Fortnum and Mason, but did find some in Holland and Barrett.

Celia reckons that they also have a good selection at Asda. Pity as I don't have anything to do with them because their owner Wal-Mart has policies of which I strongly disapprove. They are also American and I avoid US products, services and the country itself wherever possible, because of their use of the death penalty, discriminatory trade policies and illegal detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Update October 17, 2006

Does this last comment show how much global warming has come into consciousness in the last few years? Now if I wrote the comment, it would be in the list.


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Pain in the Groin


Since the turn of the year when I had to drive a Nissan Micra for eight weeks, whilst Celia's car was being repaired, I have suffered from a sore tracantor. (It's basically a pain in the groin!)

This has restricted my movement somewhat and has made driving rather painful. Over the last week or so, the pain has reduced a great deal. Could this be that now my gut is not so inflamed, that it is not pressing on the muscles and irritating them? Must ask the doctor and the physiotherapist!


Monday, August 11, 2003

Waiting For Information


Walkers replied to my E-Mail of this morning.

Still waiting for a few others.

Can't get to see the GP until the 20th August. She is taking time off to be with her kids!



Walkers make crisps and other snack foods.

As crisps are made from potatoes you'd think that they were all 'gluten-free'. They are not, but most are!

Walkers do however provide lists on their site of all of their products that are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan!

Just a couple of clicks from the home page of their web site.

Only 8 out of 10 though, as they don't have an E-Mail address for extra information!

They also have a link to the European Snack Association, which has some very bland and general nutritional advice.

Why though does the vegan list include Beef and Onion crisps?

Update February 2005

I still get regular updates from Walkers.


Sunday, August 10, 2003

Getting The Hang of It


I'm now getting the hang of all this gluten free diet and I can honestly say that I'm feeling so much better!

Also done a bit of searching various company web sites to see their policies; Walkers, Heinz etc.

If you are worried about your weight, then a gluten free diet should help. I seem to have lost an inch or too of my waist!



Celia has just cooked a large amount of new potatoes. Ideal snacks for the next week!

Off to North Norfolk again to keep cool.

We did! It was foggy and cold on the beach! But people were still swimming!


Saturday, August 09, 2003

Football at Ipswich


They drew with Reading, but there would have been nothing I could have eaten, as all of the chocolate and crisps seemed to be ones that have gluten!


Friday, August 08, 2003

Maison Bleu


I drove to Bedford to see an interesting technology company and again I had the problem of the snacks on a journey. They also tempted me with lots of chocolate biscuits. I resisted it!

In the evening we had dinner with friends at one of our favourite restaurants, Maison Bleu in Bury St. Edmunds.

The significant part was that I had liver, which usually causes me to have a certain amount of gut upset. It did not!

The worst part was looking at the lovely French bread on the table.

Waitrose Gluten-Free List


Finally, got the complete gluten-free list from Waitrose.

An interesting, worthy and heavy tome! Absolutely ideal for walking round the supermarket with! Why can't they do what Heinz do and label things that are gluten free!

Why is cat litter on the list as gluten free?

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Bacon, Eggs and Sausages


Bacon and eggs for lunch again! Lovely! Especially, as the bacon was British and the eggs local!

Dinner with Robert and Suzy at the Beehive at Horinger. Had some very nice homemade sausages which the chef assured me were gluten-free.

It does seem that in a good restaurant or a friendly pub, if you ask you are given a straight answer, that you can act on!


Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Drive to Bristol


I took a long drive to Bristol to see a possible client for my telephone billing.

It's on journeys like this that I have a problem. I've never stopped for a meal, but just bought a few sandwiches and a Coke.

Now I tend to have nuts and a Crunchie.

I did have a nice pint of cider for lunch.

Monday, August 04, 2003

More Real Tennis


Real Tennis again with Donald.

Tried to postulate a health index based on your Real Tennis handicap. It would be an interesting idea for research.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

The First Full Week


So a first full week has been completed and I feel so much better!

The main change is that I have virtually got free of the ferocious wind I have suffered with for most of my life.

Can it be that I have always had a mild gluten intolerance? After all I haven't eaten cakes and puddings since my mid-twenties. Was that a subconsious decision on my part as I knew it made me feel better?

North Norfolk Coast


We went to the North Norfolk coast with the dogs and then had dinner at the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market.

I played safe with a salad followed by a steak and chips.

But I did do a strange thing in that I tried some of Celia's crab! Did I avoid things like this as I knew some things upset my body and I didn't want to give them a chance?

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In Waitrose getting the papers, that morning I had time to browse and see how companies label their products. Some snack manufacturers like Walkers and food manufacturers like Heinz seem to have an open policy. Others do not!

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Newmarket Races


A quiet day where we spent a couple of hours in the heat at Newmarket races.

It would be interesting to see how the caterers would respond when asked which of their meals are gluten-free!


Friday, August 01, 2003

More on Whisky


A lot of advice for coeliacs says don't drink whisky!

But the Scotch Whisky Association and Coeliac UK say it's OK. So I'll go along with that!

Others say it is not, whisky is made from barley. But then most of those who say you can drink whisky, say that the gluten is left behind in the distillation process.

Update February 2005

I have drunk moderate amounts of whisky over the last eighteen months. I've never had a problem, except when I've drunk too much! But then my gut was fine!


A Letter From Addenbrooke's


I got a letter today from Addenbrooke's.

It said :-

"It is important that you do not cut out gluten from your diet until this diagnosis has been confirmed."

My first reaction was to say 'Stuff it!'. My second was is it ethical.

As it's my body, I just sent an E-Mail to the hospital, saying :-

"I have already switched to a gluten free diet and feel much better for it."

The latter is not so difficult for me, as I haven’t eaten cakes or puddings for something like 30 years.

So all I have done is cut out bread, dropped the odd bottle of Adnams and substituted Crunchies for Dairy Milk.

The reply was of the original vein :-

"You will need to carry on with gluten in the diet until you have an endoscopy done."

I'll accept that, but as I've not been given an appointment and may have to wait some time, I'd prefer to be well rather than not-so-well.

Despite what I said yesterday, I did cook lunch!

You always have to do something more positive as the simple ham sandwich is out!

So I reverted to egg and bacon! Cooked of course with olive oil! You can even add a tin of Heinz beans and still be 'gluten-free'. No fried-bread though!