James Miller - Coeliac Diary


Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Coeliacs, Dandruff, Insect Bites and Migraines


For most of my life, I’ve suffered from very bad dandruff. I’ve also occasionally had migraines induced by bright lights. One place where I go four times a week, which is a particular real-tennis court, used to cause one every month or so!

A year ago, at 55, I was diagnosed as a coeliac and have since stuck to a virtually gluten-free diet.

No dandruff! And no light induced migraines!


Whereas, my wife of 36 years was the one who always got bitten by foreign insects, I’m the one who now gets the attacks.

Has anybody else noted similar changes?


Sunday, June 27, 2004



Last night we went to Bluewater and ate at one of Carluccio’s restaurants for the first time in some months. The delay was not through choice, but they haven’t invaded Cambridge yet!

Last time, I ate there the choice had been a bit limited, but as it was only lunch, a nice steak and a glass of Sicilian wine had been perfect.

But last night, things had very much changed for the better.

I could have had several of the starters; plain proscuitto, more than one salad and a potato gnocchi. The friendly staff also told me that a rice dish had breadcrumbs in it after checking with the chef!

For the main course, I had liver which they do so well! I could also have had a steak and I think two other dishes.

Now I know I’m not a serious coeliac, but I do know when I eat a small amount of gluten! But it certainly looks like one of Britain’s fastest growing restaurant chains is getting its act together properly with respect to gluten.


Olympic Airlines


Now don’t get me wrong, but I love Greece!

You can’t say though that my wife and I have any affection for their national airline!

We recently flew to Thessaloniki for a weeks holiday at a place called Sani, which is about 45 minutes south of the airport. The hotel was excellent and I had only one reaction in the whole holiday, when I inadvertently ate a small cake, which my wife thought was rice-based. It wasn’t. One memorable meal was a superb fish grilled in a little olive oil with a couple of tomatoes. The fish cost about six Euros, which isn’t much at all!

So if you’re a coeliac and are thinking of going to Greece then if you’re careful it isn’t too difficult to stick to a gluten-free diet, especially as a lot of chefs will show you the kitchen.

But the airline!

I requested a gluten-free meal directly with them and their people in London said this would not be a problem. On the flight out, the stewardess said that they hadn’t been told and that I couldn’t have ordered one. So she served me nothing! Not even coffee or a drink! I was a troublemaker! Coming back, I thought I’d chance it as I suspected there would be a limp salad and perhaps some orange juice. Guess what! The starter was pasta and so was the main course!

So Olympic go down as one of my airlines of last resort!


Friday, June 18, 2004



Off to Greece in the morning! I’ve even asked for the gluten-free meal on Olympic, but I’ll probably have a steak at Chez Gerard before boarding!


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Foods That Taste Good


My doctor though told me that if you are not overweight, then there is nothing wrong with some of the things you’ve always felt wrong; bacon and eggs, baked beans, cold boiled salad potatoes.

I’ve tried the bread and it’s rubbish. So don’t bother!

There’s always the top of the range sausages from Marks and Spencer and then as I live in Newmarket I like the Musks gluten free ones.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Rice Cracks


Just bought some in Waitrose and they are delicious. They say they are absolutely gluten-free, although one flavour does contain soy sauce, which could of course be a non-gluten variety.

Update October 18, 2006

I never touch them these days!


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Allergy Friendly Restaurant


Just come round the M25 and had lunch at the Bell on Horndon on the Hill. This lies on a road in Essex that runs parallel to the M25 between the A13 and the A127.

Excellent food and they have a big notice on the menu saying that all food is cooked individually and that they will take account of all allergies. They did!

I had some very nice kidneys!


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Recipe in The Times


Jill Dupleix in The Times today talks about the King of Puddings that was fit for a Tsar!

It’s called Strawberries Romanoff and it’s also gluten-free!


Friday, June 04, 2004

Sausage Wars


Just been in to Newmarket and walked past the old-fashioned butchers, Powters, by the market. They claim they are the “Home of the Newmarket Sausage” and also won Sausage of the Year in 2003.

They had a board up listing all their sausages. Gluten-free were proudly displayed at two out of six. So the message is getting through.

I think there is intense rivalry between Powters and Musks, who also claim that they are the “Home of the Newmarket Sausage”.




We were down near Bari last weekend and there wasn’t much pasta at all. Lots of good fresh meats, risottos, melons and ham etc!

On the other hand in Bologna with all the pasta, we found a lot of restaurants knew about the problem. There are a lot more coeliacs in Italy than here.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Oats and Barley


There is always contamination in oats and barley!

We breed race-horses at Newmarket and you’d be surprised what gets where! There have been horses disqualified because something illegal got into the feed!

I used to hunt and one of the pleasures was riding with knowledgeable cereal farmers, who would show you how each crop had a residue of what had been planted before! If you’re growing seed wheat, barley or oats, then you have to cut the ‘foreigners’ out by hand. It’s difficult, expensive and no-one wants to do it!


Conferences Can Do It!


Yesterday, I went to a conference at the University of Hertfordshire, where all of the final year students gave a presentation of their project. (One had used my software to draw a load of graphics!)

As lunch was involved I requested a gluten-free meal. Everyone else had sandwiches, which I suspect had been bought in and I got a plain salad, with a baked potato and cheese! There was a lot of it and it was fine!

So some can do it!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004



I played real tennis at the weekend, with a PhD biochemistry student from Cambridge and we got to talking about hangovers!

I’ve never really suffered and even in my student days at Liverpool, I could drink very large amounts and wake in the morning very fresh. I can be a heavy drinker at times, but I can honestly say, I can’t remember my last hangover.

Could this lack of hangover be due to the coeliac disease, which I must have had all my life?

Or is it due to my East European Jewish genes? I’ve come across several others with similar ancestry and some seem to show the same tolerance as I do!