James Miller - Coeliac Diary


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Orasco Bars


Has anybody tried these? I suspect so.

I just found them in the GF section in Waitrose.

Very nice. Made in Egypt interestingly.




For the last twenty years or so, I’ve suffered quite badly with seasickness in smallish boats.

On holiday, for the first time since diagnosis, I went out on a 16 metre yacht. I didn’t have a problem at all. The sixty-year-old Greek who owned the boat, reckoned that many are seasick on empty stomachs, so perhaps the fact that I now have a calm gut helped.


Coeliacs and Grey Hair


I’m nearly 58, was diagnosed at 55 and don’t have any grey. Neither does my wife of 56.

It’s just genes really!

On the other hand since diagnosis, I’ve lost all my dandruff and dry skin!


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Zero Level of Gluten


I talked to Kettle in Norwich about just this problem.

Everything made in that factory is gluten free and they don't let any
flour or wheat in.

But you will always get problems. My father's print works was just
round the corner from Barratt's sweet factory in the 50's. One day a
packet of ciggies fell into the aniseed balls and they decided it was

Perhaps not today!

Thursday, June 16, 2005



I don’t like to sound an alternative view, but since diagnosis, I’ve never bothered with bread, except at one restaurant where they always bake a special GF roll for all coeliacs.

So why bother with it?

I should say before diagnosis, I used to eat loads of bread. My wife has also given up at home and only has the occasional sandwich at work.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Religion and Coeliac Disease


You do wonder about some religions!

Some Roman Catholic churches insist that communion wafers must not be gluten-free.

Supposedly they want to care for people and yet they impose rules on them that will make them ill. I have never met a Roman Catholic priest, but I’m sure that my friend who’s a C. of E. vicar, would feel that tolerance and acceptance of another’s reasonable needs were paramount. There might even be a sermon in it on tolerance!

But then I speak as a man without any religion. Not surprising as my father’s lot were Jews kicked out of Germany and my mother’s were Hugenots thrown out of France.

Autism and Childhood Diseases


I play real tennis with one of the world’s experts on vaccination. I asked him why we have all this increase in autism and other diseases in children.

He said you can’t rule out the fact that if in the US, you get your child classified as special needs, then you get extra money spent on their schooling. 25% of children are special needs in the US!

Incidentally, he is also someone who is deaf in one ear due to childhood measles. So have that MMR!


Friday, June 10, 2005

Farming For Coeliacs


I’m not an arable farmer, but a stud owner with lots of farming friends.

I would suspect that crop rotations are more likely driven by economics of subsidy than the economics of quality.

An old friend of mine who died many years ago, used to grow seed barley, which of course fetches a high premium. So he rotated it with rape or sugar beet. The only way he could get it to the desired quality was to weed the wild oats or ‘volunteers’ out of it by hand. Many a day I saw him walking through the fields doing it!

In these days of extensive agriculture, I doubt that you’ll get any profitable alternatives to wheat and barley, which will mean that contamination will occur. We also have the problem that sugar beet may cease to be grown here. (Should we subsidise it, when we can buy all the cane sugar we need from the developing world?)

The only good thing is the new EU agricultural subsidy, which is based on hectares. So if you come across a gf corn, you can grow profitably for bread and rotate with say rape, then you are on a winner.

I think it may be a case of watch this space.

One last thought! Wheat and barley must be related to wild grasses. Does anybody know whether any of our common grasses are not gluten-free?


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Codex Starch


I have not joined Coeliac UK as I am a Marxist (of the Groucho tendency) and wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member!

But seriously though, I am a scientist and engineer, who has some very good credits in the past and I got those by distrusting what it said on the tin!

I should also say that I’m not that sensitive, especially as I wasn’t diagnosed until about 55. But I probably should have been diagnosed a lot earlier and wish I had.

So I am always suspicious of what I’m told. But then I enquire to make sure that what they say is correct. Take Kettle crisps! I phoned them and got someone who assured me that everything they say is GF is GF. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but I think they said it was easier to not source any non-GF ingredients, so that they wouldn’t be in trouble with anybody.

Consequently and especially after the Christmas incident, I always ask and insist that the chef tells me, when I’m in a restaurant. On Monday this had the result, that I got some really nice asparagus and Parma ham that wasn’t on the menu.

So to return to the Codex starch. I would avoid anything I don’t know what it is! I’ve not read the Codex, so I don’t know about Codex starch, so I wouldn’t eat it.

Just be sensible and each to their own!


Neurological Problems and Coeliac Disease


As a child I had some very odd incidents. I can remember swirling around and being made to lie down by my mother. I grew out of them but as I got to about forty bright pin-point lights could give me a migraine like headache. Then at fifty I started to get rather depressed when there was no reason at all.

A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed as low in B12 and to cut a long story short, Addenbrokes said I was a coeliac and I went on a gluten-free diet.

Since, I have not had any neurological problems. Except once just after Christmas when a sauce in a restaurant was made with flour! The moral there is don’t trust the waiter, even if she is the owner of the restaurant! She’d changed the chef and he changed the recipe from cornflour to wheat flour!


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Life is Grand


Perhaps for some!

On Thursday at about 5 I spoke to and made an appointment to see a friend and client on Friday at about 10.

I turned up at his offices in the morning to hear that he’d died of a heart attack overnight. I was one of the last people to speak to him. He was 49 and a couple of stone overweight.

I’d rather have what I’ve got!