Martin's Story

Real Stories

Martin's Story

Martin was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2019. Read about his journey and tips for enjoying life following a gluten-free diet.

When did you get diagnosed with coeliac disease?

August 2019. My father was diagnosed at 55 years old and has been coeliac for over a decade now.

After an off chance discussion with my GP, I was advised it is often hereditary, so I did the tests to get checked out, which resulted in my diagnosis. Only this month, my younger brother was diagnosed after I had been nagging at him to get tested.

How did you feel about the diagnosis?

Nervous about the change at first, but I had been a chef by trade, so I was well trained in allergen awareness prior. This didn’t make it any less daunting however.

I still get anxious about going away with friends or eating in new places, often finding I bring a snack or offer to cook, so I’ve some form of control over the food I eat.

There are some great Coeliacs on Instagram I follow, such as Howtocoeliac, who’s videos often help make light of the life struggles of coeliacs using her humour.

What was your relationship with food like before you were diagnosed with coeliac disease?

I’ve always loved food and cooking, so I’ve seen this as an opportunity to experiment with new things, new foods and new techniques. It was a big change in my own diet and lifestyle, which I’ve tried to keep positive.

I try to document my food journey as a coeliac or findings on Instagram when I can, but I do this more for myself to see my own journey. Currently, I’m making homemade corned beef which I’ll look to share on my Instagram once I’ve worked out my recipe.

Have you ever felt like you have missed out because of coeliac disease?

I don’t feel I’ve missed out, but I’ve often felt frustrated at many restaurants or takeaways that are unaware of the severity of coeliac disease and how the smallest bit of gluten can affect a coeliac.

Mostly when you hear, “yeah, that is gluten free but we still cook it in with other non-gluten-free items” is when I get frustrated or feel like I’m missing out.

I’ve a supportive bunch of mates, like if we’re gathering to watch the football, they will make sure that they have a few GF beers in the fridge or share any GF food finds with me.

Did you notice a difference in mood and health after sticking to your gluten-free diet?

The difference in my health is night and day.

I had decided pre-diagnosis in life I wanted to get healthier and had taken up running and HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Once I was diagnosed, I found I had more energy, I was less lethargic and wasn’t falling asleep on the bus home. I feel less bloated and lost some weight post-diagnosis.

I also find my mental health has improved and notice if I’ve been ‘glutened’ how my mood drops and I get headaches and brain fog, along with the usual reactions of course.

What does eating "well" mean to you?

I don’t accept below standard foods, but that’s more to do with having been a chef. I enjoy cooking at home with my wife, and we are always trying different recipes in cookbooks. She has been trying to cook new things too, even having made homemade GF pasta and perfecting her pasta dough recipe.

What's your favourite Juvela product and what do you make with it?

I like the Juvela white mix and fibre mix for making bread at home on the weekends. It took me a bit of time to get the technique right, as it’s not like making bread traditionally.

The white mix is also great for making American style thick pancakes. I always loved when my mum would make pancakes as a kid, and it’s nice to find a product I can use to make these with.

However, If the loaf lasts long enough and not been eaten, when it goes slightly stale I’ll make French Toast for Sunday breakfast.

And finally, what’s your top tip for staying positive?

Take time to reflect on positive things in your own life, accept and embrace change and challenges, and remember it is what it is at the end of the day.

Martin Waterston


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