Gillian's Story

Real Stories

Gillian's Story

Gillian was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease 17 years ago, read about her story...


When did you get diagnosed with coeliac disease?

17 years ago

How did you feel about the diagnosis?

Relieved - EXTREMELY relieved!

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

I used to suffer from terrible abdominal pain after eating most foods so I ate very little. It was a struggle to find foods that didn't make me feel ill and I actually hated eating because so many every day foods made me so ill!

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

I did at first because we couldn't go out with friends to eat or have a drink. Add into that the fact I had no energy at all and the terrible abdominal cramps etc that I always seemed to have almost turned me into a recluse. Not only that but it was misdiagnosed from the beginning and I had many unnecessary surgical procedures!

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

As I began sticking strictly to a gluten free diet, my energy levels increased, I began feeling better in myself and the almost constant pain and bloating (amongst other things) began to disappear. I soon learned the importance of sticking to a strict gluten free (and wheat free) diet after thinking 'just one roll won't hurt'...boy was I wrong - but I soon learnt! I now feel so much better and healthier, I'm not depressed or afraid to say 'I can't have that because I'm coeliac' or I offer to cook for friends instead. They have no idea they're also eating gluten and wheat free food!!

How does your gluten free prescription help you manage your gluten free diet?

Without the availability of gluten free products on prescription, my diet would be poor to say the least! Gluten, wheat and dairy free products are so expensive I wouldn't be able to afford them. It's irritating to say the least that cereals and pasta are no longer available on prescription in England when they are in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What does eating “well” mean to you?

Eating "well" to me means being able to have a good, varied, balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates for breakfast (my favourite is porridge with dates and freshly chopped orange segments), lunch and dinner and to be able to have a 'treat' such as a hot, home-made crumble, pie or pudding that I've made. Being told to eat p potatoes and rice is all very well but it's great to be able to have tagliatelle with a fresh, tasty Bologñaise sauce or Mac 'n cheese that doesn't cause me any problems! I just wish it had been diagnosed sooner - not just for my sake but my mother's & my daughter' mother never knew she had coeliac disease until it was found after she passed away and my daughter also has it.

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

I adore the Harvest mix - it's so versatile and I've developed a foolproof short crust pastry recipe that rolls out thinly and can be used for any recipe! I also love the oats - they make a great topping for a fruit crumble, not to mention delicious, creamy porridge and the macaroni was the best pasta I've ever used!

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

Some things may be more expensive to buy but there's no recipe I've found that you can't substitute the Juvela Harvest mix for AND still get excellent results! To finally be able to enjoy the same meals as the rest of the family is the best feeling and not being afraid to say you're coeliac and unable to eat anything with wheat or gluten-containing products in when you DO go out for a meal with family or with friends isn't a problem - certainly not for me...even a pizza is enjoyable again! Dont be afraid to say it and go for it!!

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