Here at Gluten Free Foods, we love hearing from all different people who have been diagnosed with Coeliac.
This month, Leena Sheppard tells us her story.
When were you diagnosed with Coeliac?
I was diagnosed in 1976 (I think) and I certainly can’t remember my first experience of gluten free food – except those awful vacuum sealed loaves of bread! I was in my mid-thirties at the time. A mother of five, I had been unwell for 8 years, it was thought at the time that the symptoms had been ‘sparked off’ by the hormone change in my third pregnancy since it was after this that I first started to be ill. I had never heard of coeliac disease and was quite amazed by it all.The consultant felt that this was confirmed when he learned that I had spent much of my childhood curled up on the sofa with a tummy ache.
What changes have you seen since you were diagnosed?
Back in the ’70’s the gluten-free bread came in vacuum-sealed tins. It couldn’t be eaten just as bread, it had to be toasted or fried or something to make it palatable. If it burned during toasting, it melted!! I have, of course seen huge changes in awareness and acceptance of coeliac disease and the range of products has increased beyond all imagining.
What’s the best thing about being gluten free?
My family were brought up to read labels on food before purchasing – we used to have a weekly outing to the supermarket with all the children (lucky supermarket)! This has lead to them growing up with a good sense of nutritional needs & they are all pretty good cooks since they never got into the habit of ‘ready meals’
What’s your dream gluten free product?
I don’t have a ‘dream’ product but I think my favourite Barkat product are those little coffee biscuits – they are so more-ish!
What’s your favourite restaurant?
I suppose my favourite restaurant is one called ‘No 50’ in Birmingham Road, Alcester, Warks. Chris (the owner) is brilliant with my food. I also like our local pub ‘The Flyford Arms’ in Flyford Flavell where they even cook gluten-free fish & chips! One is a pub and one is a restaurant but I couldn’t choose between them for preference.
What would your advice be to newly diagnosed Coeliacs?
My basic advice to newly diagnosed people is ‘Don’t Panic! You’ll be fine. Fruit, veg, meat, cheese, fish, eggs are all gluten free so you will never starve!’
Leena’s Gluten Free Cheesecake
Here is a recipe which I really like. It is easy and delicious. I often make it for a dessert at dinner parties as it is light and refreshing. It is less rich than many cheesecakes. One snag is that there are seldom any leftovers to have the next day!