Gluten-free Oat Flour; how my diet has taken a step-back 25 years.

I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease when I was 14 years old.  At the time, buying Free-From groceries was unheard of and my mum would have to search the supermarkets for the crossed grain symbol which appeared on tins of Heinz Baked Beans and soup.  My prescription food was pretty disgusting; the bread tasted like powder as did the spaghetti and digestive biscuits.

Over the past twenty years, huge leaps have been made in providing gluten-free alternatives to my former favourite foods – M&S cocktail sausages being right at the top!  This was until supermarkets started adding gluten-free oat flour to biscuits.  I had a period where I could tolerate these gluten-free porridge oats but slowly but surely I began vomiting.  I had no idea they were to be included in the ‘new’ recipes which have spread throughout Sainsburys, Tesco and M&S and the first I knew about it was an evening spent being ill.

I’ve searched the internet to try and find a logical reason for the addition of this ingredient to already great tasting products and the only conclusion I can draw is that it’s possibly a cheaper ingredient to use.  If anyone out there has the answer please do let me know.

A recent visit to my GP surgery led me to discover that gluten-free prescriptions are possibly coming to and end due to the ‘good’ quality, availability, convenience and cost of supermarket gluten-free products.  To say I’m worried is an understatement.  Juvela white sliced bread is the only remotely normal bread I’ve tasted and the thought of eating the clumps of powdery dough bread from the supermarket makes me wonder if I should eat gluten-free flour straight from the bag.  What if they begin to include oat flour in the bread, the pasta etc?  My diet is slowly shrinking and I’m beginning to worry about eating out in case the gluten-free meal is no longer gluten-free for me.

On the up side, losing a bit of weight shouldn’t be a problem for me now.



Seriously who reads Self-Help books?

I have.  And I’m astounded at the stigma surrounding them when you consider the immense power they hold.  I correct myself – the power we all hold.  Negative thinking is contagious and I’m the first to admit that wallowing in self pity has at times been second nature, but I’m not the only one.  If I wasn’t wallowing in self-pity then I felt numb or empty and would regurgitate in detail the next unbelievable thing that has happened in my life to anyone who would listen.  Yes I am aware after the incident that I behave like this – it is deep rooted, learned behaviour which is hard to change, but not impossible.  I know more people who negatively think than positively but is that because like attracts like?

The thing is, as with all things, what is second nature to one is another one’s mountain.  At uni I was surrounded by people who instantly picked up what was being taught, who managed to work, have a social life, while I had to cut everyone off to be a parent and to really go over what I was learning – I felt I had to work twice as hard to achieve the same output as the high achievers.  In Macklemore’s Ten Thousand Hours, Ryan Lewis sings “The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint/The greats were great cause they paint a lot” Is there shame in this?  I think not.  It’s frustrating but not shameful.  So why is there shame around learning anything – even positive thinking?

Years ago I was recommended a book by a professional Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.  I got about half way through reading it at the time and felt empowered beyond belief, so much so that I decided to go back into education….GCSEs, an Access Course and then onto completing a degree with a not too shoddy result.  Strangely, I met the professional’s son at university who taken the same course as me!  And all because of his dad recommending ‘the book.’ Had I not read the book I would never have tapped into my self belief that I could achieve something reserved for….well not me.

I now have two grown-up daughers who are at times a product of my critical, negative environment.  They both received ‘the book’ for Christmas (as did my mother 5 years ago) but I’ve clearly not conveyed its magic well enough because none of them have opened it yet!