Earlier this year, having suffered breathing problems for all of my life, I finally saw a consultant who told me that I was displaying the classic symptoms of wheat allergy. I was confused. People who suffer from wheat allergy just have bad guts, don't they? My friend Brynjar has coeliac disease and I remember how dreadfully ill he was before he was diagnosed.
Apparently, I was wrong. Wheat allergy can also cause breathing problems including a tight chest and throat, nasal congestion, itching and swelling in the mouth and throat, itchy rashes on the skin, itchy and watery eyes. In fact, all the symptoms that my doctors and I had, for many years, put down to my hayfever and perennial rhinitis.
So, I have done my best to stop eating wheat. It's not actually been that difficult, although there have been odd times where I have fallen off the waggon, only to regret it when I can't breathe about twenty minutes later. I have also discovered that eating wheat gives me bellyache. I've always had regular gutache but put it down to poor diet. However, since stopping eating wheat, I find that my guts are much happier and I feel much less lethargic and headachy too.
I have discovered that most supermarket-bought gluten-free bread is rubbish. It's very expensive, falls apart easily and is useless for sandwiches - most of it ends up in your lap as the slice collapses.
Last weekend, I went to Beverley Folk Festival, where a lovely lady called Catherine was selling gluten-free galettes. Inspired by how nice they were (I ate rather a lot of them), I decided to look up the recipe and came across a cracking website called 'Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef'. Like Brynjar, the author has coeliac disease, and she has written a book about food. Not just any old book, mind, a book about the foods you CAN eat, rather than the ones you can't, as well as stories and tips on a gluten-free life. She and her husband have also written a cookery book.
Anyway, go and read her blog, it's brilliant.