Thursday, 30 September 2010

Doctor Do Little

It's almost been a year since I stopped eating wheat. I thought it was time I went for a follow up chat with the doctor as I've not seen them since I was diagnosed a wheat dodger.

"Perhaps I should have a health check." I thought. Well I'm thinner than I used to be, I've cut out about 50% of the food I used to eat. Maybe I need to replace wheat with something else in my diet to ensure I keep healthy? These are pretty normal, even sensible questions, right?

So I went to see my local GP. It's not the best surgery in the world. It's in a bit of a rough area but it's the nearest one to me and oddly enough you can always get an appointment. Without fail. Alarm bells should have rang at this point.

I don't expect my GP to be an expert on everything, but it seems that any gaps in his knowledge are replaced with absolute b*******. No 'Let me refer to my extensive collection of medical books' or 'Oh yes, I read about new research in the Lancet.' I would even accept 'No idea love, shall I ring the dietitian?'

This is the advice I received. Imagine a man in his late forties who is incapable of eye contact and has a soft Scottish accent.

Doctor: "What do you have for breakfast?"
Me: "Cornflakes"
Doctor: "Have they not got wheat in?"
Me: "No. They're made of corn. (inside I'm screaming) Do you think I'm getting enough roughage in my diet since I don't eat wheat? What's your advice?"
Doctor: "What about some orange peel in your cornflakes? Maybe a few almonds?"
Me: (Bemused and resigned to the fact I'm barking up the wrong tree) Err, yeah. Thanks. Bye!

There was more about prunes and porridge but I'll spare you the pain.

The moral of the story is, us wheat and gluten dodgers need to stick together. I need advice from you guys. I officially give up on the doctors.




  1. I'm definitely having trouble getting enough fibre. My advice would be to do a diet diary for a week and see if you're getting enough nutrients and fibre. Especially fibre. There are lots of places online where you can enter the food you eat and get an idea of what's in it and work it all out. For extra fibre I've been adding Linseeds or Flax Fibre onto my morning muesli or porridge. Good luck!

  2. Hi, this rings so true for us in the Gluten Free Guerrillas team as well. It's so disheartening to see your Doc and get such limited advice. Have you joined our facebook page & online health group? We'd love your input. Meanwhile here's our top tips...All Coeliacs should have at least yearly checks for: full blood count, iron, thyroid function, cholesterol (as we're eating less high fibre!), B12,and Vitamin D. The later can cause a myriad of aches, pains, depression etc. Re Fibre we also struggle with this. In fact one of the team is using some lovely pessaries for the back end this week (!). We try and eat lots of veg & some fruit (not too much to cause SIBBO or yeast overgrowth), water, flaxseed, brown rice, pumpkin seeds. We don't eat Oats as we know many Coeliacs still react to the 'gluten' like protein in them. A good bad of nuts is also handy as are dried fruit and apricots (iron rich). It's often another journey post Coeliac Diagnosis and we've had some good discussions on our facebook page on this same topic this week. Nice to know we're not alone. Where are all the good doctors though?!

    Gluten Free Guerrillas

  3. I can totally identify with this! GPs are shockingly ignorant about special diets. My last one didn't even know about mine, I didn't even bother to tell her.
    To ensure I get enough fibre I eat a lot of dried fruit and nuts. I also find that pro-bio yoghurt keeps me regular. (Don't you just love discussing your digestion with strangers? Ah, the benefits of having food intolerances!)
    I signed up to a company called Graze, they send me dried fruit and nuts every week in little pots. Very handy.

  4. Thanks for all the advice everyone. Some really great tips. I'm switching doctors next week so I'll let you know how it goes. Fingers crossed they're not complete morons!

  5. I'm glad to be reading this. I gave up wheat before christmas and was thinking of going to my (also useless) doctor to ask if I could be lacking something in my diet as a result of cutting wheat out. I'm pretty sure it would have been the same response. Also good to read your blog for tips and local knowledge.
    ~ Natalie (Manchester)