Thursday, 13 February 2014

Guest Post from the "Free From Fairy"

Vicki Montague Blogs at The Free From Fairy.  Here she tells of her emotional journey to discovering her daughter has Coeliac Disease and her reasons for setting up her free from recipe site.

I vividly remember the day our daughter was diagnosed with coeliac disease. We were on holiday in Cornwall and were expecting the call.

It was June 2010, a month before our daughter turned 3, the sun was shining and we had a poorly child on our hands.

When I say poorly, I don't mean with a temperature, I mean constantly fatigued, bloated and in pain with frequent unpleasant trips to the toilet that were the norm for her.

The week before, she had undergone a general anaesthetic so that the doctors could carry out a biopsy of her intestine.

Before that she had had a positive blood test result for coeliac disease. However, as was the process then (things have changed slightly now), she had to undergo the biopsy to have a confirmed diagnosis, and oh how we agonised over that decision...

When the call came it was a great relief, much like that of when we were told that she had pneumococcal meningitis (a story for another day)...finally we knew what was wrong with her. As those of you who are parents will know, not knowing what is wrong with your children is the worst feeling in the world. Those nights when you lie awake while your brain trawls through all the dreadful things that could be making your child ill, are the longest and darkest of all.

At last, after a year of worry we had an answer. And, being wheat intolerant myself, it wasn't so much of a challenge to cook foods that were gluten free, the only way to manage this autoimmune disease. 

The day before the phone call we had taken our daughter for her 'last supper' as it were. We had walked (well, we had walked, my daughter had been carried) along the beach to have fish and chips as the sun glimmered on the gentle sea. It was a beautiful setting for what would be her last meal containing gluten.

It could make us sad looking back at that day, but the transformation that occurred within days of removing gluten from her diet, was absolute. Her colour returned, her tummy reduced in size by about half, she no longer complained of tummy aches and more amazing than anything, so sweet is the memory, she was able to walk up a flight of stairs on her own and run along the beach, the wind blowing her hair behind her as her shadow chased her. Gleeful laughs. Splashing fun. Jumping over waves. Chasing her brother.

So, although there are times of sadness, when she goes to parties and has to take her own food; when we eat out with family and all she can have is a jacket potato when everyone else is enjoying chips; when she misses out on an activity at school because it involves gluten and nobody has thought of her...we have to remember how she was before.

And that is the reason behind the Free From Fairy. To bring some magic into a little girls life; to make her feel special. To share my knowledge of adapting meals and ones life to meet the challenges it presents to those with restrictions to their diets. If I can help one other person who is struggling to come to terms with a food exclusion then I have achieved my goal.

So next time you meet someone who has to avoid certain foods think about what they have been through and give a thought to how it would make you feel if you couldn't have something you loved and that everyone around you could eat. Whether that person has coeliac disease, has an allergy or is intolerant to certain foods, one thing can be assured...that they have suffered in some way and their feelings should be considered.

For recipes, information, product reviews and advice on living with coeliac disease or allergies and intolerances to food (our daughter is also allergic to dairy milk protein and was allergic to egg) please visit my website at, or follow me on Twitter @freefromfairy, Facebook, Pinterest or Google Plus


  1. Oh how beautiful. That he colour and energy returned is so so special. What a dedicated informed committed Mummy. Wow.
    Loved reading this. It's inspired me to give up some things that I KNOW do not serve me well.
    Liska xx

  2. this is so sweet, and i know exactly what you mean with the whole diagnosis thing! a few years i started feeling tired, ill, just...'meh' ALL of the time (well, more than usual) for some reason i thought i was really, really ill & was so scared. i finally felt well enough to take a trip to the doctors, he sent me to get a biopsy, et voila! i felt so relieved that i had something that, although uncurable, is easily treatable. i am naughty sometimes & have gluten containing stuff ..i know i shouldn't, but luckily i don't have an extreme intolerance.

    so glad to hear your daughter improved so quickly!

  3. What a story and yes I agree the not knowing is worse than the condition often. We all have a need to protect our children and I can not imagine how it must feel to have to keep an eye out for gluten all the time

  4. Really great post and I am so glad your daughter is well now. My little girl has been referred to a pediatrician as she has tummy problems. Lactose test was fine, but lots of people have mentioned coeliac disease to me as a possible cause. She is only 11 months old x

  5. My 11 year old son has food allergies too so I can sympathise.It does some impact on his life but I make sure he doesn't miss out.

  6. I can imagine how horrible it must have been to not know what was wrong with your little one. So glad your girl is well now. x

  7. I can only imagine what it much have been like to find out she had such a thing, but what a great thing to come from it - to share your knowledge with those of us who don't know and those of us who need to know. x

  8. I feel for you, hated checking the ingredients on everything, although we have to monitor sugar - it is surprising just how much of the stuff they hide in the food. So glad your daughter is well now

    1. Checking is exhausting. We are dairy, soya, wheat, and gluten free and all derivatives. It's never easy as ingredients change, labelling changes and manufacturers make mistakes too :S

  9. What a great post. It must be so hard. I would like to hope that us parents do consider other children's dietary needs a lot more at parties these days.

  10. My 11 y/o can't eat processed meat which affects her although not to this extent - it's amazing how quickly it becomes second nature to do things differently.

  11. That sounds awful, so glad you got it sorted.

  12. I don't think I would know how to cope if a family member had something like this so it is great there are websites out there with all of the information to give a helping hand.

  13. Glad to read that you found out in the end what was the route cause and now able to adjust her diet accordingly.

  14. I feel for you - JD was fiercely dairy intolerant for the first three years and I found it quite challenging at times, so I can only imagine how touch it must be on a coeliac child. So glad to read that you're on top of things. Your blog is a brilliant resource.

  15. Wow! I have just come on here to grab the link to a Facebook post I was writing and noticed how many comments my post had got! Thank you to everyone for their kind words. It means a lot...

  16. I don't seem to be having much luck thanking everyone for their lovely comments above...I have tried to send something 3 times! Hopefully third time lucky! I stumbled across all these comments and have been very touched. Thank you so much! I never get anywhere near this number of comments on my own blog so does anybody else want a guest post from me!! ;)


Many thanks for taking the time to comment!

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