MichelleÕs posts

Michelle

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About Michelle

Way back in 1987, just as I was starting work on a major history of English food, my eighteen-month-old son, Jonathan, and his father were diagnosed with dairy intolerances. Back then the alternatives for those on dairy-free diets were few and far between and pretty unappealing so, after some months of experimentation, I launched Berrydales Special Ices, soya based ices which were dairy and additive free – and tasted delicious! While manufacturing the ices I started a newsletter, The Inside Story, about food allergy and food intolerance and, by 1995, it was a quarterly magazine circulating to over 35,000 health professionals. In 2000 The Inside Story, re-named Foods Matter, became a subscription magazine and now all of that information, and much, much more, is accessible on the Foods Matter, Coeliacs Matter and Skins Matter sites and on our two freefrom food sites, FreeFromFoodsMatter and FreeFromRecipesMatter. You can follow me on twitter @FoodsMatter or email me at michelle@foodsmatter.com And, of course, you can also follow the exciting growth of freefrom food by checking out our annual FreeFrom Food Awards celebrating the best and the newest in freefrom foods!

Michelle

2 Nov

Emma-jane – a serious good news story!

Emma-jane in bathing costume

It is always so nice to get good news stories, isn’t it? So, I was chuffed to bits to get an email from a proud gran who had been a subscriber to the Foods Matter magazine way back in 2002. At …

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Michelle

25 Oct

The mess that is ‘may contain’

may contain nuts

As you may know, I’m the editor of Foods Matter, an information and support website for people with food allergies an intolerances. Recently, we’ve been running a survey to find out people’s experiences with food labelling. The results are now …

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Michelle

18 Oct

Can we blame male trees for the dramatic increase in the rates of hay fever? Tom Ogren says ‘yes’!

Iochroma Cyaneum

The sex life of plants, including trees, is not simple. Some, known as perfect flowered plants, have their male and female parts in the one flower so are effectively self pollinating (roses or apples);  some, known as monoecious flowered plants …

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Michelle

12 Oct

Frustration and anger of ‘may contain’ labelling

FM logo - new -07-15 copy

A very brief post as I am just off to catch a plane to Dublin to help launch the new Irish FreeFrom Food Awards! As you may already know, we at FoodsMatter are looking at starting a ‘freefrom’ assurance scheme the …

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Michelle

5 Oct

Alert5 – a really useful app!

I have rather lost count of the number of ‘allergy’ apps that have been launched to help you do your ‘freefrom’ shopping. I am not entirely sure how successful any of them have been – but it always seemed to me …

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Michelle

1 Oct

The worm doctor

The Worm doctor

“I achieved remission of chronic urticaria (with hookworms) at 5.5 months and was able to stop the certirizine at that point. Also by that point my migraines had completely stopped, headaches were minimal and I was having pain-free periods for the first time in …

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Michelle

28 Sep

Electrosensitivity Update

Pishwanton Wood

For those of you who are interested in electrosensitivity – either because you are electrosensitive yourself or because you worry about the excessive amounts of electromagnetic radiation we are all being subjected to – a few updates. There’s a letter in …

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Michelle

21 Sep

Jamie’s sugar tax – no way……..

jamieoliver

Did anyone see Jamie’s Sugar Rush on Channel 4 a few weeks ago? Jamie Oliver’s new campaign to tackle childhood obesity by reducing sugar intake through a sugar tax on soft drinks. It was an excellent programme and showed, among …

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Michelle

14 Sep

Medical clowns help kids with allergy tests

I think I had heard of medical clowns before, but my attention was caught by this report in Science Daily (courtesy of my colleague, John Scott) about medical clowns being used to distract and calm children during allergy testing. What a great idea. Prick …

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Michelle

7 Sep

Random thoughts related to allergy….

One of the complaints of those who object to the new food allergen regulations is that they are being required to take responsibility for food allergy sufferers. ‘Why can’t they take responsibility for their own allergies? Why should we (as chefs …

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Michelle

1 Sep

Who lives in the dairy these days?

  Yet more on labelling, I fear – but not this time on traceability or ‘may contain’ warnings, but on definitions. And you think gluten or nuts are complicated in terms of definitions and labelling? Just try milk…. So which …

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Michelle

24 Aug

Electrosensitivity update – EHS recognised as a handicap in France!

MBJ netted up

Electrosensitivity (being made ill by the man-made electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and phone masts, wifi, smart meters, fluorescent lights etc etc) has been recognised as a ‘functional impairment’ in Sweden for some years. But in the rest of Europe …

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Michelle

20 Aug

It’s August so…

Gluten-free-bread

The middle Sunday in August  and, apart from the leadership row in the Labour party, not a lot to write about so, guess what? Both the Mail and theGuardian dug out the old ‘coeliac food on prescription outrage’  and ‘food intolerance – fact …

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Michelle

19 Aug

Dragons Mess with Coeliacs…

Rule of Crumb coco Pops

I do not watch the Dragon’s Den as I do not enjoy ritualised humiliation. I know that it is all about making entertaining telly, but there are other ways. And yes, I know – the Bake Off does ritualised humiliation …

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Michelle

12 Aug

Emoji-ing food allergens

Food emojis

I have been having an interesting exchange over the last ten days with one of our long-time subscribers who sent me a link to a document on the UTC (Unicode Technical Committee) site. (The UTC, for those do not know, ‘is …

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Michelle

10 Aug

Gluten Sniffing Dogs

Who can ever resist a doggy story? Well, not many of us so, when you combine a dog with a feel good allergy story, you are away! We first tracked down allergen-detector dogs back in 2006 when we discovered PeanutDogs.com run by …

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Michelle

4 Aug

Life Before ‘Freefrom’

Not All in the Mind

  Paddy J was a subscriber to the original Foods Matter magazine and followed  a ‘freefrom’ gluten-free diet long before the term was invented. She does not have much patience with those food sensitive people who complain that there are not enough freefrom …

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Michelle

22 Jul

Take the kit!!! New Anaphylaxis Campaign film

The Anaphylaxis Campaign estimate that around 20 people a year die from anaphylaxis. Many of those will be 15-25 year olds – and many of those deaths just could have been prevented. As anyone with allergic children will know, life is relatively …

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Michelle

13 Jul

Allergy awareness – or the lack of it – in high street takeaways

Olleys

I was interviewed on last night’s ITN 6 o’clock news, thanks to a report from the Royal Society of Public Health  revealing that : * Over two thirds of all takeaways visited (55 around London) failed to provide legally required information …

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Michelle

6 Jul

Do you have a problem with vinegar?….

Infused vinegars

A few weeks ago we had an email from Joyce who, for some reason, I think lives in the US… I could be completely wrong! Anyhow, she was really addressing her question to Dr Janice Joneja who runs an on-going Q&A series for …

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Michelle

29 Jun

And how are the new food allergen regulations being implemented?

How have you found eating out since the new food regulations came in at the end of last year? I cannot resist another little salutary tale, this time to do with the implementation of the regulations in the food service industry. …

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Michelle

25 Jun

‘Alternative’ allergy tests

Sense About Science

  Sense About Science is a scientific charity whose remit is to inform the public and enable them to ‘make sense’ of scientific and medical discussions. A worthy aim in which they are usually moderately successful. However, they have just tackled allergy …

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Michelle

22 Jun

Gluten recalls

Genius Gluten Free

  There was been a huge outcry on social media and elsewhere recently over gluten contamination that occurred in the Genius factory. It triggered a whole slew of products recalls not only of Genius products but of supermarket freefrom lines …

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Michelle

16 Jun

Precautionary allergen labelling – have we got the balance wrong?

Peanuts

In managing food allergy there are two major hazards: The failure to recognise a food allergen that has been included in a dish as an ingredient and The accidental contamination of an otherwise allergen-free food with an allergen. But while …

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Michelle

8 Jun

Telling the medical wheat from the chaff

Ten days ago I had an exchange with Dr Janice Joneja which illustrated yet again the problems faced by conventional practitioners when dealing with little understood conditions such as autism. Dr Joneja had had an email from a dietitian who had …

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Michelle

1 Jun

Accommodating the ageing body!

Demented Editor

These observations are offered for the benefit of anyone of bus-pass age who is getting annoying aches and pains and is attributing them to ‘age’ or the onset of arthritis…. A year or so ago my right hip was starting to …

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Michelle

18 May

Why are we all avoiding gluten?

You may have noticed that there’s been stratospheric growth in the gluten free food market. Here are two suggestions for what is powering that growth: 1. Gluten intolerance is not just about coeliac disease Last year, gluten expert Dr Tom …

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Michelle

11 May

Gardening and the weirdness of the human psyche

Camellia

I have just been reading a report of a study on allergic rhinitis sufferers (35-40% of the US population). Despite the fact that immunotherapy has been around for nearly 100 years, is recognised as the best treatment for allergic rhinitis and is …

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Michelle

5 May

The Problem with Nuts

Well, to be honest, it is not nuts that are the problem, it is the confusion arising from the laudable efforts of regulators and manufacturers to improve allergen labelling for the benefit of allergic consumers. But, nuts being at the …

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Michelle

9 Feb

Childcare and Hugging Your Non-Allergic Child

On the radio this morning I heard an interview with Dr Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Society of Biology, who has been looking at the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in infants and toddlers in day care as opposed to those …

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Michelle

24 Jan

Should allergens be banned from a household with an allergic member?

I came across an article from an recent Sunday Telegraph headlined ‘Food fight over allergy ban’ which investigated, once again, the extremely knotty problem of whether or not you should allow allergens into a household with an allergic member.  There are …

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