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Living with Coeliac Disease- Ambassador Ayshea Bliss

Date: Wednesday 14th August 2013

Dr Schar have a team of freelance ambassadors who visit local Coeliac groups and speak to newly diagnosed Coeliac's in hospital clinics. This team has a very important job to create brand awareness and build customer relationships.


Ayshea has been working as an Ambassador for Dr Schär for three years, she is very passionate about working with the Coeliac community alongside professional teams to offer advice on excellent products and resources available to those on a Gluten Free diet. Before joining Dr Schär, Ayshea worked as a group organiser for Coeliac UK for two years- she thoroughly enjoyed making a positive impact within her local area to support the Coeliac community.   



Hello, my name is Ayshea Bliss and I am one of the Ambassadors working for Dr Schär. I am 40 years old, married with three lovely children and living in Cambridge; I have been a diagnosed Coeliac for 8 years. 


1. At what age were you diagnosed with Coeliac Disease?

I was 32 when I was diagnosed.


2. Pre-diagnosis, what signs and symptoms occurred that led you to the discovery that you had Coeliac Disease?

I was diagnosed 3 months after my family had a sickness bug. Everyone else recovered after 24 hours, I did not. It is thought that the bug triggered off my condition. Prior to the bug I believe that I did not really have any symptoms apart from occasional IBS symptoms if I ate too much bread. However after the sickness bug I had all of the classic symptoms including sickness, diarrhoea and rapid weight loss. 


3. Before your diagnosis had you heard of the term ‘gluten intolerance’?

I had heard of Coeliac Disease before my diagnosis as my niece had been diagnosed in Norway as a young child. The consultant in Norway had told my brother that someone else in our family would be Coeliac as they felt it was a genetic disorder. 


4. After your diagnosis what major changes did you put into place to manage your diet?

After my diagnosis I was very lucky that my husband and my family already had some knowledge of a gluten free diet so the changes made were not too difficult to make. As a family we were very good at having separate gluten free areas and products within the kitchen. My husband would prepare our dinners from scratch and it soon became apparent that it was quite easy to eat good gluten free food. He would just adapt specific ingredients, such as gravy granules and stock cubes so that we all ate a gluten free meal. I was also very impressed with the food products that I was able to get on prescription via my GP. Eight years ago the food in the supermarkets was not very nice.


5. How did you explain the seriousness of Coeliac Disease to your loved ones?

I was lucky that my immediate family had some knowledge of coeliac disease already due to my niece. However to all of those close to me that did not have any idea about gluten free I just explained that I had intolerance to gluten and that for the rest of my life I would have to follow this diet. I explained that it was not a choice or a fad diet and if I did continue to eat foods containing gluten I would continue to be very ill. They had all seen me get ill very quickly so were all very keen to help me.


6. How do you handle gluten free eating out or going on holiday?

I am very lucky in the city that I live in now as we have a few very good restaurants that are happy to cater for gluten free diets. I will always check before I go to a restaurant that they are happy to cater for a Gluten free diet and if I feel they are not really sure what I am talking about I will explain Coeliac disease to them in more depth. Going on holiday is sometimes an issue when you want to eat out but I will always take a translated card that explains the diet in the native language. I also tend to only order very plain foods when abroad so that I can control the cross contamination etc. I also always take with me some bread products, pasta and rice cakes. If I go to the local supermarkets abroad I always go and look to see what products they sell that are Gluten free.


7. Do you carry food in your bag for busy days or emergencies? If so let us know what Gluten Free treats you like to snack on? 

If I am out and about and think that I will not be able to get home for lunch I will always take a packed lunch with me or some gluten free snacks to have in my bag. I really like the Glutafin fibre rolls and the baguettes and will quite often make myself lunch with them alongside with some chopped vegetables and fruit. I have also been known to cook some DS sausage rolls and have them in my bag too! I also have a bit of a sweet tooth and often have a couple of biscuits hidden in my bag.


8. What food do you miss eating most since being diagnosed Coeliac?

The foods I miss eating the most since being diagnosed are fresh breads like French baguettes and patisseries like croissants.


9. What is the most important thing all Coeliac’s should know?

The most important thing that all Coeliac’s should know is that all though it seems really tough and unfair initially when you are diagnosed things do get better and easier. There are some really good foods available both on prescription and in the supermarkets so I feel that I am missing out less now than I did at the beginning. I am glad I have been diagnosed at this time rather than 20 years ago when the bread was only available in a tin!


10. If you knew that someone was experiencing signs and symptoms of Coeliac Disease what recommendations would you make?

If I knew someone that was experiencing symptoms I would tell them to go to their GP and ask for a test for Coeliac Disease.


Favourite meal plan 

Breakfast  A bowl of Cornflakes.
Snack Apple and a Banana.
Lunch Two Fibre Rolls with ham, cheese, mayonnaise & salad. An apple and a glass of fizzy water.
Snack Flavoured rice cakes or a packet of Gluten Free crisps
Dinner  Roast chicken with all of the trimmings using Bisto gravy, gluten free stuffing and DS Yorkshire puddings.
Dessert Apricot cheesecake made with Glutafin pastry.
Snack Gluten free biscuits (DS chocolate biscuits are my favourite). 


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