Hello and welcome to FreeFromFavourites, my name is Fiona Kennedy and this is my website to help you cope with living on a dairy and gluten free diet. I came to be on a special diet due to a long convoluted series of medical problems and this is my story.
I was in born in Scotland in the eighties during an NHS laundry strike, my sister, aged four at the time, when asked what she thought of her new sibling said she’s alright but a bit smelly! I wasn’t diagnosed with any medical problems at birth but showed a lot of what we now know to be the trademarks of my condition.
By the time I was a teenager I was having multiple dislocations of all my joints and a variety of other medical issues including chronic stomach pains every time I ate, but still had no answers as to what was causing all my problems.
After a number of unsuccessful operations to try and stabilise my joints, a freak incident actually lead me to find the answer to all my problems. I had a bad shoulder dislocation and to try and ease the pain placed a wrapped ice pack on the shoulder. Within minutes I had the worst ice burn ever and found myself referred to a dermatology clinic to have it treated.
The poor dermatologist made the mistake of asking how my general health was so after I grumbled and moaned about joint problems etc, I had my hallelujah moment when he said I’m sure you have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I had biopsies taken and on my 25th birthday, as well as cards in the post, I received the test results which confirmed I did have a rare form of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome called Arthrochalasia. Suddenly everything made sense and I had a name for my group of medical problems.
I now had a name for my condition but was no further forward with getting any treatment and that’s where Professor Gordon MacKay joins the story. Over the last few years Gordon has rather amazingly operated on all my troublesome joints to stabilise them and stop the excessive recurrent dislocations. My ever patient physiotherapist, Mairi MacPhail, has made sure I’m back on my feet in record time after each operation and also deals with any other disasters I appear at my appointments with. So a huge thank you to both Gordon and Mairi for their continued support, to find out more about what services they offer check them out on my links page.
Just as I was starting to get control of my orthopaedic Ehlers Danlos related problems I started to lose weight and have ravenous hunger. At my worst I lost 7lb in one week while eating 4,000 calories a day, very frightening. After a barrage of tests I found out my poor pancreas had given up the ghost and I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients from my food. I now manage this condition by taking the pancreatic enzymes in tablet form and sticking to a strict gluten and dairy free diet.
On my first day on the restricted diet I was sitting at my desk eating a gluten and dairy free scone for lunch. That scone was so hard if I had thrown it across the office it would have smashed a window. I vowed at that moment to channel my efforts into making replica food that omitted the dairy and gluten but tasted every bit as good. This website will hopefully help you live gluten and dairy free and still enjoy your food.
Besides the odd medical problem I have been lucky enough to live a great life, I believe you shouldn’t let any problems get in the way of what you want to achieve. I admit I take this to the extreme sometimes, the hole on the handle bars of my bike is not from me riding around with my arm in plaster and it definitely wasn’t me at the driving range with my ankle in an AirCast walker!
Lastly I would like to say a huge thank you to my family and friends for all their support, listening to the moans, the food chat and being my guinea pigs, thanks guys. I think Gordon sums it up well when he calls my parents the support team!
This is me today, healthier and happy, in my usual lunchtime haunt talking about and eating great gluten and dairy free food. I’m also super excited to have published my first book packed full of gluten and dairy free recipes, you can buy it through the shop tab on the top menu bar. My second book, dedicated to gluten and dairy free cake will be out in time for Christmas 2016.
P.S. The opinions expressed on this website are mine and not intended to replace medical advice (although those who know me will tell you how much I like to play doctor!)