I am Lisa Rose, wife, mother to 4 and step-mother to 2, Client & Partner Relationship Manager for a company working to reduce big corporates’ carbon footprints. I was diagnosed as wheat and gluten intolerant 5 years ago. I’m a somewhat thwarted author with three unpublished romance novels to my name. I got annoyed that it was so hard to find specific information about gluten free life in NZ, and decided that if I was going to complain about it, I should do something to change it! So in my copious spare time (guffaw!) I decided to put my words of wisdom such as they are, and informative gems, recipes and the like on here. I’ll track my years of living gluten free and see how it goes! Here’s my story.


It’s July 2010 and I’m just about to get on a plane to Sydney when I realize that once again, there is a sore on my leg which is infected. This is the fourth lot of infected eczema I’ve had since April. Two days later, having soldiered on through two days of meetings and trainings and bled all over hotel sheets, I’m flying back to NZ, my entire lower body covered with boil like pustules. I can’t walk without pain, my winter boots have pressed on two particularly nasty sores around my ankles during the day and then the 3-hour plane ride, and I hobble to my car like an old woman. A visit to the emergency doctor the next morning gives me my 5th lot of antibiotics this year.

A visit to my normal doctor the next day is incredibly good. She spends 45 minutes with me, we talk management strategies, moisturisers, and decide it’s time to be tested again for food allergies. This is now a simple blood test, called a RAST test, and can be done at any diagnostic laboratories. Just note that it’s a fasting test. I leave her office feeling much more positive.

I have a lifelong history of eczema, beginning when I was about a year old. Probably it was a genetic susceptibility, along with the inherited asthma, but was almost certainly triggered by the eggs and cows’ milk I was given from 5 months onwards, as was the norm in the mid-60s. At its worst, when I was 6 years old, I had 6 weeks off school. My recollection of that time is having my parents smear some incredibly sticky smelly yellow stuff all over me before bed, and having to have a bath the next morning to soak off my pyjamas.

In England, when I was in my late 20’s, I had some experimental blood tests which showed up a caffeine intolerance (along with a few other things, including chocolate, although these were less serious and I could have a little now and again). Once I omitted coffee from my diet, my skin cleared up really quickly and stayed that way for quite some time.  In the wedding photos from my first wedding, my skin looks divine.

Three pregnancies, and four children, later, and my skin is bad again. I think I gave my system a hammering by breastfeeding twins for 13 months! Since then, some new foods have started to cause me problems. Red wine is out. So is caffeinated tea. These things make my face feel like it’s sunburnt from the inside and I look all swollen and elephant-woman-ish. It can’t continue – I’m sick of hauling myself into work and work events looking horrendous, and even worse, just not feeling well half the time. The infected eczema has been the final straw and I’m hoping the blood tests will show something up.

It’s late August 2010. I’ve finally come off the antibiotics, the infection is cleared away (including the persistent dermatitis I’ve had on my fingers for about 12 years) and the results are back in from the blood tests. Apparently crustaceans (lobster, shrimp, prawns, and some shellfish) are a big no-no. Also coming up is whole egg – not a huge surprise as egg yolk showed up in the tests I had done in England, and I’ve largely avoided it. Soy and dairy are both fine – huzzah! But wheat comes up as a fairly strong allergen. What does that mean, I ask the doctor? Is it just wheat or is it gluten generally? The doctor has no idea, but writes away to check, and it turns out that it is potentially anything with gluten. The recommended course of action is 6 months gluten-free and then retesting, as well as seeing if it makes any difference to the condition of my skin. After six months, you can try and introduce non-wheat gluten products and see what happens.

Still, how hard can this be? Time for some research into what products contain gluten aside from bread! Check back in with me to find out how I’m going.


29 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there. I went to a holistic optician last week, as my eyesight is getting blurry when I read under artificial lights, etc. Along with caffine (now restricted), and restricted dairy, I was questioned regarding gluten. I have no symptoms of gluten intolerance, but was advised that a high percentage of people specifically of Irish, and Scottish decent are gluten intolerant. (Irish decendancy in my case). I am trailing gluten free (hence visiting your website!) and will see how my eyes respond to the abstinance. My bread maker, pasta maker and Kitchen-Aid mixer will have to experience new ingredients, I think, as I can’t imagine living without the joys of fresh bread, pasta, pizza.

    • Good luck with the new challenges! I can highly recommend the Tin Kitchen bread mix – I’ve got a post about it in my archives. Gluten-free is getting easier all the time as there is more awareness and product available. Which city are you in? I only really know about the Auckland shops, but there are lots of online resources and shops now too. All the best!

  2. Hi Lisa Rose
    I have the GF Grocer in Kingsland and we are super grateful for the link on your site. I would love to send you a pack of our new range of products.
    Please contact me if you are keen!

  3. hi Lisa Rose
    I own Lavender’s Green and all our products are gluten free. We make treat foods(like Russian Fudge), cordials, curds and country condiments all made with our home-grown organic Meyer lemons and limes. Would you like to try some of our products too? My email address is Mary@lavendersgreen.co.nz. Please contact me if you are keen! Love Mary

  4. Hi Lisa Rose
    Found you through Frilly’s facebook page. I own Elocin Specialty Foods in Warkworth. I make all sorts of GF products – pastas, breads, baking mixes, cakes/slices, cheesy crackers.
    Would you like some samples?
    Please email me at elocinfoods@xtra.co.nz if you are interested.
    Regards, Nicole.

    • Thank you Nicole, that would be wonderful! I have a colleague who lives in Warkworth and he mentioned that there was a very good GF bakery there, so I assume he was talking about you. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi,

    We’ve recently launched the site Everyrecipe.co.nz, where users can search through thousands of recipes from the best food sites and blogs of New Zealand.

    We noticed that you have a lot of delicious recipes on your blog and would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here: http://www.everyrecipe.co.nz/top-food-blogs.

    Follow the instructions on our site to add your own food blog to the list. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us on http://www.everyrecipe.co.nz/.

    Hopefully your food blog will be up there in the top!

    Warm regards,


  6. Hi Lisa Rose,

    I’ve been a passive follower of your blog for some time. Recently I unexpectedly acquired a new business so now I have become yet another small business owner trying to get a sample in front of you. Our product is a wholemeal bread mix with no wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, soy or potato in the ingredients which has been around for some years but I’m trying to increase exposure. I know this is probably the worst time of year to try but I’d be very appreciative if you could email me when you have a chance: orders@zero-g.co.nz

    Thank you for your time, and for your fantastic posts!

  7. Hi! I am Nele from Germany and looking for a hostfamily as I want to stay in New Zealand as an Au Pair for about 12 months. But I have coeliacs disease so it is a bit more difficult to find a family which understands what glutenfree alimentation means. Now i have found your blog (which is great and hopefully helpful when I will stay in New Zealand) and I was just wondering if you know any families which are interested in having an Au Pair and maybe also have family members which have coeliacs diseas or understand what it means. It would be great if you just could give me a short answer!
    Thanks a lot and kindest regards,

    • Hi Nele. Thanks for your comments. I don’t know of any families who need an au pair and have coeliacs disease in the family. However, there is growing awareness of coeliacs in NZ and I am sure that any families who welcome an au pair will be sensitive to your dietary needs. All the best and enjoy your time in NZ!

  8. Hi Lisa Rose, Just a little extra for you to think about regarding the gluten free bread. The Vogel and Burgen gluten free breads contain the following number. I have included some info on it from the internet. A client of mine, for health reasons, was told not to eat these gluten free brands because of the Arsenic, Lead and Mercury found in them.
    The ingredient I am referring to is a product called Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. It goes by the number 464 or E464. This is all you will see on the ingredients list and is usually classified as a stabiliser. It is a commercially prepared, chemically modified wood cellulose product.

    As well as being used in foods it is also used in, but not limited to:
    •Tile Adhesives
    •Cement renders
    •Gypsum products
    •Paints & Coatings
    •Detergents & cleaners
    •Eye Drops

    Most alarming for me was the heavy metals present in this ingredient:

    It came as no surprise to me to find that this has been approved by the FDA. Although the amounts of these heavy metals are small the accumulative effect of them on the body is well known.

    • Thanks for the extra info Judy. I will contact the manufacturers and see what they say. I do know that there are many products which have multiple uses, both in industry and in food, but the heavy metals are of concern! Thanks for stopping by and giving the extra information.

  9. Hi Lisa,

    Firstly can I say how impressed I am with this blog! While I don’t eat gluten free myself, I have a number of friends who have recently been ‘strongly encouraged’ to eat only gluten free foods for various health reasons. Watching them struggle to find variety and excitement in gluten free products has been tough, but I am so glad to have found your blog which can offer them so so much inspiration and advice! I will be sending them here at once!

    I’m a marketing student at the University of Waikato and I am currently undertaking an internship with Sweet As Popcorn – A Raglan based firm which produces gourmet popcorn! This popcorn is completely gluten, dairy, nut, and GMO free making it an awesome snack food particularly for food allergy sufferers and ‘gluten free-ers’. It’s also unbelievably tasty!!! I really believe in this product and this company and would love it if you’d sample some of this popcorn! Sweet As Popcorn are also always on the lookout for opportunities to provide popcorn at charitable events, so if you have any ideas here I’d really appreciate them!

    If you’re interested in some samples or know of any charitable events that would benefit from some popcorn, flick an email to bill@sweetaspopcorn.co.nz

    Thanks for your time Lisa and congratulations on running such an awesome, helpful and clearly popular blog! 🙂


  10. Hi Lisa, my name is Barbara Scholten. My husband Marcelo and I have started a company called Durello Traditional Brazilian Foods about 14 months ago. We are making traditional Brazilian Cheese Bread made with an imported mix of Manioc/Tapioc starch. The product is now Gluten Free Certified and we are registered at Coeliac NZ. In March at the Gluten Free & Allergy Show in Hamilton, we’ll launch two more flavours to the Brazilian Cheese Bread range. You can find our products at Farro, Nosh and selected New Worlds. Please check out our FB page as well : Brazilian Cheese Bread. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information. Thanks you. Warmest regards, Barbara Scholten

  11. Hi Dee here, I was diagnosed with coeliac just a few months ago so still on the learning trail! I wanted to mention a product I am now on my second day of recovering. I bought pure delish tropical mango & nut crunch, big golden circle stating no wheat or gluten in this recipe , so after 5minutes of eating it I couldn’t understand the reaction, stomach cramps, many bathroom visits etc… on reading the fine print we found its produced in a bakery handling eggs, wheat, gluten and dairy. so cross contamination. Have learnt the hard way to read the fine print and no added gluten doesn’t always mean gluten free!

    • Oh boo hiss, that’s no good at all. Pure Delish make a big thing of being anti-allergen so this is disappointing 😦 May I recommend Cec’s muesli? They’re in a lot of the supermarkets now. Good luck!

      • Thanks will keep that in mind. They apologized for what happened and wished me good recovery and said they will look into this. I’m gun shy now from many things off the shelf. We amusing thing that happened to me over Xmas, we called into a cafe really just wanting glass of wine, I looked at the menu and they had quite a few gluten free options, so as I do stated I was a coeliac and could they guarantee that those meals were gluten free. My comment back was , so how gluten free are you? You guessed it we just had wine!

  12. Hey thanks for that. They were really apologetic and said they will look into it. I’m gun shy now but will keep your suggestion in mind. Dee

  13. Hi Lisa Rose, Being Gluten free I read really carefully…We all know presentation is important. I hope you don’t mind me pointing out a couple of typo’s that I noticed on this page. You dont have to post this comment but thought you may wish to fix the errors. Specifically “Manger for a company working to reduce big corporates’ carbon footprints. I’ve was ” the “Manager” and I think the last one should be “I was” perhaps? I am a hopeless cook but have taken note of the places and feedback you have on places around Auckland there are more and more popping up, just wish they tasted as good as food containing gluten!

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