Karen Woodford

Safer Eating

Karen Woodford

I have worked as a speech and language therapist since 2001 and continue to work clinically in a highly specialist role. I am the dysphagia lead for a large acute hospital trust working with people who have difficulties with swallowing food and drink following trauma, brain injury/disorders or breathing problems. I have vast experience of working with patients and other health professionals (e.g. dietitians, doctors, nurses, therapists) and a substantial part of my working life has been spent supervising and training others, including presenting at conferences.

I have always loved eating out – it is a big part of my social and family life. My dad was a wine merchant so hotels and restaurants were home from home when I was growing up. Being diagnosed with coeliac disease in October 2012, and with lactose intolerance a few months later, was a real shock and triggered a significant change in my life. To make matters worse, I was continuing to get symptoms and my doctor put me on a FODMAP diet, which required 8.5 months on a very limited elimination eating plan. It showed that I also react badly to fructose and things like onion and avocado.

Unsurprisingly, eating out became a massive drama. But I knew it didn’t have to be that way. And The Safer Eating Company was born…………………

I have been given even more of an incentive to try to change the world as my daughter was diagnosed with coeliac disease at the age of two. On top of that, I have one close family member who is dairy-free and another two who are vegetarians. Preparing a meal for my family is pretty tricky.