11 Jan 2009

A Controversial Post?

Phew...this nearly didn't make it. As every blogger I am sure experiences at some point, I nearly lost the post below that I had spent hours thinking and writing about. My laptop died over the weekend, but thankfully my man is "Mr IT" and brought it back to life, complete with my lost documents! What a man.....Anyway, here's some food for thought:

To be honest, I was unsure whether to even broach this subject in the gluten free public domain? Would it cause a violent reaction or am I on the page as other gluten free dieters? The topic in question? NHS prescriptions for gluten free food.

You see, I don’t actually know anyone else who has Coeliac disease and consequently have no-one to discuss this with. I have strong opinions about being able to buy gluten free foods at a cost to the NHS. Not knowing a fellow sufferer I am not sure whether my opinions are valid or unrealistic and so I am putting them out there...

When I was diagnosed nearly two years ago, I left my gastroenterologists' office with a huge bag of gluten free foods to sample and ease the transition to my new diet. Always eager to try new foods, I delved into the cakes, crackers, breads and biscuits on my return home but promptly chucked them in the bin. With chemical aftertastes, bizarre textures, and a complex mixture of nasties and additives, I refused to believe this to be my fate.

Walking away from hosptial with a stash of cakes, biscuits and strange bread felt like a huge contradiction. How can the NHS fund a sweet tooth and carbohydrate heavy diet with foods that contribute hardly any nutrition and are empty calories? I acknowledge that the dietary transition you make after diagnosis is a hard one, and they want to support you eating a positive gluten free diet, but does it have to be all shattering biscuits and fake bread? I think there are much better ways to spend tax payers money.

I would love to have taken a gluten free cookery class or attended a cookery demonstration to see how easy cooking for Coeliacs can be from scratch. I thought I would be able to get basic gluten free ingredients such as flour, baking powder and alternative gluten free grains like buckwheat and quinoa from the chemists, but it seems I cannot. Pasta and pizza bases - I understand the need for these, but the rest...I’m not so sure it’s right.

So, after such a short sharp taste of what my gluten free life could look like, I spent – and continue to spend - time researching delicious but naturally gluten free recipes. Since that day, I have not looked back and have never ventured into the chemist for my gluten free treats, instead choosing to make chocolate puddings, gnocchi, or lemon polenta cake. However, whilst trying to source naturally gluten free teff flour, I discovered this could be bought on prescription. Could I buy this on prescription after being so against it?

Do you get many safe foods on prescription? Is it easy? Are there more ingredients available than I think? Let me know what you think.


Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...


I'd say that there is some value to being able to get a bit of budgetary relief - special diets hit the budget hard. We saw a big jump in our diet with my older son's food allergies - and an enormous jump when we went gluten-free for my younger son.

But there is something ass-backwards here. The foods we were no longer able to buy are foods that mostly, we should be okay doing without. (almost) So, no doughnuts, cookies, cakes, breads - we make our own or (mostly) do without.

But GF stuff tends to be heavier in fats and sugars than the nonGF stuff, so you are going to eat it to...be healthier?

Bet someone said ah, poor people, we must help them replace item A with item A-substitute. But they miss the point of replacing item A with item H(ealthier).

Kim McGowan said...

Totally agree...many of the products available on presciption are foods we can do without mostly... I imagine feeding children is quite difficult, especially if they have grown up knowing gluten. Its difficult enough as an adult.