The Gluten Free Food Prescription Scandal

According to the Daily Mail yesterday, it is now the Coeliacs that are ruining the country. We officially join their list of people who’d they’d like to shove in a boat and ship off to some far away place where they wouldn’t dream of holidaying. To be honest I’m quite glad to be hated by the Daily Mail, it probably means I’m a nice, normal person. They’ve hated me before, that time for being a teacher and trying to defend my work-life balance. I quite enjoy it. It’s almost a hobby. 

Anyway this time they were whining about the fact that I can get food on prescription. Actually they were complaining that I get junk food on prescription, which is a complete lie. I haven’t found anyone who gets anything tasty and gluten free on the NHS. The main reason for this is that you have to try really hard to find nice gluten free food. I don’t mean home cooked dinners, or cakes baked from scratch; they are bloody lovely and I can eat what I want if I make it myself. I’m talking about the crumbly, holey gluten free bread or the gloopy pasta. Good versions of these foods are rare. 

I have had food on prescription before but until I became pregnant I paid for my prescriptions. This means £8 per item. I can get four loaves of white bread for that, which works out at £2 a loaf. That’s still not cheap. It’s more expensive than a decent loaf of normal bread and this bread is s***! You get a piddly little loaf, less than half the size of a normal one, and about 1 in 5 loaves will have a massive hole in the middle. And I mean massive. Like there’s the crust and half a centimetre of bread around the edge and the rest is hole. If it hasn’t got a hole in it then it is probably a pile of crumbs in the bottom of the bag. Neither is any good for toast. 

My dietician put me down for two 500g bags of pasta too. That’s a kilo of pasta for £8. And again terrible pasta. Obviously I didn’t pay these prices, I got prepayment card, but I never ordered more than I needed. I doubt I ever used it enough to make it worthwhile anyway. 

Lots of people have been saying that we shouldn’t be allowed this food on prescription because you can buy it in the supermarket. Agreed. You can buy it in the supermarket but every specifically gluten free item is £3 ish.  

That’s £3 whether it’s a pack of four rolls or a box of cereal or two choc chip muffins. It’ll be £3 ish. Today I bought a packet of six GF Oreos for £3.50 and had eaten them all before I got home from the supermarket. Poof! £3.50 gone. (Yeah I know I could’ve spread them out and it’s greedy to eat six at once. That said I had just carried Emily all around Tesco in the sling, whilst pushing a trolley fully of food. I was hungry!)

One major inaccuracy in the article was that coeliac disease is caused by obesity. No it ain’t. It’s an autoimmune disease that I probably inherited from someone. Many Coeliacs are worryingly thin from malnutrition before they are diagnosed. I wasn’t but I was hardly obese. They then went on to say that we get doughnuts and pizzas as part of the prescription service. So f****** what if we were. I can’t have KFC, Burger King, Subway, my McDonalds burger in a bun, Dominos do a gluten free pizza but their cross contamination is appalling so that writes them off too. I can eat at Pizza Hut but they only do gluten free pizza on a tiny little base. I can’t nip into Tesco Express for a sandwich. I can’t eat Krispy Kremes or even a Kit Kat or a Twix. Therefore if I want to pay £8 for one doughnut a month then why shouldn’t I? They also mentioned Battenburg. I can tell you this, if there was a gluten free Battenburg on the market anywhere, it wouldn’t be there for long. I haven’t had Battenburg for nearly two years. It is not available on prescription, that’s for sure. 

And finally, I’ve written this mostly because I’ve just been shopping and I remembered how much it costs me to eat like a “normal person.” £3s here and there soon add up, and this doesn’t include the food I have to buy because I’m lactose intolerant. But I buy it because it’s better for everyone that I stay away from gluten and lactose. Not to mention the cost I’d be to the NHS if I let my condition get out of hand. Also I wanted to stick two fingers up to the Daily Mail. The ignorant, racist, elitist pricks! (Not even gonna bother censoring that one.)

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  1. Megan

    Love this ! You are totally right. I am not lactose intolerant nor a coeliac but lady, I salute you ! I see nothing wrong with getting it on the NHS. There are more other kinds of people taking the piss out of the NHS or the benefit system than you.

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