A whole aisle of free-from foods … aren’t we lucky? – by Jenny Foster
Those of you who read my first blog last week will know that I have an 8 -year old son Ewan, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in July last year and with coeliac disease in October. The coeliac diagnosis has hit us hard but we are adamant that this added difficulty is not going to deter our positive attitude!
Immediately after diagnosis Ewan’s taste buds went into melt-down and in the first few weeks we only found a handful of gluten-free foods he liked and he became super-sensitive to any foods which contained even the tiniest amount of gluten, but we made sure we were extremely careful and his coeliac symptoms thankfully all but disappeared very quickly.
Ewan’s twice daily insulin regime means the carbohydrate content in his food has a huge impact on his blood glucose levels and so my food shopping lists have become unrecognisable in a bid to try and find (take a deep breath!) tasty, appealing-to-an-eight-year-old, gluten-free, carbohydrate-filled, low in sugar (phew!) foods and snacks, and it is proving really difficult! Most of the off-the-shelf gluten-free products we have found are laden with sugar to compensate for their lack of taste! So if I’m honest, our spirits are starting to waver.
Our lack of positivity wasn’t helped in the early days by people enthusiastically commenting that “Ooh isn’t it great you can get all his foods free on prescription”, and pointing out to me that “there’s a whole aisle in Sainsbury’s with free-from products on it” – it took all my patience not to reply with “Wow yes aren’t we lucky, he has a whole aisle to shop from and you only have the whole store!”
But knowing this kind of attitude isn’t helping Ewan and understanding that people are only trying to help and be positive for us, we are slowly finding foods that Ewan is growing to like and he regularly comments that he knows he is just going to have to get used to it. His bravery and resilience never cease to amaze me.
It is worrying however that during this testing time, we’ve discovered a definite lack of understanding (from both the general public and strangely our Healthcare Team) of the coeliac condition and its effect on a diabetes regime. Just like diabetes, if coeliac is not effectively controlled then the long-term effects can be devastating.
Each one is a life-altering condition but both together they are completely life changing and I’m not sure that this is widely understood or appreciated.