Monday, 12 May 2014

Don't forget gluten-free guests

This weekend, we invited a group of friends over for tea to celebrate my husband's birthday. One of our friends is gluten intolerant, so we wanted to make sure that she was well-catered for. We made her a flour-less chocolate almond cake and bought some Doves Farm gluten-free biscuits.

It is estimated that around one in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease (gluten-intolerance). Symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, wind, nausea, constipation, tiredness, headaches, sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases), hair loss and anaemia. Leading a gluten-free lifestyle can be a challenge, but it is essential to prevent the symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

Sweet treats aside, according to Coeliac UK, many people who are gluten-intolerant encounter difficulties when searching for gluten-free staple items such as bread, crackers, cereals and rolls. They often have to travel from one supermarket to another simply to buy essential food items.

This year's Coeliac Awareness Week (12th to 18th May) focuses on the availability of gluten-free food in supermarkets. The charity's Gluten-free Guarantee is asking supermarkets to sign up to having eight core gluten-free items in store, so people can manage their condition more easily. The core items are: fresh white bread, fresh brown bread, bread rolls, breakfast cereals, pasta, flour, crackers and cereal bars. For more details, visit Coeliac Awareness Week 2014

If you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease by a doctor, did you know you are entitled to receive a reasonable quantity of gluten-free staple foods on prescription? You fill out a gluten-free prescription order form with your GP (or in some pharmacies) indicating which products you would like and the quantities. Your order will then be delivered to your chosen pharmacy for you to collect once it is ready. In England, you will have to pay prescription charges unless you are exempt (see my blog on 30th April 2014). For details, visit Coeliac UK's Prescriptions page.

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