In July it will be the 4th anniversary of being diagnosed with Coeliacs Disease, the condition which means I am intolerant to gluten. Despite my initial fears about having to survive on a strict diet that excluded bread, beer and cereals I did adjust surprisingly well to the imposed restrictions and it’s not been as bad as I imagined.
Because of the serious health consequences that could arise if I continued to each gluten products; osteoporosis and bowel cancer being two conditions sufferers are known to get, I have taken the disease seriously and in the four years to date I have not deliberately eaten anything that contains gluten. That’s not to says I’ve not had any gluten; I know I have. I was once informed a cheesecake was gluten free and it wasn’t until I’d consumed a portion did I find out it actually wasn’t gluten-free after all. I didn’t have any reaction to eating the cake though; again another reason why I need to remain strict with myself.
The other reason I’ve been able to stick to the diet is the improved labelling that has been introduced on all food packaging in the UK. It is now much easier to see whether the food contains gluten or even if it is made in the same factory as gluten products. And the abundance of gluten-free products now available allows for a much improved choice, even if the prices seem to be twice as expensive. For the first couple of years I signed up for the pre-pay prescription option, whereby I could get certain foods on the National Health Service each month but as more of the food is available in shops I have stopped getting it with this method.
So what does the future hold for me, food wise? Well, when I was diagnosed I was told that the condition was life-long and there was no cure so I didn’t really consider I could ever eat Pizza Hut pizza again or enjoy a pint of lager from a pub but in the latest copy of the Coeliacs UK magazine, it suggested that a vaccine is being developed that could be a cure for about 80-90% of coeliac disease sufferers. There was also an article in The Mail. Further trials are about to get underway which, if successful , could mean many people could once again enjoy foods that have been denied them through this disease.
Fingers crossed it is successful and I’m not one of the 20% who don’t have the gene that this vaccine cures!