Thanks to Michelle Butler our Clinical Manager of Dietetics for writing this post in response to the HSE cuts to Gluten Free products.
Ireland has one of the highest prevalences of Coeliac Disease in the world, yet the HSE last week informed all pharmacists that gluten-free products are to be removed from the list of free products available on the medical card scheme and from other State reimbursement schemes.
We know that the only treatment for coeliac disease is life-long exclusion of gluten from the diet. Although these cuts will impact significantly on the variety in the diet it is possible to follow a balanced gluten free diet without the use of these ‘special’ products. People just need to be educated, well informed and organised about their food choices and diet.
The most obvious sources of gluten in the diet are bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, flour, pizza bases, cakes and biscuits. Previously it was possible to obtain a gluten free variety of these foods at no cost under State schemes however this has now been discontinued. Gluten can also be found in foods such as soups, sauces, ready meals and processed foods such as sausages.
What you can do about the HSE cuts to Gluten-Free Products?
Although these cuts will impact considerably on the convenience aspect for those with coeliac disease the main aim now should be to adopt a diet which contains products which are naturally gluten free. One might think that this is a challenging task however with the right support and planning it can be quite simple. I often treat people with coeliac disease who have been safely following a gluten free diet for years with limited use of manufactured gluten free products. So it is possible!!!
To discuss your options on how to deal with these changes book a free consultation with one of our dietitians who can help to support you in achieving the optimal diet. Our dietitians will highlight foods which are naturally gluten-free foods such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, rice, potatoes and lentils and provide tips and recipes for you to manage your condition going forward.
Can we help you? Please click here for an appointment.